- acquisition, Ambu, culture, US growth
In the past four years, DABF member Ambu has grown its US business from less than 350m DKK to nearly 1,000m DKK. This is a result of strategic focus, a targeted acquisition and – crucially – a cultural change.
Ambu A/S develops and sells innovative devices for hospitals and emergency services. Established in Denmark in 1937, Ambu is today a global organisation with manufacturing sites and sales offices around the world.
”Ambu has been present in the US since 1983,” says CEO Lars Marcher, ”and we have had a stable business driven by our high-quality products, but at the beginning of this decade it became apparent that if we wanted to significantly increase our footprint in the US, we had to take a new approach.”
Expanding US operation
The new approach originated from Ambu’s company strategy that emphasized growth through taking market share and acquiring new business. Then in 2013, Ambu acquired US company King Systems which meant an expansion of the product portfolio and a manufacturing site in Indianapolis.
”Overnight, our US presence expanded significantly and we reached another level in scale on the largest medical device market. In a sense, this was a new beginning for Ambu in the USA,” tells Lars Marcher. “It gave us the muscle to approach the market in a more aggressive way.”
Ambu USA put a new sales management team in place. A team with a mentality and vision leading to cultural change. This involved an increased focus on performance-based compensation and considerable investments in the US Sales and Marketing organization increasing the number of sales representatives, as well as supporting functions as sales training and business analysis.
Lars Marcher expands, “We have changed the culture to an ‘I have to earn it’ mentality and we have attractive compensation plans that reward high achievers. This is more radical than the typical European mindset. In the US, the sales reps are very strongly motivated by earnings potential and if you as a Danish company don’t understand cultural differences like this, you’ll miss out on opportunities in the US market.”
Ambu’s US turnover has close to tripled since 2012 and Ambu has been able to increase the awareness among a key customer segment, the anesthesia market. In 2012, Ambu was primarily seen as an emergency company by anesthesiologists. In 2016, Ambu was viewed as the leading anesthesia company in a survey of brands.
“The path to success is not an absolute, and the US still holds a lot of potential for Ambu, but we are pretty sure we’re on the right track,” Lars Marcher concludes.
Article courtesy of Mikkel Trier Wagner, Corporate Communications Manager