02.05.2017 – Mostly handmade products for the airway management, infusion and surgical drain management, fixation and pressure relief management are manufactured for almost all hospitals in Germany by Novo-Klinik Service GmbH based in Bergheim near Cologne. In 2017, the former family business is celebrating its 30th anniversary and is repositioning itself after the takeover by an investor and the relocation of the company.
When Michael and Karin Patzelt founded Novo-Klinik Service GmbH in 1987, a tracheal cannula was still cumbersomely fixed to the neck of the ventilated patient by means of plaster or gauze bandages in order to prevent the cannula from slipping. Frequent consequences: skin irritation, pressure sores or even accidental extubation by the patient or the staff.
The need for a fixation with a safe, comfortable fitting, skin-friendly material and easy handling was great and the company founders recognized the large market potential. And so, Novo became the pioneer in the market for tracheal tube holders with the development of the patented BePa-Clip® and the TuBo-Clip and thereby continues to set proven standards in the care of ventilated patients today.
The Green “N” prevails
The Novo brand name, products with the green “N” and green fixation straps were quickly established in the intensive care units of German hospitals. That success motivated the founding family to develop further fixations for ventilated patients together with doctors and nursing staff.
With the „Securement Devices and Prophylaxis “ a new product line was added in the 90s. These products are used to protect the patient’s own health by preventing unintended manipulation of access points, dressings or life-sustaining technical devices. The equipment trolley for intrahospital patient transports launched medical technology as a new product line in 2012.
Today, more than forty products and more than a hundred product variations are available for premature infants, children, adolescents and adults: tracheal cannulae and tube fixations, plaster fixations for tubes of different diameters – from gastric probes to feed lines for heart-lung machines, paddings and securing splints. New to the portfolio from spring 2017 are the video laryngoscope Airtraq and a product system for oral cleansing, germ reduction and wound care.
Production at Company Location
Today, most Novo products are manufactured at the company headquarters just as they were thirty years ago. Novo exclusively sources its base materials from partner companies in the EU. „Our customers rely on quality, cost-effectiveness and delivery reliability. Nothing is as secure and well-engineered as the original German product,“ explains Novo managing director Udo Lutz. As a result, the company director views imitation products and cheap competition from the Far East with calm.
According to the marketing manager Birgitta Winkler: „Novo is a strong brand – customers know what we stand for and our name has an excellent reputation in the market“.
Customers in Germany, Europe and the Middle East
In the German market, practically every hospital is a customer of Novo-Klinik Service GmbH. Since the mid-nineties, Novo has also positioned itself in the home care sector. „The customer is often also simultaneously the end user. We had great success right from the start because our products are safe and easy to use,“ explains marketing manager Winkler.
Novo products „Made in Germany“ have managed to become more and more popular over the years. One after the other, the export department brought into being in 1999, succeeded in distributing the products through dealers, first, in Western and Northern Europe, and later also in Southern and in Eastern Europe. With the Arab Health 2005 in Dubai, Novo was able to win its first customers in the Middle East. Since 2015, the company has also been represented by a dealer on the Russian market. Today, Novo exports to 28 countries in Europe and the Middle East.
The Founders Retire
The year 2015 marked a milestone in the history of Novo. After nearly 30 years, the founding family Patzelt retired due to their age. The medical technology investor SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement mbH in Tuebingen/Germany took over Novo-Klinik Service. „Novo is excellently positioned in the market, has great potential for growth and a high level of innovation,“ commented Uwe Steinbacher, Managing Partner at SHS, when explaining the decision to take over. Close cooperation with the many medical technology companies, which belong to the parent company SHS, is definitely part of the plan for Novo in the years to come.
Investment in the Future
New products, growing demand, additional employees: One of the first decisions of the new CEO Udo Lutz was to relocate, along with the fifty employees, to the new company location in Bergheim, near Cologne, in January 2017. „It is important to us that Novo can also continue to expand in the coming years, to once again expand production and storage capacities and to create further jobs,“ says Lutz.
At the new location, Novo now has double the floor space for production, a three-story storage capacity and state-of-the-art logistics. „In 2017, we repositioned Novo-Klinik Service GmbH, just in time for the company’s 30th anniversary,“ says NOVO’s managing director.