Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu

#21: Bijay Singh Global Head Healthcare Business Unit at DKSH

July 26, 2018 Season 1 Episode 21
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#21: Bijay Singh Global Head Healthcare Business Unit at DKSH
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#21: Bijay Singh Global Head Healthcare Business Unit at DKSH
Jul 26, 2018 Season 1 Episode 21
Radu Palamariu
Bijay Singh has twenty-four years of experience in the Healthcare industry. From 2004 to 2015, he held various senior positions at Novartis, a leading global Swiss healthcare company.
Show Notes Transcript

Bijay Singh has twenty-four years of experience in the Healthcare industry. From 2004 to 2015, he held various senior positions at Novartis, a leading global Swiss healthcare company. Prior to 2004, Bijay Singh worked for eleven years in various positions for Eli Lilly in Asia and the United States as well as for two global audit companies. He has lived and worked in four continents and has amassed over 15 years of work experience in the healthcare field across Asia. Education: Bijay Singh holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) from Simon Fraser University, Personal Data Canada and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Stanford University, California.

Discover more details here

Some of the highlights of the episode:

Follow us on:
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2Wba8v7
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2WeulzX
Linkedin: http://bit.ly/2w9YSQX
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2HtryLd

Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I am your host throughout Palomar, you global supply chain practice head for Morgan Phillips Executive Search, specializing in global board level and executive search. My job is also to connect you with worldwide experts, thought leaders, entrepreneurs and executives in all things supply chain. It is my pleasure to have with us today. Vj Singh, he joined Dksh is vice president of global business development for the health care business unit in July, 2015 and was designated global head of the business unit as of July, 2017 he has 24 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Um, having worked between 2004 to 2015, uh, in different senior positions at Novartis and the leading global swift Swiss healthcare company. Prior to that, a Bj worked for 11 years in various positions for Ellie Lilly in Asia, United States as well as for the, as well as for two other global audit companies.
Speaker 1:
0:57
He has lived and worked across four continents and has over 15 years work experience in the healthcare field across Asia. He holds a bachelor of business administration from Simon Fraser University Canada and a master's degree in business administration from Stanford, Stanford University, California. Bj, a pleasure to have you with us today. Banks, rider. Really happy to be with you. Super. So tell us, I mean, let's, let's talk a little bit about, uh, about DKSH and what does the case stage do in the first place? Because I think, um, whilst a lot of people know it, and especially in the healthcare field, there's some of our listeners that that might be wondering a little bit about the business model than what the company does.
Speaker 2:
1:34
Sure. So DKSH started over 150 years ago, started as a traditional trading company. Uh, there were, uh, four different leaders, Mr [inaudible], Mr. Keller, Mr Cbre, Mr Hegner. Uh, over the decades the company became a specialized service provider, building relationships with, uh, with international as well as the local clients to grow their business. And that's how we coined this new, um, uh, industry, which we called market expansion services are cappelary network distribution is a very, very strong, especially in Southeast Asia. That's a fundamental pillar of our service offering. And then beyond this fundament, this foundation, if you'd like, we've built a very strong sales and marketing capability. Uh, we also have added on to that a variety of value added services such as regulatory, um, uh, consignment management from APH medical devices, um, uh, market research, patient solutions, hospital solutions or variety. This is really unique compared to our competitors because we take our clients' products to the next level, uh, getting them to customers directly to the patients, but also providing access to pharmaceutical companies, OTC companies, consumer health, medical device. Uh, and we can take them, you know, to the forefront. Out of over 10,000 professionals we have in health care, uh, about half of them are in sales and marketing. Uh, so, uh, we have essentially one of the largest sales and marketing engines across Asia.
Speaker 3:
3:22
Absolutely. And that's, that's, that's quite an impressive number because, uh, um, yeah, I mean I, as you rightfully said, not a lot of the, um, not a lot of any type of companies, both with this kind of number of people in, in particularly in sales. Um, so if, if we are to, if we're too, cause you touched a little bit about you and how you help healthcare companies expanding in Asia, but let's say, uh, and it's, it's a, it's a question that they think a is, is relevant. Why would they use DKSH instead of opening their own distribution, marketing, sales general, beyond the obvious, uh, reasons. But I just want to ask you the question.
