Hospital bed maker Paramount expanding product line in Indonesia
By Makiko Yamamoto
JAKARTA, NNA - Nearly a quarter of a century after its first foray into Indonesia, Paramount Bed Co. of Japan has now concluded supply contracts with about half of all medical institutions in the Southeast Asian country.
PT. Paramount Bed Indonesia, its local subsidiary, has the advantage of being able to manufacture products of high quality on a par with Japanese ones at its factory in Bekasi, east of Jakarta, and deliver them in a short time, according to Takayuki Kitajima, president of the Indonesian firm.
In the coming years, the hospital bed maker hopes to further expand its product lineup into new fields beyond mainline beds in the Indonesian market, Kitajima told NNA in a recent interview.
Established in 1995, Paramount Bed Indonesia at first manufactured products mainly for Japan. From 2006, it focused on supplying the domestic market as the parent company established a production base in China for the Japanese market, Kitajima said.
About 70 percent of its sales from beds are currently generated in the Indonesian market, while the remaining 30 percent includes delivery beds and other childbirth-related products destined for Japan.
There is strong demand for medical equipment used before and after childbirth in Indonesia, where 5.5 million babies are born every year. In Japan, however, with its declining birthrate, only a few sales are expected from such products. The Indonesian subsidiary therefore started supplying its self-developed products to Japan, according to Kitajima.
“In the beginning, we centered on beds but later started offering other medical gear and accessories as well, including stretchers and examination tables, as demand grew and we gained publicity (in the market),” Kitajima said.
The Indonesian government encourages medical institutions to procure medical equipment within its borders. As domestically produced beds fill a domestic demand, there is a very high hurdle for imports to enter the market, the president said.
“So, our competitors are innumerable local makers including small-scale factories like town workshops,” he said.
“We can stand out from such rivals by using the know-how cultivated in Japan to make products of high quality and supplying them within the due date requested by customers.”
In Indonesia, VIP hospital rooms for the wealthy use functional beds which are more high-grade than Japan and whose height and tilting angle can be adjusted by power. On the other hand, ordinary wards largely use hand-operated beds, similar to ones used in Japan some 30 years ago, according to Kitajima.
Some of the luxury beds cost more than 100 million rupiah ($7,100) per unit, while general beds cost around 10 percent of that.
Kitajima expects the grade of beds in the country to steadily go up as the income levels of people are rising, although beds for general wards now dominate the domestic market.
The need for medical safety has also increased in Indonesia, where the height of beds is mostly designed to make it easy for doctors to do medical examinations and treatment. “Our company also used to deal in such products,” Kitajima said.
But since it started providing new safety-conscious beds, they have become popular among patients, who were quoted as saying, “It is easier to get out of the bed.”
Noting that Japanese beds are lower so that patients may not have any problem even if they fall down, Kitajima said, “We have now figured out there are similar needs in Indonesia.”
The Indonesian firm has catered to various customer needs by visiting medical institutions and listening to their requests firsthand. It has also incorporated product designs for the Japanese market into its self-developed products for the domestic market.
Asked about future business strategy, Kitajima said, “I hope to further promote our products in Indonesia by developing and manufacturing products of our own in new fields, such as operating tables, which we have yet to undertake.”