homepage_name! > Editions > Number 134-135 > Interview - GALENIKA

Interlocutor: Ricardo Vian Marques, General Manager of Galenika a.d. Belgrade Interview: PROFIT business magazine

75 years of Galenika

The NC Group is a holding company whose core business is based in the pharmaceutical industry. It is present in 90 countries on 5 continents across the world and stands for solidarity and strength. The NC Group is also the largest pharma company in Brazil and one of the largest in the whole of Latin America. On the other hand, Galenika has been the most important acquisition of the NC Group in Europe and it has proven to be a true strategic partnership.

1. Mr. Marques, what was the path of your career development before coming to the position of General Manager of Galenika? How long have you been in this position?

I came to Serbia immediately afterprivatization by the NC Group in 2017. Having worked with the NC Group in Brazil for nearly 15 years, I held management positions across different sectors, gaining vibrant professional experience which equipped me for the role of the Executive Director for Operational Affairs in Galenika, in Serbia.

I was highly motivated to start this new chapter - in a new company and with a team in a new country on a new continent. The past two and a half years have been challenging and when I look back now I cannot help but be amazed by what we have achieved – the local and Brazilian teams working together, as not only colleagues but strategic partners. In January this year I took on the role of General Manager of Galenika. It is very dynamic time for Galenika and I am happy to contribute and be a part of it.

2. Was Galenika the main acquisition of the NC Group in Europe? How content are Brazilian investors with the way Galenika has developed so far in Serbia?

The NC Group is a holding company whose core business is based in the pharmaceutical industry. It is present in 90 countries on 5 continents across the world, standing for solidarity and strength. The NC Group is also the largest pharma company in Brazil and one of the largest in the whole of Latin America.

On the other hand, Galenika has been the most important acquisition of the NC Group in Europe and has proven to be a true strategic partnership.

All of our research has shown that Galenika is a strong and loved brand. It is a trusted brand based on quality and tradition. As new owners we knew these attributes needed to be taken with due respect, but we also saw room for improvement, primarily in the domain of investments and modernization. In these two and half years we have managed to achieve progress in all aspects of our business, organization, team and results. In late 2017 when we completed the acquisition, Galenika was the 4th company based on the pharma market share in Serbia, and as of last year, Galenika holds a steady 2nd position which is a tremendous success. Our regional presence is growing too, and it is a direct result of the new vision and the changing course in its business strategy.

3. What business results has Galenika recorded in 2019? Can you already give us some forecasts for this year and to what extent has the situation, in which the whole world has found itself, disrupted your plans?

Last year was a very good year for Galenika as we achieved increased production, double digit growth in sales, market share growth in Serbia and foreign markets, and expansion of our portfolio with eight new products. In addition to significant investments, the team has delivered real quality and results.

We have begun 2020 in the same manner and with growth in the first half of the year. The pandemic has affected some of our plans, but we have adapted and found ways to be highly efficient in the changing circumstances. I think adversities are the time to invest – to take and also offer opportunities, to fuel positive changes.

Some of the milestones this year include the foundation of Galenika International in Hungary. This office will represent our hub for the EU markets. We have also opened 4 new markets this year. In Serbia we have launched … new products. That is the spirit of the Galenika team – the persistence which highlights our mission of being the guardians of health.

4. This is your year because you are celebrating a very important jubilee - 75 years of business. Galenika is a company with a rich history in Serbia and the former Yugoslavia and a national "love" brand. What are the strategic goals and expectations for the next period?

Thank you, I definitely share your opinion about Galenika being a true love brand. Its rich regional history is very much reflected in the present. 75 years of Galenika`s mission as Guardians of Health is a magnificent jubilee which we take with high dose of responsibility. I have great trust in our local team and its potential as well as in the steady growth towards becoming the market and regional leader. We pride ourselves in Galenika`s 75 years of tradition and unparalleled expertise, but at the same time we are focused on the future.

Our strategic goal is further development of Galenika and we do not exclude the possibility of expansion through acquisition. We are working towards additionally increasing production and sales in Serbia and international markets, exploring innovative ways of promoting our existing products and are committed to growing our portfolio in a significant manner - by registering and launching 5 new products per year, for the next 5 years.

I see Galenika as a leader. This leadership is portrayed in our high market position resulting from quality and innovation, as well as our corporate social responsibility.

