This company was assisted by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), which has since moved to the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Vernacare is an innovative infection control company whose inventive single-use system and award winning products has made them leaders in human waste management across the healthcare sector.
They export their single-use system for disposal of human waste in hospital to 48 countries around the world. Using OMIS to research new markets has helped them expand their exports and win a 23% share of the Singapore market.
Emma Sheldon, Marketing Director at Vernacare said,
UKTI’s OMIS reports helped us plan how to approach new markets.
Their guidance also gave us an in-depth understanding of the local culture and that helped us to develop closer relationships with potential customers.
UKTI opened doors that otherwise would have been closed, and their support has helped us establish ourselves in a new market faster than we could have imagined.
Using OMIS to research markets
Vernacare decided to pursue export business in new markets in late 2012. After spending several months researching potential markets, they identified 10 countries as initial targets for development and expansion.
They then sought help from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to find out more about the potential for their products in these markets. An International Trade Adviser (ITA) explained about UKTI’s services and in 2013 the company commissioned OMIS reports on these 10 countries.
Following analysis of these reports Singapore looked to be a particularly promising market.
Winning business in Singapore
Vernacare marketing and sales directors travelled to Singapore in October 2013. UKTI Singapore had set up meetings with influencers and decision makers in the country’s healthcare sector as part of the OMIS service.
Immediately after the visit, National University Hospital (NUH) commissioned a trial of Vernacare’s system. It was successful and NUH went on to adopt the single-use system throughout the hospital.
Vernacare then showcased its achievements at NUH to other potential customers in Singapore. This strategy allowed Vernacare to capture 23% of the hospital market. Exports to Singapore now make up 13% of the company’s international business. It’s also using Singapore as a springboard to further develop its business in the region.
Future export plans
Vernacare took a similar approach to France. The OMIS report helped them learn more about the local business environment and to identify potential clients.
UKTI then set up meetings with the parties it had identified, which led to ongoing trials at a number of French hospitals. UKTI France is now helping Vernacare navigate the healthcare procurement framework for this region.
In January 2015 Vernacare attended Arab Health, the largest healthcare exhibition in the Middle East. Whilst there, UKTI set up meetings for the company with distributors. As a result, Vernacare made valuable new contacts in this region.
The company’s recent export successes have resulted in a 12% increase in its international business in the past year.
Emma Sheldon said,
With UKTI’s help we have been able to learn and grow tremendously in target markets and their support is now an integral part of our export strategy.
We plan to continue working closely with them as we proceed with our efforts to expand into Asia and other new markets around the world.
Vernacare is based in Bolton and has a turnover of £30 million with over 200 employees across the UK and North America.
Vernacare manufactures around 160 million single-use bedpans, urinals, wash bowls and other containers per year from renewable natural fibre. 96% of hospitals in the UK use Vernacare’s single use system.
They began exporting their products in 2000, mainly through distributors. Vernacare’s largest export markets are Australia, Europe, Singapore and Canada, where they have a subsidiary in Toronto.