30 October 2014
New management and a turn-around of the company triggers a place on Børsens’, the leading business newspaper in Denmark, Gazelle-list.
It was an ailing company that physiotherapist Peter Maindal took over in June 2010. The previous years’ accounts showed a negative result and a decreasing gross profit.
Still, Peter Maindal saw great potential in the company. “I was familiar with the VENDLET-system and had often wondered why it wasn’t a greater success. The product increases patient comfort and independence, and significantly improves the care givers’ work environment. Simultaneously it makes the care procedures quicker and easier”, Peter Maindal says.
The strategy was clear from the beginning. “A far greater professionalism was needed in both product development and in sales and we needed to redefine the company’s processes and procedures”, Peter Maindal says.
Soon after the takeover Peter Maindal launched a turn-around process. Products that did not meet Peter’s high quality and functionality standards were removed. The VENDLET-system was redesigned and got major improvments in terms of functionality, quality and design.
The production was also reformed. All production was outsourced and the number of suppliers were reduced from 120 to 20. Thus making both planning and purchasing more efficient.
The procedures within the company were also restructured. The company moved from Aalborg to Aabenraa and none of the former employees chose to follow. “The relocation has probably made the turn-around process slightly easier”, Peter Maindal says. “It is hard to enter a 25 year old family owned business and change everything. It hurts the former owners and employees, so in a sense I can understand why none of them wanted to come along to Aabenraa. After all, we were in the middle of changing everything they had built”.
Simultaneous with the reorganization, a massive focus was laid on sales. A strong presence on the market displayed the company and its products in a whole new way. The market share was increased and the sale of the new re-designed VENDLET-system is currently four times higher than the sales of the previous model.
The whole process was not just a simple snap of a finger. Chartered accountant and partner at the accounting firm EY P/S, Kaj Glochau, has followed Vendlet from the side-line since the takeover in 2010. "The entire takeover process was conducted in full compliance with the plan and with high levels of professionalism, preparation and commitment. But the growth scenarios Peter Maindal had predicted, came a little later than expected”, Kaj Glochau explains. “The company was therefore under pressure during the first year after the takeover, but it proved its ability to act in headwind and emerged stronger”. The lesson learned was that significant change processes take time.
Peter Maindal’s prerequisite to rescue the ailing company was unique. With a degree in physiotherapy and a background in both sales and management, Peter was able to make some clear, professional and strategic choices. "Many medical device companies are under pressure from tough tenders. They must cut to the bone at the expense of professionalism. The customers are tired of this. Therefore, for example, it is a clear strategic decision that Vendlet must differ by being at front when it comes to professionalism. It is also a clear decision that we only work with bedridden people”, Peter Maindal says.
According to Jyske Bank's branch manager Poul Brændekilde Vendlet’s strength is the management. "Peter Maindal has a great professional insight, is a great salesman and is able to analyse and to implement his plans. Many self-employed have a great insight and willingness to initiate, but fails to make analysis and action plans”, Poul Brændekilde says.
Accountant Kaj Glochau also sees a great strength in company’s management, which he describes as extremely dedicated, focused, visible and professional. "Less than one percent of Danish companies are currently experiencing the growth that gives them Gazelle status. Vendlet has however succeeded, because of the dedicated leadership and ability to develop and promote the company's unique products.”
The company is 100% owned by Peter Maindal and grows entirely organic. Peter Maindal is aware of the challenges linked with that. The increased revenue is used to boost the company's solidity and there is focus on reinvestment into the company. This is reflected in the employment of a number of highly qualified staff and extensive development.
Peter Maindal is excited about what the future will bring: "We are growing in a strong and healthy way. We have a global potential and I have no doubts that we will expand internationally. At the same time we will continue to improve our products and develop new exciting solutions for bedridden people.”
Poul Brændekilde also sees a bright future for Vendlet. "The increasing average age means that there is a large market for Vendlet’s products - both in Denmark and abroad. The company has unique strategic competencies as well".
Accountant Kaj Glochau reveals that the growth that has formed the basis of Vendlet becoming a Gazelle has continued into 2014. "All the conditions for the growth to continue are present, and I think we will see Vendlet on the Gazelle list for years to come ", Kaj Glochau says.
Facts About the Gazelle
The leading business newspaper in Denmark, Børsen, has since 1995 annually identified Denmark’s fastest growing companies and awarded them with the prestigious Gazelle award. The Gazelle has become part of the Danish language as a synonym for growing businesses.
The selection criteria are objective and based on data from the Danish Business Authority.
In short, the definition of a Gazelle is: A company that over the past four fiscal years has had continuous growth in the turnover or the gross profit and overall has more than doubled the turnover or the gross profit in the period.