Looking Forward: Building a Future-Ready Medical Device Distribution Platform

The global medical devices segment has undergone an exceptionally eventful year and is entering a dynamic new phase. In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) especially is a highly attractive segment, driven by greater access to health screening and monitoring but also new treatments and technology driving adoption of newer and more precise diagnostic tests. Forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% from 2021 and reach USD 603.5 billion in the next 3 years, Covid only reinforced the vital role diagnostics play in controlling and treating a disease.

Not long after its initial establishment, Everlife was able to situate itself as a strong medical devices player, specifically in the IVD segment. However, on top of successfully managing our multi-national portfolio of businesses, we took it in stride to round up our multiple businesses into one dedicated platform that optimized operations and created valuable synergies. The focus was to enable better outcomes in Asia and to seize the opportunities that were present in this high-potential field.

And then the pandemic hit us- which presented a whole set of fresh challenges. Like the rest of the world, Everlife’s business operations were impacted by the multitude of intricacies caused by the virus outbreak. It caused complications in supply chains and business processes with the tightening of lockdown measures which inevitably limited our ability to see customers and provide on-site services such as demonstrations, training, and equipment servicing. The uncertainties also affected demand across all segments as customers became increasingly cautious of budget and spending.

However, it was important not to pass problems to customers, but to work with them on solutions. Gratefully, our teams demonstrated resilience and commitment beyond their call of duty. Where necessary, our teams obtained special permission to be present at customer sites fully-decked in PPE for hours. But in most cases, like many others, we turned to technology to maintain contact with customers and work through unexpected challenges.

Learnings from the past year has helped us reorganize our priorities for Everlife.  An organization’s growth is reliant on its ability to anticipate risks and seize opportunities,  and that is exactly what Everlife intends to do in the coming years. Covid has accelerated the need for us to create a ‘future-ready medical device platform’ and to revisit the entire philosophy of distribution being looked at as a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ sector. We have fast-tracked our technology projects that can help streamline business processes to elevate our customers’ experience. At the same time, we will continue to diversify and strengthen our portfolio by bringing in more principals and creating synergies among our companies.  We will also be working very hard to enhance our team’s productivity and competency with digital tools and training.

But the past year has also made us think about the bigger picture, and the challenges that lie beyond our business. Covid has exposed vulnerabilities within the healthcare system that we should not ignore. For example, labs and manufacturers did an amazing job quickly developing diagnostic tests, but countries faced challenges scaling up testing capabilities, meaning that people who needed to be tested were not. We also saw a number of recalls in the early days as companies rushed to roll out tests and governments fast-tracked approvals to try to get testing kits as soon as possible. These aren’t challenges that a single organization can solve, but will require collaboration between public and private, between manufacturers, distributors and customers. Industry organizations like APACMed, of which Everlife is a member of, also plays an important role by bringing the industry together in a co-ordinated effort.

As we kick off the new year, Everlife is incredibly thankful to all our customers, partners, and team that allowed us to tide through the challenges of the last year. We are motivated by their commitment and support and while the pandemic is not over, and we believe that together, we can still lead the way and chart a path for a promising journey ahead.