Brandon Medical Co Ltd – Second Cohort Export Champion

 


Medical Lighting, Hospital and Healthcare Lighting Company

Location: Leeds
Company website: www.brandon-medical.com
Sectors: Engineering & Health

Brandon Medical is a UK manufacturer and designer of world-leading technology for operating theatres, critical care areas and primary care institutions. For over 70 years, they have provided healthcare professionals with reliable, high-quality and affordable medical equipment. Continuous investment in its products has allowed the company to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers, the healthcare industry and the patients it serves.

They operate in four major medical areas: Architectural, Lighting, Control & Power and AV. Brandon Medical offers bespoke equipment packages to suit any clinical workspace and have installed their products across the globe.

Brandon’s Intelligent Theatre Control Panel (iTCP) is designed with a touch screen interface. Their medical AV systems allow medical professionals to stay connected via their Symposia® digital media packages. The company also offer Atlas® Medical Gas Pendants that have been designed with virtually unlimited movement and extensive customisation options.

Having won over twenty awards for innovation and export, including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the European Business Award and the British Chamber of Commerce Award, Brandon Medical is an exemplar of an innovative, ambitious SME working in healthcare with an ethical mind-set.

Support from CommonwealthFirst will give Brandon Medical a high-level of exposure and contacts, as well as assistance in market intelligence on national healthcare programmes throughout the Commonwealth.

 

Apply now to become an Export Champion.

Graeme Hall, managing director, Brandon Medical

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
We’ve worked closely with the leadership of Leeds City Council over the last 6 years to develop the regional medical devices industry and healthcare assets of the City.   The Economic Development Manager for Leeds City suggested that Brandon Medical apply for CWF as an exemplar growth Company and to further our ambitions to internationalise our business.

How did the idea for your business come about?
We are Engineers. We wanted to make great products that customers love and provide rewarding jobs for people. We bought a bombed our engineering business that happened to make operating theatre lights and turned into a well respected med-tech business that designs and manufactures world-leading technology for operating theatres, intensive care units and primary care institutions. It’s a great feeling to provide products that do some good in the World.

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
It was a tough call to reinvent the business into a fully fledged medical technology company. We had to design new products to replace out dated ones, develop our own innovative technologies, introduce rigorous medical quality standards, build a new team and a new culture. However, having now done it, it is extremely rewarding to look back on our achievements.

What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
Managing the increasing complexity of international regulatory affairs and of registering medical devices in each country that we export to, identifying good distributors and managing the high costs of shipping small volumes of essential equipment.

What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business?
We have innovated, then innovated and then innovated again! We have developed new products and technologies that are better than those of our multinational competitors and built them into a coherent package of integrated, digital equipment. We offer our customers better products, better value and better service. That’s a compelling proposition!

What are you hoping to get out of the CWF programme?
We are already an active exporter and have been for many years, however there is a big difference between being an exporter and being an international business. We have a substantial market share in the UK but it’s a limited market where as the World market is huge and growing. Our future growth is overseas and our ambition is to internationalise with our own outposts in key regions to support local customers in each country. We believe CWF will accelerate our process of internationalisation.

What is a typical working day for you?
I arrive before 8 am, say hello to colleagues and to a bit of MBWA (Management by Walking Around!) before a quick check of my e-diary and e-mails. I’ve a fairly comprehensive plan for most days covering strategy, marketing, innovation, NPD, sales, sales development, finance, manufacturing, key supplier development and business development. We have a great management team here and a lot of my work involves making sure all the team are driving towards our business goals in a coordinated manner and helping them out where they need my assistance. I usually leave the office around 6:30 pm then there’s evening appointments and overseas trips too as well as the normal emails at all hours of the day. I try to keep as many weekends free as possible for family time and a bit of rest!

What makes your light and control systems unique compared to your competitors?
Near Perfect Colour Rendition with Red Balance Control.  This optimises the colour rendition to accurately reproduce the visible colours during surgery paying particular attention to visible red to highlight subtle differences in red tissue.  Red balance control allows surgeons to adjust the balance of red light to match their own optical response to minimise eye strain.

Fat Beam Technology.  More light flux than any competitor products means we can create bigger, wider beams of light with high intensity across the full beam width.  This enables large wound sites to be easily illuminated and reduces the need to reposition the light during surgery with a corresponding reduction in infection risk

Unique Comfort Halo.  Our Quasar eLite produces an corona of light around the intense main beam, to reduce the contrast between the main beam and the general room lighting within the visual field of the surgeon, to increase visual comfort and to reduce eye strain.

Designed to Minimise Infections.  Smooth continuous surfaces that are easy to wipe clean, anti-microbial coatings to prevent the growth of micro-organisms on the light heads, virtual handles that are easy to keep clean, certified to DIN 1946 for use in ultra clean ventilation units and with a central sterilisable handle.  The lights have been assessed by the UK’s leading surface infection specialist, Dr Andy Kemp and declared to be the best he has ever seen.

HDI-SDI Cameras fully enclosed inside the light heads.  Our lights are the only lights in the World to be fully embedded inside the light heads for cleanliness and to protect them from damage.  They are the first operating lights in the World to offer full HDI-SDI native signal quality which provides outstanding high definition picture quality on large format displays.

Our own premium quality suspension arm system what offers 5 or 6 rotational movements without deflection of the arms or drifting.

What are isolated and uninterruptible power systems?
Uninterruptible power systems are used to protect from failure of the electricity supply, most commonly for computer systems and computerised equipment that cannot tolerate even a short break in the power of even 1 second without shutting down.  They are connected between the normal electricity supply and the critical equipment and use batteries and inverters to provide an alternative supply during failures of the main electric supply.

Isolated power systems provide continuity of electrical supply in the case of a first insulation fault (if there’s a fault in your house, the MCB will trip in your consumer unit turning the faulty circuit off, this isn’t a good idea in an operating theatre where the life support machine may be plugged into the same circuit as the fault!).  The IPS also protect patients from earth leakage currents (these wouldn’t normally harm you on the outside of your body buy even very small currents effect internal organs and can stop the heart)

Both systems are mandatory in many markets for operating theatres, intensive care units and imaging suites.

Where would you like your business to be in 5 years time?
Our planning horizon is 6 years not 5 and it’s pretty simple. We plan to double in size in 3 years, then do it again!

What advice would you give to anybody looking to set up an SME?
Make sure you’re really committed. An SME is like having your first baby and bring up a child. It’s a hell of a life changing shock to the system, it demands your attention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it’s incessant and you can’t escape your responsibilities for a minute. The other side of the coin is bring up children is ultimately very rewarding if it all goes well and the same is true of your business baby.

Is there anything exciting you would like to share?
We’ve won a large contract in Malaysia for the Kuala Krai Hospital with our local partner Antar and just received an order for 4 theatres in Nigeria with our partner Danhodi Engineering.

 

This interview was conducted as part of the CommonwealthFirst Export Champion interview series. Apply now to become an Export Champion.