Bona Pharma has been on Webpackaging for some time. A few years ago, the firm decided to expand its offering and move beyond Chinese borders in order to offer its products internationally. We checked in with firm representative Janny Hsing to see how things were going since Bona recently invested in a major upgrade to its facilities and infrastructure.
Thanks for taking time to meet with us, Janny. What is your position and what does it entail?
Currently I am the general manager of our overseas division. I'm responsible for all the marketing and sales that occur outside of China, including the usage of different marketing channels and maintaining relationships with our distributors.
And what does Bona Pharma do?
Bona is a leading player in the international market with regard to the design and manufacture of metered dose drug delivery systems for health care and pharmaceutical industries. Our products include nasal sprays, oral sprays, topical sprays and vaginal applicators.
What makes your company unique?
I would say it's the level of quality of the items we produce. A while ago we applied for and received our certification under the ISO 15378 system, which did a lot for our credibility as well as define clearly how we manage our projects. Now, we can offer all our products with a very high level of quality. Our products are also traceable and fully comply with USP and EUP standards. Apart from that, we distinguish ourselves by offering flexible customer attention which makes customized service possible, we have a short lead time of about 20 days for a standard order size of 200,000 nasal sprays, and we do everything we can within the scope of a project to help keep client costs down.
Do you primarily distribute or manufacture?
We only manufacture. The only way we can directly control the level of quality of the components we sell is to be a seminal part of their creation. We could outsource, I guess, or buy from third parties, but in order to continue to serve our customers in a fashion that we think fosters cooperation and repeat business, we like to keep control of everything in house.
What sort of customers does Bona have?
Our customers include global well-known pharmaceutical companies and distributors. When you work in the pharma space, you tend not to work with many start ups or smaller firms, because it takes a long time for them to get the appropriate certifications. So we mainly work with large scale firms, though we're always excited to be a fundamental part of a new endeavour.
Where does Bona operate?
Physically, we're located in China, though we have distributors and agents abroad. With regard to our target sectors, Bona targets both prescription products that require packaging as well as OTC (over the counter) products. Realistically, our systems are geared towards anything in the pharmaceutical space.
What new items or services can you discuss? When will they be released?
Currently, we're in the midst of developing a new child resistant nasal pump (a CRN item, as we call it). It's being developed under US FDA requirements for nasal sprays containing Oxymezoline. It's going to be tested and approved by 3rd party labs according to CPCS guidelines. We also have a PFP pump which is ready for commercial manufacturing, with dosages of 50μl, 100μl, and 140μl available for the time being.
What changes has Bona undergone recently?
Many! We started off as a small company providing close to hand crafted items. Business has grown steadily, so we went from manual production to an extremely advanced, high speed automatic manufacturing facility. The change didn't occur overnight, we've been growing steadily for some time. One of the biggest changes we've experienced lately has been the expansion of our 100,000-grade clean room from only one floor of our manufacturing plant to encompass our entire production facility. That's equivalent to an ISO 8 level facility. We've also gone from being simply an ISO 9001 business to being ISO 15378 certified, and that's had a massive positive impact on our processes as well as our ability to deliver. Lastly, we've gone from supplying Chinese firms exclusively to offering service internationally. Actually, at last count, we were distributing our products to over 30 countries worldwide.
Would you say Bona is doing well, then?
Yes, we're experiencing growth and we work with excellent clients that return to us time and time again for their packaging needs. I think that's the biggest sign of our success, our clients' willingness to re-engage with us when they have a new concept they need to develop or an innovative product that needs to be launched. In fact, we're in the midst of building a completely new facility in China. It will be about 10 times the size of our current location and equipped according to CGMP standards. We plan to have it finished and in service by the end of 2017. The new facility is designed to meet customer requirements with regard to both hardware and software, and will serve high end customers.
What challenges does Bona currently face and how do you plan to surmount them?
Even though we want to keep our prices low and accessible to a wide array of client firms, the continual rise in the price of raw materials makes things difficult. It will be a significant challenge for us to deliver our cost value to customers. Many firms, however, understand the way the market works and are not perturbed by cost increases as long as they receive superlative quality. And with us, they do.