Expert interviews

Health experts in conversation with the igefa Sustainability Council


Fotot Vertriebsleiterin Gesundheitswesen Jutta Schiecke
Jutta Schiecke, Sales Director Health Care
igefa head office
FOTO Geschäftsführer igefa ProMedical Malte Christiansen
Malte Christiansen, Sales Director
igefa ProMedical


How would you describe the developments on the health market?

Jutta Schiecke: In terms of the domestic economy, the health market is enjoying the greatest growth rate in Germany.

This is due to the demographic development, with longer life expectancy and a constantly growing need for care and treatment, as well as amazing innovations in the medical field.

The sales market for medical products in Germany is enormous, and was evaluated in 2015 as being worth 18.2 million euros.

However, the growth in sales of medical and non-medical consumer materials is being hindered by limited financing options, and for 2016, for example, is valued at four percent in studies conducted by the GKV (the state health insurance body).

Malte Christiansen: This is being clearly felt in the hospital market segment. The law is increasingly specifying structures which are intended to secure the quality of medical supplies and care within the limited financing options available.

For example, it requires sufficiently qualified personnel before services can be paid for. Due to the costs arising as a result, expenditure for the procurement of materials and equipment must decrease proportionately.

Jutta Schiecke: In the elderly care market segment, the law promotes outpatient or homecare models in particular. The number of people requiring care will increase from the current figure of 2.6 million to approximately 3.2 million by 2030, with the number of inpatient care spaces also rising to a lesser extent. Many operators of sheltered accommodation and care homes for the elderly are investing in offers for patients still living at home: mobile care services, day care and short-term care.

How will you adapt your offer in order to provide the best services for your customers in the future?

Malte Christansen: With the igefa ProMedical model, we are offering hospitals throughout Germany the concept of full hospital care. From pens to bandaging materials to implants, we can take on the complete operative procurement package and logistical supply right through to placement in the storage cabinet, and we guarantee a secure supply chain.

This brings many benefits to our customers. They reduce their capital commitment, have access to standardised products and processes, and their procurement costs become more transparent.

Jutta Schiecke: Today, we are already working in close cooperation with care homes and homes for the elderly in the field of hygiene and incontinence material.
In the coming years, one focus will be on expanding the services on offer to include care produces and other product ranges.
Another focus is to offer the institutions comprehensive additional services, so that they are even better able to meet the challenges they face.

And what services are you offering?

icos_careJutta Schiecke: Logistics concepts such as resident-related supplies for elderly care, the offer of central prescription invoicing and support for care workers in documenting incontinence supplies are important services that we are developing and constantly expanding.

The IcosCare is currently being updated and further perfected as a high priority.
This web-based ordering and information system is designed with conditions in care institutions in mind, and represents both supply plans for each resident and costs arising in a transparent way for everyone involved.

Care workers can then focus on the core area of their work, while also ensuring the high quality of their services.

Our MedCom Center, which already provides supplies to large numbers of homecare patients, providing them with advice and with a prescription payment service, now also offers this package to inpatient facilities and outpatient care providers.

How do you assess the different needs of your customers in hospitals, care homes, mobile care services and homecare patients?

Jutta Schiecke: Primarily with the help of expert consultants specialising in the field in question, and through regional healthcare key account managers.

An ongoing training package on our igefa campus qualifies our specialist consultants either through in-person seminars or small, compact e-learning tools which are oriented to current market requirements.
These measures enable them to support the quality management in the care facilities by offering training and instructions.

HoReCa sector specialist in an interview with the igefa Sustainability Council


Ralf Schwierzke
Ralf Schwierzke, HoReCa sector specialist

How would you describe the developments on the catering and HoReCa market?

Ralf Schwierzke: Overall, the HoReCa (hotel, restaurant, catering) market is continuing to become more concentrated overall, with international groups and national chains gaining in presence.

The classic hotels and restaurants are increasingly developing into experience hotels and restaurants. The growth markets in this segment include in particular catering offers for single person households, pupils (in all-day schools) and events, including a mobile lunch service.

The high level of employee fluctuation in some cases in this sector - resulting from unattractive working hours, low pay and physical and mental stress - is leading to an increase in the share of temporary and part-time staff. This development means that a larger amount of training is required. At the same time, state regulations are increasing, as are the standards for hygiene and work safety.

As a result, the demand for outsourcing partners for those tasks which are not part of the core business of our customers - providing all-round pampering of guests - is increasing.


And igefa takes on these “outsourcing tasks”?

Ralf Schwierzke: We certainly do. We regard these market developments as being an opportunity for working even more closely together with our customers. As well as supplying products for daily requirements, a key component of our business model is that we relieve the burden on our customers by providing the right services, so that they can concentrate even more on their main areas of work.

This is why we qualify our specialist consultants to become specialists in the sector, such as kitchen hygiene specialists, product range advisers and points of contact for all issues relating to work safety.

Our customers should have the feeling that they can get solid advice in relation to any question, and that they are given the right solution.  

Through our igefa campus, we offer comprehensive training packages for our customers and their staff.
With the “How does the food inspector tick” seminar, our customers can be well prepared for hygiene inspections, for example.
From housekeeping seminars and basic hygiene training through to a management skills course, the programme is oriented both to company managers and staff in all function areas.

The comprehensive package for branch office supply is particularly attractive, such as for restaurant or bakery labels.
Instead of delivering the goods on a pallet up to the ramp - which must first be divided up, sorted and distributed in-house by the customer - we can use roller containers to deliver to the different areas of use in the branch office.

One important component is the digitalisation of business processes. This can lead to considerable savings for our customers with all commercial activities, such as ordering, budgeting, invoice processing or cost controlling.
Here, we offer a wide range of options through marketplaces or direct connection to our customers’ IT systems, via the igefa e-shop or our in-house ordering and information system,
Thanks to order optimisation, for example, complex, resource-intensive individual deliveries can be avoided, and items with an environmental label can be selected as a priority.

As a provider of full packages, we also constantly check our product portfolio, and have recently been able to include interesting new ranges, from work clothing to gastro accessories - i.e. cooking utensils and crockery, for example - through to sustainable disposable food packaging made of renewable raw materials, which can be composted or recycled.

As well as our regional proximity to the local catering companies, we are also in a position to supply customers operating across different regions and internationally. Here, we have recourse to the INPACS wholesale network, for example.

The HoReCa sector is a high priority in our corporate strategy, and we have made the decision to double the number of sector specialists for the catering industry over the coming five years.

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igefa Campus

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Personal protective equipment (PPE)

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Expert interviews

Industry experts in conversation with the igefa Sustainability Council.

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