The healthcare industry has always been on the pedestal to offer the best. With the integration of modern technology, the disruption of the industry is uncanny. In this competitive landscape, healthcare providers have to deliver something unique to sustain. While the journey of such ground-breaking ventures is not easy the story behind the establishment is very interesting and inspiring. For instance, a call for help, and a noticeable gap in the industry were the founding pillars of United Orthopaedic Corporation (UOC) —the European distribution and management branch for all orthopedic hip and knee implants and ancillaries.
In December 2015, Jason Lin called François Bopp to help him in Europe. After 3 months of analyzing the chances, the duo co-founded the European operations. The initial challenges however did exist. Though the leaders enjoyed the competition, they made sure that UOC would be placed on the map of leading orthopedic providers.
Thriving in Competition
“Starting from scratch in a competitive business is not so obvious; I can say that we exist!” commented Bopp. Over the years, UOC has managed to establish a name in the market. The surgeons and competitors are familiar with the firm. While start-ups often venture into a less crowded niche, Bopp and Lin particularly looked for competition. In order to explain this, Bopp states that tough competition is good news for their field. If one is able to find a market with little or no competition, one should recognize that there will also be not much profit to be done.
Since the day of inception, the company has traveled a long path to success. Today, UOC has expanded its branches in Switzerland, France, Belgium, and the UK. Apart from this, the company also has distributors in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ukraine, Moldova, Greece, and Turkey. Moreover, it is looking forward to adding Russia, Bulgaria, and Romania to the list.
UOC’s objective has always been to be a prime player in the European market and the team is determined to fulfill this objective. Recently, UOC was ranked amongst the Top 10 Orthopedic solution providers in Europe. Bopp believes that this is a good start but the objective is yet to be achieved.
Distinguisher Of The Market
It is not a surprise that one has to be an ultimate differentiator in order to thrive in the competition and make a difference. Apart from overseeing the responsibilities as a leader, Bopp’s role also involves searching these differentiators. As the leading Orthopaedic providers, UOC offers a wide range of solutions and specializes in knee and hip implants. Soon, UOC plans to add shoulder implants too. In addition to this, the team is also exploring the potential of modern technologies to further strengthen the market grasp. “Those projects are still a little confidential, but could really play an important role in our future growth,” confirmed Bopp.
When UOC started its journey nearly 5 years ago, there was nothing, zero sales, and an unknown company in Europe besides a distributor in Spain and one in Greece. However, Bopp was affirmative that by building a scientific image with a strong R&D and fully integrated production, UOC can compete with American big names. This strategy was the result of decades of experience in the orthopedic industry. Furthermore, being on small scale is not a disadvantage for the firm as the team is much more reactive in every aspect. He adds, “In a business where a decision-maker is a person, a surgeon, this is a key success factor.” It took time, a unique strategy, and persistence to grow the sales.
Small Gathering of Experts
UOC had also established the Unite European academy four years ago. Dr. Epinette is the current President of the European Hip Society and Chairman of the scientific board of the academy. This academy was established with two main purposes,
- The follow up of its prosthesis in form of a register
- The organization of yearly conference with a conversation on each subject
“It is a scientific conference where we never try to tell that we are better than the others,” explained Bopp. This scientific conference is a platform to share the opinions and knowledge of the surgeons and other relevant hot topics.
Progression and Modern Tech
If one closely inspects, orthopedics is a market where the evolutions are fairly slow. Both the regulatory and design of the prosthesis are the factors hindering the evolution. Bopp further explains, “For instance, a ‘squared’ knee would have little chance. If you come up with a revolutionary design, you will be asked by most of the surgeons to prove that the design is superior for the patient vs. the current solution.”
Even if bone reconstruction materials is excluded, the evolution can be anticipated in the surgical techniques. Consequently, to stay relevant and updated with the trends, it is evident to upgrade the instruments. Understanding these trends, the team is continually learning to make these new techniques reproducible. Currently, the team is working on different fields like implants, instruments, and surgical techniques. “In other words, we are thinking permanently about future evolutions and how can we be precursors or at least part of it. We try to avoid seeing a train leave the station without being either driving it or at least in it,” stated Bopp.
Candid Perception on COVID-19
COVID-19 outbreak managed to divide the population on a global level. Though the pandemic posed threat to both humans and the economy, people tend to have varied opinions on the outbreak. Bopp too shared his candid perspective on the global outbreak, “The COVID crisis is a good example of collective fear created by the media and some “scientific” people.” The countries stood divided under economic disruptions, a threat to life, and a political façade. While many politicians shied away from making decisions, the scientific board was delegated to decision-making. He continues, “We work with surgeons and those are reasonable people, used to work in a sterile environment. They are not easily afraid of the media. The life we return to normal sooner or later and I really hope that some politicians disappear from the public landscape. They cost us a lot by their incompetency.”
Challenges and Opportunities
UOC was not adversely affected by the pandemic but was temporarily on halt. The priority was employees’ wellbeing and be prepared for the upsurge in demand as soon as the restrictions are uplifted. Concerning the market scenario post-COVID, many have the perception that we as a population will enter a new world. On the contrary, Bopp believes that things will just return back to normal—especially in his orthopedic world—the sooner the better.
Quote: We uphold each patient’s quality of life and we take great pride in all that we do.
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