Evolving with the Pace of Change
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Donovan Smith
Guided by a vision and mission that has seen the Company through times of wider economic and political instability, Medtech Angola has adopted a continuous improvement strategy that combines international best practices with the national resources required to prosper in an ever-changing market.
Now focused on strengthening its partnerships and diversifying its client portfolio in line with the relevant products and services to suit a wider range of customer needs, the Company has to strike a balance between cutting costs while monitoring market trends to stand out in an increasingly demanding business landscape, strongly impacted by the current global downturn.
“Founding the Company during a time of political instability in 1991, we quickly learned how crucial it was to adapt to both the local constrains and opportunities,” says César Assis, Chief Executive Officer (CEO). “After the war, the Government made substantial investments in order to streamline the economy. During this time, Medtech grew and increased its portfolio, striving to be known as an Angolan turnkey solutions Company serving a wide range of customers, including the Governmental and oil & gas sectors, which we ultimately were able to accomplish through a proactive approach to business and subsequent strategic restructuring.”
Medtech’s Chief Operations Officer (COO), Ari Sanches offers: “In Angola everything happens very fast. One day you are constrained by a war and in the other you are in the middle of a development boom. Those changes make you develop and adapt expeditiously. In 2010, our major capital investments began and we achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification which was a process which made us really revaluate all of our internal procedures; including the decision to adopt a new ERP system and to centralise our different warehouses into a supply centre.”
Not only did adopting the latest technologies and practices contribute to Medtech’s reputation for reliability, but the subsequent growth achieved and reinvestments made saw its four divisions – Medtech Divisão Médica, Farmácia Qualidade, Medtech Tecnologia and Shoptech – become more competitive on the national market.
Picking up pace
Seizing the opportunity for expansion six years ago, Medtech’s major capital outlays were led by a proactive set of internal targets stipulating investment not only in technology, but also in human resource and its support structure which in turn, proved to be crucial to achieving optimal operational efficiency.
“To implement change is always a delicate process,” says Assis. “By spreading out these investments through our continuous improvement programme, we invested in a state-of-the-art data centre and developed a strategy to future-proof the organisation. We then established separate divisions with different target audiences across the IT, security and power, and pharma sectors; both in a retail sense, as well as the corporate segments to further showcase our diverse and flexible range of core skills.”
Recognising the Company’s close relationship with clients and suppliers as a key tangible asset to its success, Sanches adds: “To succeed in the Angolan market requires continual monitoring of our customer feedback and optimising our internal resources in line with this in order to improve our procedures and behaviour. We believe in ongoing training throughout our internal supply chain and invest in the latest technology to facilitate this.”
Adopting two main hiring strategies – taking on trainees straight from university or recruiting the right individual for more specialist and demanding roles – Medtech operates a very detailed training programme that is designed in accordance with the brands in which it works with. “We always try to have a junior employee working with a senior one, contributing to an individual’s job satisfaction and continuous development,” confirms the COO.
“In the case of Medtech Tecnologia, for example, we made significant investments in bolstering our pre-sales team with the creation of an ICT Engineering Department to better define our clients’ needs, training our customer managers to improve our customer-centricity in the sales department and improving our aftersales with the creation of both a customer service team and our own laboratory; officially certified by the suppliers, to guarantee adequate support,” adds Assis.
A far-cry from Medtech’s original Company structure two decades ago, its enlarged portfolio of loyal customers and partners, ongoing local training since day-one and investments in marketing to raise brand awareness epitomise Medtech’s long-term investment strategy.
“Marketing has been a growing focus in the past couple of years and has become an integral part of our ability to communicate our portfolio more effectively to new target customers,” comments Assis.
Upholding its reputation among suppliers, partners and customers for honesty and integrity has had a positive impact on the Medtech’s growth aspirations; further solidified by strong references and proven success stories in both the public and private sector.
“Today, Angola is facing a new challenge, different from any other crisis that the country has faced before. To fully overcome it, we will need strong measures from the Government and perseverance from investors and companies alike,” the CEO summarises.
“Nevertheless, the Medtech Group is still currently a major player in both the IT and health sectors and our restructure has certainly helped us to reduce our costs and prepare us to face these new obstacles on the horizon.”
He concludes: “While the next three-five years will be challenging, Medtech has demonstrated its tenacity in the past and understands adversity very well, so we will continue to face it day-by-day. We are an Angolan Company and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”