5. Galenika`s famous products from the Pantenol brand portfolio have been rebranded with a new, very attractive packaging design, distinctive colors, as well as a new slogan: "What color is your Pantenol?" In your opinion, what is the formula of success of this and other Galenika brands with tradition?

Our new Pantenol campaign has been inspired by the redesign. All four Galenika panthenol-based products represent the highest quality and their formulations and efficacy remain as reliable as before. With the new campaign, based on colors and the distinction between benefits of each product, Pantenol has reached younger consumers and the beauty segment, which is an innovation.

Apart from the 75th corporate jubilee, in 2020 we are celebrating big anniversaries of several champion brands with the quality and tradition lasting more than half a century. Can you imagine that - half a century! These well-known brands include Beviplex and Jekoderm (65 years each), Pantenol (60 years) and Oligovit (55 years).

To answer your question about the formula for success, from my experience I would say quality and innovation together with a dedicated team, are the key. Quality on all levels is the basis. But even the quality can be challenged if you do not predict the business and market needs, as well as proactively adapt and change.

6. Does the key to Galenika's success come from constant product quality, business modernization and the approach to consumers and the market? Is it a proven recipe that should be a guide for the next 75 years?

This is a very important question. As I have already mentioned, it is the quality and innovation, day in, day out, every day. The former provides a constant, and the latter is about the ability to change. Their balance reflects on team development, products and the overall business.

The implementation of all quality standards is a requirement for the entire organization. According to the best practice, the effective quality management system in Galenika is adopted through implementation of GMP guidelines and ISO standards.

In Portuguese, we have a saying that only museums can live from history. For Galenika, the present and the future are in focus and we challenge ourselves every day. We make sure the quality of our products and services match the demands of the modern market and specific needs of our consumers, patients, and medical associates. These may vary through time and in different markets, so we have to be capable of monitoring, predicting, and investing efforts into further development.

7. Will digitalization and the introduction of new technologies in the production process play a large role in the future development of Galenika?

Digitalization is already playing a great role in our organization and business operations.We were fast to realize its importance and have begun implementing principles of digital business and industry 4.0. Some of the important goals which we have conquered on this journey include the implementation of SAP S4HANA in Cloud as the first company in the region and in record-breaking time. It was definitely one of the biggest leaps Galenika has made since its foundation. That vastly improved our business operations through full process integration and operational and cost efficiency, while also strengthening our Digital & Innovation strategic pillar.

We have implemented an innovative sales platform that gives our customers self-service and purchasing through a modern digital experience, anytime, anywhere. Another example is the IoT in the production facility – Smart Manufacturing transformation with latest technology. We want the speed and dedication which the Galenika team has invested into the digitalization process, to be a clear illustration of our strong path to the future and an example to the whole industry.

8. Your company pays a lot of attention to being a socially responsible business. Can you tell us more about the energy efficiency initiatives or environmental protection results?

Galenika is committed to being a stable and trusted partner for patients and consumers, employees, partners, as well as the community. As a business entity with a long business tradition, whose main goal involves responsible operations in both financial and social aspects, Galenika is successfully implementing environmental protection measures and has achieved goals which comply with the strict ISO 14001 requirements.

Galenika is now producing more, yet with optimized consumption and less natural resources: consumption of potable water has decreased by 55% compared to 2017, CO2 emissions are down by 20%, and electric energy has decreased by 10%. We are minimizing waste generation and we have introduced a strict waste management program. The company’s intention is to maintain the highest level of environmental protection through preventive action.

9. Behind you is a heroic, but also a complex period. During the state of emergency in Serbia, Galenika played one of the most important roles and has done a lot for the health of the whole of Serbia! How do you rate your team and employees?

This has been a challenging period all around. I am proud, beyond words of each and every one of our employees and partners. We all have been united in the front line doing our best to ensure safety and security on all levels. Our priority has also included continuity in production and supply so that all patients, consumers and hospitals, can have medicine delivered on time and in the needed quantities. This summons the mission which we live every day, state of emergency or not, that Galenika represents guardians of health.

10. How do you see the development of the pharmaceutical industry in the future?

I truly believe that technology and pharma need to work together, hand-in-hand for optimal results and for the benefit of patients. We are already seeing growth of digitalization related to pharmaceutical products, production, and promotion, as well as the interaction between doctors, pharmacists, and patients. This will be even more so in the future. It will speed up processes and result in more interaction, but less direct, face-to-face contact. Pharmaceutical and medical expertise, combined with apps and platforms, will have a great impact on prevention and the overall health of the nation.