This is A Factory

You reach the secluded factory of the Radi Medical Systems after a drive on narrow country roads on the East coast of Phuket. The site is one of a resort’s with a breathtaking view overlooking Phang Nga bay with its many islands. Once there, one can realize the reason for the exact choice of the location.
And still, why Phuket of all the places in world for its first production unit outside Uppsala? That is the question Mr. Sauli Tulkki, President of the subsidiary, must answer every time he gets visitors.
“People think it is a funny idea while we think it is an idea which is working – so far. It is not fully proven yet but we believe in the concept,” he says.
“It is an attractive place to go to from most parts of the world. It is fairly easy to invite customers or doctors or own employees to You reach the secluded factory of the Radi
Medical Systems after a drive on narrow    country roads on the East coast of Phuket. The site is one of a resort’s with a breathtaking view overlooking Phang Nga bay with its many islands. Once there, one can realize the reason for the exact choice of the location.
And still, why Phuket of all the places in world for its first production unit outside Uppsala? That is the question Mr. Sauli Tulkki, President of the subsidiary, must answer every time he gets visitors.
“People think it is a funny idea while we think it is an idea which is working – so far. It is not fully proven yet but we believe in the concept,” he says.
“It is an attractive place to go to from most parts of the world. It is fairly easy to invite customers or doctors or own employees to various sorts of training. It is easy to get people moving here in order to support with their expertise knowledge in order for the production to run smoothly. And of course the fact that the labour cost is only a tenth of in Sweden and our production is labour intensive,” Sauli continues.
Had the only incentive been to gain from low-cost labour, China and similar countries would probably have been the given option, says Sauli. But once again Thai people could benefit from their craftsmanship: “What is most important is that they possess fine motor ability. Thais are good at that, in fact better than Swedes. That is not unknown and was part of the discussions,” says Sauli.
 Furthermore, Thomas Engström, the founder and CEO of Radi Medical Systems and elected as Sweden’s Entrepreneur of The Year in 2004, really is a man of visions according to Sauli.
“Sometimes his visions can be difficult to understand for certain employees. This is one such; when he decided we should set up a production unit in Thailand. And it was not only a factory but in combination with a base for marketing in Asia and at the same time an opportunity to build a training centre for doctors, especially those in Asia but also for the rest of the world. Also for the staff it would be an opportunity to visit another site in an attractive place. So this combination of goals or ideas was the reason to choose Phuket.” 
No matter in Sweden or Thailand, the workers must be trained before they can enter production. The land on Phuket was bought in 2003 and two production lines were started in October last year, which was foregone by the major task of implementing the quality control systems ISO 9001 and ISO 13485.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn honoured the auspicious occasion and inaugurated the Thai plant on 27 October 2005. A few weeks before Her Royal Highness Princess left for Sweden to attend the occasion of His Majesty the King of Sweden’s 60th Birthday Anniversary, Mr. Sauli Tulkki, President of the subsidiary was invited for breakfast.
Her Royal Highness Princess wanted to update herself on the progress for this new producer in Thailand of high technology medical equipment, which she is proud of according to the President.
 A third production line is in the pipeline with the number of employees estimated to reach 70 to 80 people by the end of 2006.
In a second phase another factory building and 2-5 villas will be constructed. “We are starting now another building in order to be able to increase production even more. We are also planning to build a few more houses where to host both guests and foreign employees.” Six Swedes currently work at the Thai plant.
The third Phase is also planned for the future where Radi Medical Systems will build training facilities for sales staff and doctors, including accommodation possibilities.
Founded in 1988 the company has since developed rapidly within the field of medical device technology to reach turnover of THB 2 billion in 2005. Profit was around THB 250 million yearly for the period 2001 – 2006. A large per cent is being reinvested into research and development as the owners want the company to grow organically.
For the past 15 years they have been working in close collaboration with the community of physicians around the world to further develop their products. The clinical part is well spread out, while the product-oriented development is centred to Uppsala.
“Focusing on interventional cardiology we have created a network and a knowledge base on that application area where we can introduce various products, while keeping the same marketing channels all the time, working towards the same doctors and the same labs within a hospital, but with various kinds of products. I think that is a good approach for a small company as the sales organization can otherwise become very considerable. Also the knowledge within the application area is extremely important; the user area etc.,” says Sauli.
Within its two key areas Radi caters to treatment of patients with heart problems caused by constrictions in the coronary arteries. Hemostasis Management (products to stop bleeding after interventional procedures) is one, where FemoStop, produced since the early 1990s, is a faithful old servant. In Sweden they cover 100 per cent of the cases with this unique product. Instead of having a nurse doing manual compression to stop the bleeding, which occurs when an inserted catheter is drawn out from a blood-vessel, FemoStop can be used.
In the area of Intravascular Sensors (pressure measurement) Radi has another revolutionary technology, PressureWire, which was introduced only a few years ago on which they have only one single competitor in the world.
Consisting in a guide wire and featuring a pressure sensor this product can measure the blood pressure deep inside a vessel and locate exactly where the problem lies. It also features an instrument which supports diagnosis.
With these kinds of products development must continue in order to improve, stay competitive and come up with more innovations. “We have our competitors and must make sure we are on a good level in comparison, meaning we must always aim for research and development, says Sauli whose job will partly be trying to find producers in Asia that can supply certain components. The reason for finding producers in Asia is to have several suppliers and to become more competitive on price. Today the material sets come from Sweden, often originating from the U.S.
Later on, when we the infrastructure is in place, Radi plans to collaborate with Bangkok Hospital Phuket which has an advanced cardiology clinic.
Even with future expansion of the production unit in Thailand the company most likely will keep its production basis in Sweden, according to Sauli: “Regarding products of this kind, a lot is about developing a design first. Then you must develop a production line that is able to produce it in a repetitive way under controlled forms, followed by tests, clinical studies etc. This first cycle is very long and requires close collaboration with the production and the development section. For this reason there will also be production in Sweden in order to develop products further.”

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