Interview to Antonio Gassó, CEO and General Director of GAES since 1997. From a very young age he has lived closely to the company functioning, going over different areas to know the company deeply. With a wide business education, his work as head of GAES has earned him several awards and recognitions as the Plus Directing Award in 2008 and he was finalist of the Award Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009. Under the management of Antonio Gassó, GAES has experimented a great economic growth with internalization as one of the major pillar of the company.
GAES has lately set its entrance in a new market, Ecuador, what does this step represent in the international expansion strategy of the company?
GAES establishment in Ecuador responds to the intention of consolidate and expand our growth in the Latin American market, in which we are already in Chile and Argentina. Ecuador is a new step ahead and we are considering expanding our presence also to other countries in this geographic area because they are markets that in these moments have a great growth potential.
Which markets do you consider potential for GAES for the next 3-5 years?
As I was saying, Latin America is a high priority area for GAES. They are countries with an emerging and dynamic market, where the hearing sector has an important overview and where exists a great growth potential for our company.
What does internalization mean in the strategic plan of the company?
From its inception, GAES has been always a company with a marked spirit for international expansion. We are one of the major world chains in hearing aid distribution. We are present in five countries with a network of 570 centers all over the world. In the following years, our aims in the international area are to consolidate our leadership position in markets in which we are already present and to explore possible new markets that can offer enough growth and success guarantees.
Which comparative advantages of GAES will you highlight against its competitors?
A clear orientation to client satisfaction, offering maximum quality and last technologies advances are the principles that we have always followed in order to position against our competitors. That is why our efforts are concentrated in improving everyday to achieve excellence in the service that differentiate and define us.
We are also the only company of the sector that controls the whole process: from the hearing aid design and manufacture, in our plant of Microson, the distribution, commercialization of main international brands to the adaptation of hearing aids in our hearing aid offices. This fact gives us a deep knowledge of the market and allows us to have the last technology advances in audiology to offer the best quality.
GAES is a completely innovative company, how important is the R&D investment in the company strategy?
We are a company with a clear technological vocation and we are in a sector that has developed very quickly in the last years. For us the investment in innovation is a main part in our business, necessary to offer products of the highest quality to our clients and be updated in last technological advances. We have a R&D department in charge of designing and developing products that incorporate last technology advances to achieve hearing helps with more sophisticated and efficient benefits.
Would you say that brand and innovation are the two pillars in which the success and leadership of GAES is supported?
Our brand is a very important asset that we have worked and took care during years and we will keeping on it. We have achieved high levels of renown and we keep working to transmit the company values: professionalism, service, quality and technology. Nowadays GAES brand is a hearing model and a quality guarantee for potential users and a guarantee for our clients.
Regarding innovation, we work in this field not only in the technological one with design and development of new Microson (manufacturer of hearing aids of GAES group) hearing aids and products, but also on each aspect of the company. When we were talking about branding, one way of being more impressive is to choose new channels and messages; if we talk about service, we are permanently looking for new services and advantages that improve the client’s experience. We want our clients to have in GAES a high buying experience.
They are very important factors for Gaes, in addition to other major as global client orientation and business culture.
Which challenges and opportunities faces a so specific sector as the hearing aid? How faces GAES those challenges?
The sector offers important opportunities derived from the increase of life expectancy and more awareness about health. Old people, our main clients, are increasingly more and they want to live better, fully. Gaes has a lot to offer and we want to contribute even more to their welfare.
We have difficult challenges, as increasing the satisfaction of our clients, keeping a high level of innovation, using up the possibilities that new technologies offer us; continuing the international expansion of the company, among others. We are working on new projects in 5 year plan, currently we are working with “Rumbo 2014” and we are preparing the next strategic plan for the following five years.