Through its implant technology, Establishment Labs is giving women hope after breast cancer. As the company expands globally, SAP S/4HANA provides the foundation to keep business on track.
In 2015, Dr. Juliana Esquivel was attending a medical conference with her husband in Orlando, Florida, when she felt a lump that had not been there before. Her husband, an oncologist, confirmed the small lump but didn’t want to rush to conclusions. They decided to wait and conduct further tests when they returned to their home in Costa Rica.
Once Esquivel returned, she underwent a series of tests; after several agonizing weeks, the doctors confirmed that she had stage I breast cancer.
“It was December 23, right before Christmas, that I got the call from the pathologist,” says Esquivel. “He said he checked the biopsy over and over — and then told me the bad news: I had cancer. I just burst into tears.”
After considering her treatment options, Esquivel decided to have both breasts removed: “I told the surgeons ‘I don’t want any part of me that can put me through all this again, so let’s do this.’”
Before her double mastectomy, the doctors encouraged her to consider undergoing reconstructive surgery at the same time. Esquivel’s first step was to consult with Dr. Manuel Chacón-Quirós, one of the top plastic surgeons in the country and brother of Juan José Chacón-Quirós, CEO and founder of Establishment Labs.
Based just outside of San Jose, the company designs and manufactures breast implants. And luckily for Esquivel, Establishment Labs had released unique 3D imaging technology, called Divina, to create models of patients’ breasts. Using Divina, the company developed personalized implants, which made all the difference to Esquivel. “My surgeon did both the mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time,” she explains. “It was a very long surgery but when I came out of it, I looked down and saw I looked like I had before. It was like a weight was lifted and I felt this huge relief.”
Establishment Labs began in 2004 as a startup run out of Chacón-Quirós’ parents’ house. It is fitting that the company began in his family’s house, Chacón-Quirós explains: “I come from a family of doctors. My father is a plastic surgeon and my mother is an obstetric nurse. Listening to them, I realized that those worlds could be combined to further women’s health and give women a voice. That’s why I started Establishment Labs.”
Establishment Labs Grows, Goes Digital
Establishment Labs is also the first Costa Rican company listed on NASDAQ. It is registered to sell in more than 80 countries across Latin America, Europe, and Asia. To help scale its operations, the company turned to SAP and SAP Business One, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution designed for small businesses.
But over the past 10 years, the company has expanded and now has the ability to manufacture more than 500,000 units yearly. It quickly outgrew SAP Business One and is upgrading to SAP S/4HANA, an ERP system for large enterprises that runs on an in-memory data base and can process large amounts of data more quickly.
According to Salvador Dada, chief operating officer and co-founder of Establishment Labs, “We’ve gotten to the point that we’re public and have grown from one local subsidiary to different subsidiaries around the world. That means we need a more efficient process to close our books and deal with the various reporting regulations like the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
SAP S/4HANA will help the company manage its global sales and financial data more quickly and efficiently by establishing controls and helping ensure the company has the latest information.
Additionally, Dada says, “Traceability for medical device manufacturers is critical. We’ll be able to trace all the information related to our products with one click and deliver it to any surgeon or regulatory agency. Now, within a month we produce what we were producing in a whole year like five years ago.”
This is why the company needed a system help orchestrate financials, as well as manufacturing, distribution, and planning at a global level across eight locations.
Technology Benefiting Women’s Health
Both Dada and Chacón-Quirós believe that digitizing the business will benefit women customers. First, the company can improve efficiency and pass on cost savings. But more importantly, technology will help Establishment Labs achieve its mission: to deliver better, safer devices to women, resulting in fewer complications.
Moving forward, Chacón-Quirós wants to deepen the bond with customers. “We want to reach women interested in breast aesthetics and reconstruction, to educate them about their options, and to get feedback about our products. To be able to listen and respond will help us improve women’s health. We can translate that information into better products for women and the markets we serve,” he says.
The company is also considering SAP Customer Experience and Experience Management solutions from SAP (Qualtrics) to open up bi-directional channels with customers.
In the meantime, Esquivel has this message for women facing breast cancer: “Establishment Labs gave me my life back. They brought me back to myself. I want other women to know, even though this horrible thing is happening to you, you can opt for reconstruction and come back from this as the same person you were.”