CEDEM AG is a privately-owned healthcare company headquartered in Switzerland, comprising of food supplement and cosmetics factory & supplying pharmaceutical products through different producers within Europe. It has been working with the concept “Private Brand Label” with customers for over 25 years. CEDEM AG is moving this global concept within the MENA region in hope that this idea will flourish the domain and become a new scientific profession by itself.
CEDEM’s CEO Ms. Rasha Oudeh, a Jordanian business executive, sheds light on the Private Brand label trend and what CEDEM’s vision is to develop in the Middle-Eastern countries.
Some big players claim that there is no need for distributors or retailers to develop their own private brands, how do you stand against such claims?
I believe in non-traditional ideas, growth is a continuous process, integral a successful development of any industry. Many people who I knew failed to fully understand the branding label concept cycle as it requires a lot of regulatory work and documentations in the ministries of health in the Middle-Eastern region. On the other hand many chain pharmacy owners and big distributors dream of selling their own brand and this is where we create magic and make dreams come true.
In the US, great brands were considered as “National”, yet these brands have succeeded in becoming around 18% of the total market share. The same applies for countries like Germany and Switzerland where 45% and 38% respectively of sales are private brands. Even in the UK, the top five chains of retailers account for 62% of the national supermarkets sales. This successful trend already exists and we as CEDEM want to move the trend and apply it correctly.
A strong brand conveys a promise, what does CEDEM promise the pharmaceutical companies, distributors and pharmacy chain owners in the Middle-East region?
CEDEM established itself as a trust-mark in several Arab countries within this region, and the promise is rather simple: “Go Global Now!". In fact, CEDEM was innovated to tackle this problem. Middle-Eastern distributors & retailers will also become brand name holders of course, as Swiss or German premium high quality products.
Private labelling has immense benefits to the Arab distributers & retailers, to state a few:
1. The ability to utilise its own distribution set up and marketing efforts in order to build its own brand, along with the mutual cooperation to build brands for other retailers as well.
2. A higher profit margin by 30%, on the other hand consumers will pay less out of pocket money and the retailer will gain more profits, what we call a Win-Win situation.
3. Control over the whole supply chain of its privately labelled products including the innovative ideas, pricing, size, packaging and other adjustments.
Miss. Rasha Oudeh, as a Jordanian entrepreneur and businesswoman, what motivated you to establish your private labeling business in Switzerland and Germany?
Throughout my ten years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and international trading, I have been in many countries. I have established and led several companies before I seized CEDEM. This experience along with conducted studies on the Middle-Eastern markets conveyed the importance of reputable high quality products just like the ones we have to offer, of course being Swiss or German!
Being well-established in both countries enabled me to provide my customers with premium products. By being well-established I mean, the know-hows and of course the production capacities which include access to various scientific research and development institutions, clear regulatory frameworks, flexibility in terms of designs and packaging ,tailored pricing mix according to customers' preferences, financial abilities and language variations. This is where our aim is to make our clients as satisfied as possible to sustain a successful mutual cooperation, and believe me when I say that this is the key element in creating a successful and reputable business in any industry.
Is it that easy for any Arab entrepreneur to go global through Switzerland or Germany?
At least it’s not impossible! As for CEDEM, we definitely have a competitive advantage of not less than 5- 7 years of hard work against any new Arab entrant to this industry. Keep in mind that many other expert Arab companies were familiar with this trend before us. Unfortunately, they were not successful for one or more of the following reasons:
• Lack of experience in the branding process in both cultures, it’s not only about the production in Europe as the main concern is the registration of the Health Ministries in the Middle East.
• Extraordinary running and operating costs in Switzerland & Germany.
• Legal frameworks are very difficult and fees are expensive.
• Health Regulatory frameworks are very difficult in Switzerland & Germany.
We offer our customers the whole cycle of the branding services and it includes:
• Selecting the initial range of products to be branded
• Selecting the best specifications & formulae
• Providing regulatory & product registration services
• Designing the packaging and issuing the claims according to local regulations
• Manufacturing and supplying the product
• Providing marketing strategies & materials
• Providing staff training
• Providing recognised quality certificates such as CE, ISO
• Reviewing and expanding the product range regularly
And this is why we are unique and what we have to offer is distinguished and innovative.
Can you shed light on some of your current projects?
In general, CEDEM has surpassed our expectations during its start-up. We are very selective when it comes to customers and partners, as not every customer is fully qualified to build a brand. Our vision is not only to sell and make profit but rather build new successful brands that add value to the pharmaceutical industry. Some projects have been accomplished and our two main partnerships are in Jordan & Iraq. One involves the leading distributer in Iraq while the other involves the leading Jordanian pharmacy chain retailer but we’ll keep them a secret for now. In addition, we have around 6 other smaller projects.
Miss. Rasha Oudeh, you lead CEDEM, do you feel that you lead a one-woman- show?
Not at all. CEDEM is based on a strong teamwork concept. We have a unique and dedicated team with a wide range of thoughts and ideas coming from diverse backgrounds. This is a major advantage in terms of cultural communication and the use of languages. Many of my team members have been working with me for years while others are fresh graduates and our experience is passing smoothly from seniors to juniors. This applies to CEDEM’s factory and its offices in various countries. Our trusted Board members are all experts in their fields.
What are your dreams for the future?
I prefer to call them promises towards myself and my country Jordan. I have a promise to turn branding labelling in the health care field especially into a scientific profession and an industry by itself and to watch it grow endlessly. I have a promise to CEDEM, to water and grow into a leading driving force in the industry, both in Europe and the Middle-Eastern region.
I have a promise towards my team members to excel and grow so they can lead the standards of living which they desire and deserve. I also promise them to be successful and productive individuals within their community. I always work towards making my employees and co-workers different and special. Last but not least, I promise my partners a productive partnership that will remain life-long in order to develop our mutual businesses to the highest possible limits. Ambition and hard work is what we aim for at CEDEM AG.
CEDEM, Bellerivestrasse 11, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland
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