May 22, 2023 – German medical and pharmaceutical device company B. Braun Group’s arm in Malaysia, B. Braun Medical Industries (BMI) Sdn Bhd, is set to embark on a new phase of expansion and innovation in Penang.
B. Braun Asia Pacific president Lam Chee Hong, who is the first Malaysian helming the position, said its key priorities this year are enlarging production lines, introducing new product portfolios, and strengthening automation to meet the evolving needs of the healthcare industry.
“At BMI, we will expand our manufacturing base with enlarged production lines, introduce new portfolios, strengthen automation, expand our CoE particularly with more investments in R&D capabilities and capacity to further spur innovation and smart solutions, while we aim to generate a significant pipeline of human capital for the future,” he told SunBiz.
To support its growth strategy, BMI plans to expand its Center of Excellence (CoE) in Penang. The CoE will focus on research and development (R&D), enabling the company to develop and manufacture safety products and systems to prepare a solid pipeline for the future. With investments in R&D capabilities and capacity, BMI aims to accelerate innovation and deliver smart solutions that meet the stringent requirements of the healthcare industry.
B. Braun’s investment in Penang has been substantial, totaling close to RM5 billion since its establishment. With an ongoing commitment to investment, BMI plans to allocate significant resources to capacity expansion, new manufacturing lines, and automation. This year alone, the company aims to invest around RM100-200 million to bolster its production capabilities.
Lam also said that the global supply chain disruptions triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic have had far-reaching implications across numerous sectors, with the healthcare industry being significantly impacted.
“Covid-19 was an entirely new scenario that wasn’t in many crisis playbooks, and if there was one thing we learnt, it is agility and resilience, and how quickly companies need to pivot for them to sustain through the duration of ongoing challenges brought on by the pandemic.
“At our manufacturing site in Penang, we mobilised the entire workforce and re-engineered how we work on the production floor in compliance with the SOPs and hybrid mode. Working under these never-before experienced, strict but necessary guidelines set by the government was challenging but we managed to pull it off, as our people quickly came together and responded to the new challenges as a cohesive team,” he shared.
In addition, he emphasised the pressing issue of underfunding and inadequate preparedness within the healthcare system, highlighting the urgent need for increased investment and readiness.
On the ESG front, the company implements measures to minimise its carbon footprint and reduce the environmental impact of its manufacturing processes. This includes initiatives such as repairing equipment instead of replacing it, adopting digital solutions for streamlined operations, and working closely with suppliers to optimise logistics and minimise waste.
BMI facility in Penang is B. Braun Group’s first manufacturing site in Asia Pacific and one of the largest sites outside of Europe.
“We are proud of what we have achieved in Penang, and in Malaysia, and we are looking to grow and play a more vital role in the community where we are present in,” said Lam.