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Case Study in innovation and changing the business model Shield Medicare

Based on a Discussion with Richard Salvage, Managing Director

The above organization, based in Surrey, supplies protective materials to the medical sector. Formed in 1989, the company had expanded into an established organisation with a well -deserved reputation for quality and efficiency.

The company’s senior managers already had a good appreciation of the importance of innovation so when they heard about the Scimitar Programme they decided to attend an introductory seminar. This seminar was delivered by John O’Connor  and was attended by Richard Salvage, Managing Director of Shield Medicare. Richard was impressed by the Programme and so Shield Medicare joined “Surrey I” the first Scimitar Programme to take place in that county.

The company team were all-receptive to the message of innovation so no time was wasted in challenging basic innovation concepts. According to Richard Salvage, the Programme helped the organisation to think strategically. He recognised that the company, like others, was dependent in the first instance on its customers. However, it was also in the hands of its suppliers. Shield Medicare did not own and control its own manufacturing capability, therefore it was dependent on its suppliers to supply the right products so it could distribute/sell them to its customers. This worried the company on 3 counts:

Firstly, customer needs and problems were constantly evolving and changing, giving rise to demands and new products. However, Shield Medicare was not in control of its new product development activities, being largely dependent on its suppliers to come up with new concepts to meet evolving demands.

Secondly, it was not in charge of quality of products produced. This was becoming more and more important as exacting European Union quality standards had to be met.

Thirdly, the company concerned about security of its supplies, i.e. having the right amount of the right product in the right place at the right time. The company found it difficult to achieve this under existing arrangements.

Therefore, with the assistance of the Programme, the company evolved a strategy of developing its own manufacturing capability. As Richard Salvage put it:

“The problem was one of escaping the mindset of being a distribution company Scimitar enabled us to visualise creatively our way around obstacles and to visualise solutions.”

However, what new products would Shield Medicare produce? The programme also assisted the company to develop new products:

  • A vertical isolation drape that provides a sterile isolation area for patients undergoing operations.
  • Disposable suction device to be used as an add-on to an existing ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) product.
  • Non Toxic sterilisation fluids for the ultra safe sterilisation of isolation cabinets, surgical instruments and worktops in laboratories.
  • After completing a business plan, the company attracted £25k from Surrey Development Fund to assist in the launch of these new products and also were runners up for the National Westminster Bank Business Development Award.
  • A second business plan has now been produced to assist in acquiring funding to establish a new factory to produce the above products. At the time of writing this has been successful and new factory will open in January 1996 in the Swansea Valley in South Wales, an area of traditionally high unemployment. The business plan projections foresee the creation of 10 new jobs over 2 years, which will give a welcome boost to this area.

To run this manufacturing operation a new company has been formed, Sterishield Systems Ltd. This company will supply products to Shield Medicare who will then market these new products both at home and abroad (the company has already won its first export order to Spain).

To conclude, it can be clearly seen that the Scimitar Programme has greatly assisted Shield Medicare management to revolutionise the operations of the company. It guided the company to think strategically and creatively, and gave them a pathway to follow for creating a new product portfolio. The results has been the transformation of a small distribution company into a medium sized manufacturing company, which is already making a significant contribution to job and export drive.

 Thus this is a good example of a company who used our product to both evolve a new company model and develop new products


Shield Medicare : Innovation using our systems helped transform the company from being a distributor into an innovative manufacturer


Shield Medicare’s new factory near Swansea in Wales opened in 2006

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