Our recent article in Thiis magazine
01 May 2018
The first few years in business for any new company are widely accepted to be the toughest, with the commonly held belief that almost half of all businesses fail during the first year. This has not been the case for Herida Healthcare however, with the pressure care manufacturer achieving impressive growth globally in only its second year of trading.
Based in Leeds, Herida Healthcare was set up by entrepreneurs Neil Smith and John Kay and started trading as a new start-up a fraction over two years ago.
In that time Herida and its sister company - Herida Healthcare Manufacturing - have worked closely with industry professionals and various locally supporting bodies, helping the company to achieve the foundations required to progress into becoming a player in the global pressure care market.
From strength to strength
In just a short span of time, Herida Healthcare have made a big impact, launching a range of clinically proven products, generating millions in sales revenue with a highly impressive 31 percent EBITDA performance as well as creating a number of new job opportunities.
Discussing the achievements of the company, Managing Director Neil Smith told THIIS: "When entering an already saturated market, like that of pressure area care, it is always difficult to penetrate through. Particularly when there are some very good businesses and well-established brands available to customers today.
"However, recruiting an exceptionally talented group of people, working very hard at our UK manufacturing strategy and, of course, remaining close with industry key opinion leaders, has been key to our success.”
Power to the people
For Neil, dedicated and hardworking staff is what he believes sets Herida Healthcare apart in the industry and is a fundamental USP.
"I seem to be excited every time I come into work,” he continued.
"When I see such talent and the enthusiasm that success itself creates, it is better than anything we could acquire or implement strategically. The team within the Herida Healthcare Group of companies are some of the most professional individuals that I have had the pleasure of working with during my career.
"We have recruited a new Financial Controller and Marketing Manager in the last few months, which is key to supporting our rapid growth and existing, gifted management team.”
Proud of its British manufacturing facilities, Herida apportions its growth to its dedicated staff.
Investing in British manufacturing
One particular source of pride for the company is its British manufacturing facilities, with Herida Healthcare heavily investing funds received from various support programmes and grants into its manufacturing capabilities.
Manufacturing a range of specialised mattress and cushions, Herida’s products are designed to help manage the pressure, shear and friction forces which can cause pressure ulcers for patients who remain immobile or bed-bound for any length of time.
In just over 24 months, the company has launched 26 standard products, along with an array of specialist or made to measure products that customers are likely to require at some stage, according to the company, whilst all high or very high-risk products have been clinically evaluated and have supporting papers written by expert Clinicians within the Tissue Viability field.
John Kay, Operations Director of Herida Healthcare, explained: "The board, supported financially by our Principal Investor and programmes linked to Leeds Council and European funding, such as Local Enterprise Partnership, AD-Venture, Digital Enterprise and the Manufacturing Growth Programme have all been instrumental in taking the business forward so quickly.
"These parties have approved capital investment in 2017/2018 of around £300,000, primarily towards leading edge manufacturing machinery and IT infrastructure.”
Funding has been used to finance specialised ‘bar tracking equipment’ used to attach handles onto the mattresses, a state of the art decontamination unit for cleaning mattress and cushion covers, and a complete IT install with the ability to barcode and scan items; a key requirement for suppliers to the NHS.
Keen to highlight its operations and production capability, the company has also produced a new corporate video, encouraging its existing and prospective customers to learn more about the company.
"Our recent video demonstrates with complete transparency our proud, British manufacturing facilities” emphasised Neil.
"With the uncertainty of Brexit, the visualisation of our manufacturing process provides comfort to everyone that Herida can deal with all circumstances that a breakaway from the EU creates. This allows ongoing confidence that we have controlled manufacturing and quality control, right here at home.”
A lean operating machine
Central to Herida Healthcare’s success has been its operational efficiency which John explains has been carefully designed and well implemented, resulting in the pressure care specialist’s rapid growth.
"By adopting lean management processes that do not disrupt our impressive key performance indicators so as not to affect our customer service, we are enjoying impressive profitability,” noted John.
"Our lead times on standard stocks are 98%+ three to five working days, which has been achieved by a multiskilled, well-trained workforce who have been very keen to learn and implement their services.”
The organisation also pays particular attention to a commitment to quality management processes, via its ISO 9001 (2015) and ISO 14001 (2015) accreditation, with John confirming that the goal in 2018 is to achieve the ISO 13485 medical directive standards.
"Equally, raw material suppliers form the remaining part of our operational successes and we would like to go on the record and thank them for their ongoing support,” added John.
The company has seen considerable success, particularly abroad, in just over two years.
For Herida Healthcare, the largest growth has been enjoyed exporting to countries across the globe, where the company invested time and effort to expand its reach in a short time.
"Our loyal distribution partners are fully committed to the rapidly growing Herida brand and as such, themselves are also enjoying fantastic success in their respective markets,” said Neil.
"Our Export market has been instrumental to our strategic focus and I’m delighted to tell you that this now represents around one third of our turnover. I’m really looking forward to 2018 and beyond. It’s such a privilege to lead an exceptional team.”
Neil finished by confirming that Herida Healthcare will also be launching a new website and exciting product range in Q2 of 2018, as the company looks to continue pushing ahead with its ambitious growth goals in year three.