Atramat: Challenges and the Path ForwardBy Miriam Bello | Mon, 09/27/2021 - 16:14
Q: How did you adapt to the reduction in surgeries brought by COVID-19 in both the public and private sector?
A: COVID-19 caused a decrease of around 80 percent in all scheduled surgeries for the public sector in Mexico and a significant decrease as well in the private sector. Of course, there were some emergency surgeries performed and that is why we still had sales in the public and private sectors throughout the peak of the pandemic.
The government’s new tender policy has been a challenge but every day we are learning and adapting to its new ways of working. Atramat was able to compensate for this loss by focusing its efforts on opening new markets in other countries and increasing its sales in those countries where we were already present but that did not limit their operations due to COVID-19.
Our focus throughout these uncertain times was also placed on our new facility in Mexico that manufactures ventilation and anaesthesia circuits under the Altech brand. We had this project since before the pandemic but after the crisis, all our efforts were on completing the technological transfer and obtaining the GMP certificate to deliver high-quality ventilation machine consumables to care for COVID-19 patients.
Q: How did you adapt to the logistics challenges brought by the blockage in the Suez Canal?
A: Atramat has a big advantage because most of the raw materials it purchases are of small volume, so they can be shipped by air. With our seaborne imports, we increased our purchase volumes to guarantee full containers and mitigate the cost of the products placed in Mexico.
Q: How did you leverage your international presence to prevent disruption?
A: Our main focus throughout the pandemic has been to keep our people safe by making sure all preventive measures were in place. We also conducted constant testing with all our personnel. The other thing we did was to always be up to date on borders closing and all local and international regulations. That way, we created strategies to make sure all our products could be delivered. All our distributors did the same thing to prevent disruption.
Q: How is the acquisition of Santec and its cardiovascular line helping Atramat move forward in cardiovascular care?
A: Santec is a German manufacturer specialized in cardiovascular surgery, particularly in loops for mitral valve repair or replacement. Physicians in Germany design Santec’s products so it is similar to providing customized products focused in the specific surgeon’s needs. This acquisition has strengthened our portfolio of cardiovascular products, allowing us to offer a complete solution for cardiovascular surgeries of all kind and is one of the stepping-stones to position our company as leader in the area of specialized heart surgeries.
Q: With limitations on physical contact, how have you approached health professionals to ensure they are fully aware of everything Atramat has to offer?
A: Honestly, 2020 and 2021 has been more of a survival race. We mainly focused on retaining our clients. For many months, we couldn't get into hospitals so we hosted several specialized webinars in different parts of the world with medical and nursing staff. We are also developing a complete program of suture specialization and surgical techniques.
Along with this migration to web-based monitoring, we have approached hospital and university managers. The point is not to lose contact, which is important because many of the hospitals with which we previously collaborated were converted into COVID-19 centers. Today that is starting to change again so, slowly but surely, we are starting again with all fieldwork.
Q: Given the global population shift, how are you innovating to target the needs of the elderly population?
A: For Atramat being at the vanguard of new surgical procedures by supplying innovative medical devices is a crucial task. Recently this year we became the exclusive distributor in Mexico of a French spine care company named Clariance. This company manufactures high quality spine implants that go according to innovative medical surgical tendencies. Moreover, we also developed a commercial alliance with Stryker to supply the growing demand of medical devices relating to traumatology and orthopedics. This is how we grow and diversify our portfolio aligned with our vision of promoting a better health care.
Atramat is one of the world’s largest suppliers of surgical sutures. The company has over 50 years of experience, and its products are sold in over 80 countries.