Markets and Market Position
Tecan is the market leader in laboratory automation. The Company provides life science research and the diagnostic industry with laboratory instruments and comprehensive automation solutions. Tecan also offers solutions for other applied markets such as forensics, the food industry, crop research, the cosmetic industry and veterinary applications. Automation solutions include instruments, software packages, numerous configurable modules and special application expertise as well as regulatory and quality consulting, service and consumables.
Tecan’s solutions automate all types of repetitive work steps in the laboratory and make procedures more precise, more efficient and safer. They also pipette the smallest volumes of different fluids with optimum precision. By automating these work steps, laboratories can significantly increase the volume of samples they process, obtain test results sooner and ensure reproducible output. The instruments can also perform necessary work overnight without supervision, allowing laboratory personnel to evaluate the results or continue with the next steps upon returning the following morning. Tecan also offers a wide range of detection devices. This includes analytical devices such as microplate readers and microarray systems, which analyze reactions on a microtiter plate or a microarray, as well as washers, which perform the washing and purification operations of a test procedure.
The Company serves some customers directly, but is also a leader in developing and manufacturing OEM instruments and components that are distributed by partner companies under their own names. The Tecan Group can count on two strong pillars in the Life Sciences Business (end-customer business) and Partnering Business (OEM business) segments. The majority of end users come from the diagnostics market, accounting for around 60 % of total sales. The needs of the diagnostics market are largely addressed via the OEM sales channel and to a smaller extent via the end-customer business. Life science research and the various applied markets operate mainly under the Tecan brand using Tecan’s own sales and service organization. Its segmentspecific strategies for sustained profitable growth allow the Company to drive forward customer projects via both business models. Group-wide functions are combined in the Development & Operations division to better unlock synergies in research, development, procurement and production across different locations.
Tecan benefitting from various megatrends
Megatrends are long-term transformation processes that depict far-reaching social and technological changes. The markets in which Tecan is active are positively influenced by a number of megatrends. Through its implementation of an appropriate corporate strategy, Tecan will obtain significant benefits from these transformation processes.
|Megatrends||Positive effects on Tecan|
Population growth and the aging population
Many diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, are more prevalent
Tecan benefits from the increased demand for automated solutions both in
High levels of investment in healthcare and life science research in emerging markets
Growing levels of prosperity mean that the demand in the area of healthcare is rising continuously. China, for instance, is now the world's fourth largest healthcare market, although its spending per capita is only a fraction of that in many western industrialized countries. Hundreds of new hospitals are being built each year and the government is investing large sums in university research.
Tecan supplies important automation solutions to upgrade laboratory infrastructure and is investing in its own marketing and service organization to serve more customers directly.
Development of targeted pharmaceuticals and use of companion diagnostics
The growing use of personalized medicine means that the biomolecular
An explosion of knowledge in the field of biological correlations and molecular processes – using these findings in applied markets
Life science research is coming up with new findings at an ever quicker pace.
In forensics, criminals are being convicted based on DNA profiling. The same techniques and procedures used in human diagnostics are being employed in diagnostics for farm animals. In the area of foodstuffs, impurities are not tolerated and genetic modifications must be declared. In these laboratories too, state-of-the-art automation solutions from Tecan improve efficiency.
Tecan is a leading brand in laboratory automation. It stands for quality, innovation and reliability. These are decisive success factors in this sector for building up a brand on a sustainable basis and strengthening it. A carefully selected and nurtured portfolio of several brands is of prime importance to Tecan and is a necessity if it is to differentiate itself from its competitors. The Company’s most important brand is the Tecan umbrella brand, followed by various brand names for product platforms, such as Freedom EVO®, Infinite® and Cavro®. Employees, who actively embody the values of the Tecan brand, are a key factor in the success of the brand.