Speaker 2:
3:57
Great. Look, I think there are three key reasons why healthcare companies come to us. Uh, first is what I call customer intimacy. All right? We allow customers or clients to focus on their core competency, which is their product. They understand their product better than anybody else. Uh, we focus on knowing the local markets, understanding the customers, understanding the route to market. Uh, we have unique insights to that and we could reach the right customer with the right message, right? Pricing, a right retail location. So that level of intimacy is what we can afford. I think the second is the scale and distribution capabilities that DKSH can bring to the table. It's simply enormous and it's hard to build the fixed costs that are associated with the warehousing distribution. And then creating this cup, Hillary, uh, transport structure as well as the sales and marketing are not easy to replicate.
Speaker 2:
4:57
We've been around 150 years. Uh, we built that strategic presence. We've built that scale, that market knowledge. And quite often you need quality, you need to understand the ISO standards, you need to understand the regulatory standards. And even for local distributors, they find that very hard to keep up. We can essentially have the scale to transmit that across all the markets in Asia. I think the third and last but certainly not least is a degree of flexibility. I mean that means a client can come and pick and choose between various models, um, and based on the portfolio they want the services they want. So some want a full fledged what we call full agency model where we take over everything and others are happy. Uh, with us just taking, um, let's say one part of their portfolio or one element of their channel, or even just simply helping them do a market entry analysis. So we're really flexible, uh, in terms of the services we can provide and the way that we can tailor those, the client's needs.
Speaker 3:
6:09
Understood. So that's, that's, that's an, that's an important point to make and I think it's, uh, um, it kind of leads us into the next question that I had prepared is like maybe you can share one or two the most successful case studies, uh, that, that you've, you've done for your clients and that would, you know, would really bring practicality to that message.
Speaker 2:
6:27
Sure. So let me share a two with you. Um, one is of a company that had already, um, uh, been very present in Asia and needed help. And somebody that was quite new coming into Asia. So in, in 2014, a very large multinational Pharma company, household name, uh, introduced, uh, uh, prescription drug into the Hong Kong market. Um, it had a really good and significant clinical benefit, but it was categorized as a sell finance item in, in Hong Kong. So essentially the government hospitals did not cover it. It needed to get a purchased at the retail. Um, in the first two years after the introduction, the drug, you know, part of the sales and distribution were carried out by another party and the sales results just were not satisfying to the client. Um, in 2015, the company approached us and asked us to take over their trade sales activities at the pharmacy level.
Speaker 2:
7:32
Uh, they reached out to us because we had a good track record. Uh, like I said, a broad reach, a great standing long, uh, relationships with the pharmacies. So what we did is, you know, we, we knew that we had to go beyond order taking. This was still a relatively new drug and we knew that we had to educate, um, the pharmacy. And we also knew we had to really expand the reach and increase the trade channel penetration. So our sales specialists used their therapeutic knowledge to convince trade pharmacies about the product's benefits. Uh, they also closely monitored the competition, uh, provided market intelligence to the client, proposed new trade marketing ideas and then advise the client on the market penetration strategy. Give you an example. The DKSH trade sales team collected stock information on all customers by month, calculated the real sales, uh, quantity to patients and then the client market team, uh, could evaluate the performance of their activities.
Speaker 2:
8:38
So as a result of this, um, with the DKSH trades, a sales team working together with the clients marketing team, uh, we not only manage to beat the target, but we penetrate it up to 95% of, uh, the, the trade channel. So the, the drug stores in Hong Kong, the partnership led to a four fold sales increase in the first year and a twofold sales increase in the second year. So essentially, uh, due to that strong and successful cooperation market share of the drug in a, in a challenging market in Hong Kong continues to increase. Um, and in fact, at the end of 2017 and the client was so happy that they carved out the distribution of that product from the existing distributor. And gave it to, to Dksh. Yes, yes. So that's one example of a client. That's what we call established in Asia. Chose us for a particular expertise and some of the results that we delivered.
Speaker 3:
9:43
Yes, yes. No, very good. A very good example. And I think that's a key point to kind of emphasize in back to the, to the, to the sharing that you do offer a different ranges of, of um, uh, services, uh, in terms of the, the deep sales and trade experience that you have and a, and a distribution model that you have. I think that allows you quite a, quite a larger pool datadriven um, uh, ability to make decisions based on data that is not exactly easy to get. And we mentioned Hong Kong, Hong Kong is still at fairly developed a, I mean, he's a very developed a place, but uh, you know, some of the economies in Southeast Asia is much more our march, more embryonic in terms of that. So, um, so it's even, and
Speaker 2:
10:26
more relevant and important. Um, I have one more example that I could give you then, which is you, you mentioned the embryonic. So here's a, an example of a company that was new chasia looking to expand. So a European manufacturer of a pharmaceutical products saw the business opportunity for, for Asia and the growing demand that's here. Uh, they didn't have a presence in the region and they needed a partner to assess the market potential and highlight also regulatory challenges in markets like Cambodia, Lao, uh, but uh, Myanmar, but also more developed markets like Malaysia, Singapore and Korea. So they picked those markets and it was easier to go to one company who could cover all those markets. Um, so essentially they asked us to do that market assessment. Our experts developed a comprehensive market attractiveness and feasibility study for them. We showed them exactly through what you mentioned, the data that we have, the sales potential per country, per channel.
