85 years old but fresher than ever. With great pleasure we´re celebrating our company jubilee in 2022. Not that long on board but with almost 30 years of experience in the corporation a true “MAICO original” is Uwe Ledworuski, Quality Manager and Head of Regulatory Affairs. In the following interview Uwe tells us exciting stories about the development of MAICO Diagnostics in the last 30 years, describes what makes MAICO so special and gives a small outlook for where the company might be heading to in the future. We hope you enjoy reading!
Uwe, many thanks that you take your time to talk with us about the MAICO history.
Just that we all know with whom we´re talking here – please describe in short what are your main tasks in the MAICO quality management?
As a quality manager and head of regulatory – together with my team – I take care for that we meet our established quality standards and everything is conforming to the law. In our department we´re always very close to the customer and communicate the feedback to the MAICO products into the corresponding divisions of our organization. So our team contributes a lot to secure a constant high quality and to optimize our products further on. As a manufacturer of medical technology products it´s our main priority to ensure the patients safety. To achieve that we create the corresponding prerequisites day by day. Last but not least we take care for the necessary registrations in the local markets. A process that´s getting more and more complex for suppliers of MedTech devices.
You´ve been at MAICO for a very long time now – to be exact – since 29 years. Do you still remember how everything started?
Wow – 30 years – that´s really quite a long time. But honestly it doesn’t feel like that. When I think back on how it all began – first thing that comes to my mind is the difference in the whole structure of MAICO Germany in 1993 compared to 2022. But what has been already there back in the days was this unique “teamspirit” and the common will and enthusiasm to develop the company and put innovative hearing test devices on the market. To draw a balance: We did that really well. Did in the beginning nine employees work at the berlin location – now 50 experts with different backgrounds from all over the world are operating from our office. Did our product range include three audiometers back in 1993 – we now offer a broad range of easy-to-use hearing test devices from small handheld portable audiometer over intuitive tablet audiometer to diagnostic tympanometers and software solutions.
85 years on the market – not many can claim that. What´s the MAICO recipe for success?
In the year 1937 Leland A. Watson founded MAICO with the vision to develop intuitive and easy-to-use hearing test devices. And on this point nothing has changed to this day. One more key to our success is that we offer products, which specifically meet our customers’ needs. Additionally, the high-quality standards result in a high degree of satisfaction with our devices. For example, our MA 25 Audiometer has established as the absolute bestseller for basic hearing screening. Not least because it delivers highly reliable results for years and keeps going and going and going...
“MAICO – the Hearing Screening Company”
And: Who is buying MAICO hearing screening and diagnostic devices, buys a kind of “All-round Carefree Package.” Because service at MAICO doesn´t end with delivery. With our after-sales support we take care for our customers as long as they use our products. A further factor of success is our positioning. Over the years we focused more and more on hearing screening and are now established and known as “MAICO – the hearing screening company” on the market.
During your time at MAICO you´ve probably heard a lot about the history of the company – from foundation to now.
How would you describe the development of MAICO and what are your highlights in the chronicle?
What distinguishes the development of MAICO is a constant healthy growth. As already mentioned, we started small here in Berlin and are now a highly specialized team that puts its heart and soul into the development and sale of high-quality, modern medical technology products every day. And for good reason: because we are all united by the idea of doing something good for people. This is also how our company vision has been formed over the years: "An early detection of hearing loss today - for a healthy and enjoyable life tomorrow." Of course, there have been plenty of highlights in just under 30 years: one highlight in our company's history was certainly our affiliation with the Diagnostic Group as part of William Demant Holding in 1995, where we were the first suppliers of audiometers.
But it did not stop there. The change from what was once called MAICO Audiometer GmbH to MAICO Diagnostics was primarily due to the expansion of our product portfolio and the addition of diagnostic hearing test devices with OAE and ABR measurements and diagnostics.
For me personally, of course, the introduction of an independently certified quality management system in the 1990s was a major highlight. Even today, the annual surveillance audit by the notified body is the most important date in the year, as this forms the basis for many processes in the company.
“Entry into newborn hearing screening a real milestone."
Whereas in the past - it is hard to imagine - certain configurations of our devices were still partly carried out in the Berlin premises, the production and shipment of our screening devices is now carried out entirely from the Poland site, which has greatly simplified and accelerated the logistical processes. Another milestone was certainly the entry into the field of newborn hearing screening with the introduction of the MAICO MB 11 BERAphone® in the year 2005. And not to forget and very recent: The launch of our first tablet audiometer easyTone, which makes hearing screening as fast and easy as possible.
What characterizes the teamwork at MAICO in particular - is there a special "spirit"?
At MAICO, it's not just about profit and efficiency. At MAICO, the focus is also on people. The cohesion in the team is extraordinary. Flat hierarchies, transparency at all levels and the creative exchange of ideas promote the spirit of innovation and direct solutions.
"Digitalization is shaping the future in hearing screening:"
What trends do you see in the field of hearing screening and in which direction do you think MAICO could/will develop and focus in the future?
The topic of digitalization is also playing an ever-increasing role in our industry. It is not for nothing that we launched the MAICO easyTone tablet audiometer this year. In addition to the semi-automatic screening workflow and completely digitized data management, the device is particularly impressive due to the consistently pursued "easy-to-use" approach, on which we will continue to focus more and more in the future in the development and modification of products. Software for hearing screenings and the management of patient data will also play an increasingly important role.
Is there a particular story you immediately think of when you recall your time with MAICO so far?
I particularly remember the many trips around the world - some of them adventurous in the early days - that I was able to experience as part of my job at MAICO. Also worth mentioning are the friendships that have developed internationally over the years and, last but not least, the legendary team events and christmas parties.
Uwe, thank you very much for this exciting interview about 85 years of MAICO.