Written by Bram van der Lecq
Chinese U-vaccine, one of thousands of Haier Microenterprises (MEs), thrived when the world around it came to an ominous halt. We interviewed its leader, Mr Gong, to learn how this was achieved and bankruptcy averted. One thing is clear: without their management model there would have been no success.
In 2018, Mr Gong became leader of U-vaccine, a company that provides complete solutions for ‘Clinics of Vaccination’. In earlier years, China was haunted by a series of vaccination scandals. Shots weren’t properly stored, and there was persistent quality fraud. Most of Chinese parents had lost trust in the vaccination system.
U-vaccine employed Haier’s ‘Scenario Thinking’, in which the ME looks holistically at the user’s problem. In this case it was important to find a solution that created trust. Think smart logistics to ensure vaccines are correct and valid, improved transparency, sensitive patient information systems and locations where children feel comfortable (as if walking through cotton candy with cartoon characters all around). The approach worked and U-vaccine has rapidly expanded.
The lockdown in China, just weeks after Joost and I visited Qingdao, had brought the country to a standstill. In February and March companies closed, production plummeted, and employees had to stay home.
“When Covid-19 broke out, we were hit quite hard,” reports Gong. “Our production and logistics stopped, and the vaccination Clinics had to close. Hospital nurses performing vital tasks could stay, but the others had to go, and families were not allowed to leave their homes. Non-essential healthcare came to a stop. Nobody went to the vaccination clinics anymore.”
After the restrictions were eased, Gong realised that user pain points had changed. Earlier solutions were not sufficient. Now parents needed reassurance that the clinics were safe, and if not convinced, they would keep their children at home. Nurses were concerned about having contact with so many people, and the hospital directors needed to guarantee safety.
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