News & Events
International Business Students Partner With Medical Devices Manufacturer
Lac-Mac Marketing Manager, Shelley Petrovskis; Vice-President, Dale Fischer; and President, Mike Garvey heard recommendations on potential export markets based on a thorough analysis of opportunities in North and South America.
In the past, Lac-Mac has generously provided cubicle curtains for the Health
Science labs as well as surgical drapes and gowns for Fanshawe's Anesthesia
Lac-Mac staff have worked closely with the Fanshawe College Foundation, and the Foundation's Mary Flanagan-Hockin arranged for Murray Morgan, coordinator of the International Business Management program to meet with Shelley Petrovskis last summer.
During that discussion, Shelley indicated that Lac-Mac was intent on expanding their business to the United States and additionally had been asked by its key supplier and business partner, W.L. Gore and Associates, Inc., to explore opportunities for export of their surgical products to South America.
Students, Lac-Mac executives and guests listen to a presentation of research findings on export opportunities for Lac-Mac's medical products in North and South America.
Lac-Mac began as a supplier devoted to reusable health care products and is widely respected as co-developer of GORE® Surgical Barrier Fabric, a high-tech impervious fabric for use in operating rooms. Lac-Mac has also modified the product to create a unique barrier fabric for drapes used in health care settings.
Lac-Mac has been extremely helpful to our ITB students, providing real world learning opportunities. Lac-Mac hosted a tour of their facilities as well as a tour of one of their key customers and local laundry partner, London Hospital Linen Service.
Because Lac-Mac's surgical gowns can be reprocessed 75 to 125 times, these products are not only more environmentally-friendly, but also less expensive for the hospitals. Lac-Mac has gradually increased its market share in Canada, where reusable surgical gowns and drapes represent approximately 80 percent of the total market.
The trend to sustainability in the United States represents a significant opportunity, as the U.S. market is roughly 80 percent disposables. By carefully targeting sales and marketing efforts through market and competitive intelligence, it is hoped that Fanshawe students can enhance the success of local exporters, like Lac-Mac, and help create a virtuous cycle of business growth that creates employment opportunities.
Based on their thorough analysis, students recommended caution and further research before considering expansion to South America. By contrast, several groups identified viable business partners and customer prospects in selected states in the U.S.A. The Lac-Mac team commented positively on the quality of the research and the presentations. Shelley described the presentations as "absolutely excellent." Lac-Mac had been working on several of the potential market entry strategies, but Shelley indicated that "it was good to reconfirm that we were moving forward in the right direction." In addition, several students identified new potential partners and President Mike Garvey said he was pleased to see the students were thinking "outside the box." He advised that he was looking forward to receiving a hard copy of the presentations with specific recommendations and key contact information for several of the most attractive institutional prospects.
In addition to the Lac-Mac executives, several special guests observed the presentations and discussion.
Mary Pierce, Acting Chair of the Lawrence Kinlin School of Business, had an opportunity to welcome the Lac-Mac team as well as Catherine Finlayson, Executive Director of Development and Alumni at Fanshawe. Catherine invited Margaret Nish, a former senior hospital executive. Margaret is currently a consultant and serves on the Board of Governors for the College. Given her extensive health care experience, she was interested in the discussion around Lac-Mac expansion opportunities.
This is an interim presentation and based on the feedback provided, the students will gather further research for major papers to be submitted to the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) for external grading. Students who achieve 65 percent or better on two major projects sent to FITT earn a FITT diploma in International Trade and then can work towards the Certified International Trade Professional designation.
The Canadian government's recently commissioned report on innovation and competition policy, Compete to Win, calls on all Canadian firms to aggressively retool themselves for an integrated world economy by increasing their ability to compete globally. The Compete to Win report highlights the importance of "Fostering Growth Businesses - to ensure the success of entrepreneurs and companies with global reach and ambition."
With Lac-Mac's superior products, commitment to customer service and the trend to sustainability and landfill reduction, Lac-Mac is well positioned to extend their international presence. The Lac-Mac collaboration with Fanshawe suggests this type of market-driven education/business partnership can enhance the ability of educational institutions to contribute to regional development while simultaneously training domestic and international business students for a globalized workplace, consistent with the Compete to Win report.