Speaker 2:
11:33
We did a competitor analysis for them. Uh, the data was taken from DKSH insights, which is a proprietary online tool, uh, that, that we have based on the collaboration with several hundred new clients. And over 160,000 healthcare customers in Asia. Uh, we also have a team of over regulatory professionals from the healthcare industry and they quickly provided the client with an overview of all the documents, the information, the requirements to register their product. Um, we gave them also the duration, how long it would take, you know, how much it would cost to register the products, and then gave them advice on some changes that might be coming up in, in regulation in each of those countries that could influence the registration process. Um, we provide a very clear process for doing this standardized reporting formats so that, you know, any country they see the information the same way.
Speaker 2:
12:34
Um, and as I said, the regional coordination means they, they have a one stop shop. Uh, in this case we exceeded the client's expectations and providing a market analysis and business cases, uh, that it helped them make a decision of which markets they wanted to enter. Um, they really appreciated, uh, the collaboration and actually chose Dksh to, um, to use as the entry partner. Yes. And didn't go to all of the markets. Didn't go to all of the channels, but a, that clearly helped them make the right decision in terms of their own return on investment.
Speaker 3:
13:12
Yes. Um, and also, I mean, I think what is important to what is important to kind of reinforce for our listeners that are outside of Southeast Asia maybe, um, is that particularly in south end actually Nasia the markets are very, very different from one another. The regulations are incredibly different from one another. Sometimes the bureaucracies is extremely tedious for some of the, for some of the market. So there's not an easy, it's not at all an easy feast to, to handle. Um, so, so again, having a point of consolidation can help a lot. And this brings me to the, to the next question then. In terms of what do you see as some of the key challenges that your clients face in Asia as compared to Europe or, or us? Maybe
Speaker 2:
13:55
the u s is a really fluid market. Um, health care costs are putting really high pressure on the budgets there. Um, and you see the same in Europe. There's a major discussion in these countries about the value of healthcare. Asia on the other hand, is a continent with still a fast growing population and an increased willingness to pay for, for quality. I think that gives a lot of opportunities for healthcare companies and it builds a very vibrant business environment. Um, unlike highly developed markets where you have a lot of data, a lot of insights, health care leaders in Asia need to rely a bit more on intuition and experience, particularly in the more emerging, uh, frontier markets. They have to be very clever, very agile and understanding patients' motivations to buy out of pocket. Um, and often this requires making decisions without having all the data or minimal data at hand.
Speaker 2:
14:55
Um, I think it's challenging, but it's also an opportunity for leaders to make an impact. Um, and also I'd say you can find yourself with a lot more responsibility and accountability in your hands than in a western environment where you have specialists, uh, involved in every different role. Um, so I think that way lots of opportunities, uh, but lack of data means a lot more challenge. Yes, for sure. And are there some main differences between them, the healthcare needs of the population here in Asia as compared to other parts of the world? Well, I mentioned and touched already. Affordability and accessibility challenges, you know, drive a lot the need for patient services here. Um, also as you know, vast geography, uh, many cases you have countries which are groups of islands give you a much more complicated route to market. Um, and then you have very, very elongated countries like Vietnam where you know, you have to understand how you can provide, um, uh, let's say medicines are or products that require cold box solutions and within, within 24 hours, um, and where you can keep depos along the way to help you.
Speaker 2:
16:13
So I think those required very innovative solutions for temperature, cold, uh, control like coolbox motorbikes, et Cetera, that we utilize. So there definitely are some differences that, uh, are in Asia versus others. I think, um, if you look at healthcare needs and wants, I think you'll see certain diseases are quite different in Asia. Uh, you see a lot more, um, uh, GI diseases, gastro, gastrointestinal, you see liver diseases as being more so you need to understand the, um, incidents and prevalence of diseases which may be different than the west. Um, also I think, um, you need to keep in mind that in Asia, um, the healthcare professional is, is still very, very important and Asian consumers are more reliant and more respectful for these, uh, uh, the advice of these healthcare, uh, service providers. They will still get onto Google, they'll still check information. Um, but, um, uh, the healthcare professional plays a larger role.
