A look back to 2016 and what to expect in 2017
How does Winclove look back on 2016 and what subjects will come to the fore in 2017? Marco van Es, Business Development Director at Winclove, reflects on 2016 and unveils plans for the coming year.
2016: the year of transition
Marco: For Winclove, 2016 was a year of transition. In May, our formal director, Pieter Pekelharing, officially handed over the company to his son Maarten, and with this, Winclove being a “family company” also formally became a fact. More changes to the management board were made in September, when Rob ten Cate joined the directional team in the position of Director Operations. With the arrival of Rob, we pressed ahead on professionalizing our production line. The government requires us to fulfil increasingly stringent quality requirements. More rules usually increase an organization’s regulatory pressure and rigidity, which is at odds with our aim; increasing flexibility. We want to say yes more often to sales requests regarding batch sizes. In 2017 our intention is to be able to turn out smaller batches as well as larger ones. In cooperation with the Operations Team, Rob will look after this on the production side.
"Winclove again marked up healthy growth this year but our objective is to retain the agility of a small company."
In 2016 we saw a further increase in the awareness of the impact bacteria have on our health. This is reflected by the continuing growth of the number of published articles and scientific conferences focused on the microbiota. This knowledge is being utilized not only by companies that make food supplements, but also the pharmaceutical industry sees opportunities in microbiota management. Are we worried about our position in the market given the interest of these big corporations? Not at all. Our type of products is focused mainly on prevention and treatment of recurrent infections. We are happy to leave it to the pharmaceutical sector to find a solution for the actual treatment of diseases. For example, the pharmaceutical industry can examine how faecal transplantation can be used safely and effectively as a probiotic treatment for disorders like recurrent C. difficile infections.
In the past year, probiotic therapies have been developed for applications beyond the gut. Brain health, urogenital health and ear, nose and throat health are hot topics in microbiota research, a field where Winclove is among the leaders. We have been asked to provide the preliminary programme at next year’s IPA World Congress on mind, mood and microbes, which we are very excited about.
The central theme at Winclove in 2017 will be customer intimacy. We took big steps last year in improving our alignment to the scientific world. We started up a record number of research projects with scientific partners, but we realize that all of these scientific outcomes are only meaningful if they are ultimately used in practice. We want this information to reach the patient, either via the health care professional or otherwise. We want to achieve this through further integration with our partners. If we have a better understanding of the needs of our partners, we can enter into more intimate and more effective cooperation. This is necessary to translate scientific information properly for the target group of our partners; health care professionals and/or consumers. We hope to get closer to our partner in terms of education, marketing and regulatory affairs. To reach clinicians together with our partner we will continue to focus on the scientific validation of our Ecologic® Inside product line. To this purpose, we are building a platform for health care professionals containing relevant information about our probiotic formulations and microbiota management. Our objective is to facilitate our partners in their communication with health care professionals.
"Together with our partners, we want to bring the scientific information on probiotics and microbiota management to health care professionals."
So customer intimacy is our principal New Year’s resolution for 2016. We hope that it will be a two‑way street. Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions that you may have. We are keen to know what our customers find important. I have a feeling that we can often provide more support than people think. In 2017 we want to show that this is the case!
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