A quality culture

Having supplied healthcare providers with sterile and non-sterile packs and consumable items that are vital to patient care for more than 30 years, Rocialle has become a well-reputed partner of those in both the clinical and commercial sectors

Dedicated to helping providers of primary and acute healthcare to improve efficiency and control infection, Rocialle has developed a strong reputation for improving patient experience and driving down the costs of high quality medical products. In acute care, Rocialle supplies to the majority of NHS Trusts in the UK.

Rocialle’s market leading position was earned by closely matching products and services to the needs of the healthcare providers. The cornerstone of Rocialle’s business is its Custom Procedure Pack. Rocialle works with the customer to specify the contents of a single sterile pack that presents surgical teams with all of the consumables required for a particular procedure. During and after implementation of the pack, Rocialle’s clinical team continues to work with clinicians to refine the specification.

Providing the same items each time the procedure is performed and packed in a way that facilitates the consistent laying out of the items, the pack standardises the procedure and embeds best practice, furthering infection control and improving efficiency. Following pack implementation, nurses spend less time picking and unwrapping components and so can dedicate more time to patient care. Also, cost savings are made because purchasing administration and stock management are simplified.

Rocialle’s Medical Packs offer the same benefits of standardisation and embedding of best practice for procedures conducted on wards and in the community, and the company’s Single-Use Surgical Instruments also further the company’s aim of helping healthcare providers achieve increased efficiency and infection control.

A part of Berendsen Plc, a FTSE250 company and European textile business, Rocialle employs 300 people at its Mountain Ash site, in close proximity to Cardiff. At this purpose-built site, one of the largest medical clean rooms in Europe and an electron beam irradiation steriliser (e-beam), together with extensive stocks of raw materials, enable Rocialle to be highly responsive to customers’ needs. Finished goods are stored at a separate but nearby National Distribution Centre.

Designed, built and equipped to enable the company to provide flexible, high quality and cost effective performance, Rocialle’s site in Wales is complemented by a team of competent and quality focused employees. Products are prepared and packed in a clean room that is stringently monitored by Rocialle’s own microbiology lab, which thus ensures the clean room maintains the high standards that led to the company achieving ISO 14644, Class 719. In the clean room, products are sealed inside the ‘inner’ packaging. Once boxed, the products are sterilised by the e-beam. This method has long proven to be effective, safe and lower in cost than alternative methods. Finished goods are sent to the National Distribution Centre in Aberdare for consolidation and dispatch to customers.

Having striven to gain its market leading position, the actions of Rocialle’s management team demonstrate that the company will not stand still. While discussing investment that the company has made in machinery over the last 18 months, Managing Director Steve Burt says: “We’ve installed a new line that improves the packaging of our single-use instruments. Working together with the specialist machine builder Multivac enabled us to specify and install a line that meets our requirements exactly. We can now match the size of the pack much more closely to the size of the instrument. Previously, we had only three pack sizes and we’ve increased this to seven. At the same time we invested in new outer packaging, moving from one size of brown box to five sizes of white, wipe clean, dispensing boxes with improved branding. This investment aligned customer perception with the high standard of quality of the instruments and reduced costs of materials and freight.

“A piece of equipment of which we are proud is the swab check-weigher. It’s a simple solution for an industry-wide problem and we are the first to have developed it for use in our industry. In a surgical theatre, swabs are always used in fives. Unexpectedly having six swabs would mean that one could remain inside a patient and not be missed when a count is made at the end of the procedure. Starting with four swabs would put the patient at risk of an unnecessary additional procedure to search for the missing fifth swab. So, to ensure the correct supply of a critical but low cost item, we invested in a machine that is more usually used in the food industry. It is a highly accurate scale that weighs the swabs to ensure the correct number is included in the pack. We have effectively solved an industry-wide problem, protecting patient safety and enabling healthcare providers to continue to enjoy the efficiency benefits of having the swabs included in the procedure packs.”

Alongside these notable investments, the company continues to invest significantly in training for its employees, not only enhancing their capabilities but also helping them realise the importance of the role they play in the healthcare sector. “I want our employees to feel that they are part of the overall healthcare system and that by ensuring the highest levels of quality and service, they play a role in saving lives – helping healthcare providers control infection, increase efficiency and reduce costs,” highlights Steve.

Further demonstrating enhanced employee engagement and empowerment, Rocialle was awarded the coveted SA8000 Social Accountability Standard and is one of only 12 companies in the UK to obtain this certification. “Although we were already ethical in the way we treat our suppliers and staff, we wanted to become the employer of choice for those in our business sector. Improvements we made included changes to overtime arrangements and also appointing an employee representative panel,” explains Steve. “The panel is really about showing our employees that they are valued and looked after so they then look after the business in a responsible and efficient manner. Additionally, the Standard protects the interests of the people employed by our suppliers.”

The effects of this continuous investment are Distinction evident in the gains Rocialle has made recently. The winning of NHS tenders for packs and instruments has continued and Rocialle won a competitive tender to retain the procedure pack business of the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare, BMI Healthcare. Meanwhile, the improvements made to the packaging of single-use instruments have been important to the winning of business in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Rocialle’s obvious expertise and experience in the healthcare market make it an attractive option for companies looking for a contract manufacturer. With a dedicated business-to-business team for sales and service, Rocialle can be very focused on the specific needs of a customer. While Rocialle branding provides access to the market through Rocialle’s distribution network and supply framework agreements, Rocialle also has considerable experience in supplying own-label and dual branded products. By having their instrument or equipment inside a Rocialle procedure pack, a company offers the same benefits to their customers as are provided by Rocialle products – increased efficiency and control of infection. The manufacturer’s product is supplied with all of the required supplementary items, simplifying the end user’s order administration, stock holding, picking and unwrapping. Less handling means reduced risk of surgical site infection. As Steve says, “Being able to supply their product in such a pack means that training is easier and more effective and best practice is embedded. A recent study has shown that this has huge positive implications for patient safety. Customers are no longer selling just the benefits of their own product but a package that is easier to introduce, reduces costs and saves lives.”

Looking ahead, the future looks positive for Rocialle, particularly after the company received the coveted MediWales 2015 ‘Partnership with the NHS’ award for its work with NHS Wales and ABM UHB in the development of a national cannulation procedure pack and one of Rocialle’s contract manufacturing customers won ‘Best Start-Up’, crediting Rocialle in the acceptance speech. “It was a great evening for us, demonstrating how we will continue to bring new benefits to traditional customers and showing what we can add to the products of our contract manufacturing partners,” commented Steve.

Products: Sterile surgical and medical procedure packs and single-use surgical instruments