Healthcare in the UAE is still a robust and young industry, one that to this day continues to expand and develop further. Walking almost hand in hand with this industry, is Gulf Drug. Established in 1996, Gulf Drug began its quest as a pharmaceutical importer before expanding into medical equipment, devices and technologies, providing some of the most comprehensive total product and service solutions to the healthcare industry.
The goal? “To become the company of choice for any client in the UAE when it comes to sourcing medical products & solutions,” says Dr. Zeyad Al Moosa, Managing Director, Partner and Member of the Board at Gulf Drug.
“To be the company of choice through our ability in providing the best medical products at the best price, by the quality of the innovation of the products, the quality of people handling these products and the quality of infrastructure that supports the company and the customer to use the product for their patients for the best outcomes and reliability.”
Gulf Drug works with all pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, laboratories and healthcare institutions across the healthcare industry in the UAE, and offers sales, marketing, stocking, maintenance and distribution of pharmaceutical and medical equipment, medical disposables and consumer healthcare goods. Due to the increase and growth of the industry over the last five years, Gulf Drug heads into 2017 with a major expansion of its current capabilities, facilities and logistics capacity to meet the increasing demands from customers and clients.
“This will help us grow the business and almost double the volume of services that we are providing right now,” says Al Moosa.
The company works with all healthcare providers in the UAE, from pharmacies, clinics and hospitals to long term care facilities and special care organizations for patients with special conditions both for the governmental and non-governmental ( private ) sectors
Technology, as with all industries, plays a fundamental role in the success and future growth of Gulf Drug.
“When delivering healthcare products, it is vital you have a solid IT infrastructure,” says Al Moosa.
“You need a system that will not fail and one that can provide the full transparency and traceability of every product you offer in the country,”
This transparency and traceability is crucial to Gulf Drug as it ensures that the company is taking every step to certify that the products available to its customers are of the newest and highest quality. Transparency also allows Gulf Drug to continuously upgrade its quality systems to improve its quality controls and ensure that its customers, be it patients or major healthcare suppliers, are receiving the highest quality service and support the company can provide.
Caring for the customer
In the fast-paced nature of the healthcare industry, traceability is crucial to a supplier should there be an issue which requires a product recall. Through this traceability, Gulf Drug can identify what particular product was supplied, when and where it was supplied in order to respond to the customer and resolve any issue as soon as possible. This, Al Moosa believes, represents a part of the quality system that all good distributers should provide for its customers.
Gulf Drug works with around 80 companies internationally and this applies a certain degree of pressure on the business, not only in supplying the products at the right time for the best price but also in supporting the customer in the implementation of certain customized product solutions to ensure that the customer’s need is always met.
“Every product we supply has to be there on time because customers depend on it for the running of their pharmacies, clinics or hospitals. We make sure that through our system we record everything. That way you can follow up continuously, with clearing agents, with the forwarders, with manufacturers to make sure we deliver as promised,” says Mr.Al Moosa
Evolving the business
With disruptive technologies and innovation comes the demand that the company stays ahead of the curve. As a B2B provider to pharmacies, clinics and hospitals, Mr.Al Moosa believes that this is no different. Gulf Drug must ensure that it maintains its investment in its software solutions and upgrade and update them seamlessly throughout the organization to avoid system downtime.
“You make sure that you have a development path in which you know what to upgrade and when to upgrade and that all systems integrate with one another seamlessly,” he says.
In the healthcare industry in the UAE there has been a growing shift for many clients and customers to automation, specifically pharmacy automation. This is in a bid to reduce patient errors and to improve medicine dispensing volumes to patients due to the increasing volume of demand.
“Many of the hospitals have already begun buying pharmacy automation solutions and Gulf Drug was one of the first companies to implement these automation solutions here in the UAE,” says Al Masood.
“As a company, Gulf Drug prides itself on the fact that it is able to offer these new technologies and the UAE is often a first adopter when it comes to healthcare technologies.”
The key is in reliability
With technology and software solutions, Mr.Al Moosa cites reliability as a keyword in the healthcare industry, with doctors, nurses and administrators all too aware of what product they want and most importantly they want that product to be available with the best service at the best time when they need it, all at the right price. Gulf Drug strives to satisfy the customer by offering the best customer service in a time where customer demands are ever changing.
“You have to keep fine tuning your product and service offering to keep the customer satisfied. You have to always be ahead of the curve when it comes to the newer technologies and innovations that are required to provide better services to those customers,” he says.
With technological innovation and a seemingly ever changing requirement of technology, Gulf Drug goes above and beyond to guide the customer through this changing environment.
“One of the key things is supporting the customer from the education perspective. With healthcare, it keeps evolving to provide better technology, products and procedures so it is our task to translate what we have – which is innovative – to the customer,” says Mr.Al Moosa.
As a successful business in the UAE, Gulf Drug has not reached this point alone. A number of key partners and suppliers operate in regional offices in the UAE. With medical technology solutions needing products specialists and patient focused people, Mr.Almoosa feels that this is a key advantage in having these partners close to the company and customer.
“Having the presence of the local regional representatives of the companies allows us to offer a better service and level of support for the customer,” he says.
“From a product point of view there are specialized people with the knowledge and training. Logistically, they have access to their factories and head offices with regards to the supply of the product. These experts work together with their partners to support the customer on any issues they may have.”
A long future ahead
Looking to the future, Gulf Drug positions itself as the go to company for healthcare technology solutions, covering best products and best maintenance and support services. Technology & innovation has and will continue to play a key role in achieving this and Mr.Almoosa believes that the company is well positioned to capitalize on the attitude for change across the UAE.
“At the end of the day, the customers are educated customers and from our side at Gulf Drug, we focus on companies who have proven track records and are worldwide leaders in their fields,” he says.
“There is no risk in implementing new technologies but there is always a challenge further on in ensuring the people adopt the new technologies to improve their workflow and the quality of the service provided to the patient. Historically, when it comes to implementing change, the UAE has always been very good in adopting new ways of doing business.”
Gulf Drug has been a key player in the history of the healthcare industry in the UAE and as that industry continues to grow, Gulf Drug will grow with it.
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