CEO Dialogue with Kris Shah, President of Baylis Medical
Baylis Medical has a very inspiring and entrepreneurial story with humble beginnings. In 1989, President Kris Shah joined Baylis Medical as a co-founder and has been involved in all aspects of the company’s operations, including sales, R&D and manufacturing. 2001 marked a transformational time for the company as they moved from distribution to sub-contracting to fully-integrated product development and manufacturing.
Today, Baylis is a fully vertically integrated developer and manufacturer of medical devices for the mid-risk invasive delivery of therapies in cardiology, radiology and spinal pain management. Baylis has a core staff of 750 employees plus 250 new hires devoted to a COVID-19 ventilator production line established through a partnership with the Ventilators for Canadians consortium, which holds a government procurement contract. At present, Baylis Medical manufactures exclusively at their Mississauga plant. Baylis exports primarily to the US, but also to Japan and Western Europe. On October 29, Kris hosted a CEO Dialogue with OG100. Our top three takeaways from our morning with Kris are below:
DIVERSIFICATION AND INNOVATION HAVE HELPED BAYLIS WEATHER THE COVID CRISIS AND SUPPORT CANADIANS.
Baylis services the “elective” surgery market and its business was impacted when the full impact of COVID took hold. Fortunately, the Japanese market remained open to elective surgeries and Baylis was able to significantly maintain business in that market. Their COVID strategy was focused on keeping their staff safe, meeting demand in Japan and the US, and servicing the patient and patient care. With that in mind, they focused on “Emerging Strong” from the crisis. Its vertical integration has also played a part in their COVID response. When called upon by Ventilators for Canadians, Baylis pivoted quickly into ventilator production to support the consortium in fulfilling their government contract for 10,000 units. Within six weeks, Baylis and the consortium had the new plant set up, supply chains in operation and 250 new employees in place. The team is shipping units now and will have fulfilled the contract in the coming months.
HIRING AND RECRUITING IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE BUSINESS.
For Baylis, one of the biggest challenges is the limited pool of skilled labour in the medical device industry specifically in the specialized field of biomedical engineering. Currently, the company employs 150 engineers. The company is always looking to grow its talent pool in order to support its rapid growth. Further, it continues to look for opportunities to evolve its manufacturing capabilities to meet growing product demand.
THE CANADIAN ADVANTAGE?
Baylis has experienced a lot of growth over a short period. A few advantages Kris finds with being a Canadian-based company is, of course, the low Canadian dollar compared to the US. Cost of production and R&D costs are lower in Canada. A less obvious advantage has been the strength of the Canadian brand: graduates are top-notch in Canada and a Canadian-made product has a high reputation and value. A disadvantage is the domestic market: Canadian hospitals are very price sensitive due to the healthcare model – we are slow to adopt new technology and make changes within Canada.