SmartPeople: Padraic Dempsey
Uniphar’s Padraic Dempsey offers insights into his working day, opinions on the UK and Ireland industries and a sneak peek into his past
What is your current role and how did you get there?
I joined Uniphar two years ago as managing director of manufacturer services, a €700 million business that first entered the UK market with the acquisition of Star, the market-leading outsourcing and resourcing company. By leveraging Star’s platform we have built a fully integrated manufacturing services business for the UK and Ireland that combines supply chain, outsourcing and resourcing, nurse services and product life cycle management solutions.
What is your vision for the company?
Our vision is to build a customer-centric, highly commercial outsourced service solution. We use a fully integrated, multichannel approach and focus on best-in-class people, innovation and insight, using outcomes, ROI and HCP assessment of value as key measures of success.
Uniphar has an aggressive acquisition plan for the UK and a key part of my role is managing and retaining the entrepreneurial leadership of the people that have founded and developed these successful businesses. Star has a fantastic reputation as the industry’s most preferred recruitment agency and joint first CSO in Pf’s Company Perception, Motivation and Satisfaction survey, so it’s really important we get the integration between Uniphar and Star correct. I’m working with Star's experienced management team to build an innovative UK service that adds value to our partners.
How has the industry changed since you joined?
I entered the healthcare industry in 2000, straight from college, and worked across a broad range of jobs including sales, marketing and management. Back in 2000, the industry was very noise driven – a major indicator of a brand’s performance was share of voice. Now, we need to understand market access, strategic selling and strategic marketing. Before, we had a small group of decision-makers whereas now we have large stakeholder maps and must manage complex customer environments. Companies must now be far more strategic in the resource and investment they put into their brands, moving away from share of voice to a complex sales and marketing model.
The UK and Ireland are still relationship-driven markets, where companies seek to build trust. There’s also a huge focus on the use of innovation to do things differently and we’re very fortunate that the marketplace has some very bright thinkers and many of our programmes based on innovation and patient care done throughout the UK and Ireland are getting global recognition.
What are your biggest challenges?
Being a service provider, our biggest challenge is to build strategic, complex sales and marketing models while seeking ways to provide innovative, value-add services to customers. This is at a time of significant reduction in resource, which means we’ve become more reliant on technology to provide innovative solutions to deliver the greatest return on investment.
To deal with these challenges, we use the listen-tailor-deliver method, which means that we spend a lot more time with clients to better understand their challenges before building bespoke models that meet their needs and drive performance. We’ve already invested in excess of €80 million in the UK market to help us do just that.
How can government help the industry?
We’re fortunate that both our governments are trying hard to deliver the best possible healthcare service they can under the circumstances. I’d like to see governments focus more on understanding health economics to make sure they’re using innovations in medical and pharmaceutical technology to reduce the long-term/total cost of healthcare.
I’d like everyone to better understand the commitment and effort the industry has put in over the last five-10 years to ensure they provide cost-effective solutions. Often, people don’t understand the sacrifices the industry has made to deliver savings for governments.
What are your current goals?
I’d love to create an organisation that’s seen as a real partner for industry, a partner they can trust, that will add value and bring the best people and innovation to help them provide the best services. Although, we’re currently seen as a strong partner, we can better communicate our capabilities and our use of innovation, whether through health messaging, patient adherence programmes or data collection, management and analysis. Over the coming months, we want to see as many people in the industry as we can to highlight how our innovation can create effective service offerings.
Tell us a little about yourself – what do you do outside work?
I like spending time with my family and friends, and I have a huge interest in rugby, cycling, running, soccer – I’m a massive Liverpool supporter – and anything else sporting.
What job did you want as a child?
Honestly, I wanted to be a hairdresser, like my mum!
What was your first job?
Who is your role model?
Controversially, Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair. He has earned a fiery reputation for his maverick and no-nonsense management style based on results but he took Tony Ryan’s small, troubled airline and turned it into one of Europe’s busiest and most profitable.
Any good advice?
If you work hard, you don’t have to worry, the opportunities will come. Enjoy the moment; at 25 years, I was focused on my career and next step. Although I loved being a hospital representative, I was very keen to progress into management so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should.
Finally, have a huge thirst for knowledge – our industry is exceptionally complex so try to understand everything you can about your organisation and how it works, and the NHS and how it works.
The industry is full of really great, interesting people, and it’s a very social industry. People work hard, they deliver really exceptional patient care but it’s also an industry where they understand the importance of building long-term relationships. In general, it’s about the people you meet and the patient care and services they deliver. It’s enjoyable, more than anything. μ
Padraic Dempsey is managing director, manufacturer services, at Uniphar, a leading pre-wholesaler, wholesaler and service provider for the pharma and healthcare sectors in Ireland, based in Dublin.