Speaker 2:
17:18
Uh, particularly the pharmacist. Lots of patients in Asia, we'll go to the pharmacist for their diagnosis, not necessarily to their doctor. That means the pharmacist, isn't it very, very important part of the healthcare ecosystem in, uh, in Asia. A big part of that is because there just aren't enough doctors in the population. I think as I mentioned before, you have to keep in mind that, um, people still pay out of pocket and many, many of these countries and even even the countries that have reimbursement, they don't have their whole population reimbursed. So this changes people's attitudes in, in how they buy and what they buy. And that's why you start to see sachets part. You know, they don't buy the full box. Sometimes you see smaller packet sizes, uh, and you see this in many countries and these are the types of things that you have to keep in mind coming from reimbursed less than mark.
Speaker 3:
18:16
Yes. Yes. No, absolutely. And that's a very, I mean, that's a very good example and I think it's, uh, uh, it's extremely, um, uh, is extremely relevant to the, to the place in the economies. That debt we are in is kind of the same as the reason why in a, I mean, a little bit of a lateral example, but is the same way in the, in Southeast Asia, a lot of the countries, even for things like a consumer goods, right? Like detergent or whatever is the same principle where they don't buy in the next big boxes, they buy in smaller because it's out of pocket. And then prices are very important consideration of course. Um, what do you see as some of the factors driving growth for the industry in the region? I'm, when, apart from, of course the obvious one population is growing, uh, you know, obviously there's levels of incomes that are growing, but the, you know, maybe you can talk a little bit about it.
Speaker 2:
19:00
Yeah. So I think you touched on it. I mean, a growing middle class is a key one. What we see is as countries in the middle class grows and become more affluent, they start to demand and expect higher quality healthcare. Um, Asia Pacific, you know, currently accounts for about 24% of global consumers spending. Uh, we'll see that rise to, you know, over 50% in the coming decade. And that's more than Europe and North America put together. Um, you know, from the purchasing parody situation and, you know, Asia's middle class is going to rise from, from 570 million people. Um, uh, up to, you know, 3 billion people they say. So we'll see what the numbers pan out to be. But essentially that rise of that middle class, um, is going to be huge, huge factor. I think increasing, um, Inter Asian trade, uh, we see what's happening more recently, um, in terms of, uh, the way the u s is, is, um, approaching trade discussions.
Speaker 2:
20:06
And I think that just gives more and more opportunity for Asian countries to, um, to trade with one another. You're starting to see some local heroes as well. So Korean companies and biotechnology, um, certainly Chinese companies, Indian companies, and even within Southeast Asia you see some local hero companies, um, some of which are clients of ours. Um, and, uh, they are looking to expand beyond their home market and get into adjacent market. Um, and finally I'd say there's, um, an imminent trend towards outsourcing, especially where they're challenging market conditions. You companies focus in on their own core competence, whether that's r and d, uh, whether that's production, that's global marketing. And then they look to service providers like us to expand the market for them.
Speaker 3:
20:59
Um, and I know that, uh, I know that a, and you shared that the Dick, yes. Each market expansion services for pharmaceuticals involves regulatory approvals, involves held around the licensing, which I think is a very important, uh, concentration and service, uh, given the nature of the business, the differences between countries. So can you tell him to tell us more, a little bit about that and, and um, you know, especially given the complexity that each country requires.
Speaker 2:
21:28
Sure. So, you know, regulatory is one of the value added services in our portfolio, gets a lot of um, attention from our clients. I was mentioning to you, we have over 70 a regulatory professionals. Um, we provide registration and regulatory consulting services, uh, for food supplements, cosmetics and healthcare products and devices. Um, our regulatory people, you know, maintain ongoing liaisons with the regulatory authorities. They manage our clients' dossiers process, a large number of market authorizations on behalf of our clients. And then, and then safeguard their interests. And I shared with you earlier how, um, you know, we had done a full market entry study and a big part of that market entry study involves the regulatory aspects because that means there's a two or three year entry barrier or entry timeline into a country. And uh, you know, that gave sometimes the clients some time to establish themselves in that country and build some relationships as they, um, as they entered the country. Yeah. So each country has their own requirements. In some cases, uh, uh, they have specific temperature requirements, temperature controls, certain, um, uh, requirements for storage, certain requirements for the way the studies are done. Uh, some will just look at us or EU, um, dossiers and say, just give us a, a certificate of product approval. And that's fine. Others will require local studies, those could be bioequivalent studies, etc. And it's important that the client understand, um, what are the requirements and then also what types of, um, uh, countries that they can reference for them.
