BC Group Int Inc

Finding a company that believes in listening to its customers and works to fill their needs is not easy these days. At BC Group International Inc, St Louis, President Mel Roche says listening to its customers is part of its success. Founded in 1988 as a sales and service organization that handled the test-equipment needs of the biomedical engineering community, BC Group has grown to include 75 product lines with thousands of products. In 2000, the company launched the BC Biomedical product line, which consists of both manufactured and private-label test equipment. Lloyd Industries designed and manufactured several of these products, and in January 2005 Dytec Corporation, a Lloyd Industries affiliate, bought BC Group.

Today, BC Group consists of four interlinking operations: BC Biomedical; BC Market Place, which consists of the 75 product lines the company distributes; BC Depot, an in-house service center; and BC OnSite, a mobile calibration service. Roche says the company continues to operate as an independent organization, and provides the world market with the same sales and service for which BC Group is noted.

24×7: Share with us a few of BC Group’s flagship products and how you think they have impacted the industry.

 Roche: The biomedical engineering community deals with a wide variety of equipment, and our products are geared toward making the testing of this equipment easy, safe, accurate, and efficient. Items like our SA2000 safety analyzer family bring the latest in safety testing to every user in a small, easy-to-use, affordable package. Our patient-simulator family offers everything from the simplest electrocardiogram simulation to the full-function, high-end PS2240 multiparameter simulator. The list goes on and on, but generally the theme is the same: We listen to what the customer wants, and we provide it. Our long-term relationships with companies like TSI and Bacharach allow us to provide the certifier FA, the latest in respiratory ventilator test systems, and the 3010, the cutting edge in nitrous oxide analyzers. Each represent products designed in cooperation with the suppliers to meet the specific needs of the industry.

24×7: What are a few of the challenges you have encountered over the years, and what have you done to overcome them?

Roche: I founded Lloyd Industries in 1981, and I have been involved in all of the challenges a small, growing company faces. You make sure that everyone in the organization understands that our customers are the reason we are here. When challenges arise, you face them with the knowledge that you have the people, the tools, and a plan.

When we bought BC Group, the goal was to reshape the central focus from a general distributor into a sales front end for a manufacturing operation, while maintaining and expanding the existing distribution and service operations. Retaining the many talented people who make up BC Group and doing everything possible to ensure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts helped achieve this. Good people make good companies.

24×7: What makes BC Group different from other companies that offer similar services?

Roche: We offer a complete package of services and products that no other company provides. Under our new structure, we develop test equipment on a continuous basis using in-house design and engineering. In our manufacturing facility we produce a growing family of new products directly targeted at the biomedical test-equipment market. Our product lines cover everything from screwdrivers to laser test systems. Our in-house service center services and calibrates everything we build, in addition to other manufacturers’ equipment, including equipment that original equipment manufacturers may no longer support. We also offer an on-site equipment-calibration and test service. Our experienced sales staff is available to our customers to answer questions, and we have a general products catalog, and an extensive Web site. Our service center is ANSI Z540 compliant, calibration is NIST traceable, and our entire operation is ISO 9001 registered. Taken as a whole, this combination truly sets us apart.

24×7: What are a few of the trends impacting the health care parts and services industry? How are these issues affecting biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs)?

Roche: The industry is continually being asked to do more with less. The equipment is more complex, requiring newer and more sophisticated test equipment, but the resources are not keeping up with the need, which leaves the BMET caught in the middle.

 BC Group offers 75 product lines with thousands of products, including full-function multiparameter patient simulators.

Our challenge is to work with the industry to stay ahead of the changes and be ready with the tools that are required when they are required. This is hampered by the fact that the industry is relatively small, which means that test equipment is produced in the hundreds and not the thousands.

Paperless is also a trend, and more connectivity is the way everything is heading. Data needs to be freely exchanged between equipment and over networks.

24×7: How does BC Group plan to accommodate changes in the industry? Where do you see the company in 5 years?

Roche: The biomedical test-equipment market is in great flux due to both technical changes and mergers and acquisitions. What used to be an industry of small players is now dominated by one large company. A lot of good things can come from consolidation, but we do not believe that this is a “one-size-fits-all” industry. This market requires innovation, fresh ideas, and better solutions. Our plan is to do what we have always done best—listen to our customers. We will continue to bring products and services to the market in response to what our customers tell us they want and need. It is our job to design, develop, or dream up the solutions to the real-world issues that are out there.

In 5 years, I see BC Group at the forefront of the industry with a spread of new products and services that meet the industry’s needs.

24×7: How does having a wide variety of products and services advance the overall mission of BC Group?

Roche: Our philosophy is counter to the current trend of “one-size-fits-all.” We offer a family of products that provide the user with a choice of models so they can pick the features they need at a price they can afford. Being the “one-stop biomed shop” means that we provide what our customers need. If we can offer the right solution at the best price, we become the obvious source to buy from. If you can put the small stuff on the purchase order with the big stuff, you can save money. Also, by providing a location for broad-based information, the customer can call us or look on our Web site to explore options without hours of work. 24×7