Interview with Bauerfeind CEO, Rainer Berthan “Innovation is part of our DNA”
As the Chief Executive Officer, Rainer Berthan has been heading up Bauerfeind AG as the successor to Prof. Hans B. Bauerfeind for the past year. He discusses experiences, upcoming challenges and what is special about Bauerfeind with Bauerfeind life.
life: Mr. Berthan, after your first year at Bauerfeind: what characterizes the company for you?
Rainer Berthan: The special characteristics – I would call it the Bauerfeind DNA – are based on several factors. First of all, of course, they’re down to Professor Hans B. Bauerfeind, who has significantly shaped the company over the previous decades with a strong personality and high expectations. That is one of the reasons why the Bauerfeind brand is known for its high level of quality. And thanks to his local involvement, the company is noticeably embedded in the region. People are proud of manufacturing innovative high-quality medical products here – and this has been the case for a long time and with great reliability.
In addition to continuity, what will you emphasize in the future?
Rainer Berthan: The challenge is never to be satisfied with what has been achieved. Constant further development, such as with what is now the eighth generation of our GenuTrain knee support, is a cornerstone of success. We will continue to prioritize innovation in the future as well – when it comes to the evolution of products, but also regarding new products or product categories. Besides that, internationalization will play an even more important role. The best example: Asia. Increasing value is attached to high-quality medical products there, which opens up markets. However, things that have proven successful for us will not simply be adopted elsewhere. It is becoming more and more important to offer specific products to serve local needs.
Whether on a national or an international level – the dialog with market partners plays an important role for the ability to innovate.
Rainer Berthan: Germany has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, which is characterized by the high level of expertise of those who work in it. The close cooperation with physicians, our medical consultants, the Quality Partner Advisory Board and all medical retail partners is a valuable source for further developments. They provide us with feedback on how our products stand the test in daily practice and expect compelling characteristics when new products are launched.
“We will continue to expand our position among global leaders,
by reinforcing our international presence.”
To what extent has the pandemic limited this exchange?
Rainer Berthan: The importance of direct exchange has become very obvious. Meetings via video stream, employees working from home – we embraced alternatives that we will certainly continue to use in the future wherever this makes sense and offers advantages. Trust, however, can best be built during personal contact. E-mails don’t do business. We are always dealing with people. With customers. With patients. For me, building trust is always based on personal presence, whether visiting a physician, medical supply retailer or medical product manufacturer. The pandemic is currently leading to an enormous acceleration when it comes to digitization. But it will not completely replace personal contact in our industry.
You are also hoping for direct meetings this year in July during the Olympic Games. What significance does the promotion of sports have for you?
Rainer Berthan: Bauerfeind has been supporting sports in Germany in an extensive manner and for quite a long time. That is also part of our DNA. The insights gained from treating athletes are fed back into our development work. The Olympic Games are incredibly special in this respect. We’re very close to athletes when we supply them with our products. We can see how many of them have spent a large part of their lives working toward this event – of course, we wish these athletes the best and are pleased to make a small contribution to their success with our products.
After years of training, the athletes’ goals are medals. What goals are you pursuing with Bauerfeind, let’s say in ten years?
Rainer Berthan: We will continue to expand our position among the global leaders of our industry, most likely by reinforcing our international presence.
Image: Daniel Biskup
born in 1963, has been the Chief Executive Officer of Bauerfeind AG since January 2020. He can look back on more than 20 years of experience in the top management of international companies in Europe, the USa and China. after different positions in mechanical and electrical engineering, the business administration graduate most recently worked for a listed medical technology group. in his leisure time, rainer Berthan enjoys hiking with his wife, and he is a passionate skier – in this context, he made his first experience with Bauerfeind products in the in 1980s.
(As of: February 2021; Image: Daniel Biskup)