If there’s one place where you can’t compromise on the quality of equipment it’s hospitals. Zeiss is one of the world’s most advanced companies in medical visualization technology. So naturally doctors and other staff in China’s hospitals want access to the innovations and exceptionally high quality for which Zeiss products are renowned. However in the past many Chinese hospitals simply haven’t been able to afford them.

    Helping Zeiss sharpen their focus in China

    Zeiss realized that to help their hospital customers in China address this problem they needed to be as revolutionary in their thinking about the financial side of things as they are in their approach to technology. They asked DLL to help them introduce financing, a concept largely new to the Chinese ophthalmological hospital sector. It has not only proved a great success, but the basis for a partnership that’s creating new possibilities for both companies and the hospital themselves.

    Massive opportunities

    “Leasing allows many more of our hospital customers to use the latest and best equipment available. That’s has opened up new markets for us,” explains Maxwell Liu, VP of Zeiss China, who is based in Shanghai. And with the government hoping to nearly double the capabilities of private hospitals nationwide by 2020, the already massive Chinese healthcare market is set to become even bigger. “But more importantly, the Chinese government also wants to raise hospital standards. Amongst other things that means better equipment and more advanced technology.”

    Zeiss collaborated with DLL to provide finance solutions for 26 mid-size to large hospitals in China in 2014 and their goal is to become the market leader. As part of its growth strategy for China, Zeiss believes that 10% of revenue should come from financial solutions. But with so many finance companies active in China, why choose to work with DLL?

    “DLL is our first choice because, besides an efficient operational mechanism, they also partner us in terms of market development. It’s a win-win-win situation: a win for our customers, a win for DLL and a win for Zeiss.”

    Looking out for each other

    But a true partnership runs deeper than mutual goals and interests. Maxwell cites two things that matter a lot to him personally when it comes to working alongside another company.

    “First, trust: we have frequent and open communications with DLL. Especially about challenges, which we face together as one team. And secondly, respect: this is about how you treat one another. For example, some deals are higher risk, with a greater danger that a hospital may not be able to pay back. And though it’s not easy, as it could mean losing the deal, we’ll always let DLL know about that risk. Because we look out for each other, by being open and honest.”

    Carl Zeiss customer

    Mutual growth engine

    Developing such a successful collaboration and maintaining a strong relationship calls for hard work. “DLL has a dedicated lead person who looks after our business and understands our needs”. But that understanding is deepened by the intensity of the collaboration.

    “We really value our monthly project list reporting, where we can discuss issues and challenges together with DLL people, ensuring clarity and transparency.” In addition, there are yearly sales training sessions and an annual kick-off meeting, where all the sales people from both companies come together to share knowledge, success stories and lessons learned.

    “The way I see it, Zeiss and DLL are continuously learning together. In that sense you could say DLL is one of the growth engines of Zeiss!”

    Not everything everywhere

    Perhaps another reason for the success of the partnership is that the two companies share certain important values. “We want to be the employer of choice here, and we are ranked amongst the 50 best Employers in China in both 2014 and 2015. We have a strong commitment to developing all our employees, with a lot of internal training not just in technical areas but also in soft skills: how can we add value for our customers?”

    Like DLL, Zeiss also believes in giving back to the community. For example by donating lenses to remote and poorer regions such as Tibet and Qinghai to help patients improve their vision. Zeiss has also been chosen for the Chinese government scheme that donates materials to hospitals in Africa. “The Chinese government chose Zeiss because we have the best reputation in this field and so will best represent China. We’re very proud of this.”

    Zeiss and DLL also share a vision about how you achieve growth. “The Chinese government’s development plans mean huge upcoming possibilities. So we need to explore business opportunities together, but in a good way: we share a philosophy that says you shouldn’t only focus on increasing the numbers or pushing products regardless. It’s not about ‘everything, everywhere’. We must also always focus on quality. That’s always been a key factor in the success of both our companies.”

    Maxwell Liu

    VP of Zeiss China

    ''We must also always focus on quality. That’s always been a key factor in the success of both our companies.''