Speaker 3:
23:24
Yes, yes. Um, and are the eye you're looking, cause you mentioned the, I mean you mentioned the pallet of services that you're already offering, but are there any other value added services that you look to expand into or to, uh, to grow?
Speaker 2:
23:39
Yeah, so I think, um, they're clearly three other areas where we see, um, opportunities beyond the regulatory, uh, one is, um, analytics and insights. We're seeing more and more need for clients to understand what's going on using the data that we've talked about doing predictive analytics and really understanding, uh, what the white spaces are, where are they doing well, what customers could they expand further to? How are they doing relative to, uh, the competition? How are they doing relative to the category? Um, I think those types of information are particularly lacking in medical device and OTC. In Pharma. There is, uh, some information but usually not that granular. And I think that's where we can provide a lot of value. I think the second area is patient solutions. So, uh, at one time it was just about a field, um, uh, army of sales reps to go out.
Speaker 2:
24:45
Uh, now that more and more companies are launching specialty products, what we see is, um, those prices sometimes are a little bit less affordable or, uh, patients drop off. And a, the value of getting those patients onto therapy and keeping them on therapy is very, very high. Um, the clients look and they're mindful that they don't want, uh, the channel meaning the pharmacist, the hospital to take all the value if they offer promotion schemes that will allow benefit to the patients in terms of affordability. So those are ways that we can step in and ensure that the benefit of the promotion goes directly to the patient. Um, there's education done and we have, uh, armies of nurses in some countries that can go and help, uh, patients, uh, understand how to use the therapy. I understand the disease, answer their questions. Um, and, and also, you know, monitor adherence.
Speaker 2:
25:49
So those are ways that we can, we can add value, um, beyond that, clients have, uh, a prohibition of keeping patient information, uh, in their own, um, uh, venues, uh, because of, uh, patient confidentiality reasons. So again, that's the service we could provide. And then finally what we call hospitals solutions. So, uh, hospitals themselves may find it very difficult to measure, uh, to, to manage, should I say the stocks in there, in their own hospital. Um, from a variety of clients. Some of them want to keep consignment in the hospital, um, because they want, uh, the doctors and healthcare professionals stab ready access. The hospitals themselves don't want to keep, uh, purchase the inventory. So that consignment inventory, which belongs to the client is sitting at the hospital who manages it. Um, how is it replenished? How do we know what's being used? Those kinds of services we can provide and the level of intimacy of then really knowing and understanding certain, um, segments of the hospital I think becomes a key value proposition of climate.
Speaker 3:
27:05
Uh, and, and, um, if we had to look into a little bit deeper into the different countries in Asia, are there certain countries in particular where you see the most growth?
Speaker 2:
27:16
I think Indochina particularly now, uh, it's time has come in, in these markets or segment of population that can afford quality health care is maybe three to 5%. Um, if this segment grows by just even one to 2% per year, it's going to drive growth tremendously. I think the other thing that I see is governments are becoming more and more aware that they need to step up their game and provide more healthcare services in coverage. Uh, like I said earlier, more and more patients in Asia have to pay out of pocket, but now many, many countries, including some of the ones I've mentioned offers some kind of insurance, public or private, and there's generally a more enlightened view about healthcare needs and services and that if you don't protect your population, that's really your big asset. Uh, and otherwise they're also just going to keep saving, um, for that rainy day fund.
Speaker 2:
28:17
And that saving is going to depress consumption. So there is, I think a more enlightened view about about that. And it's happening much more in countries like India, China, but others as well. I think the more mature markets are driven by innovation. So if you see an innovation in a certain category, you will see explosive growth. Um, and, uh, you will especially see it if that innovation really improve standard of care. You see that in oncology where even in Hong Kong, you know, typically Hong Kong is a very, uh, low single digit growth. But in certain categories, categories of oncology, you're seeing dramatic growth driven by innovation.
