Vanguard to the rescue down under

Kye Parkin
Communications Executive | Business West
25th October 2019

Since 1948, the National Health Service (NHS) has been the envy of the world. It is a truly remarkable social innovation - of which we are all immensely proud.

A lesser known fact about the NHS is that it is also the launchpad for world leading technical and service innovations. Employing over 1m people with 65m service users, the NHS provides the ideal testbed for innovators in healthcare with ambitions to go global.

Gloucester-based providers of mobile healthcare solutions, Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, are one such business, who having been an NHS supplier for decades, recently went global thanks to support from Business West. 

Vanguard are a market leader in mobile healthcare facilities, offering healthcare providers extra clinical capacity across a range of general and specialist services from cataracts procedures to endoscopy diagnosis. 

In little over six months of working with Business West, Vanguard built a pipeline of leads in Canada and Australia and managed to secure an £80,000 order from a client in Australia – an order that propelled them to national fame ‘down under’.

After storm damage at a Melbourne hospital left its operating theatre out of action, the decision was taken to perform open-heart surgery in one of Vanguard’s mobile operating theatres – a first for a hospital in Australia, and as far as Vanguard are aware, a first anywhere.

Business West’s international trade team helped Vanguard to grow their export business through rigorous market screening and setting up business meetings with key contacts overseas.

Speaking about the recent trip to Australia David Cole, Chief Executive of Vanguard Healthcare Solutions comments:

“We found the trip a massive success. We held 24 meetings in four cities over eight business days, meeting 47 people in total. We met operators of 14 health systems in various sectors and states; 12 of them immediately saw the relevance of our solutions and six of them said that they could have used such a solution in the previous two years. We already have a pipeline of eight opportunities, one of which is imminent, something we didn’t come looking for and which is a massive upside. Since returning to the UK, we have presented our findings to the board and have support to develop a structured market entry plan, which is terrific.” 

In addition to helping Vanguard build their pipeline, Business West staff were instrumental in ensuring the client was poised to make the most of the opportunities once overseas. David continues:  

“We had specific help from Barbara Hollyhead, Export Manager to create a corporate presentation and value proposition of our products and services localised to the culture and language of the territories viewed for potential expansion. Barbara led a workshop activity to define the messaging for delivery during meetings and a formal conference presentation to be delivered during a territory visit. The workshop produced a full script for the presentations to clearly articulate what the business proposes and the benefits that can be realised by the customer. Barbara’s marketing skill and wealth of international business experience were essential in building a tailor made set of materials. Consequently, due to the thorough preparation, meetings during the visits went exceptionally well.”

Phil Smith, Managing Director at Business West said: “It’s great that Business West has been able to work with Vanguard over the last 18 months, helping them create their export strategy and to achieve overseas sales success. We’ve received excellent feedback about the expertise of the staff in our International Trade Centre who helped to provide everything from initial market screening, to the market research report through to the ‘hands on’ export manager service. I look forward to seeing Vanguard continue to grow their export sales.”

Since joining the Export for Growth programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, five new jobs have been created within Vanguard’s UK operation, demonstrating the broader impact that exporting has on the local economy.

For more information on Business West international trade and export services visit:

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