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COVID-19 pandemic brought in a lot of focus to the medical refrigeration industry

B Medical Systems is a global manufacturer and distributor of vaccine cold chain and medical refrigeration solutions. Jesal Doshi, Deputy CEO, B Medical Systems, talks about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the medical refrigeration sector, the shifts and transformations in the industry and the company, strategies for growth and more, in an interaction with Lakshmipriya Nair

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant shifts across businesses. What were the major transformations that B Medical witnessed?

COVID-19 did trigger several changes for us, the major one being the significant increase in demand for reliable cold chain products. As we are directly involved in the fight against COVID-19 by providing the necessary equipment to store and transport test specimens (during the initial stages of the pandemic), vaccines, etc., suddenly, there was a huge requirement for our products across the globe forcing us to re-design our assembly lines and multiply our production by several folds. During a pandemic, this is not easy to achieve. But our employees ensured that the company quickly adopted these requirements. We invested several millions of Euros to expand our production capacity in Luxembourg. We were also able to set up our Indian subsidiary quickly, thanks to the support we received from the Government of India.

Even internally, there were several shifts. Safety of the workforce is our first priority and we introduced several initiatives to minimise the risk of infection to our employees. For this, we upscaled and fast-tracked several digitalization initiatives. Some of these initiatives constituted a significant change in how we operate and create value for our partners and end customers. This helped us to continue our work in a safe, responsive and well-integrated manner.

What kind of new opportunities and challenges did the pandemic bring about for your organisation? How did you tackle them?

COVID-19 pandemic brought in a lot of focus to the medical refrigeration industry. In the initial days, it was more related to the storage and transport of test specimens. However, the roll-out of the first COVID-19 vaccine changed the vaccine cold chain landscape totally. We have been a market leader in the vaccine cold chain for the last 40+ years. But the scale of the global requirements was something that we never witnessed before. The pandemic necessitated the need for a broader cold chain spanning from -70C to 80C. And this requirement was across both storage and transportation. B Medical Systems was able to support governments across the world by providing them with ultra-low freezers, vaccine refrigerators and freezers, and transport boxes. Our transport boxes are medical-grade boxes, contrary to the domestic-grade products a lot of companies are supplying in the market and has the unique bene