“We have a high activity level and focus on profitable growth, with efficiency as a top priority.”
President and CEO
Joacim Lindoff, President & CEO
Increased growth and efficiency in focus
Joacim Lindoff, Arjo’s President & CEO, describes a 2019 characterized by continued strong organic growth and efficiency measures, together with strategic partnerships and preparations for important new international regulations. At the same time, initiatives to build the future Arjo have begun.
Arjo demonstrated continued success in 2019. Can you describe the most important milestones?
During the year we continued to develop the business and deliver on our Arjo 2020 plan. We have gained traction in the market and reported stable growth in the year, with the Group growing organically by nearly 4%. I see strong commitment among our employees and we are increasing our market share in our largest and most important market, the US, and expanding within emerging markets, such as Asia and Eastern Europe.
In 2019, we also addressed certain areas of the business in order to improve efficiency. One example is our rental operations, where we turned around the negative trend in the fourth quarter and delivered profitable growth for the first time in a long while.
In short, we delivered another successful year and are entering 2020 with strengthened positions.
Are there any areas in which you want to see improvement?
During the year, we saw several good examples of how we can enhance efficiency in the Group and I see further potential in this area. In 2020, we are continuing to drive initiatives to increase profitability and adapt the business to the prevailing market situation, such as in Europe. Our focus is on continuously implementing and following-up the ongoing activities in a structured manner to meet our goals.
Can you tell us about product launches and other breakthroughs during the year?
We meet and listen to our customers continuously to ensure that our product development is at the forefront and meets their needs.
Two good examples in 2019 were the launches of WoundExpress and Auralis. With WoundExpress, we have entered a new and growing market for the treatment of difficult to heal leg ulcers, today costing billions to treat. After the launch in the UK, we plan to introduce WoundExpress in additional markets during 2020. Auralis strengthens our already wide product portfolio for pressure injury prevention, an area in which we have built up extensive knowledge.
As the number of elderly people increases, we are seeing more people affected by dementia, an important focus area for us. In May, three of our products were accredited by the world’s leading dementia research institute. This shows that our product design is one step ahead of the competition, and that we are working proactively to resolve the challenges facing the healthcare sector, especially within elderly care.
As part of our focus on acquisitions and strategic partnerships, we made a significant investment in the US-based company Atlas Lift Tech in July. Atlas helps healthcare providers improve their patient handling processes. Together, we will drive solutions to reduce injuries among healthcare professionals and increase patient mobility, a foundation in Arjo’s daily work.
Is Arjo prepared for the new medical device regulation, EU MDR, which comes into force in 2020?
We are well prepared for the new EU MDR requirements for more comprehensive clinical information and stricter control of medical devices, having begun adapting our business early in the process. After two years of thorough and intensive work, we went through a successful audit in November. Here, the organization, led by our quality team, has delivered an impressive performance. Arjo now has the chance to become one of the first companies to be MDR-certified, which we see as a clear competitive advantage.
How has the recent coronavirus outbreak affected Arjo, and what are you doing to support healthcare?
This is an unprecedented situation and our employees are making great efforts to support healthcare in these challenging times.
We have noted an increased demand for medical beds, therapeutic surfaces and within rental since the outbreak. As expected, we are seeing a decline for product categories that are not directly relevant to Covid-19.
We are monitoring developments closely, and are doing everything we can to continue delivering the necessary products. We have a close dialogue with our suppliers to ensure the continued supply of all integral components, and have increased the production capacity of medical beds to meet the increased demand.
What are your priorities for 2020, and how do you intend to develop the company long-term?
We are entering the final year of our Arjo 2020 plan with a high activity level and focus on profitable growth, with efficiency improvements in the Group and the entire value chain as a top priority. We have good momentum in the sales organization and are continuing to strengthen our market presence in all regions. We are also continuing to invest in product development and increase our focus on acquisitions.
In 2020, we will also initiate several projects focused on reducing our environmental impact, something that our customers are increasingly prioritizing.
In parallel, we have been working on updating our strategy to build the future Arjo. It will strengthen our competitive advantage as a mobility partner to healthcare providers, and thereby continue to contribute to a more efficient and sustainable healthcare.
I am looking forward to a strong 2020, in which I, together with my colleagues, will continue to create value for our customers, shareholders and society.
President & CEO
Success factors in 2019
- Continued strong growth in North America and Rest of the World
- Solid results from efficiency initiatives
- Increased offering strengthened by acquisitions and partnerships
- Successful EU MDR audit