Kimal specialises in creating bespoke ‘procedural packs’ for surgeons, clinicians and GPs throughout the UK – and far overseas. Managing director Mark Pettitt tells BQ2 about its current business model and its ambitious growth strategy.
We were founded by the father of the present chief executive, Alan Press, more than 50 years ago, we’re still owned by the same family, and are still manufacturing almost all our products in this country. We’re also very much committed to the Midlands, as our production plant is in Bromsgrove, where we have four clean-rooms, our sterilisation centre is in Derby, our distribution centre is in Droitwich, our international site and HQ is in Uxbridge and across all our sites, we employ just over 300 people.
From October this year, we’ll be more than doubling our distribution operation by taking a 160,000 sq ft hub at Worcester Six, a new business park by Stoford Developments, just to the east of the M5 at junction six. It is a significant investment – driven by increasing demand across our product range – and its very pleasing for a privately-owned business to be able to commit such funding to its future.
We source components from round the world to create our bespoke packs, which are customised right down to the name of the medical professional who will be using them, so we can effectively take away the complex supply chain requirements of hospitals and NHS trusts.
Kimal has always specialised in devising packs for cardiology and radiology procedures, but in recent years, we’ve also moved into packs for keyhole and cardiac surgery. We also do contract manufacturing for other healthcare companies, often multi-national brands, at our Bromsgrove plant.
We could create any type of procedural pack, but in general, these customers have a particular hi-tech product they want to put into a pack, to which we will add all the so-called “softer items” that they don’t make, and its a fast-growing sector of the market.
Although we’re best-known for procedural packs, we also design and make innovative designs of plastic catheters. These MultiTube products are referred to in the healthcare industry as central venous catheters because they fit straight into a patient’s heart. These are the only items we make outside the UK, they’re manufactured in the Middle East and then sold worldwide.
Roughly 60% of all health procedures in this country are carried out using procedural packs, and the figure for the United States is around 80%, so those markets are quite mature. However, there is huge scope to create such packs for many countries worldwide, and we expect exports to dominate our sales in the years to come.
At the moment, we’re selling 60% of our products here, but within five years, we’d expect to have flipped that figure, and be selling 60% overseas. We sell direct in Germany and France, as we do in the UK, and also have a company based in the United Arab Emirates.
Elsewhere, our sales channels are through a network of long-established distributors, who really understand us and our products. In around 18 months, we’re looking to enter the US healthcare market, mainly for our range of catheters, and we’ll also be targeting India and Australia.
Many exporters benefited from sterling’s depreciation since the Brexit vote, but because we source components globally, most of our payments are in dollars or euros. Increasing exports to countries where we will be paid in those currencies will give us a natural “hedge” against fluctuations.
Attending major overseas exhibitions isn’t quite as crucial as it traditionally was, but we recently went to Arab Health, and we’ll be at trade shows in Brussels in March, and Dusseldorf in November.”
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