Guest: Mick Farrell with ResMed

ResMed’s Planning Delivers Epic Results

Long before any news was reported on Covid-19, ResMed, a world leader producing and innovating cloud connected devices for people with sleep apnea, COPD and chronic respiratory conditions, observed an unusual trend. Reports coming from their subsidiaries all over the world, including China, were showing that demand for ventilators in Wuhan was increasing substantially.

Based on their global intelligence, ResMed CEO, Michael (Mick) Farrell, and his team recognized that something big was going on. They immediately turned to their emergency response playbook (scenario planning), which they had created just a few weeks earlier. Though the playbook was designed for a different crisis, they recognized it would work even for a worst case scenario of a global pandemic.

When asked the question “What needs attention now?”, the ResMed team was already in action. They modified their crisis plan by adding a Global Epidemiology Model, which focused their top priorities on the preservation of life and maximizing production to meet demand. By the time reports of outbreaks in Milan and New York were hitting the news, the ResMed team had secured their supply chains, adjusted their focus, and were already in mass production of life-saving respirators.

How were we able to do this while so many other countries and companies were caught off guard, and left unable to secure the shipping and materials needed to fulfill orders on time?

Being Ready, Adaptable and Agile

When the pandemic hit, ResMed was already two years into a seven-year plan for growth, transforming a medical device hardware manufacturing company into a cutting-edge software driven digital health technology company. ResMed’s consumer devices were already uploading data to the cloud so that medical and tech professionals could easily access patient and client data. The sudden increase in the number of machines being turned out in the fight against the pandemic, meant a significant increase in the amount of data needing to be securely transmitted and stored. Rushing this amount of data into the system could easily have been a security and logistical nightmare. Instead, ResMed already had comprehensive plans for these expansions already baked into their 2025 vision. They quickly began implementing everything they could from the plan, with the goal to safely and effectively increase production immediately. New software meant to be officially released later in the year was put directly into service and the whole team pulled together to accommodate the shortened timeline.

Dedicate a Crisis Team

Yes, having a plan was a huge advantage during ResMed’s pivot to getting more ventilators where needed, it was how they put it into play that made it look easy. Execution came in the form of launching the project management office (PMO). With 12 executive leaders already prepared to pull together information from 140 countries, they worked closely with hundreds of suppliers, managed the supply chain and made sure their teams had what they needed to maximize ventilator production. The PMO meets regularly to review and revise the plan, provide direct leadership to the global team, and are working now on returning to their main business of innovating and producing cloud connected devices for people with sleep apnea, COPD and chronic respiratory conditions.

Lessons Learned and Progress Made

Mick Farrell underscored how indispensable the ResMed planning process became “When we pulled up our crisis plan, even though it was for a different crisis, we were able to quickly launch the majority of our plan. We didn’t miss a step.”
As people began filling emergency rooms, the virus confirmed what ResMed already knew, that respiratory medicine is critical, particularly with communicable respiratory diseases. The pandemic has accelerated the importance of and advanced the adoption of digital health. It has also created a greater appreciation of healthcare being delivered outside of hospitals. People are recognizing that you can get quality care from skilled nursing facilities, life plan communities and home care, as long as you have the necessary medical equipment and are properly trained on how to use it.

Breaking Limiting Beliefs

Before the pandemic, Farrell confessed that he was not a fan of the work from home model. That quickly changed as he witnessed 65% of ResMed employees working entirely from home throughout the crisis, transforming its infrastructure into a global scalable digital communication system for 7,500 employees, all while achieving extraordinary results. The ability for Farrell and his leadership team to communicate with 3,000 people at once through webinars and online meetings has increased their connection with employees. This new way of working and connecting made it possible for ResMed to produce 150,000 ventilators from January to June and Mick was able get to know employees he had never seen before!

Next Steps for ResMed

From this experience, ResMed has learned how to accelerate their strategy during an unprecedented disruption, advance their global digital communications, and deliver valued products throughout the world. They have all worked tirelessly, buoyed by the fact their hard work helped save many lives.

As they return to their core business of helping people sleep, breathe, and live better lives outside the hospital, there is much to be proud about. After celebrating the success of 2020, they are focused on 2021. With new goals to be achieved, teams will continue working hard, think ahead of the competition, and transform healthcare into a more valued experience for their customers.

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