Speaker 3:
28:59
Yes, yes. I'm very good. A very good example. And I think, yeah, I mean it's, uh, we, we are here today in Singapore and I think there's a couple of, uh, there's a couple of sweet spots. Uh, I know, I know from a, from our collaboration as well with the Singapore government that they haven't invested heavily into healthcare, healthcare, innovation in life sciences, innovation and R and d here in Singapore in Korea obviously is a, is a big hub for that as well. But as, as you, as you rightfully mentioned, also there's this up and coming, uh, local heroes, right? Um, that are also quite a, um, I mean not, not to be discounted and I think there's pockets of, um, of, um, of activity. So very interesting comment in terms of the, you know, the fact that an innovative product can have extremely high return on investment in extremely high growth and aggressive growth. Um, and that kind of a marks the, the last question that I had in terms of the more industry focused questions and now if we had to move a little bit to them, to what we do right, to, to do the skills, the talent, the, the needs that the market requires in terms of people, in terms of what type of uh, skills they need to have to grow businesses. One, do you find hardest to find in, in, in Asia? Yeah, good question. I think, uh, someone who
Speaker 2:
30:15
can cross boundaries and, and work in complexity, um, and lead a team through that complexity is probably the most challenging, uh, attribute defined cause. It, it requires a, someone who can have crucial conversations, difficult discussions across boundaries, uh, which can particularly be challenging in Asia where, um, relationships, harmony are very important. And, um, again, that takes a certain scale, um, that that's, that's difficult to find. Um, I think, uh, it's hard to find people who are both keen to grow and very tech friendly. You would say that that should be very easy among, um, the young generation. They're very comfortable using technology. Um, yes, that's true. Uh, at the same time retaining them becomes the hard part. So, um, keeping them interested, uh, is, is also very challenging. So, um, and then those that are maybe a bit older, uh, that are interested in staying in, retaining their ability to pick up technology, you know, uh, uh, grow and contribute in terms of, uh, uh, changing and learning new skills becomes a challenge then.
Speaker 2:
31:41
Um, and then finally I would say communication, and I'm not here talking about language, but I'm a or English, but I'm talking about, um, getting people to understand the big picture, the why. Uh, and then the what and the how. Uh, quite often the conversation in many parts of Asia goes directly to the how, um, and doesn't yet winning over people's hearts and minds of why do we need to do this? What's the context in which it needs to be done? So effective communication. Um, in that sense, again, not just language is something that's, that's, that's a challenge.
Speaker 3:
32:22
Yes. Yes. And, and, and if, if we are to talk a lot, a little bit about hard skills, so that's cause he, I mean some of the areas that DKSH um, has a strong expertise in our very specific from regulatory to compliance to do all of that. Others, I mean obviously you have a distribution, there's a
Speaker 2:
32:40
um, I mean you offer distribution services as well. Ah, AH, agency sales, marketing, others, certain hard skills that you find very difficult to get as though, yeah. So look in the sales and marketing arena, I think there is, uh, a number of people who have the skills, probably two areas where I would say it's very difficult to find people. One is in supply chain with expertise in healthcare. Um, there are certainly many individuals who are coming in from a client perspective of a supply chain. On ours. We are the service provider. And from that it's a whole host of different skills required, particularly in a very regulated environment. So we find it pretty, uh, easy to find supply chain professionals who come from unregulated environments or working in retail or working in a large warehouses or distribution, but not very easy to find people with experience in a regulated environment such as health care.
Speaker 2:
33:50
I think the second probably is the complexity and finance. Um, my CFO likes to joke with me because I come from big Pharma and says, you know, in finance in big Pharma, you, you write one invoice to your distributor and that's it a month. Um, in Dksh you're dealing with tens of thousands of invoices. And so to manage that level of complexity, the write offs, the accruals that price adjustments, uh, and, and to manage that very well, um, becomes a huge challenge. So I think that complexity that you see in, in, in a service provider, in these technical areas of logistics and warehousing, distribution and finance are particularly hard, uh, skills to find. Yes, yes.
Speaker 3:
34:40
And particularly, I mean, coming, coming back and just to bring it to and to the practicality again indicates that you probably deal with thousands and thousands of distributors and end points of distribution, hospital, a retail points are guardians of the world, the Watsons of the world and so on and so forth. So it's a, it's a different, a much different ball game. And then, then, uh, I mean, I think the example you gave is this spot on then one big Pharma who has one point of contact, which is you and then, uh, then has a lot less complexity. I mean, that's why you get paid at the end of the day and that's your advantage. Um, but, um, but yeah, I can imagine that finding people that can deal with that is not an easy task. Especially that because there's not so many people like yourselves that are doing this.
