The Healing Process- Global Traders
How SIGN Fracture Care Helps Heal Traffic Accident Victims in Developing Countries
While lovers around the world reveled in the romance of Valentine’s Day, SIGN Fracture Care International CEO Jeanne Dillner celebrated the holiday for another reason. The week of Feb. 14 marked a significant achievement for SIGN: More than 125,000 individuals living in developing countries were healed following road-traffic accidents. Dillner and her colleagues don’t take full credit for this feat—lauding the “skilled” surgeons who operated on these individuals—but she acknowledges that they played a key role in the healing process.
“We don’t have a 30-second elevator speech,” she says, “but in a nutshell we help surgeons in developing countries build orthopedic capacity so they can treat patients who are injured from road-traffic accidents.” Without treatment, many of these individuals become disabled—a condition that has devastating financial implications since 80 percent of the injured are their families’ breadwinners. “So to alleviate this problem we provide training to orthopedic surgeons and, more importantly, we provide the orthopedic implant,” Dillner says. SIGN personally designs and manufactures the implant and then gives it to area hospitals, free of charge.
Getting these devices into the hospitals has proven to be no small task, however. “In the early days, U.S. surgeons would [physically] carry the equipment when flying out to provide training,” Dillner says. But rapid growth in 2002 led Dillner and her colleagues to reconsider their approach and seek out partnerships with FedEx, UPS and DHL. “It just depends on which company has the best access to the areas of the world that we’re going,” she explains. Although these carriers don’t provide SIGN with free freight space, Dillner says they give her organization “remarkable” agreements, “which is their way of supporting our humanitarian mission.”
Working with these companies—particularly FedEx and UPS—has boosted SIGN’s operations tremendously, she asserts. “One of our goals is to provide a sustainable and timely supply of the implants,” Dillner says. “And thanks to FedEx and UPS, we can now ship implants as soon as hospitals need it.” Shipments to certain hospitals have even surged to once a month, Dillner says, a rate that has improved the lives of people across the globe.
GREENING THE GLOBE
Eco-friendly chemical company eyes international growth
Staying relevant in today’s economy requires companies to not only observe market trends, but respond to them as well. It’s a truth Joel Ivey, sales director for Charlotte, N.C.-based Ultra-Chem Industries Inc., knows all too well. After watching the textiles industry migrate from the U.S. to the emerging markets—namely China, Turkey, Mexico and Brazil—Ivey and his colleagues at Ultra-Chem realized that they needed to innovate. “We followed the industry [to these nations],” Ivey says, “and partnered with people in China and Turkey.”
Ultra-Chem still manufactured its popular Ultra Biocid technology for textiles, but introduced some new additions to its repertoire of environmentally friendly products. Instead of targeting textile companies only, Ultra-Chem sought growth in the paper and veterinary sectors—developing acid-replacement technology and antimicrobial treatments, respectively. “Again, all of our products are green and offer safe environmental features, which has really been our focus for the last six to seven years,” says Ivey.
Getting the products to market has also been a key focus of the eco-friendly chemical company. Although more than half of Ultra-Chem’s customers handle their own logistics, the company regularly employs three companies when moving goods from their Southeastern U.S. manufacturing facilities to their final destinations. Ivey reveals that U.S. Xpress handles Ultra-Chem’s Mexico-bound freight while Glen Raven Logistics trucking monopolizes the company’s domestic cargo routes. Ultra-Chem relies on Expeditors International when shipping outside of North America, he adds.
The latter company is particularly integral to Ultra-Chem’s operations since growing internationally is a high priority for Ultra-Chem. Ivey reveals that the chemical company is currently working with the South Carolina Department of Commerce to help it market its antimicrobial treatment for dairy cows to an international audience and “get in touch with the right people.” Ultra-Chem is also in talks with the respective consulates of Mexico and India about getting their sanitizing chemicals and antimicrobial hoof treatment into the regions. “We’re currently pushing them in China with our partners, and Turkey as well,” Ivey says. After all, he explains, responding to the changing patterns of commerce requires companies to go where the demand is.