When asked what were three words to describe Biocut Systems’ summer thus far, President Don Melnikoff knew almost immediately.
“Transition to growth.”
He expanded, making sure to clarify that the company has experienced other forms of growth besides financial: including personal growth among staff, as well as the company’s portfolio.
Despite numerous customers battling various implications of COVID-19 that seemingly put a halt to production, the Biocut team found a way to make lemonade out of a lull of lemons.
“We were pretty flat, but during lockdown we invested in a lot of innovation, new innovations we knew were needed, we could develop and test rapidly.”
Focusing on an ongoing list of customer concerns, the team used the slowdown in business to pivot their efforts into tackling issues their clients may have placed on the back shelf for a later time — essentially opening a Pandora’s box of pain points.
“We were able to really innovate quite a bit during that time. Now with our customers coming back, we’ve been able to show them these new ideas,” said Melnikoff. “And from discussions after the lockdown we have seen a sharp increase of inquiries.”
These innovations coincide with the Food and Drug Administration updating standards for tissue banks in ways that push for less manual processes and towards automation in efforts to increase quality.
“That’s where we come in,” said Melnikoff. “We’ve had many discussions with customers and we saw the new standards coming which was a couple of years in the making. That’s where we’ve invested and innovated, the exact areas where we knew our customers needed better controlled processes to make a medical device versus a tissue.”
One of the upcoming projects includes a bone mill which grinds bone into fibers or particulate that is later used for various orthopedic surgeries.
“Anytime a surgeon is drilling a hole and putting a screw in someone for anything from dental, to new knees, hips, or plates for broken bones, they’ll pack it with this material because it helps trigger bone growth.”
Yet, these new levels of growth have not come without challenges, pandemic and non-pandemic related. Overcoming changes in staffing due to departures as well as staff falling ill with COVID or other concerns, team culture had to shift to one focused on flexibility and support.
“We all feel very empowered to be able to fit in and help where needed, myself included. Those challenges have really broken down all the silos. We didn’t have many silos since we’re a small company, but it’s broken down those remaining barriers.”
Now Biocut Systems is reveling in the new light customers are viewing them, straying from the former days of solely dies and presses.
“We’ve grown over the years. But now, like I said, that paradigm shift or that perception shift has happened. And at the exact same time, we’ve brought new innovations to market. It is an exciting time for the industry and for Biocut.”