Interview with Robert Schrödel, Founder and Co-Owner of Pioneer Medical Devices
Hospital-acquired infections are a recurrent theme in newspaper headlines. As a result, the correct reprocessing and sterilization of medical instruments and devices has become a major public health issue. However, reprocessing takes time, state-of-the-art technologies and know-how. Also, more and more hygiene regulations are being imposed on the hospitals. As many of them are not able to meet the increasing reprocessing requirements in-house, there is a strong trend toward outsourcing the reprocessing process to external service partners. Pioneer Medical Devices AG in Berlin is a unique service partner. The company is the only player that can offer both the manufacture and post-use reprocessing of class 3 medical devices. Living up to its name, Pioneer Medical Devices has even introduced a completely new medical device category.
„When I founded the company in 2005, it was my idea to combine my production know-how with my expertise in reprocessing,“ says Company Founder and Co-Owner Robert Schrödel. „This combination has always been our USP and is our most important growth driver.“
At present, the reprocessing of medical devices is one of the mainstays of the business. Mostly, Pioneer Medical Devices reprocesses cardiological, orthopaedic and minimally-invasive products. In order to strengthen its presence in the production sector, Pioneer Medical Devices recently acquired Rudolf Medical. „This was an important strategic decision,“ explains Mr. Schrödel. „Rudolf Medical is a company with a long tradition and a portfolio of around 28,000 medical instruments for different fields.“
In recent years, Pioneer Medical Devices has been following an aggressive acquisition strategy and has taken over several of its competitors. Thanks to this accumulation of know-how, the company was able to build a bespoke production and reprocessing center in the central-German state of Saxony-Anhalt in 2013 which offers unequalled opportunities. Today, the center is the biggest of its kind in Europe.
At present, the world of medical devices falls into two different categories. These are single-use products and multi-use products. By introducing a completely new class of medical devices, Pioneer Medical Devices once again proved its pioneering position in the market. „We created a new product category which is CE certified, too,“ confirms Mr. Schrödel. „These are neither single-use nor multi-use devices. The products in the new class have specified life cycles. For example, they might be used and reused four times. Reprocessing must take place under consolidated conditions, which means that it cannot be done in-house but must be assigned to a professional external partner.“ Following a full-service philosophy, Pioneer Medical Devices also offers IT control solutions based on real-time systems in order to improve capacity planning in operating theaters, ambulance departments, and clinical and care institutions. „For example, in every medical institution, hand hygiene is a crucial aspect,“ says Mr. Schrödel. „Due to small budgets and staffing shortages, there are hardly any control systems ensuring that everyone keeps to the rules. Here, our solutions come into play. In recent years, we have been enjoying continuous growth in this field. It now contributes almost 40% of our annual turnover.“
In the future, international expansion will be a key aim for Pioneer Medical Devices. „While we used to focus on the domestic market, Rudolf Medical has always been very export-oriented,“ says Mr. Schrödel. „Now, we benefit from the company’s international sales network, which spans Europe as well as South America and China. We are also well-represented in the USA through sales partners. We see promising prospects in China and South America. Both markets have to catch up in terms of quality, hygiene and reprocessing in general. Firstly, we will focus on the European core markets, such as France, Spain and England. Of course, Germany will stay an important market for us. We will also focus on our new medical device category. We believe that a specified life cycle is an important step towards improved hygiene and greater efficiency.“