In late January, Jaspreet Rai, founder and CEO of Sanrai Group, was attending Arab Health, an annual conference for medical manufacturers held in Dubai, where businesses from around the world showcase the latest innovations in the healthcare industry. Her company’s promotional booth was busier than she’d expected.
“It was interesting, even back then, there was unusually high activity (from customers),” she told NetSuite’s Tom Hansford in a Zoom interview.
Looking back, this was an early warning sign for the company, which specialises in distributing oxygen and respiratory products, including non-invasive ventilation equipment. “We thought with this pandemic, there would be some need for our products, but we didn’t understand the orders of magnitude that it was going to hit us with,” she said.
Adapting to Save Lives
Rai started Sanrai Group in 2008. It was founded in India, but now has offices in Dubai, Johannesburg, Bogota and London, with headquarters in New York. As the virus spread around the world, Sanrai Group found itself centre stage, with governments and hospitals scrambling to get hold of the necessary equipment to treat COVID-19 patients.
With demand far outstripping supply, the Sanrai Group has developed an allocation system, in an attempt to meet each customer’s minimum requirements while preventing one customer buying up all its stock at once.
As the crisis escalated, so did customer needs, with many requesting personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. So, Sanrai Group acted quickly and adapted its business model, leveraging its existing relationships with manufacturers from around the globe to identify reliable factories with the right products, certifications and approvals.
“(The) core business is oxygen and non-invasive ventilation,” she said. “We were really not in the (PPE) market before.” Adding, “(now) we are able to provide masks and gloves and gowns—the entire gamut of protection that’s needed.”
Sanrai Group was able to provide certified PPE for customers because it knew where to source quality products. “Our customers are coming to us because they know how long we’ve been in this market and they trust us,” she added.
No Crystal Ball, Just Data
The business uses NetSuite to track inventory, forecast shortfalls and place purchase orders based on the sales data analysis, which is proving invaluable when trying to overcome international freight challenges. It utilises the accounting functionality to do invoicing, maintain pricing, analyse profitability, meet region specific accounting and other regulatory requirements, as well as compliance, which helps the business stay ahead of the current problems caused by wildly fluctuating global currencies.
More than ever, Sanrai Group needs to have visibility and control over a complex web of leads, orders and supply chains across multiple regions to ensure that its equipment reaches the people that need it most. “We are using a very robust system to keep track of all that,” Rai said.
Sanrai Group is doing everything it can to prepare for upcoming demand. By looking at patterns and studying data from China, Europe and the U.S., it hopes to be ready to supply lifesaving equipment to hospitals all over the world.
“There’s no crystal ball that we can look at,” she said. “But because we’ve seen how it’s progressed, it’s something that we are preparing for and we are making sure that we have the products they need, sourced and warehoused.”
Watch Rai’s full conversation with Hansford, where she shares thoughts on supply chain disruption, finding the right manufacturers, and what she’s learnt during this time.
Learn more about the Sanrai Group.