Yohei Watanabe: Leading Elekta’s Marketing Mission of Delivering Hope to Those Dealing with Cancer

Yohei Watanabe
Yohei Watanabe

There are many ways that visionary leaders are ruling the business industry. In the case of Yohei Watanabe, as the Head of Marketing for Asia Pacific and Japan at Elekta, it is all about expanding and delivering on Elekta’s commitment to sustainable practices in providing hope to everyone dealing with cancer.

Building upon Elekta’s commitment to environmental responsibility, Mr Watanabe says that they, as a company, go beyond simply offering eco-friendly technology. “We actively support healthcare providers in adopting sustainable practices throughout their entire operations.” This multifaceted approach ensures a holistic reduction in the environmental footprint of the healthcare sector.

According to him, by implementing multifaceted strategies, Elekta goes beyond simply offering sustainable technology. “We empower healthcare providers to become stewards of environmental responsibility and contribute to a more sustainable healthcare ecosystem for the future.”

This benefits the environment and helps healthcare institutions reduce operating costs and enhance their reputation as environmentally conscious organizations. Mr Watanabe spoke with Insights Success, where he elaborated on many things. The highlights are given ahead.

As a visionary leader in the industry, could you take us back to the beginning of your journey? What motivated you to step into this dynamic ecosystem?

I’m completely in sync with the vision and mission of Elekta’s legendary President and CEOGustaf Salford, who believes, “Today’s shortage in radiotherapy equipment is unacceptable. We have a responsibility to change this and will do our part by delivering new, innovative solutions for cancer care.”

In this noble mission, I’m proud to contribute my tiny bit. At Elekta, our mission is to provide innovative and clever technology in radiation oncology, ensuring precise treatment, low cost of ownership, and minimal environmental impact. Our vision is to be a global leader in shaping the future of cancer care through advanced, sustainable, and patient-centric solutions.

My motivation comes from my interest in radiation oncology and its role in cancer treatment. It is a specialized field of medicine that utilizes high doses of radiation to target and eliminate cancer cells. It plays a crucial role in cancer treatment, often used in conjunction with surgery and chemotherapy to provide a comprehensive approach to patient care.

At Elekta, we are united in our conviction that radiation oncology plays a pivotal role in the cancer treatment continuum. This specialized therapy is utilized to diminish tumour size, alleviate symptoms, or eradicate cancer cells post-surgery. This tailored approach ensures that each patient receives a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their unique needs. Consequently, radiation therapy (RT) has been instrumental in revolutionizing the fight against cancer over recent decades. Renowned for its exceptional precision, minimal side effects, and cost-effectiveness, RT stands as an indispensable treatment modality.

Despite its efficacy, RT remains inaccessible to a significant portion of cancer patients globally, both in emerging and developed nations. Indeed, RT should be considered a primary or adjunctive treatment option for over 60 per cent of cancer cases worldwide. As one of the most impactful cancer treatments available, RT has the potential to save millions of lives, enhance quality of life, and reduce healthcare expenses. It is my firm belief that RT warrants greater recognition and investment.

Furthermore, a profound disparity exists in access to radiation therapy between developed and emerging nations, with the latter often lacking essential services. Recognizing this disparity, Elekta has spearheaded the development of its ACCESS 2025 strategy, which aims to address this critical issue and expand access to radiation therapy across the globe.

Elekta has emerged as India’s leading transformational company in its niche. Could you share the guiding philosophy that has propelled your organization’s success?

For Elekta, it all started five decades ago. For nearly fifty years, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with healthcare professionals to bring groundbreaking, cost-effective cancer treatment solutions to patients worldwide. Our mission, driven by our guiding philosophy, is deeply personal: to provide hope and improve the lives of those affected by cancer. With a dedicated team of 4,700 experts, we combine passion, scientific rigour, and unwavering innovation to adapt to patients’ evolving needs.

The industrial landscape is continually evolving. Please brief our audience about your firm’s USPs and how you are currently positioned as one of the best transformational companies in its sector.

Elekta holds a prominent position in the field of radiation oncology, renowned for its groundbreaking technologies that enhance the precision and efficacy of cancer treatments. Operating within a market characterized by robust demand, Elekta is poised for sustainable growth. In an era where the need for cancer care is greater than ever, Elekta is committed to addressing evolving patient needs with cost-effective solutions, irrespective of geographical location. Our overarching vision is to create a world where access to the finest cancer care is universal.

