Canal Executivo: new business for medical products

Mazzaferro seeks new business abroad for medical products

With 85% of national market share in polyamide monofilaments for surgical sutures, Mazzaferro, a company with 65 years of experience in the nylon business, is seeking growth abroad and, for this, it also has polypropylene yarn for sutures and prosthetic meshes, and intrauterine devices (IUD). Currently, the company supplies its yarn to the two largest companies in the medical segment in the country, Johnson and Medtronic/Covidien. With a production capacity of 100 million meters of thread per year, the company is investing in increasing its exports. This potential is only possible because, unlike the competition, the company has an extrusion line of 50 meters in length, while other companies, at most, 10 meters.

In 2017, Mazzaferro sold 53 million meters for sutures. Of these, 43% stayed in Brazil. Another 27% went to India, 10% to China, and the remaining 20% went to countries on the European, Asian, African, and American continents. “We are the absolute market leader in Brazil today. Unfortunately, there are no more growth margins here. So, we are investing in the opening of international markets and new business opportunities,” says Fabiana Suzuki, business manager of the company.

Today, Mazzaferro operates exclusively in the segment of non-absorbable synthetic yarns. Next year, the company intends to expand its product portfolio by developing multifilament suture threads, ideal for the orthopedic and cardiology areas. The differences between polyamide and polypropylene threads are subtle: “Polypropylene-based sutures are a little more resistant, but everything depends on the physician’s preference. Each one tends to choose the material they prefer to work with,” he explains.

To gain more and more space abroad, the company has invested heavily in participating in international fairs. The biggest and most anticipated of them is Medical, which takes place in November, in Germany. The challenge is to understand the reality, the needs and preferences of each country. “India is a country that seeks a lot of quality. There are very large and well-structured companies there that, besides serving a large domestic market, are also strong exporters”, Fabiana exemplifies.

Besides dedicating itself to know in detail the markets that intends to operate, Mazzaferro has innovation as its central strategy. The FDA, the U.S. agency that regulates medicines, allows only black and blue yarns. However, as the veterinary rules are more flexible, the company is the only one to offer threads in orange, green and pink. “This facilitates the work of the veterinarian, who can better see the suture in the surgical field because it is a fluorescent thread”, he argues.

In the line of human sutures there is also demand for varied colors, due to different skin tones. “In Africa, for example, there are requests for yellow sutures, to contrast better with black skin”, he highlights. Thus, the company is following these requests with the FDA and hoping for an expansion in the possibility of colors. Mazzaferro is one of the only companies in the world that develops the dyed yarn during the extrusion process. “This detail ensures much more fidelity to the color and gains in mechanical properties.

Another great differential of the company is in the quality processes. Mazzaferro has ISO 13.485, which ensures the quality of medical devices. Moreover, the medical area needs many requirements and, one of them is the biocompatibility test. This test analyzes the level of toxicity, biological reactivity, sensitivity, irritation, and intracutaneous reactivity, among others. “On average, a battery of tests like these costs around $100,000 and is the responsibility of our customers, since they finalize the product. However, Mazzaferro absorbs this cost and does not pass it on to the clients,” he says.

Internalizing this process makes the company drastically reduce the homologation time of its clients and ensures a greater optimization in the processes. As it has all the documentation in order, starting the supply becomes a much simpler task. The same is true for order deliveries. While the average delivery time of products in this segment is eight to ten months in the market, Mazzaferro can make deliveries in just five days, in the case of polyamide. “All this is a consequence of a quality product and very efficient processes.

It is for all these reasons that Mazzaferro wants to invest even more in exports. The two most recent conquests are Iran and Romania, fruits of the intensive participation in the sector’s fairs. “In Iran, we were warned that it is an extremely closed market and distrustful regarding possible terrorist actions. But fortunately, as we have everything well organized, we had a very simple process. We are already serving two companies in the country”. The expectation now is to raise exports to the level of 70% of all production.

Published in the Canal Executivo blog on June 28th, 2018: