Berner Pro is a strategic partner for professionals. We specialize in healthcare, laboratories, animal welfare, professional cleaning and kitchen hygiene.
We supply the market with products made in Finland. In addition to our own production, we supply our customers with high-quality products from our international principals who are on the leading edge of their respective industries.
The first-year sales of our B2B e-commerce site proshop.berner.fi, launched at the end of 2017, exceeded our expectations. The new sales channel was quickly discovered and embraced by veterinary clinics and pet supplies stores and, toward the end of the year, growth was seen in nearly all of our customer categories. We will continue our efforts in this area and we will increasingly incorporate digital alternatives into all of our operations.
The use of hand sanitizers and other anti-infection products increased in the healthcare sector in 2018, and we launched several new products for these purposes. As a leading manufacturer of hand sanitizers, we also developed and tested alcohol-free alternatives. Following our long-term development efforts, we will launch a product based on entirely new technology in 2019 in response to the growing demand for alcohol-free products.
Growth in the sales of various rack and dispenser solutions was supported by new hospital construction projects.
Our market position as a representative of Ansell surgical gloves remained strong and we launched new innovative products, such as the Gammex PI Glove-in-Glove, a new synthetic double glove.
We achieved strong growth in every sector of surgical products. Our new electrosurgery products were well received in the market and our high-quality surgical instruments were chosen by a growing number of hospitals and surgeons in 2018. We further strengthened our market position in oral and maxillofacial surgery and hand surgery products (KLS Martin). To surgeons representing these specialties, we offered innovative solutions that also enable the customization of surgical care for each patient.
Omron products, including blood pressure monitors, thermometers and TENS devices, continue to hold a strong position in the product selection of Finnish pharmacies as well as in professional use in both public and private healthcare.
We achieved record sales in the laboratories segment, especially for Infors bioreactors and incubation shakers. We also increased our sales of maintenance services and the future outlook is very positive.
Our laboratory team was strengthened during the year through new recruitment and we also renewed our working methods. We invested in customer training and made use of our demonstration laboratory to present our expanded portfolio to our customers.
We focused on our key accounts in 2018. We appointed a key account manager to build deeper cooperation with private veterinary clinics and chains of veterinary clinics. These efforts have given rise to several interesting development projects that we will be working on together with our customers in the coming year.
We launched Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Early Stage products for cats and dogs. They are research-backed therapeutic food products intended to support cats and dogs with early stage chronic kidney disease (IRIS stage 1).
We also developed our cooperation with breeders during the year. We opened an online store for consumers at www.hillskasvattajat.fi that allows us to provide better and faster service to the members of our Hill’s breeders club.
We expanded our range of cleaning products during the year, which made Berner a significant comprehensive supplier in the professional cleaning and kitchen hygiene categories.
We launched a cooperation with Vileda’s professional product range in 2018. The strong brand and highly visible marketing provide excellent support for Berner’s overall product selection. Sales of Vileda products got off to a very good start in the first year of the cooperation.
We engaged in active product development while seeking various digital solutions that create added value and enable us to accelerate our growth in the future. The online store launch was also a significant step for the cleaning product category. The online store’s selection now includes an even more diverse range of products for businesses’ needs.
Berner Eesti and Ordior Eesti
Ordior Eesti’s sales of laboratory equipment were successful and the business achieved a record result. The sales of the products of the major principals, Shimadzu and Foss, were brisk and we won tenders in areas that our competitors have particularly been strong in.
The sales of microbiology products were also successful, showing an increase from the previous year.
Our business in Sweden remained robust in 2018. The primary product group, Ansell surgical gloves, performed well in tendering and we were successful in all major public procurement processes, ensuring a favorable outlook for the years to come.
Ansell launched two significant new products during the year: the Ansell Gammex PI Glove-in-Glove surgical glove and the Gammex PI Hybrid surgical glove. Glove-in-Glove makes it easier and faster to prepare for surgery thanks to innovative packaging in which the surgical under glove and outer glove are packed together, enabling users to put on two gloves at the same time. Gammex PI Hybrid represents entirely new hybrid technology, combining two synthetic materials in a blend that makes the glove durable and comfortable.
Sales were also supported by Bode disinfectants and Harry Holms racks.