Record-Breaking Revenue Despite Pandemic
IGS GeboJagema Continues to Grow as Projected
IGS GeboJagema expects a revenue of 38 to 40 million EUR this year. The Dutch company that operates mostly in the healthcare industry has been largely unaffected by the pandemic and continues to grow as projected. “We’re seeing all major developments go ahead as planned”, CEO Peter Mertens explains. “The healthcare industry is focused on 2030, not on tomorrow.”
IGS delivers injection moulds to manufacturers of medical devices such as insulin pens, inhalers and contact lenses. These are relatively new markets for the company, as Mertens knows. “In 2006, we mainly built moulds for mobile phones, printers and the automotive industry. We decided to change course and focus on the medical sector from that point on, fully committing to innovation, automation and high precision.”
Over the past decade, the company hit a growth spurt as it established a firm position in the healthcare sector. Turnover grew from 10 million in 2010 to an expected 38 to 40 million in 2020. “The pharmaceutical industry is built on trust,” Mertens explains. “The market is composed of a small number of major players. We are very proud that we’ve been able to gain a foothold in the industry.”
Automation in the Eindhoven factory played a key role in the company’s growth. While IGS nearly quadrupled its revenue over the past decade, the number of employees only increased from 70 to 100. According to Mertens, automation increases both efficiency and quality, while also making the lack of skilled workmen in the labour market less of a problem.
“The old-fashioned workman is slowly becoming obsolete,” says the CEO, who started his career as a grinder in the workshop before working his way up in the organisation. “More and more, manual activities are being replaced with the controlling and programming of machines.” The factory operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, though the staff is only present during the day. Mertens: "In the evening, we switch off the lights and everyone goes home."
A trend in the market is to no longer develop new devices for every new medicine. Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies are opting for a design that is suitable for multiple medicines with only minor adjustments. IGS expects to benefit from this development in the coming years. “For example, we are involved in all major strategic insulin pen projects,” Mertens says. "And once you’ve entered that process, you can count on a lot of repeat business over a period of ten to fifteen years."
It’s the reason why the mould maker expects more repeat orders, orders with minor adjustments and orders for the replacement of the critical parts of moulds. “Thanks to our high degree of automation, these types of orders are perfect for us,” Mertens concludes. With these developments in mind, the organisation is preparing for their growth spurt to continue over the next decade. The mould maker is investing in machinery to expand their capacity and later this year, an office in the United States will be opened to be closer to the fast-growing number of clients based in North-America.
The focus on innovation, automation and extreme precision has been instrumental to IGS’s success. But ask Peter Mertens what he’s most proud of and he mentions none of it. “I’m most proud of our people, without a doubt. Our new approach has been a huge culture change, especially for our older colleagues. But our entire team stepped up and got us where we are today.”
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