Interview with CEO Henrik Oevermann to the current Situation (08.04.2020)
There is currently a lot of pressure on the global pharmaceutical industry. How do you assess the situation in the market and what are the consequences of the current crisis for DIOSNA Dierks & Söhne GmbH?
The greatest responsibility currently lies with the research laboratories and specialists, who are working intensively on the development of vaccines and medicines. Our task as DIOSNA only begins at the next stage, supporting production. Like every manufacturing company in Germany, we also see the uncertainty of our customers and our employees in this particularly dynamic situation. Fortunately, we can rely on Diosna’s 135 years of “Made in Germany”, which enables us to continue our day-to-day business in machine production almost without restriction. With our mixer granulators, fluid bed systems and complete process systems, we are able to respond to the respective customer requirements. How quickly we can do this in the short and medium term depends on many factors. We are also observing different approaches for new indication solutions, such as the so-called "repurposing". This procedure tests the use of drugs that have already been tested for other applications. As soon as such an active ingredient is released and goes into production, our machines can help to relax the situation due to their performance and reliability.
Which measures are DIOSNA taking internally and in relation with customers?
Our goal is of course to do everything to protect our employees and customers. Our production facilities are so spacious that the work areas are separated from one another. Great importance has always been attached to the topic of hygiene, however, all employees were also informed and quiet a lot are able to work from home, if the situation demands it. Internally and with our customers and partners we meet online, if possible. So far, everyone has responded to the changed behavioural measures with understanding, especially since we can be reached by phone, by customers, both at home and abroad.
What about the ability to deliver, is production at risk?
Our customers can rely on us one hundred percent, because our in-house workshops are well organized. Orders that have already been confirmed will of course be processed and delivered. If there are any delays due to illness or to our sub-suppliers, we will inform our customers in good time. Reliable processes have been developed to keep the information up to date. Provided that the production chains work, we can continue to deliver on time. Restrictions naturally result from restricting the freedom of travel. This primarily affects our experts, who work closely with the customers, these are our salesmen, technical fitters, technologists, validators and qualifiers, programmers and commissioning engineers. As DIOSNA group, we have our own sales and service staff in many countries. Where this is not the case, we rely on our local partners. We can therefore cover a very large market and continue to offer a well-structured customer service.
What measures are you taking to compensate for the trade fair cancellations? Are there any options for interested customers to get an idea of the company's performance?
As a market leader, we always strive to offer our customers something special. We are currently testing how we can use social media and tools such as 3D scans to interact with our customers. We use digitalization as an opportunity to develop new ways to keep our customers up to date. You will be amazed when you see what new ideas we come up with.
What impacts do you expect for the Pharma industry in the long term?
Many of our pharmaceutical customers have been feeling strong pressure from investors for months to build their supply chain more sustainably, that is, closer to the “point of sale”. Now pressure from end customers and governments in this direction is increasing. In the long run, therefore, more preparations will be manufactured in Europe and the USA, which will ensure independence in terms of drug availability. I am also convinced that customers in particular will also devote more attention to the important topic of "quality". During this crisis, the education of the end customers regarding the manufacture of medicines is increasing rapidly. Informed customers have a better understanding of quality and higher standards required in the pharmaceutical industry. High-quality process equipment takes important aspects like homogeneous mixture of medications and a precise and defined particle size distribution into account and meets the high-level requirements of the pharmaceutical industry much better.
What do you generally advise your customers in this uncertain situation?
The eagerness of the Germans to organize and regulate was laughed at in many other countries, but it helps a lot in situations like this. In the meantime, it is less about the question of whether we become infected with the virus but more about how quickly it is possible to find effective drugs that delay or reduce the course. So I advise everyone to keep calm and actively contribute to slow down the increasing of the number of infections as much as possible in order to keep the respective health systems functioning.