Tamro’s strategic journey from a traditional medicine supplier into a developer for the entire healthcare ecosystem proves that for even the most established companies, new opportunities await outside the comfort zone.
During its 125 years of existence, Tamro had reached an impressive market share of close to 60 per cent as the leading wholesaler of medicines in Finland. As the management sat down six years ago to discuss new sources of growth, they realized that the company’s core business was becoming saturated.
The time had come to think outside the box.
- Given our dominant position, we had little opportunities to grow in our familiar market, so new ones had to be found, Kai Kaasalainen, CEO of Tamro recalls.
- This led to a decision to transform the company’s role from medicine wholesaler to a comprehensive service provider for the entire health value chain.
The new, remarkably expanded role meant entering entirely new business areas, but thanks to Tamro’s long history in health care, logical connections were already in place.
From wholesaler to service provider
Tamro began to transform through organic growth, acquisitions, and partnerships. A subsidiary Medaffcon was acquired to support pharma industry in market access challenges and data-intesive Real World Evidence research.
- Getting new medicines in public hospitals that operate on strict budgets is always a challenge, Kai Kaasalainen points out.
One of innovations created jointly by Tamro and Medaffcon is Tamro LINK – a digital solution that enables efficiency-based pricing of medicines.
- Tamro LINK enables adopting new medicines and monitoring the treatment results among patients individually. Everyone wins: the industry gets new products into use; the patients receive better care – and the hospital pays only for the documented benefits.
Tamro LINK is a great example of disruptive thinking that changes business models. Another one is Smila – a medicine dispenser that serves the right medicines to the patient to be taken at the right time, enabling extended home care while lightening the personnel burden in healthcare.
The will – and the way – to stay one step ahead
Today, Tamro is a very much different company than what it was only 6 years ago as the saturation in the traditional business area was discovered. From the leadership point of view, it was essential to recognize that a wider role must be adopted as the number of variables grows and the entire healthcare sector is going through massive change.
- The changes in the operating environment made us look for methods to predict the upcoming development, Kai Kaasalainen says.
- In this business, short and middle term are the most crucial when it comes to discovering new competitive edges.
Strategic foresight has become an essential tool at Tamro for predicting the future of the healthcare industry – and find new innovative solutions to make the most of the opportunities that this development may create. Now that outside-the-box thinking has become a normal way of doing business and the comfort zones have been successfully stretched, time and again, there is no knowing how the 125-year-young company will surprise us next.
The article has been published in Nordic Business Report in autumn 2022.