We talk to four former winners of the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards to learn more about how winning the award has impacted on their businesses.
In this post we speak to John Barron of Reagecon.
Best Established SME Award 2014 – John Barron, Reagecon
Reagecon Diagnostics develops, manufactures, and distributes physical and chemical standards and reagents for laboratories worldwide. The company also offers customized manufacturing, training, and technical services. Its customers include organizations that operate laboratories, clean rooms, and processing and production plants in the pharmaceutical, clinical, environmental, life sciences, food technology, and education sectors. The company offers its products through its network of distributors, as well as online, and supplies its products in 150 countries worldwide. Reagecon Diagnostics was founded in 1990 and is based in Shannon, Ireland. The company is the largest producer of calibration standards in the world.
What was your start-up day?
What motivates you?
Growing the business to be market leader worldwide, developing new products (standards and certified reference materials), developing internal talent and contributing to the local economy.
What keeps you up at night?
Failure of products to reach customers on dates as promised and failure of products to match specifications or tolerances in line with customer expectations.
What’s been the most surprising part of running the business?
The excellent level of state support in Ireland, support and goodwill of stakeholders including banks, and level of co-operation from customers including competitors.
What’s been the most challenging for you?
Products are extremely demanding technically, product range is very wide (approximately 7,000 different products), market tends to be conservative in accepting new products and sometimes (internally) our transfer process from R&D into full production is not agile enough.
And the most rewarding?
Building an international brand and obtaining a position as the largest producer of physical and chemical standards and certified reference materials in the world.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
The company was under-capitalised in the beginning. This restrained our growth trajectory and R&D pipeline. This was remedied by bringing in outside equity and leveraging grant aid and banking facilities against the equity. We quickly learnt the value of adequate funding.
What are some of the characteristics of people that have been successful at your company?
A positive attitude, an ability to either implement and manage change or accept change, positive disposition and a capability to work hard
What are you most excited about for the future?
There is significant growth in the market and we are very well positioned to capture a good portion of this opportunity, we are well positioned in China and the Far East for the growth that is occurring there and we have a significant new product pipeline developed.
Any amazing families, partners, friends behind the scenes you’d like to thank – how did they support you in the early days?
My wife Brigid, children James, Don, Maura, Eleanor and Stephen. Constant support and tolerance to enable me to develop the business. Constant support, dedication and friendship from our leadership team of Mike, Vicky and Don, Michelle, Lee and Bernard, and external directors Finbarr and Jim – I would like to thank them all sincerely.
What doors has winning the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards opened for you?
It has enabled us to confidently present our value proposition to customers around the world knowing that what we offer is externally validated by independent adjudicators.
What was the biggest benefit for you winning this award?
Confidence that we are on the right track from strategic, tactical and operational perspectives.