‘Everything we do, we do with people in mind’. Arjo’s slogan perfectly illustrates what the Italian company really focuses on – not just useful products but products that boost people’s well-being. “At a certain age, quality of life is often related to mobility,” says Managing Director Giuseppe Arena, who joined Arjo in 2014. “The maintenance of mobility is fundamental to active aging, allowing older people to continue leading a dynamic life. Our products aim to help those people get around and to improve their quality of life. In this regard, Italy is clearly far behind other European countries and has to deal with limited financial resources.”
Arjo was founded by Arne Johansson in 1957, a Swede who manufactured components and machine parts for third parties, among them medical devices such as special bath tubs for people with limited mobility. “Johansson understood the importance of bathing and transfer equipment in health care and elderly care,” states Mr. Arena. “His products reflected this deep understanding and were well received by the market in Sweden and elsewhere.”
A new chapter began when Arjo was acquired by the Swedish Getinge group in 1995. Arjo started growing and took over the UK-based company Huntleight in 2007 to expand its product range further. Ten years later, the management made the strategic decision to separate Getinge and Arjo.
“These days, our aim is to consolidate Arjo’s development,” points out Mr. Arena. “We are going to streamline certain processes and establish new structures by 2020. It is an ambitious and exciting challenge.”
Statistics leave no doubt: People are getting older, and we need to look after them. Giuseppe ArenaManaging Director
While Arjo’s parent company is based in Malmö, Sweden, the Italian headquarters is located in Rome. In addition, logistics centers in Turin, Milan, Ancona, Florence and Rome are responsible for the cleaning and disinfection of rental products.
With 135 employees in Italy, Arjo generates annual sales of 30 million EUR. The entire group has a staff of 6,000. Hospitals, nursing homes and private clinics in more than 100 countries rely on Arjo’s medical beds, heightadjustable bath tubs, standing and rising aids, patient lifters, mattress systems, hygiene products and other items.
“We offer solutions that are designed for people who need to stay in bed and who have problems moving around,” explains Mr. Arena. “Typical products include intensive care beds, beds for overweight persons, specific mattress systems, equipment for fetal and vascular diagnostics, and products to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Beds play a pivotal role for those patients. They need to be safe, comfortable, therapeutic and best suited to individual requirements. This is what we always have in mind. Other highlights of the portfolio are patient lifting devices that are essential to transfer patients safely from one place to the next and adjustable bath tubs.”
The quality of products and the company’s philosophy have constantly spurred Arjo’s successful development. “Our products have become synonymous with patient safety and are increasingly in demand,” underlines Mr. Arena. “People are getting older nowadays, and most elderly people prefer to stay at home instead of living in a nursing home. Italy’s healthcare system needs to be prepared for those demographic changes and their consequences. So far, the state has not invested significantly in appropriate structures and even reduced the budget. However, the market is growing, and it is an attractive and exciting market. Over the last two years, we have hired several new employees who are deeply interested in the health system and related topics. Our employees are clearly our most important resource. The more motivated, the better. If they are happy, I am happy. We try to support them, to listen to them and to respect their ideas. We want to let them grow and mature.”
Motivated employees that identify with Arjo’s philosophy are essential to gain further momentum. “It will take a while to stabilize Arjo’s market position after the separation from Getinge,” states Mr. Arena. “People need to get used to our new products. It is still early days, but we are looking forward optimistically.”