In Tuttlingen, situated in a picturesque rural part of southern Baden-Wuerttemberg
between the Black Forest and the Swabian Alb, about 500 mainly small and medium-sized
companies are engaged in the business of medical technology (mainly surgical instruments).
Because of its strong spatial concentration and its remarkable world market share of
about 50 percent in the field of surgical instruments this region is called the "world
centre of medical technology". The history of this region shows, that the cluster
had to meet several challenges in the past 130 years. Especially in the time of
the worldwide economic crisis in the 1930s and later in the confusion of the
Second World War the craftsmen in Tuttlingen who all produced surgical instruments
for the world market were threatened. In this situation a lot of them joined
forces in several associations and co-operatives.
MEDICON e.G. is one example of a co-operative which was founded in 1941 through
the merger of 6 companies specialising in the production of surgical tools.
The small specialised crafts enterprises ensured their economic survival through
joined sourcing of materials, joined administration and offering a joined product
range. Merging the warehousing and the distribution activities enabled the firms
to specialise and to increase their negotiation and market power at the same time.
MEDICON achieved sustained success and currently produces over 20,000 products at
16 MEDICON production facilities in the Tuttlingen region. The emphasis is very
much on a traditional approach and every product is made in Germany. All in all,
MEDICON and its subsidiaries have a 400 employee-strong workforce and serve more
than 120 countries world-wide.
The case of MEDICON e.G. in the surgical instrument cluster of Tuttlingen
illustrates, that joining its forces provides competitive advantages and
sometimes even secures the economic survival.
ISOPTT: Increasing the
SMEs Own Potential for