BPI Medical moved into a new building in Fife late last year that is more than twice the size of its former quarters.
Now the company is looking for ways to fill up that additional space.
BPI Medical makes, modifies, repairs and remanufactures surgical tools and equipment — flexible and rigid endoscopes, power equipment, cameras and fiber optic cables. It produces customized and specialized instruments, and does prototyping, small-batch manufacturing and micromachining. Among its products are devices to help surgeons install spinal and orthopedic implants, sold by large original-equipment manufacturers that make the implants. Most of its business is domestic.
Bob Overmars, president and chief executive of BPI Medical, said the company decided to move in order to own instead of rent, to have more room to accommodate growth and to increase efficiency. BPI used experience accumulated at two previous locations to come up with a floor plan that increased efficiency by decreasing the movement of people and material. That matters for a com-pany that emphasizes quick turn times, providing same-day or next day return of repaired and rebuilt equipment.
The new facility (pictured above, photo courtesy of the company) is 38,000 square feet, vs. 14,400 at its old Fife location. The company has 48 employees.
BPI’s underlying business has been good, Overmars says. “We continue to grow. It’s been lucrative. The market is definitely staying consistent in that people are going in for procedures on a regular basis, and things are breaking and we’re fixing them.”
BPI Medical was founded as Ben’s Precision Instruments in 1976 by Ben Overmars Sr. for sharpening and repairing surgical instruments. In 1993 it added pneumatic and electric hand pieces to its repair portfolio.
One plan for growth is to market its repair service nationally through the sales force of a company whose medical products BPI already sells in the Northwest.
Overmars is a serial entrepreneur. Another venture he started, Ratchet Solutions, developed a tool that turns a screw in the same direction regardless of the direction the handle is twisted (WMA April 9, 2012). Sold as both a hardware tool and a medical device, “It definitely took off,” Overmars says, estimating that more than 4 million have been sold. The device is made in China.
More recently Overmars formed a company with a doc-tor in Portland to make a sterile disposable device for re-moving catheters. Ocean Medical hopes to launch its prod-uct (to be made on a contract basis) in the fourth quarter.