The problematic PEMF market for North America
The history of one PEMF marketer, BEMER, in North America dates to 2008 with an individual who purchased a Bemer unit for her mother in Germany and returned to the United States with her positive experience shared multiple times in Bemer trainings throughout the country. Nik Gleim recognized the potential and incorporated in Florida shortly after to market North America as a personal mission.
The company is a privately held family group with 70-year old Peter Gleim as the decision maker, 80% holder of interest and Robert Moll as the daily operative for the last twenty years in Liechtenstein. The company uses foreign manufacturers for the components and labels the product as manufactured in Liechtenstein through the final assembly of the packaging in Liechtenstein. The customs importation to the US market values the unit under $500.00 US and the North American charge to Bemer USA LLC is under $1,250 dollars. The unit sells for nearly $7,000 US and uses a direct selling model as the vehicle for distribution.
The North American market has been plagued with challenges starting with the removal of the North American CEO and Liechtenstein based son of Peter Gleim (70), Nik Gleim (son) in 2017. Nik was a dynamic and passionate individual with a strong heart for the North American effort. He placed Bill Sickert as General Manager who fueled the trust and expansion in America through Nik Gleim. Bill Sickert apparently took a different role with the company in 2018 after Nik Gleim’s departure. North America was never told any details of the departure of Nik Gleim including Nik Gleim.
The post Nik Gleim era has been plagued by mismanagement, problematic expansion of operations and therefore the lack of expansion. Massive turnover at the Carlsbad office fueled by terminations and job abandonment (no-notice) continue at all levels of the organization except the dual management who lack any credential or documentation to manage the business in which they are placed by Peter Gleim. The company fails to adopt best practices in all core competencies of corporate development including software, international expansion, customer service and management. The death of Rainer Klopp in May of 2019 sealed any technical, research and product development opportunities for the company which has not had any scientific developments or innovation in 5 years. The wearable “horse unit” envisioned by Nik Gleim has been a challenge due to obvious durability issues and not a single credentialed safety study by any credible equine or veterinary institution in North America. USB and wireless technology are over a decade old and the company adheres to a problematic magnetic pin technology and ribbon wire connectivity that has led to product returns and a back office that prevents ordering successfully for many.
To date there is no rebuttal or action from BEMER against competitor IMRS who openly attacks the credibility of the company through Bryant Meyers, which fuels the concern that credibility and claims of the BEMER product may be questionable. Their 510K application was a scientific and clinical debacle presented to the FDA in and prior to February 2018, which led to approval of only parts of the product for very limited use. The company chose to back-peddle and default to their general wellness claims which is wise considering any clinical claims would be “Off Label” violations of FDA and FTC rules, but leaves representation with a lack of clinical and scientific credibility.
Distributor numbers have dwindled due to the operational (back office) deficiencies and the lack of customer service delivery. The requirement of travelling to a two-day long training program to become a distributor is evidence of their decade old lack of awareness of E-learning which was introduced and promptly shunned over 4 years ago. Many distributors find the complete lack of tools to be limiting and it is cumbersome, and often prohibitive, to set up a BEMER bed and brochures in front of a coffee shop which seems to be the only modality for anyone to communicate the product. Customers contemplate the $7,000 purchase price and ask why they can buy it on EBAY for thousands less. Distributors who visit the corporate office are met with a cold and void experience while viewing lifeless rooms and dark screened displays supposedly reserved for “events”. If the distributor is more than “new” the questions about lost management including customer service manager(s), the chief financial officer, chief science officer, compliance director, general manager, events coordinator(s) and former CEO(s) go without answer because the person they are talking to has limited, to no longevity with the company. The potential distributor/customer is met with a code locked door and building door security that is both uninviting and ingenuine. Management does not reside in the state, county, or the country, which implants a lack of community connection that is palpable immediately. Part time management leads to an overall lack of responsibility by many employees to the distributor force that pays their wage. Professionals who are hired to improve the company and expand the effort are soon terminated when they ask questions about processes. The departure is coldly at home or they are locked out of the company and escorted to receive their final paycheck and relinquish their security card and phone. Former Email accounts are terminated without any forwarding or communication to the sender. Rarely, if ever, do phone inquiries get any human response that is meaningful to the individual with the former relationship with the former employee.
Estimates are clear that poor decisions lead to poor outcomes and there is little positive information in the future for BEMER. Consider the fact that there is no remedy or ramification for your behavior when you can simply close a market due to mismanagement regardless of potential, when you do not reside in the market or have any relationship to the market that is emotional as opposed to economic. Fical terminations are imminent to field leaders who express similar frustrations and the legal matters will lead to an inevitable exit of the market like many companies before them.
The matter of the FDA shutdown in the first quarter of 2020 was never explained accurately. Simply, the clearance of the device with no clinical proof of efficacy for the B-Body (bed) and the B-Light means that the existing sales AFTER the clearance was an offense to the FDA. The shuffle to the B-Pad and the B-Spot is a matter of sales and marketing, much like the Academy process of indoctrination into the fray of little credibility and just “user testimonials” . Good luck with the FDA on that format.
Multiple products exist with PEMF as the vehicle for delivey and as always…buyer beware. We will speak to other devices for microcirculation in the very near future.
(Author Accurate but Anonymous)