The specialist provider of surgical instrumentation to hospitals, dental surgeries and veterinary practices won the contract with Muranaka Medical after joining a trade mission led by the Yorkshire and the Humber divisions of Medilink and the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Uniplex is supplying Osaka-based Muranaka Medical with its Gardiner Brown model of medical tuning fork and aluminium alloy variants of the fork – which are used in almost every GP surgery throughout the UK, but Muranaka had not seen them before the trade mission.
While Uniplex provides thousands of its Gardiner Brown medical tuning forks in the UK each year, the Japanese market is twice the size of its British counterpart, so the business hopes to use this order as a springboard for further Japanese business.
Despite being a relatively recent entrant to exporting, Uniplex now trades in more than 40 markets overseas including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa and the USA and forecasts about 10% of total sales being achieved abroad in the current financial year.
Adriaan Posthuma, managing director of Uniplex (UK), said: "This valuable and prestigious contract with Muranaka Medical emanated directly from the Medilink/DIT trade mission to Japan and South Korea.
"After DIT staff liaised with their counterparts in those countries and invitations were sent to meet the mission, Shinya Nakamura, director of import at Muranaka caught the Bullet Train to Tokyo to hear me speak and witness our products. The whole process from meeting them to signing the deal has taken less than four months.
"We very much hope that introducing our products to Japan via this order will open up that market to us and we are already talking with Muranaka about the possibility of manufacturing other products for them.
"To a small enterprise like us manufacturing a niche product, the advice and support we receive from the Department for International Trade is absolutely vital. The more windows we can open around the world, the better we get at finding and exploiting opportunities such as that with Muranaka."
Uniplex, which employs 15 staff at its Furnace Hill premises, expanded its range of products with the acquisition in 2012 Ragg Tuning Forks, an historic Sheffield business founded in the 1840s.
Mark Robson, Department for International Trade regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: "We’re genuinely pleased to have played a key role in helping Uniplex to enter the Japanese market with this debut contract and would urge other businesses seeking new markets and wishing to expand in existing territories to join such trade missions and exploit the tailored advice and support available from both ourselves and organisations such as Medilink."
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