Each issue we talk to a growing business. This time, Richard Heap talks to Nicky Cahuac, whose company produces equipment to look inside people’s bodies
Where do you work?
I am head of operations at Karl Storz Endoscopy. Our head office is in Tuttlingen in Germany, and the company was founded by Karl Storz in 1943.
It is still a family-owned company and globally we are the largest endoscopic equipment supplier.
What equipment do you supply?
Everything from ear picks to an integrated operating theatre of which the surgeon has complete control using voice control or touch-screen activation.
It is all about the patient having a less-invasive procedure and quicker recovery time. It is much better for the patient, and benefits our customers – surgeons and hospital staff – because the patient does not have to have a bed for a week.
Where are you based?
Slough Trading Estate in Berkshire. We have two offices in the UK: Slough and Dundee. The office in Slough is 9,000 sq ft and we’ve just taken another 1,500 sq ft small unit for storage.
We were based in London’s Docklands when the company was founded in the UK. The price of property there is huge and our customer is the NHS so we don’t want to be charging premium prices for a London address. London is a massive customer base for us so it is good to be close by, and Slough gives us full access to the rest of the country via the M4, M25 and easy access to the M1.
It also has good links to Heathrow, which is great because we have a lot of visitors from Germany.
What is your space like?
It was built 10 years ago. Two-thirds is probably office space and one third is warehouse space. That warehouse storage includes our electronics and our instrument workshops, where we inspect our instrumentation. They are not clean rooms but they need to be separate and fairly dust-free.
How many employees do you have?
We have 32 in the Slough office and there are 102 throughout the company in the UK. Then there are about 2,500 in our head office in Germany, and each country has its own team.
Does it benefit you being on an estate?
It’s good that we have been able to work with other companies on the estate that can provide us with services, such as stationery, printing, provision of labels, signage and building maintenance. We have found that beneficial.
Are there good facilities?
We have close access to shops, so staff can pop out to pick up their groceries and drop off dry cleaning. There is a Post Office and numerous banks on a hub at the centre of the estate. And there is also an organisation called Corporate Health, which is very handy because all our staff in the office have to have a Hepatitis B vaccination as they are dealing with medical products.
The one thing the estate is lacking is somewhere to go socially where you can maybe have a bite to eat or a drink at lunchtime. But landlord Segro has been talking to companies about what the estate is missing and is developing a masterplan.
Are you looking to stay in Slough?
Yes. Our lease expires in three or four years and we are already in discussions with Segro over what we are doing. I know Slough does not always have a good name in a lot of places. It is one of those places where you say you are from Slough and everybody’s like, ‘Oh gosh, I’m sorry’. It may not necessarily be the nicest place in the world to live but for business it is a good location.
If money was no object, what would you do to your building?
I think we would have a roof garden, which would be nice to sit out on and for staff to go for a lunch break. We’d redesign the building so it meets our needs now, and provide facilities our customers could use free of charge, such as meeting rooms. And we could get facilities for staff: a lot of staff here play badminton or do a bit of sport, so maybe we could provide more social facilities within the company, rather than staff having to go out.
If you are a growing business and want to tell us about where you work, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Property Direct September 2008
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