Speaker 2:
35:20
Correct. At least in Asia. I mean, then you have to go other parts of the world, be that Middle East, Europe, North America. I think the advantages, everybody realizes Asia is good, you know, still the up and coming region. Uh, still a very exciting place to work. So I think there's a lot of attractiveness and draw. Um, I think we can certainly use talent who, who, uh, who we can learn from. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
35:48
And when you're recruiting for your, uh, for your senior leadership team, right? You're a, you're a, your executive team. Given the dynamic environment that we live in, what are some of the most, uh, important leadership attributes you look for?
Speaker 2:
36:00
I look for a mixture of hunger and humility, hunger, because there's a lot of opportunity out there. Um, you can't afford to be complacent. One of our mottoes, a leadership principles in Dksh is stay hungry. Uh, we know clients demand and look to us to treat their business. And it's as if it's our own, you know, a moment we slip up, we know there's somebody else out there to grab it. So, uh, staying hungry is key. I think the humility is to come in and ask good questions, to seek to understand rather than think that you have all the answers. Um, I think it's good to always be questioning, uh, to have some doubt. Um, and, and to wonder, um, I also look for a tolerance for ambiguity. Something that I learned back in business school when I took a course about Pacific Asia is how important it is to understand that in many parts of Asia, you don't always get a clear answer.
Speaker 2:
37:03
Um, you don't always have the data and you have to make a decision under uncertainty about what's going to happen. Um, regulations right now in Vietnam, I was still quite uncertain, but we need to make decisions in terms of how we move forward. Um, we can't just wait. So in that case, you need to be able to have a certain tolerance for ambiguity and make the best decisions that you can understand, which no regret moves you can make and which ones. Sometimes you just have to make a decision one way, um, and put some assumptions down and go,
Speaker 3:
37:39
yeah, yeah. Um, and, and, and then I think you, you personally have had a very interesting, interesting journey, right? Because, uh, your transition from a, from a health care company for many years in the healthcare industry to Dksh, which is a, which is of course it's a bit of a different model. Tell us a little bit, how was that for you? What were some of your key learnings? Key takeaways.
Speaker 2:
38:00
Yeah, thanks. So look, I, I, as you mentioned, I worked 22 years in big Pharma. Um, two big companies. I worked in four continents, uh, had a chance to work in Europe and North America for a short while and Africa for two years, which was fascinating. But that the predominant part of my career as you mentioned, has been in Asia. And that's really where my heart is. It was definitely, um, you know, an element of exciting, uh, excitement moving over to an area where I thought there was a huge commercial opportunity many years ago. I saw that commercial outsourcing and, and services in Asia was only going to grow. And as more and more companies realize that they can't invest in every area themselves, uh, there is a, um, interest in a proclivity to look at partnerships. And it's a very interesting that more and more, um, clients have created global organizations of procurement around services, value added services, commercial outsourcing because they are thinking much more around around outsourcing.
Speaker 2:
39:10
So for me personally, I saw that it was a new area. It was an area that the world was going to go to. And in Asia it certainly was an opportunity. I think, look, there was also a bit of fear. Um, there were parts of the job I didn't know anything about. I'm, I'm a sales and marketing guy, you know, lead teams. I don't know anything about warehousing and distribution, logistics, etc. Um, so to, to understand that was, was quite a challenge. Um, I started off in business development. Um, I loved meeting people, so that was easy. Uh, luckily I had a network in Asia and that helped. Um, but I didn't know a lot about the intricacies of working on contracts, for example. So that was an area I needed to work on. I think, you know, let's face it, um, you know, uh, client, uh, the, the level of prestige is there sometimes coming in as a service provider.
Speaker 2:
40:12
I think you see it also, uh, you have great clients to work with who treat, treat you like partners, and you have clients who unfortunately don't. And I think part of it is then really having the self confidence and self esteem, um, to understand that you put value, you know, you, you add value into this healthcare system, uh, that any company can't do it all and that you need them, but they need you. Um, and I think once you get centered on that, it's, it's great. Uh, but I've got to say at the outset, coming from some blue chip companies, I'm not, the Dksh is not a, but certainly, um, uh, that was a little bit of a transition in the beginning. Um, so again, I say the main learning is, you know, it doesn't matter which side you're on, client, provider, uh, you got to look at the value you add.
Speaker 2:
41:03
And, and I think in, in a sense it taught, taught me to look a lot more holistically. I look now much more at the balance sheet than I ever did when I was working at a Pharma company because I have to be very, very mindful about working capital. Um, um, many, many times I take the risk purchasing inventory when I pay clients, when I receive. I didn't need to think about that at all hardly when I was, was I in a large Pharma company. Uh, I need to be thinking about margins much more deeply because the P and l in, um, in a service provider is very, very different than in a Pharma company. So I think it's taught, taught me a lot. It's taught me to, to live leaner, um, and to think more, uh, aggressively more entrepreneurially and, uh, in a more agile way.
Speaker 3:
41:56
MMM. Great. No, thanks for sharing and then have all last, the last question to wrap it up. If you were to, if you had to share one piece of advice to somebody that's just graduating and you know, wanting to achieve a successful career in a, in an MNC, what would it be?
Speaker 2:
42:12
Well, uh, I, you know, it's very personal question because I've got three kids, a 23 year old who's graduated last year or 21 year old who's going to graduate in a year and a 19 year old starting university and a couple of months. So, um, it's, I'll, I'll share with you what essentially I tell them, which is essentially just focus on learning. Um, you know, when you start just get in there, don't worry so much about what your title is, how much you get paid. Um, and don't worry about, you know, is this what I was brought into this world to do? Just find yourself something you enjoy and learn and you know, maybe three years from now you'll do that. Maybe three years from now you'll be off doing something else. You'll be back in college. I mean, realize that career is a journey in. If I look at my own first job coming right out of Simon Fraser University at 2122, I was selling financial products. I learned a lot. I built some confidence. I learned some Peninnah personal financial planning as well, which I still use. So really there's, there's learning in everything you do. Um, I think it just builds who you are and who you're going to be.
Speaker 3:
43:30
Mm. Yeah, absolutely. And in terms of, I mean, I want to probe a little bit a little bit further in terms of, um, um, also navigating within complex organizations. Rank was a, I mean, some, some in MNCs is one thing. So, uh, in the bulk of your experience has been in MNCs and you've made it to the, to the pinnacle, right? Are there certain, I don't know how to call it, principles or key? Uh, yeah, he thought that he would deal with follow.
Speaker 2:
44:00
Yeah. Look, all I can say is what's worked for me. And, um, I think anybody who knows me would say I've a very passionate individual, whether it's a football team, I love my kids, my company, I'm super passionate about it. So find something that you're passionate about and then do it. If you're not passionate about it, get out of there because it's going to show, I think point number one, I think number two, be authentic. And what do I mean by be authentic? Be who you are. Uh, that doesn't mean that you have to be in somebody's face if you don't agree with them, but, um, and it doesn't mean just be truthful, but, but there's only one of you. There's only one abroad. Do. There's only one that Bj in this world. Um, that's, that's a very special thing. So be true to yourself.
Speaker 2:
44:54
And, um, if something doesn't sit right with you, um, there's probably a reason for that. You might ask them questions, why? And if it really doesn't sit right for you, then you've gotta be right and be, be open about it. Um, if something is not going right, get up and speak. Um, and then I would say take ownership. You know, I always believe if the ball is on the ground and nobody's picking it up, go pick it up. Um, uh, I've always hated that expression of it's not my job. Um, I see that, I still see that in many companies and, uh, in many situations. And to me that's a tragedy. Um, if you really have that passion, uh, you'll, you'll pick up the ball. Uh, you can do it every time because that will just create chaos. But I think get out there and pick it up, solve the problem, and then go back into the organization and say, well, you know, why is it that I had to pick up the ball? What can we do? And realize that, um, a lot of the problems that occur in companies or systems problems, they're not people problems. They're not about somebody's being bad all the time. And I think if we as leaders look and say what went wrong in the system that, that this happened, we'll often come to a conclusion. Um, that's different than just blaming individuals. So, um, that's some of the things that I've looked looked into and some of the principles that, that have helped me, um, in, in, in my life so far.
Speaker 3:
46:35
MMM, super great sharing Lbj. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for the inflammation, the examples, the case that is the personal lessons shared and a and thank you for joining us and good luck, uh, in the further growth of DKSH individually.
Speaker 4:
46:49
Thanks a lot. Thank you for listening to a podcast. If you liked what you heard, be sure to follow us on [inaudible] dot com slash podcast for all the show notes, links and extra tips covered in the interview. Make sure also to subscribe to our emailing list to get the news in the nick of time. If you're listening through a streaming platform like iTunes or stitcher and you like what we do, please kindly review and give us five stars so we can keep the energy flowing it get more people to find out about our podcast. I'm most active on Linkedin, so do feel free to follow me to stay tuned for our latest articles as well as future guests for the podcast. And if you have any suggestions or any other idea, please feel free to write to me. I respond to all, and also please make sure not to miss our next episode where we will be having a few other c level and top leaders in sales
Speaker 3:
47:35
my chain joining us. Stay tuned.