Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, Medela has its presence in about 100 countries throughout the world and has an outstanding legacy of doing business for about 60 years. The company has 18 subsidiaries spanning across Europe, North America and Asia. Mommy & Baby Times (MBT) had a detailed conversation with Jarrod Percy, Head APAC Cluster and Managing Director at Medela Australia, wherein he delves in about the company, its presence in the Indian market and the future plans.
August 23, 2019
MBT: Kindly take us through the business journey of Medela in India.
Jarrod Percy: Medela is a company founded in Switzerland in 1961 and currently, it has 18 subsidiaries around the world and also nearly 18 distributors for the countries where it doesn’t have direct subsidiaries. The company has its presence in about 100 countries either through distribution or through independent partners. We had established the Indian subsidiary quite some time ago as we identified the Indian market as a very important market for us. With our desire of supporting the mothers around the world in breastfeeding their baby, we have developed an extensive line of products to meet the diverse needs of nursing mothers. These products include hospital-grade, double and single electric and manual personal breast pumps; breastfeeding accessories such as breast care products and specialty feeding devices. Founded by Olle Larsson in Zug, Switzerland, Medela continues to grow under the ownership of the Larsson family.
MBT: How is Medela represented in the Indian market at the moment?
JP: We have started our subsidiary in Gurgaon that is led by Mr. Santanu Singh, who is the General Manager at Medela India. We have a fantastic team of highly skilled and driven individuals. With representation in the North and South and the East and the West through a range of business partners and distribution network that support us in the retail markets as well as in direct relationships with the hospitals. Medela provides the best in research-based breast milk feeding products and clinical education as we are thoroughly committed towards supporting mothers in their journey of motherhood.
“The company has its presence in about 100 countries either through distribution or through independent partners… we identified the Indian market as a very important market for us.”
MBT: Please describe the offline and online market presence of the company.
JP: We have a strong reach in both the offline marketplace and online market space and our chief aim is that we want to reach mothers. We select our partners very carefully, as we want to work with companies that will hold and sustain the brand. Medela’s products are available across leading baby care outlets throughout India including leading e-commerce like FirstCry, Amazon and Flipkart. It is highly crucial that hospitals, and more specifically NICUs, are equipped with Hospital Grade Pumps and pursue to give proper support to mothers. Our eventual goal is to ensure to maintain a smooth reach to our customers, whether it is through e-commerce or offline marketplace.
MBT: What are the different product categories of Medela India?
JP: Medela concentrates on two business units: “Human Milk,” providing research-based breast milk feeding solutions, and “Healthcare,” engineering and manufacturing highly innovative medical vacuum technology solutions. Mr. Olle Larsson identified the need of a high-quality breast pump, and he created what was called the Classic in the early 1960s. And from there on, we have been the leading breast pump company, and that’s what we continue to be at the core. However, we recognize that there is a range of other essentials that a mother needs in her breastfeeding journey, thus, we have an elaborate range of breast care products- Hydrogel pads, PureLan 100 Cream, Bra Pads to a range of appropriate feeding products in our range.
MBT: What kind of response has it been for these products that you have launched in India?
JP: The response has been very positive, and the demand for Medela products has been constantly growing on the account of our continuous focus on research and education and developing innovative products. Moreover, the rising number of births along with increasing awareness regarding breastfeeding and its challenges will further increase the breast pump demand. However, the Indian market has some very unique challenges, in terms of the geography, the segment and nature of the market. We identify that there was a huge opportunity here, and with the goal of keeping the mother at the centre of what we do, we needed to find a way to get our products into the hands of the mother. Our products are manufactured in Switzerland, are of very good quality, and one of our strengths is being trustworthy as we want to be trusted by the mother because it’s a very important purchase. And the fact that our products are being used in hospitals and at home gives us a great sense of gratification and we want to make sure that all of our products will add value to a mother’s journey.
MBT: How does Medela India play a role to further enhance the awareness and penetration of the knowledge around healthcare?
JP: Our values are centered on disseminating information, education and advice and support to women. For us, the sale of the product is secondary, and our chief priority is to give out all the information that we have to the mother. We do a lot of investment at the University of Western Australia, at Zurich, at California, and many human lactation research centers around the world. We then want to make sure that we convey that research and findings with mothers, and with whoever needs to know. Our marketing team is highly invested and does a fantastic job of translating that information to the mothers to make sure that she is aware of the inimitable value of breastfeeding and we have an amazing range of products to help and support her during that journey.
MBT: Please outline on the strengths and the USP of the company.
JP: In terms of the research, the innovation, and being trustworthy and our products that are made in Switzerland, are of the highest quality. It gives the mother and her family an assurance that they have invested their money, which is into a product from Medela, that it will work and she will get the best results from the application of the product. We have a very clear unique value proposition, and that’s around the research, education, and our inherent passion. Our team has resolute passion about supporting women in the breastfeeding journey and that translates in the way we interact with the mothers. And I think it’s the authenticity that comes from that, the trustworthiness, and also, we always wish to be humble as we continue our pursuit of operating our business with humility and grace. Our value proposition is circled around the values of our business, and we want to have innovation that no one else can replicate.
“we will get to witness some new product developments which we are really excited about. Also, there is an ongoing research and innovation pipelined in the feeding products.”
MBT: What are your go-to market and distribution strategies?
JP: We want to continue to grow in India as we see a phenomenal opportunity here to support women through our innovative range of products. And we wish to make people aware about the rise in innovation and the kind of products that we bring in. We’ll continue to focus on each of the fronts of our business, and gradually, we would make capital active investments, whether it is directly or in terms of our efforts in the mission to inform, educate and support the mothers. Basically, we plan to continue and sustain our association with our business partners and support them to grow in the Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities.
MBT: Is there any recent developments or future plans you would like to share?
JP: We are always looking at how we can thrive not only commercially, but how we give in more value to the mothers. Heading into the early next year, we will launch a complete new refreshed personal use pump range which will be a whole new pump altogether that will be launched into the Indian market. We want to make sure that our products are manufactured optimally to yield the best results for the mother. So, we will get to witness some new product developments which we are really excited about. Also, there is an ongoing research and innovation pipelined in the feeding products. Our goal is to continue to add value to a mother’s journey, disrupt markets, and to keep on leading the way as a top-tier company.