It was a struggling company that Physiotherapist, Peter Maindal, acquired in June 2010. The previous financial statements had shown a negative result and a declining gross profit.
Still, Peter Maindal saw a huge potential in the company: “I knew the VENDLET system and had often wondered why it wasn’t a greater success. The product provides an increased comfort and independence for the client and improved work health & safety for the healthcare staff. At the same time, it ensures that the care is both faster and simpler,” Peter Maindal says.
The strategy was clear from the start. “A far greater professionalism was needed in both the development and sales of the product and the company needed tidying up of processes and procedures,” Peter Maindal says.
Immediately after the takeover, Peter Maindal, therefore, initiated a large turn-around process. The products that didn’t live up to Peter Maindal’s high requirements for quality and function was taken off the market. The VENDLET system was redesigned in 2012 and has since then been continuously improved when it comes to functionality, quality and design. The production was outsourced and the number of suppliers reduced from 120 to 20, which made both planning and purchasing easier.
The internal business procedures were also restructured. The company moved from Aalborg to Aabenraa and none of the previous employees chose to come with. “The move has probably made the turn-around process a bit easier,” says Peter Maindal and continues: “It is difficult to step into a family owned company, that has existed for 25 years, and change everything. It hurts the previous owners and employees, so in that way I fully understand that none of them wanted to make the move to Aabenraa, as we are in the process of changing everything that they have built up.”
At the same time of the restructure a massive focus was placed on sales. Through a vigorous presence in the market the company and its products were made visible in a whole new way, and the company was successful in increasing the market shares. The sales of the re-designed VENDLET-system is currently 4 times as high as the sales of the previous model.
However, the process was not just a snap with the fingers. State authorized accountant and partner at the accounting company EY, Kaj Glochau, has followed Vendlet from the sidelines since the takeover in 2010. “The takeover process was completed in conformity with the set out plan and with a high level of professionalism, preparation and commitment. But the growth scenarios predicted by Peter Maindal came a bit later than predicted,” Kaj Glochau says. “The company was therefore pressured during the first year after takeover but showed that it can also act during headwinds and come out stronger from it.” As such, the lesson learned from the process was that change takes time.
Peter Maindal’s prerequisites to save the ailing company was unique. With a background as a physiotherapist and within sales and management, Peter was able to make professional and strategic choices. “Many businesses in the medical device industry are pressured very hard by tenders. They have to cut to the bone, which often hurts their professionalism and emphasis on know-how, and the customers are sick of it. Therefore, it is also a well-considered strategic choice for Vendlet to separate ourselves from that, and really emphasize our know-how and expertise. It is also a strategic choice, that we are only occupied with the bedridden client,” Peter Maindal says.
And according to Jyske Bank department CEO, Poul Brændekilde, Vendlet’s strength lies exactly in the strong management. “Peter Maindal has both a deep professional insight within the healthcare sector and is a good salesman who understands to analyze and go through with action plans. A lot of entrepreneurs have the professional insight and the will and desire to initiate projects but fail when it comes to making decisions based on analyses and action plans,” Poul Brændekilde explains.
Furthermore, accountant Kaj Glochau also sees great strength in the company’s management, which he describes as very dedicated, determined, visible and professional. “Less than one percent of Danish companies are experiencing the growth that makes them eligible to receive the Gazelle status. That Vendlet is successful in doing that it is because of the dedicated management and the ability to develop and market their unique products,” Kaj Glochau says.
The company is 100 % owned by Peter Maindal and the growth is exclusively organic, the challenges of which Peter Maindal is completely aware of. Therefore, the increased turnover is used to increase the company’s solvency and reinvestment in the company. This is reflected in the employment of a series of well qualified employees and extensive development activities.
Peter Maindal is excited to see what the future will bring: “We are growing strong and healthily. We have global potential and I have no doubt that we will expand internationally. At the same time, we will continue to improve our products and develop new and exciting solutions for bedridden clients.” Poul Brændekilde also predicts a bright future for Vendlet: “The increased average life expectancy means that the market is growing for Vendlet’s products – both in Denmark and abroad. At the same time, the company has unique strategic competencies.”
The daily Danish newspaper, Børsen, has since 1995 identified the growth elite in Denmark, and the Gazelle terminology has with time been adapted to the Danish language and is now a synonym for companies in growth.
The criteria for selection are objective and based on data from The Danish Corporation and Business Agency.
In short, the definition of a Gazelle is: A company that during the last four fiscal years has experienced continuous growth in turnover or gross profit, and which have more than doubled their turnover or gross profit overall during this period.