At the heart of Elekta’s contributions to radiation therapy are its linear accelerators, which are essential in delivering precise and efficient radiation treatments. These cutting-edge devices are instrumental in targeting cancerous cells with unprecedented accuracy while minimizing collateral damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

And constant research, development, and innovations are the USPs that put us at the forefront of providing the best to our clients.

Your visionary leadership style is often recognized as a driving force behind your company’s achievements. Could you shed light on your approach to leadership and team building within the organization? 

It has been a year and a half since I joined Elekta as the Head of Marketing for Asia Pacific and Japan. My approach is built on Elekta’s core mission, vision, guiding philosophy and values.

I believe it is important for a leader to have democratic principles when it comes to team building. And that is what I follow with my teams. I create an open, transparent, and honest environment for them to work, grow, and prosper personally and professionally.

A company is nothing without the people it is made up of. Thus, I trust my team and take care of them. In return, they take care of the business for us.

The essence of future transformation lies in innovation, disruptions, and enhancing the end-user experience. How does Elekta strike a balance between operational efficiency and customer satisfaction?

At Elekta, we carefully balance the provision of state-of-the-art solutions to maintain a low total cost of ownership. Our dedication to innovative technology encompasses features designed to enhance patient care and optimize economic viability for healthcare providers.

For instance, Elekta Linacs consumes approximately 50% less energy than other high-energy systems. This energy efficiency offers a twofold advantage. It decreases operational expenses for healthcare providers and aligns with Elekta’s commitment to sustainability, actively promoting an environmentally friendly approach to healthcare technology.

Digitalization and technological advancements are crucial aspects of the modern industrial ecosystem. How does your company integrate these principles into its core functioning and contribute to a technovative future?

Elekta’s technological advancements are meticulously crafted to improve treatment precision and simplify workflow processes for healthcare providers. This streamlined approach contributes to more cost-effective operations, ensuring efficiency in cancer treatment. Incorporating intelligent features such as adaptive planning and real-time imaging, Elekta’s devices facilitate a personalized and patient-centric approach to cancer treatment, ensuring that treatment plans are customized to each patient’s unique needs and responses.

The innovative technologies developed by Elekta, including intelligent treatment planning and image guidance systems, significantly elevate the precision of cancer treatment. These advancements ensure precise targeting of radiation, optimizing treatment outcomes for patients.

Elekta’s technology is engineered not only to deliver precise treatment but also to optimize the cost of ownership for healthcare providers. Elekta strives to make advanced technology economically viable by enhancing operational efficiency and minimising maintenance requirements.

Elekta places a high priority on adaptability by continually innovating its technology to meet evolving healthcare needs. This includes focusing on minimizing environmental impact and optimizing the total cost of ownership, ensuring long-term value for users.

Elekta has achieved remarkable success. Could you highlight a transformative project or initiative that showcases your company’s commitment to excellence and innovation?

Sure! Many healthcare providers have adopted Elekta’s technology, experiencing enhanced patient care outcomes and more economically efficient operations. The precision and efficiency of our devices play a significant role in delivering positive experiences for patients and healthcare providers.

Sustainability and environmental responsibility are crucial aspects of the modern industry. How does Elekta integrate these principles into its operations and contribute to a greener future?

It is a very important question. Elekta is leading sustainable practices in medical devices. At Elekta, sustainability is crucial for the future of healthcare. We’re committed to minimizing our environmental impact while maximizing social value. Our dedication shows in several ways:

*Science-based targets: We have validated emission reduction goals to ensure continuous progress.

*UN Global Compact: We support its principles for responsible business practices.

*Local initiatives: We take action through projects like:

*Sustainable training centres: Reducing paper waste and energy consumption.

*Smart technology: Paperless workflows and energy-efficient office renovations.

*Eco-friendly products: Green Beam technology saves 50% energy compared to standard models.

Elekta’s innovations not only deliver high-tech performance but also reduce environmental impact. This aligns with our commitment to creating sustainable healthcare practices globally.

Studies show our impact: A 2023 publication highlighted the significantly lower carbon footprint associated with Elekta’s technology than others.

We are proud to be leaders in sustainable medical device practices and remain dedicated to this crucial cause.

Looking to 2024, what is your vision for Elekta? How do you aspire to continue significantly impacting the transformational future landscape?

In sync with our plans, Elekta actively supports healthcare providers in adopting sustainable practices beyond technological advancements. This may involve providing guidance on eco-friendly operational practices and collaborating to reduce the overall environmental impact of healthcare facilities.

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