A NEWTON ABBOT company specialising in the design and manufacture of slings is celebrating after achieving a 10 per cent increase in market share and a growth in exports after implementing new environmental and manufacturing systems.
Silvalea, which works in collaboration with healthcare professionals worldwide, has benefited from support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service.
Pauline Guilfoyle, managing director, the Silvalea Group, said: "We noticed that distribution channels were growing around the world as the healthcare industry looked to find quality solutions to meet patients' sling transfer needs.
"It was clear we needed to focus our attention on this increased demand and grow the businesses. We also wanted to address our environmental impact and understand how we could improve and manage our resources more efficiently.
"MAS provided us with valuable advice and constructive support as we identified that our manufacturing and administration procedures needed updating to meet our predicted growth targets.
"It helped us implement a comprehensive staff training programme for our new manufacturing system, which we wouldn't have been able to undertake on our own. Working with MAS to implement projects has enabled us to instigate strategies focused on building on the strong foundations that are in place so we can sustain future growth."
Phil Halse, MAS Advisor for Devon, said: "Silvalea had the vision and ambition to grow and we were able to provide the necessary insight into their wider operational needs.
"With our support in putting systems in place to cope with increased demand, Silvalea has been able to manage their capacity to capitalise on opportunities to grow and diversify. The company now has a solid foundation for further expansion and we hope to support them further with future projects."
Silvalea employs 55 people and has a turnover of £3-4m. It achieves 25 per cent of its revenue from exports, mainly to Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Turkey, but is now turning its attention to the USA.
An ageing global population and interest from new and emerging markets are helping to drive demand for Silvalea's products and services, with innovation in specialised fabrics and unique sling designs being the main driver for demand.
The company is also hoping to launch Guilly P, a fashion clothing range for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility.
Silvalea also operates a video conference training facility, called Global Training, so overseas customers can receive training on correct use of slings, share problems and solutions and carry out assessments for the right equipment without the need to travel to the UK.
Silvalea, based at Decoy Industrial Estate, was established in 1993 by by mother and daughter team Pauline Guilfoyle and Lynne Guilfoyle-Timm, both having previously had close connections to the healthcare market.
It has a catalogue of sling designs for a wide range of medical conditions. The company's customers include hospitals, nursing and care homes, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.
Pauline Guilfoyle recently won the Herald Express Women of Achievement Innovation Award 2013 for her outstanding ideas, products and services which have offered significant contributions to the community over the last 20 years.