Opritech - working with tender opportunities

A Nelson-based company that imports and modifies operating tables for New Zealand hospitals has evolved into a highly specialised business that is a good example of trans-Tasman cooperation.

Originally set up in 1993 to repair operating tables - which, as complex pieces of equipment, need regular servicing - the company was purchased in 2004 by Matthew Field. He relocated the company to his home base in Nelson, aiming to expand the business while still retaining its family values.

"Operating tables are still the core of the business. We now sell what is probably the most advanced operating table in the Southern Hemisphere."

Field sourced a state-of-the-art carbon fibre table in Australia - one that allows for full body X-rays to be taken without moving the patient - and began to import it. But even this table did not meet all clients' needs.

"Surgeons and clinicians would tell us they wanted some modification, so we would listen to what they needed and do it. Gradually, some of our modifications got incorporated by the manufacturer - a good example of an innovative collaboration that has benefited us both."

Opritech continues to customise its tables and accessories according to clients' requests.

"People often say "I wish the table did this."  We say, tell us what you want it to do, and we'll find a way to do it," says Field.

Can do attitude creates trust  It's that Kiwi can-do attitude that has made Opritech a trusted partner in New Zealand hospitals, and is seeing it expand into the latest LED theatre lighting technology, digital theatres, and even the complete fit out of operating theatres. The company has been dealing closely with the Industry Capability Network for many years, and has found the service a valuable way of knowing what tenders are coming up and getting the opportunity to pitch for work, Field says.

"Tender processes tend to be complex and expensive to do. It really helps to have someone knowledgeable to open doors and get our products in front of the right people. ICN's team is very professional."

If Opritech isn't included in a tender opportunity it is suited to, ICN will ask why and make sure the company gets the opportunity, Field says. With operating tables worth at least $80,000 - more with extra specifications - hospitals need to know they are getting the best possible product for the money.

Opritech purchased Advance Medical Equipment at the end of 2007, which means it can now supply a wide range of medical equipment to doctors, medical centres, dentists, and even vets. As with its operating tables, Opritech services all the equipment it sells, with Australia its main source of supply.

The company motto is dedicated to service and where possible it provides same-day repair service for breakdowns. "Our aim is no theatre downtime, as cancelled operating lists cost big money. We'll provide a loaner or hire table if required while we carry out the repairs," says Field.

"Opritech is a family-owned business that goes one step further than most to service its clients, "says ICN's Ian Mallett. "They bring in a very good operating table from Australia and add further value by customising it. It is an arrangement that works extremely well for them, for the Australian manufacturers and for the local clients."