© Ruud van de Wiel

Masters of the golden triangle

In hospi­tals and prac­tices world­wide, doctors, dentists
and veteri­nar­ians use medical equip­ment from Novuqare, a Dutch company with only 18 employees. Its secret to success
is balancing the three elements of inno­va­tion, produc­tion and close customer contact.

The two most impor­tant medical prod­ucts made by Novuqare are MAPLe, a device for diag­nosis and treat­ment of pelvic floor prob­lems, and a medical sealer for sterile pack­aging of medical instru­ments. Novuqare is also a preferred supplier for Philips Health­care. “We produce various devices as a contract manu­fac­turer for the medical sector,” says managing director Iwan van Vijfeijken. “Thanks to our medical certi­fi­ca­tion, we are allowed to produce such high-quality medical devices.”

Managing director Iwan van Vijfeijken (left) takes a close look at the devel­op­ment of new prod­ucts. (Photo | Ruud van de Wiel)

“We are entre­pre­neurs”

Novuqare listens care­fully when doctors comment on their profes­sional needs. Such comments serve as input for the devel­op­ment and produc­tion of new medical prod­ucts or the improve­ment of existing ones, which takes place in coop­er­a­tion with part­ners such as the Swedish company Getinge. That also includes launching new prod­ucts. “We are entre­pre­neurs,” says van Vijfeijken. “We want to make a contri­bu­tion to the improve­ment of medical services. We do that by working according to the triangle prin­ciple. We combine our triangle of inno­va­tion, produc­tion and direct customer contact with the speed, effi­ciency and high stan­dard of quality that we as a small busi­ness can provide. This golden combi­na­tion is the recipe for our success and puts us a step ahead of even big compa­nies. They may also operate according to the triangle prin­ciple, but can’t do it as quickly and effi­ciently as we can. Processes in big compa­nies often go some­what more slug­gishly, and they’re less willing to take the risks involved in devel­oping new prod­ucts. But we’re willing to do that without further ado.”

MAPLe and the sealer for medical instru­ments are exam­ples of medical prod­ucts that were devel­oped at Novuqare according to the triangle prin­ciple. Once a product is on the market, thoughts are made about inno­v­a­tive ways to improve or refine it. “Our employees are in regular contact with customers world­wide and hear from them about their expe­ri­ences with our prod­ucts. We imple­ment that feed­back in our prod­ucts as quickly as possible, and we do all of this in our own produc­tion facility. That way we keep control over quality and keep on improving the product. We’d rather do one thing right than ten halfway.”

“We’re a step ahead of big compa­nies.”

Maybe not attrac­tive, but …

The medical sealers are Novuqare’s best­sellers. Hospi­tals and dental and veteri­nary prac­tices can use them for sterile pack­aging of their medical instru­ments. “It may not be the most attrac­tive product we make, but it’s indis­pens­able for medical facil­i­ties and it’s the best of its kind,” says van Vijfeijken. “The unit is compact, light and reli­able. It prac­ti­cally always works. And in the end it has to, because a hospital can’t work without sterile pack­aging for its mate­rials. Besides that, the sealer is very user-friendly and works noise­lessly.”

An ebm-papst drive ensures that the medical sealer is precise and super-quiet. (Photo | Ruud van de Wiel)

Super-quiet drives

The sealer is so quiet because of its inte­grated ebm-papst motor. According to van Vijfeijken, the motor is its most impor­tant compo­nent. “The motor ensures that the sealer serves its purpose — sealing  — as well as possible, quietly and with top quality. The pack­aging is sealed well but not too tightly, which is often preci­sion work. The motors from ebm-papst are very reli­able and prac­ti­cally never fail.” Novuqare has been collab­o­rating with ebm-papst for more than ten years. Back then the company’s first sealer left the produc­tion line in Rosmalen. “The coop­er­a­tion was outstanding from the begin­ning. There are no compli­cated commu­ni­ca­tions chan­nels. If a problem comes up, it gets solved right away. Thanks to its tech­nical exper­tise and high quality stan­dards, ebm-papst is the leader in its sector. Things like inno­va­tion and sustain­ability also have high priority there. That’s what we have in common.”

“I consider it impor­tant for us to remain flex­ible.” IWAN VAN VIJFEIJKEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NOVUQARE

Novuqare has the world at its feet and many oppor­tu­ni­ties for growth. “For the time being, we can’t lean back yet,” says van Vijfeijken. “We’ve taken a new path with our medical sealers; now we’re also selling them directly to customers without middlemen. Demand for our sealers is increasing world­wide. That’s why we decided to take this step.” Van Vijfeijken also sees many oppor­tu­ni­ties in the coming years in the devel­op­ment of new medical prod­ucts and further expan­sion of the rela­tion­ship with Philips. “But I consider it impor­tant for us to remain flex­ible enough to be inno­v­a­tive and committed while control­ling speed, effi­ciency and quality. After all, that’s the foun­da­tion of our success.”

In produc­tion, only top quality matters at Novuqare. (Photo | Ruud van de Wiel)

Proud of their work

What van Vijfeijken considers most impor­tant is that his employees are still proud of their work. “We keep our employees closely involved in the processes. They are often present at the birth of new medical prod­ucts, so for them every product feels like their own. The team may be small, but it has a great team spirit. That’s good, and it’s impor­tant for reaching our goals. Am I proud? More than that. Some­times I wonder how we do all that we do with only 18 employees. Every­body here puts their heart and soul into their work. That makes me very happy and is some­thing we’ll need to keep up even as the company grows.”

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