Conversation with Leonardo Maffioli, Senior Commercial Manager at IBSA Group08 July 2020
How does a drug manufacturer turn into a multinational company? What is the winning strategy to achieve success in under 25 years? Above all, what is the right mindset; the mindset that allows these results to be achieved without breaking the pact of mutual trust and respect for the values that underlie the company? First and foremost is definitely an ability to network with partners, distributors and local branches, which represent the scaffolding that supports the entire development process. This is absolutely essential. Leonardo Maffioli, Senior Commercial Manager, IBSA Strategic Marketing tells us about his experience in this area.
“To start with, the creation of regional branches came as a result of decisions aimed at seizing opportunities that presented themselves from time to time, pursuing mainly objectives aimed at geographical expansion. Today, IBSA’s top management is implementing a new international growth strategy based on a detailed analysis of the benefits and potential that may arise from opening new offices, with particular attention to Europe,” Maffioli tells us.
“IBSA, founded in 1985 as a manufacturing company, has an increasingly international scope, with its products having a market presence in more than 80 countries through distributors and affiliates. The route to internationalisation has been characterised over the years by the insights of Dr Licenziati (President & CEO of IBSA) and has taken place mainly horizontally. Regional expansion has been at the heart of IBSA’s strategies for a long time and, more recently, IBSA’s focus has turned towards establishing its own branches. One of the advantages of this business model is that it enables the company to focus more on vertical growth in countries with higher potential. The latest new branches – IBSA Pharma in the US, and IBSA Iberica and IBSA Czech Republic in Europe – epitomise this new approach.”
This paradigm shift is also taking place thanks to a change in the mindset of all the business units and processes related to internationalisation. “An essential aspect of a multinational vision is to move from a single departmental perspective to one centred on openness and multi-sector collaboration. This teamwork acts as the driving force behind a similar change, but here IBSA is at the forefront. The world is constantly evolving and IBSA aims to ride the wave of this change, developing new ideas that draw inspiration from the market and then translating them to the various local contexts. The main objective of an IBSA branch manager, for example, in addition to improving the company’s image, is above all to increase market presence by adapting the communication strategies from the head office to the inputs and needs of the region.”
This centralisation process starts initially from the use of shared procedures and tools that will, in the short term, allow substantial aspects such as sales force structures and actions, marketing promotional activities, market segmentation, product portfolio enlargement and uniformity, etc. to be standardised. All this brings benefits in terms of organisation, exchange of information, economies of scale and a sense of belonging to the Group. Just as the organs that make up a human body work in unison to advance life, so all the various branches of the IBSA network contribute to the functioning of the entire ecosystem. “As time has gone on and with the geographical expansion of the subsidiaries, IBSA Headquarters has built on its role as central coordinator and strengthened its decision-maker function. The Headquarters, in fact, establish the general strategies for expansion and portfolio growth at an international level and sets out the tactics that are then adapted to the various local offices. The subsidiaries, which have a centrally approved annual budget, enjoy broad autonomy in their choices of marketing investments and in the implementation of commercial activities. As far as strategic decisions in other areas such as logistics, regulatory affairs, corporate communication, administration or human resources management are concerned, local management must instead report to Headquarters.”