Sharing Success: Family-owned Businesses Ottobock and Pohlig
100th year company anniversary in Traunstein
For some thirty years, Ottobock, a medical technology company based in the South Lower Saxony region of Germany, has shared a common vision with Pohlig, an orthopaedic specialist based in Traunstein, Bavaria. And this vision is: "Working together for more quality of life."
Together with more than 150 guests, Pohlig celebrated its 100th year company anniversary on 14th February 2020. In attendance at the ceremony were various politicians, representatives from the medtech industry, and a long standing friend and partner of the family, Professor Hans Georg Näder. Pohlig GmbH joined Ottobock in 2018, and is one of the medtech company's most important suppliers of medical devices and equipment.
The Näder and Pohlig families have enjoyed close personal ties for two generations. "We've been friends for more than thirty years. We grew up together," said Kurt Pohlig, grandson of the company's founder, in his speech.
In order to exploit synergies and consolidate their growth, the two companies entered into a strategic partnership in 2013. Initially, Ottobock acquired a 51% share in Pohlig GmbH. Then, in 2018, the medtech company from Lower Saxony acquired complete ownership of the orthopaedic specialist, which operates branches in nine cities across Germany and Austria.
"Kurt Pohlig has always focused on providing quality fittings," emphasised Professor Hans Georg Näder. Thanks to Ottobock's leading technology, the close partnership will enable Pohlig to continue pursuing its vision and provide patients with innovative, high quality fittings in close cooperation with doctors, therapists and health insurance companies. "Ottobock and Pohlig are working together on digital treatment."
"Pohlig is not old and weak, and it's not about to retire and take it easy," claimed Claudia Pohlig-Wetzelsberger in her speech. She is the great-granddaughter of the company's founder, and is also CEO of Pohlig medical supply company. In an industry which is undergoing major digital transformation, Pohlig leads the way. Additive manufacturing, scan technology and 3D printing in their orthopaedic workshops are now routine. In particular, the company has set new technological and aesthetic standards with 3D printing in its fitting solutions for children. In deploying innovative technology, however, Pohlig focuses consistently on its users.
Recent examples for the way in which the two companies pool their expertise can be seen in the fittings worn by David Michlbauer and Wolfgang Bauer. David wears the C-Brace orthotronic mobility system, which allows partially paralysed users to walk again, whereas Wolfgang benefits from the artificial intelligence of Myo Plus pattern recognition. This enables the prosthesis to perform hand movements automatically. Ottobock was responsible for developing the technology, while Pohlig manufactured the prostheses.