Optical Developments for a Healthier LifeWed, 09/07/2016 - 11:16
Q: What is the importance of the healthcare solutions division within the Canon global strategy?
A: For Canon, the Healthcare Solutions Division has become a relevant investment priority for the global strategy. The company is committed to innovation and health promotion and our research centers in the US and Europe are focusing on developing the most accurate diagnosis equipment, always considering the least invasive methods for the patient. We are developing state-of-theart medical products using advanced expertise in optics and CMOS sensibility technology. Canon’s investment through Canon Life Science and Canon Biomedical, which was founded a couple of years ago, will result in many innovative products that will expand our portfolio in the following years. As a group, stakeholders are guiding the global strategy, focusing on diversifying our business opportunities to bear the fluctuating market situation and global challenges.
Q: What was the strategy behind establishing Canon’s medical devices and applications in the country in 2012 ahead of other countries in Latin America?
A: We had a presence for many years in the Mexican market through distributors, who have successfully positioned our brand. A few hundreds of our digital detectors are already installed in the most important healthcare institutions, thanks to their hard work. Our strategy of having a direct presence in Mexico includes working together with our distributors and letting them commercialize our products, while we take care of regulatory affairs, imports and technical support. We want to build synergies and back our distributors in integrating our products into sophisticated solutions, creating strong relationships with institutions and medical centers.
Mexico is the second most important market for healthcare products in the Latin American region after Brazil. Canon is broadening its opportunities and increasing its participation in the healthcare business in the Americas in general and specifically in Mexico where the medical devices market is expected to have an annual growth of 6 to 7 percent.
Q: What part of your sales go to the private and to the public sector and what market needs are you targeting?
A: At this point, the most important buyer of healthcare products is the public sector, with 75 percent of our sales and the rest in the private. In both sectors demand is important, but in the public division the investment will start growing. One of the most relevant epidemiological diseases is diabetes and one of its complications is retinopathy. In the eye care area we have diagnostic solutions for these diseases and we see a huge business opportunity there. With the increasing demand for highquality services in Mexico, there is an increasing need to be more efficient and innovative. We are aware of today’s economic circumstances affecting the healthcare market and especially the public sector. Canon is focusing on offering innovative technology that provides the highest resolution images in the market at affordable prices.
Q: What kind of innovative technological solutions do you provide and how do they stand out in the market?
A: We have cutting-edge retinal cameras and in the short term we will have an optical coherent tomography. We also have tonometers to measure intraocular pressure and the high levels in glaucoma as well as auto-refractor keratometers that measure the diffraction of the eye. In radiology, we have digital detectors that deliver very good images and are supported by high-tech software. These technologies already exist in the market but the most important part of our equipment is their quality, and we have the experience in the camera business and in highquality images to back us up. Another differentiator is our expertise in the imaging-related technology products, applied to medical diagnosis development. For instance, we have also successfully developed a CMOS sensor that delivers an image resolution of approximately 120 megapixels, the world’s highest level of resolution. By thoroughly raising our powerful camera-related technologies, we believe Canon’s camera technology has the power once again to drive the company’s growth. We also always try hard to maintain our prices at competitive levels by preserving our resources, being internally efficient and economically strategic.
Q: How have you managed to build brand loyalty in the healthcare market?
A: We provide training to doctors and we also work very closely with them to detect market needs. The company does not only provide quality products but strong postsale services. There are satisfied physicians who own 20-year-old Canon products that are fully functional, creating a tight relationship based on trust. Word-ofmouth is the most powerful way of advertising and Canon has really benefited from it. We have seen that our customers usually think of Canon again when they need to replace their equipment.
Furthermore, closeness is essential to keep building customer loyalty and preserving their preference, ultimately leading to success. Every accomplishment requires hard work and effort and our distributors have done an excellent job positioning our brand. We are still finding new customers that are surprised when they hear Canon also manufactures healthcare products. Fortunately, they are familiar with the quality image and the service associated with our brand, and consequently they feel confident to acquire our diagnostic equipment.
Q: How do you collaborate with the public sector to develop the best model for institutions to acquire your equipment?
A: We are participating in the public sector through integrators and these players offer shared risk solutions so that institutions can acquire innovative technologies. We provide the end user with technical support and holistic service plans. The most important advantage of working with integrators is their solid experience in implementing complex and valuable solutions to customers so they can fulfill market needs in a specific way. Teamwork and synergies are always better than working alone.
Q: To what extent are regulations for registering new medical devices supporting growth in this industry?
A: We sell radiology and ophthalmology products that need sanitary registrations to be imported and commercialized in Mexico. This process can take us from two to six months. We usually undergo fast track procedures in which we use equivalences with the aid of Health Canada documentation. We also receive support from Canon in Tokyo and the US in the case of FDA 510(k) documentation.
COFEPRIS recognizes these certifications and it has worked really hard to streamline authorization processes. More efforts are needed for healthcare to become a priority in the government’s agenda. The Ministry of Health has to realize that it is better to prevent diseases rather than curing them. If the authorities invest in strengthening the diagnostic services and equipment in institutions, they would eventually save much more.
Q: What products do you have in the pipeline?
A: We have the optical coherent tomography and we are strongly focusing on our X-ray portfolio this year. Digital radiology is a highly promising market, so we will bring new technologies in this area. We are changing our strategy throughout the Mexican territory and in our target market. That is why we will not only focus on big institutions, but we will work with our distributors to reach remote areas that have unattended needs.
Decision makers in healthcare are centralized and the market in big cities is saturated now. We want to make our technologies accessible in other parts of the country to benefit more patients. If we expand our sales force throughout the country we will have more opportunities.
Q: What do you want to achieve going forward and what makes Canon different from other companies from the business philosophy standpoint?
A: We will focus on providing dependable services and increasing customer loyalty by consolidating our brand, helping us to be more profitable and competitive. Canon is really focusing on diversifying its business and the healthcare market is very promising.
We are investing 9 percent of our revenues in R&D, which will keep on making us very competitive. Our corporate philosophy is based on “Kyosei”, which means living and working together for the common good. This philosophy reflects our true commitment to human wellbeing and that is why the healthcare division suits perfectly well with the company’s mission, vision and core values.