Product Specialist, Armstrong Medical Ltd
Q: Who are you?
A: Julia Cathcart, Product Specialist at Armstrong Medical.
Q: How long have you been with the company?
A: I joined Armstrong Medical in April 2010.
Q: Do you find your job rewarding, and if so, how?
A: Yes, no two days are the same, so it keeps me interested! I could be visiting current customers to check that they are happy with their most recent shipment of product, or visiting a department that has never used an Armstrong Medical product before to detail our range. I’m also involved in a lot of product training for new customers or those that are trialling a product. Also, because we aren’t constrained by set product configurations I enjoy being able to find solutions for customers by creating bespoke circuits or kits.
Q: How did the company begin and how long has it been running?
A: The company was set up by our Managing Director John Armstrong in 1984, since then it has grown to be a reliable and high quality manufacturer and supplier of anaesthesia and critical care consumables in the UK, Ireland and worldwide. Manufacturing is carried out at our factory in Coleraine which is on the north coast of Northern Ireland where the company is a major employer. Four years ago Armstrong Medical overcame significant difficulties when the plant was devastated by a fire; we managed to continue trading with the support of customers and suppliers and have undoubtedly become a stronger company as a result.
Q: Who are your customers and what products/services do you offer them?
A: We offer a broad range of products to suit many different hospital departments, but in general our range brings me into contact with clinicians and nursing staff working in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Respiratory Services. We provide a wide range of disposable breathing systems, including resuscitation sets, anaesthesia circuits, heated wire circuits and CPAP systems. An extensive range of accessories is also available to accompany our breathing systems, including anaesthesia face masks, breathing filters, catheter mounts and laryngeal airways. In addition we have unique products such as AMSORB® PLUS, the world’s first strong alkali free carbon dioxide absorbent.
Q: What is your most popular product/service and why do you think that is?
A: AMSORB® PLUS, our patented carbon dioxide absorbent continues to be a key product for the company. AMSORB® PLUS is zero-caustic, it can be handled safely and is suitable for disposal with non-contaminated clinical waste. This is certainly an advantage for those departments needing to reduce waste costs. Importantly AMSORB® PLUS has significant safety features which benefit both the user and the patient. It doesn’t suffer from colour reversal as seen with traditional soda limes and so the user is always aware of its usage state. It is incapable of breaking down anaesthetic agent into carbon monoxide or other by-products which are not indicated for use in anaesthesia.
Q: Do you have any new products on the horizon?
A: We have strong links within the industry and with our customers; together with the wealth of technical expertise at our plant in Northern Ireland we have the ability to develop new and improved products in a short turnaround time. We are currently expanding our mould-making capabilities; this will inevitably lead to continued new product generation. Following the success of our laryngeal airway LaPremiere Plus and LaEncore Plus we are now pleased to offer the comprehensive range of sizes from neonatal to adult. All sizes in the range incorporate our unique pilot balloon design which not only prevents, but indicates for the user, that the cuff has been overinflated. Watch this space for new developments in our critical care circuit range!
Q: Do you foresee much expansion in the coming years?
A: Over the last 12 months I have realised that there are huge opportunities in the UK for further development of our market share in spite of tough economic constraints. This is down to the fact that we don’t just concentrate on “me-too” products, we have developed a range of products that suit changing clinical and patient demands. Armstrong Medical also has a strong export business and continues to invest in new markets which will strengthen our reputation worldwide. Expansion is inevitable with such a forward thinking, progressive company.
Q: What makes you different from your competitors?
A: We manufacture in the UK at our site in Coleraine, this gives us ultimate control over the product leaving our factory for distribution in the UK and overseas. From my point of view it allows me to discuss customer requirements with the very people who have designed and produced the products my customers are buying. This allows me to give an increased level of customer support which I think ultimately improves customer relations and product quality.
Tel +44 (0)28 7035 6029