Tecan performs various brand management activities through product marketing and advertising in specialist circles and beyond. These offer added value for different partners and play a role in strengthening and improving awareness of the Tecan brand. For example, the Company regularly organizes the Tecan Symposium, which lasts for several days, examines a current topic in-depth and provides an opportunity for experts in the life sciences sector to exchange information. Tecan also supports various science prizes as a sponsor and presents the Tecan Award, a prize that is given to innovative customers.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty are also key factors for a strong brand. The Company regularly measures customer satisfaction and is strongly committed to maintaining it at a high level and further improving it. As a result, Tecan is recommended by its customers and the positive perception of the brand is continually increased. In 2012, an external market research institute measured and evaluated customer loyalty and satisfaction. Compared with the 2009 results, Tecan was able to maintain its very high level and, in some categories, further improve it. Factors that were seen as particular strengths of Tecan include quality, reliability and flexibility in configuration. Tecan’s consumables were also evaluated as being of above-average quality. Tecan’s status as the top corporate brand in the industry was confirmed. Customers rated Tecan as considerably better than its competitors and it is seen as a very strong brand with a rate of recommendation that is significantly higher than the average for the industry.
Patents and protection of intellectual property
Tecan makes above-average investments in research and development to maintain and reinforce its position as market leader. In the year under review, such expenditure amounted to 11.7 % of sales. Protecting its intellectual property is of major importance in ensuring that the development of new products and technologies gives the Company a sustainable advantage in the market. Tecan registers patents on relevant developments for the most important markets in a timely manner. The Company has several hundred patents in various patent families. Patents strengthen Tecan’s competitive position in a variety of applications. In the area of biobanking, for example, population-based or disease-specific studies, such as those involving blood samples that are processed and stored in test tubes, are conducted. The Tecan-patented tube inspection unit can detect the buffy coat of leukocytes between the centrifuged coagulum and the serum supernatant, even when there are several layers of barcode stickers on the individual test tubes. This is an enormous help in automating the process steps.
In 2013, Tecan again registered numerous patents for the first time and new patents were granted in various countries. For example, to date patent applications have been submitted for the innovative eFluidics™ technology in ten patent families and patents in three patent families have already been issued. eFluidics is an alternative liquid handling technology based on electrowetting, which can manipulate fluids by altering the electrical field. This allows compact instruments to be developed for numerous applications.
An overview of the various patents has been published on the Company’s website. In addition to patents, Tecan also files for design protection for important products to protect them from imitations. To secure its market position, the Company will attach even greater importance to patent and design protection in the future.
Tecan’s success is based on core competences that the Company has systematically acquired and expanded over the years. In robotics, Tecan is the market leader in the automation of a wide range of the repetitive work steps that have to be conducted in laboratories. Its core competences cover both instruments and the software packages needed for their operation. The Company is an expert at handling various test formats, from microtiter plates through test tubes. Tecan offers a wideranging portfolio of different modules to automate applications and work processes, such as examining DNA or cells. To enable the entire workflow to be automated, Tecan also integrates third-party devices. Customers benefit from the Tecan specialists’ enormous application know-how, even in strictly regulated areas such as clinical diagnostics.
Tecan has particular expertise in liquid handling and detection. Liquid handling involves the high-precision handling of fluids, even in the smallest quantities. This process includes the aspiration and dispensing of liquids with differing physical and chemical properties, such as reagents and blood (both whole blood and serum). The quantities of fluid involved can range from milliliters to microliters. Tecan also has the necessary sensor technology to monitor processes, for example to ascertain whether a liquid transfer has actually taken place. One of the Company’s particular competences is the ability to make these often highly complex processes easy to perform through user-friendly software with an intuitive user interface.
In the area of detection, Tecan specializes in analytical devices that use a variety of optical methods to detect reactions in a test procedure, such as the binding of an antibody to a target molecule. This may be done using fluorescence, luminescence or absorption techniques, for example. Tecan also uses patented technologies here to lower the detection limit or reduce stray light and thereby increase the sensitivity. Tecan detection instruments are able to process varying wavelengths quickly and flexibly, even in parallel.