A Visit to the World Capital of Medical Technology

The majority of Germans have probably never heard of the small town of Tuttlingen with its not quite 35,000 inhabitants near the Black Forest. Nevertheless, almost 600 enterprises in the field of medical technology are located there, many of them world market leaders in their industries. When 18 MP participants visited Germany at the end of 2017 for training on the topic of healthcare, a trip to Tuttlingen was naturally a must. Such large synergies in the area of medical technology cannot be found in any other city or town in Germany. For the participants from Belarus, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, this was a special opportunity to see a cluster like this in Germany and receive information at first hand about the latest developments in the medical technology sector.

The executives’ visit also caused quite a sensation at numerous firms in Tuttlingen. After all, these partner countries are interesting growth markets, in which it is often difficult to find local partners and customers. Here the Manager Training Programme can provide substantial support, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The day in Tuttlingen began with a visit to AESCULAP – B. Braun, one of the world market leaders in medical technology and pharmaceutical products. The firm is still for the most part family-owned and generated turnover amounting to almost 6.5 billion euros in 2016. During a guided tour, the MP participants were able to gain an impression of the enterprise’s production facilities and also take a look at the showroom with the firm’s 5,000 products. AESCULAP invests over 260 million euros each year in the continuous development of its products.

Then the managers attended a networking event which provides an opportunity for smaller enterprises to meet potential partners from promising markets of the future. Both the MP participants and the German businesses described the quality of the talks as very positive. The executives from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, in particular, found the smaller enterprises interesting alternatives to the cost-intensive products of AESCULAP and Karl Storz. Nurbek Monolov from Kyrgyzstan was very sure after the talks that he would like to establish long-term business relations with some of the businesses.

The next day, the managers visited the second largest company in Tuttlingen: Karl Storz. This firm specialises in the production of endoscope systems. With an annual turnover of almost 1.5 billion euros, Storz is one of the largest companies in this niche industry. During a walk-about through the factory, the guests saw how partly mechanical, partly manual production works in this type of company. The showroom, in which the firm’s latest developments and innovations are on display, also aroused considerable enthusiasm The executives were able to touch the exhibits in fully set up operating rooms and try out the products in simulations.

As many of the managers had a medical education, they evaluated both company visits very positively. Sanjeev Gupta, Managing Director of a hospital in New Delhi, described the visit to Tuttlingen as “a special insight into current trends in medical technology.”

The visit was organised with the support of the network provided by MedicalMountains in Tuttlingen.

Jens Naussed

trAIDe GmbH, Köln