Renata Mihich, a 25-year DHL veteran, recently took on a new role as Head of LatAm for Italian healthcare logistics specialist BOMI GROUP. At a moment of career transformation, BOMI GROUP is also on the verge of a big change with UPS Healthcare acquiring the company earlier this year. Mihich discusses her personal motivations and priorities, the company’s ambitious growth strategy in LatAm, and the key supply chain trends shaping the region.


Can you talk us through how you came to work in the logistics field?

I have had a long career in supply chain, having started as a trainee at DHL, where I worked in a range of positions across the organisation over 25 years. I studied logistics at a German college sponsored by a German organisation, and I joined DHL immediately after graduation.

I started out in Brazil before moving on to various LatAm roles, then spending eight years immersed in DHL’s Canadian organisation. Moving your life and family to a new job in a new country is a big leap, but one I never regretted making.


How challenging has it been to work in a male-dominated industry segment like supply chain and also in a business that requires always being connected and full-time dedication?

Somewhat, but I now see real changes happening, which is great. Throughout my career, there has always been a good balance in terms of women in middle management, the challenge now is around promoting women into top leadership positions.

This is a people-based business, where international interactions are extremely important. This requires a high degree of dedication and an openness to taking on these assignments to develop your career. Having exhausted almost every in-country position, I needed to take on an international role to enhance my career.


What attracted you to join BOMI after such a long experience with DHL?

As with every decision, the rationale behind it was a combination of various factors. In my case, I had an extraordinary career at DHL for 25 years and I felt it was the right time for a new experience after coming to the end of an eight-year international assignment.

BOMI GROUP was a very attractive proposition, with impressive people, a strong company culture, and a true dedication to the health sector unlike that in a multi-segment organisation like DHL.


What difference have you found in working at a logistics player with a pure healthcare focus?

In a highly regulated segment like healthcare, the fact that BOMI GROUP has a dedicated focus on it is a real advantage. Healthcare is in the organisation’s DNA, and we are truly committed to quality in healthcare, making it a different ballpark to that of a multi-segment organization.


What is BOMI’s historical footprint in LatAm and where does it stand on the continent today?

BOMI GROUP is a logistics provider with a 100 percent focus on healthcare. In Latin America, we are present in seven countries: Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico, with 31 warehouses and almost 140,000 sqm fully dedicated to healthcare products, in compliance with high-security standards and providing 24/7 surveillance. The region represents a big share of the global BOMI network, and we are a leader in the healthcare logistics industry in the region, especially for medical devices and laboratory diagnostics. We also have a very strong customer base with the pharma industry, a segment we will invest a lot in over the next few years with cold and freeze rooms and conditioning labs like the ones in Peru and Chile.


What do you see as the most important supply chain trends in LatAm today?

Latin America is a continent with a certain level of complexity simply because of the long distances between countries, cities, and a good degree of volatility. Nevertheless, in BOMI GROUP we continue to focus on the expansion of our footprint, which is critical, but distribution here can be quite a challenge. There are very diverse locations on the continent many of which are very difficult to reach. Part of our strategy is to expand our value proposition in this region. Customer experience is also vital. In a complex and fast-changing environment like LatAm, there are many roadblocks to execution depending on the country, geography, or political environment. We must therefore be tuned into business continuity plans to consistently provide an enhanced customer experience.


Post-COVID there has been a lot of discussion about the localization of supply chains around the world, shortening the distances and on-shoring some capabilities. Is this part of your planning for BOMI GROUP in LatAm?

Absolutely. In Brazil for example, there are several tax benefits in place which are driving growth in certain locations, such as Santa Catarina, where we have established significant operations. This trend will continue, and we will need to stay alert to promising investment locations to grow our business and network.


Is Brazil the driving force behind BOMI GROUP’s revenues in Latin America?

Yes, Brazil brings the highest contribution to LATAM’s revenues, even though the other LATAM Countries have performed a significant growth over the past years. Today in the most of our LatAm markets, we can count on well-known companies as valued and loyal customers.

Throughout LatAm, our strategy is fairly similar, and includes keeping an eye out for acquisition targets. Last year we reached a significant milestone through the acquisition of one of the most reputable Brazilian healthcare transportation companies, Linex. In addition to this, we are aggressively expanding out warehousing footprint, and generally enlarging our portfolio in order to bring more end-to-end solutions to our customers.


How important will M&A deals be to BOMI GROUP’s future growth in LatAm?

BOMI has performed amazingly well on this front in recent years, supplementing our strong organic growth with external acquisitions that strengthen our offering in new technologies and segments. The Linex deal, for example, basically doubled our transportation capabilities. Key acquisitions in Europe also help bolster our output here.


In August 2022, UPS Healthcare announced that it would acquire BOMI GROUP with key BOMI GROUP leaders staying in position and the combined companies able to offer an even more integrated global network to their customers. What stage is this process in today?

We are still in this process of regulatory review and approvals to close the deal. Should the deal conclude, we expect BOMI GROUP to add significant knowledge to the UPS healthcare network in Latin America. We also expect to see this combined organization be able to provide truly end to end solutions to our customers with enhanced track and trace visibility and a global footprint. BOMI has always been strong in Latin America and Europe, but we could leverage UPS’s global network to develop new business and grow business with our existing customers.


What do you see as the potential impact of digitalization on your sector?

There are many opportunities to digitalise. Especially in our environment where everything is extremely regulated and there are so many granular processes to follow, digitalization is clearly the way to go. We need to see more digitalization as well as more enhancements of technology, processes, and systems.

However, there are some things that will never change; at the end of the day this is, and will remain, a people business. Therefore, it is critical to continue to invest in people – both by attracting in new talents and developing the talents we already have – to take the company to where it needs to be.


How are you going about attempting to attract more customers from the pharma industry to BOMI GROUP?

Our acquisitions in transportation, which is predominantly filled with pharma customers, are a good start in terms of enhancing our logistics and warehousing capabilities. From an infrastructure perspective we are already ready for greater pharma partnerships, having invested a lot over the past few years.

It is now all about developing the next steps and making sure that we can offer an incredible value proposition and customer experience. We must continue to transform together with what is a dynamic pharma industry and be ready for the future.


Do you have a final message for our international audience?

We at BOMI GROUP in LatAm feel very strongly about our expansion plans, growing our collaborative efforts with the pharma industry segment to supplement our strong base in medical devices and diagnostics. We are further enhancing our strategy so to be in a unique position within LatAm, drawing on a truly global network to boost our regional offering.