Area Manager, Schmitz u. Söhne
Q: Who are you?
A: Lars Boltzt, Area Manager for Northern & Western Europe of the German company Schmitz u. Söhne since 2008.
Q: What made you choose a career in this industry?
A: The diversity and possibilities offered by the healthcare industry.
Q: What is your professional background?
A: I studied economics/business administration. Since joining Schmitz I’ve been on many training courses and have been involved in a lot of clinical tests, demonstrations and trials of our products. I have gained technical and medical knowledge about different treatments and procedures as well as patient positioning in treatment rooms and operating theatres.
Q: What do you think your experience can do to advance the interests of the company?
A: Because I have lived and worked in England for some time and come here regularly on business and to meet with friends, I am aware of the cultural differences, the different healthcare systems and health needs and the different ways of doing business. My main goal is to promote the strength, quality and advantages of our products and to offer the end users a specialised and customised solution to their needs.
Q: How did the company begin and how long has it been running?
A: Schmitz u. Söhne is a German family-owned SME, which was founded 1930. It started as a steel producing company and focused on the manufacturing of medical equipment/furniture from 1946. The HQ and administration are in Wickede while the production, R&D and transport departments are in Bönen. Our products really are made in Germany.
Q: What is the company focus and what do you offer the gynaecology industry?
A: The company focus is on innovative and functional high quality customisable products, which combine the needs of the patient and the practitioner in the best way possible. This is reflected in our medi-matic® 115 examination and treatment chair for gynaecology, which won the prestigious reddot design award in 2004.
Q: Who are your customers and what products/services do you offer them?
A: Our customers are any healthcare professionals in multiple specialities who are looking for optimised, sturdy, customisable and high quality equipment, especially in times of tight budgets. Our product range suits gynaecology, urology, urodynamics, proctology and obstetrics and includes cabinet systems, OR-tables, patient transporters, furniture for OR-theatres and outpatient departments, functional trolleys and medical furniture.
Q: How do you keep up to date with changes in the market?
A: We are in constant, close contact with our exclusive dealers and I visit the different countries we sell in.
Q: Do you have any new products on the horizon?
A: Even though our gynae-chairs are absolutely up-to-date, we are already working on the next generation of them. In addition, we have just introduced our new DIAMOND operating table to the UK, which was a reddot design award winner in 2010, and have already had a good response to it.
Q: Do you foresee much expansion in the coming years?
A: I think that the need for customised high quality medical products will indeed expand as the costs of maintenance, service and after-sales decrease.
Q: How do you advertise your products?
A: We are doing some advertising in the print media but our main focus is putting the products before the end users – seeing is believing. This means that our exclusive dealers give many demonstrations. Additionally, we regularly take part in exhibitions and congresses.
Q: What makes you different from your competitors?
A: I think we live up to the image of the traditional German business. Schmitz u. Söhne, unlike many other companies today, has been family owned for more than 80 years. We have never changed our primary objective of developing and manufacturing handmade high quality medical furniture and products in Germany. We focus only on one field of expertise, our traditional core business, and don’t venture into other fields. Thus we are able to keep our standards high.
Q: What technological innovations have you introduced?
A: Schmitz u. Söhne was one of the first companies to introduce the electromotive adjustment of the foot supports on gynae-chairs, which has now become a regular option. With our new operating table, the DIAMOND, we offer fully working Bluetooth control elements and a real dual override system.
Q: How are you committed to quality?
A: The commitment to quality is one of the key points of our company objectives. The many prizes for quality and design awarded to our products over the years prove this.
Q: How important are good customer relations?
A: Schmitz sees the demands and needs of our customers as one of the most valuable sources of input for product development and improvement. We concentrate on customisation and this is really appreciated by customers looking for specialised solutions.
Q: When and where can we see Schmitz next?
A: We spend a great deal of time at exhibitions and conferences, meeting new and existing customers with our exclusive dealers. The next one in the UK is the Association for Perioperative Practice exhibition in Bournemouth in October. The world’s largest medical trade fair, MEDICA in Düsseldorf in Germany, is in November. Also, our dealers offer a no-obligation consultation, to discuss or demonstrate our products to see how to improve and streamline medical practices.
Schmitz u. Söhne is a partner company of Vision Medical.