Since BONA Pharma was established in 1995, it has been growing from strength to strength with new patent-pending products, top level awards and certifications, and now the pending completion of the construction of the BONA Industrial Park. Ms. Janny Hsing, Vice General Manager of BONA Pharma explains how in less than 25 years the company has become a major player in the pharmaceutical industry.
Completion of the new BONA Industrial Park is set for September. Tell us about it.
The decision for a new facility was made some time ago when the company saw that it was already working at its limit and wanted to ensure that there would be plenty of room for expansion to cover new business as well as incorporate increased automation.
The new facility is far more spacious than our current site and has two buildings. One building will be for production, the other for offices and staff facilities. The staff facilities will include restaurants and a dormitory, accommodating the needs of the team and creating a truly productive and positive working environment.
In production, we will install state-of-the-art equipment for research and development purposes and laboratory tests. With the new equipment and testing opportunities we will be able to test raw materials, packaging component barriers, product performance and USP standard product and material TOC testing.
One of the principal purposes of the BONA Industrial Park is to reduce human resources and double automation processes. Our current production capacity is 400,000 packaging dispensers and the enhancements will increase this capacity to 1 million per day.
Another important feature of the BONA Industrial Park is the research center for spray dispensers. With the installation of more advanced equipment, the research center will be used for new product research and laboratory testing. In addition, the center will provide the opportunity for domestic corporations to explore best-fit-in dispensing solutions and for BONA to collaborate with colleges.
How will BONA collaborate with educational establishments?
Ideally, we would like to collaborate with colleges in order to offer scholarships and technological support for the next generation of pharmaceutical packaging technologists. We will be able to pass on our knowledge and share our experience. The fact that the company is recognized as a major packaging supplier domestically and has received awards for its products makes the company an ideal candidate for such a role.
What awards has BONA Pharma won?
The company has been recognized as a "credible brand" in Guagdong Province as well as a major domestic packaging supplier and it's an honor to be given such an award by the government.
Although it is incredible praise for us and our work, it was not something unexpected. We have worked very hard to ensure our company's success and its market position in addition to meeting global standards for pharmaceutical packaging production.
Many pharmaceutical packaging companies here in China do not have sufficient, clean production sites. Nor do they have the strict quality controls in production that we have. Their focus has been more towards daily commodites, toiletries, personal care items or health care products that are to be exported to developing countries which by law do not require strict clean room management. This is the reason that most Chinese packaging companies do not build clean rooms that meet international pharmaceutical standards like ours does, nor do they see the need to build them as we have.
In contrast, at BONA, the decision was made a long time ago to incorporate 100% clean rooms that are qualified according to international pharmaceutical standards, and we control raw material quality and production quality on site until we have ensured customer satisfaction. We believe this is the reason that the government awarded us this prestigious prize.
Another award we have received is "Outstanding Chinese Patented Innovation & Industrial Design” which is awarded by SIPO, the State Intellectual Property Office. We received the award for our "Child Resistant Nasal Pumps" whereby the design was developed to conform to the FDA's latest regulation requirements.
The design has a unique feature and we are one of the few companies to date that is capable of producing this packaging. The design has also been registered for patent in the United States, South Korea, and the EU.
Many "patent designs" are concepts that cannot be produced on a large manufacturing scale to improve the consumer's experience, so for BONA to achieve this recognition is something special.
At BONA we ensure that all the designs created can be produced and applied for daily usage, and more importantly that BONA designs are of benefit to companies, brands and the end-user. (Patent ref: ZL201410484326.6).
Does BONA often file for patent applications?
Patent applications are unique to each project and it depends on the progress of each one as the time it takes to overcome the challenges in development is not something that can be foreseen. As an average per year, BONA has 3 to 4 new designs complete for launch.
We have found that filing for international patents is beneficial for our business and has been one of the factors behind our positive ongoing growth. The products that we make according to FDA regulations get a considerable amount of positive feedback from companies in North America, so that is a clear indication for us that BONA is recognized as an important manufacturer within the pharmaceutical packaging industry globally.
BONA was recently Intellectual Property Management System (GB/T 29490－2013) certified. How was this achieved?
Much of the requirement was already in place, but in order to get the certification we had to streamline some of our processes. As a result, we have created a department for Intellectual Property Management with experienced staff that has access to the necessary information as well as support - in terms of resources. For us, this department demonstrates our determination to keep a highly accurate database with an optimal management system. It's also part of the future investment we are making in BONA Pharma to ensure our future growth and recognition by pharmaceutical brands.
With the expansion of the system, we have ensured that the whole team is aware of the importance of securing intellectual property. We have deployed certain regulations to be standard operation for all document control to give us a higher protection from open market competition threads as well as greater control of our own designs. The intellectual property system has received comments of admiration and some great feedback from managers in other teams.
To ensure that our staff can use the system effectively and stay up-to-date, we routinely schedule team training sessions and have also established standard operations for different departments.
How does BONA maintain its position at the forefront of the industry?
There are lots of things that the company does. Firstly, we adapt our current designs so that they comply with new regulations. The packaging industry is fluid and the rules and regulations change on a regular basis do to different rules and requirements, so we ensure that our designs are current and fit the latest regulations. As a global pharmaceutical packaging supplier, this is integral to doing business with different countries.
We also understand our customers' special needs according to local demands. We listen to our customers and always make sure that we understand what their needs are so that we comply with their requests.
As well as listening, we ensure clear communication between ourselves and our customers. For example, there can be ambiguity in communication due to cultural differences or even time differences. To prevent delays and consolidate important communications, the sales team is available by email and mobile phone outside of office hours, and we also work with several local distributors in various countries to minimize the possibility of mis-communication.
Our company awards and certifications also play an important part too as customers and new customers alike understand the requirements that we have fulfiled in order to achieve these awards.
Within China, there has been an indifference to packaging details because of looser regulations until now. That situation is set to change as the Chinese government has passed new legislation for the strict inspection of new medicine license applciations which demands that packaging details are included for the medicine license application. Current law demands that companies need to make additional applications for packaging materials for all imported medicine and pharmaceutical products, but under the new law, all imported medicine can make a single application.
For BONA, the new regulations will provide new opportunies as the company is already qualified to international standards so it will be easy to comply with the new Chinese regulations. BONA's international business will only flourish and prosper with the reformation.
In China, we are the major pharmaceutical packaging supplier for precision dosage packs, with a consolidated reputation for our quality and design. We've been working in the international markets for over ten years and through our work with well-known brands and corporations such as Pfizer, MSD, Merck, CVS... I would say that it is clear that we have successfully cemented our position in both the domestic and global pharmaceutical industries.
Ms. Janny Hsing is the Vice General Manager of BONA Pharma, coordinating business development both internally and internationally. Since the company was founded in 1995, BONA Pharma has matured and developed, gaining recognition from across the pharmaceutical industry. With the completion of BONA Industrial Park construction in September 2018, BONA will be propelled to increased profits and even greater business prospects.