If you’ve ever worn a cast or a fracture sock, or perhaps used a prosthetic limb, chances are that it was made by Paceline. This all-American team has been at the forefront of medical material manufacturing since 1985. It is a one-stop shop for labs and manufacturers who use large amounts of its products in the manufacturing of medical goods internationally.
Paceline specializes in the fabrication of a range of unique woven fabrics and supplies, such as closed-end PVA bags, popular for their many benefits in preparing limb model casts for lamination. The company also manufactures casting supplies, prosthetics, and orthotics – more commonly known as healing aids, or muscular and skeletal supports.
The company is particularly big in the orthopedic cast field. The fabric used to pull over broken limbs before cast padding and tape are applied, as well as materials used in occupational and physical therapy, different compression materials for sprains and strains, and brace liners for splints, are all manufactured by the Paceline team.
Paceline is run by a strong group of forward thinkers, who include Joe Davant, its president, Jeff Horning, director of operations since 2006, and David Glontz, director of sales. David took some time out to tell us more about the company, which is based in Matthews, North Carolina.
Its history begins when Allison Davant, Joe’s dad, started up a medical weaving shop in Indian Trail, NC. Prior to this, Allison worked in sales all his life and owned a few companies and a yarn business. After he sold these business interests, he started manufacturing two-inch cotton stockinette, a stretchy type of open-weave netting that is used to cover cervical collars, more commonly known as neck braces. This was Allison’s entry into the orthotics and prosthetics industry. His son, Joe, took over the company in 2006. In 2010, he acquired another company which, together with the original outfit, forms Paceline as we know it today.
The acquisition brought massive growth and diversity to the company’s manufacturing ability. “We’re able to work with our customers to develop exactly what they need. Paceline is extremely diverse in its manufacturing capabilities. That’s what really differentiates us from the rest of the industry,” says David.
Part of the company’s success can be attributed to its overall management style. Paceline engages in the same way behind the scenes as it does with its customers. Team members collaborate with each other just like they collaborate with clients to find solutions, and herein lies the company’s strength. As a small company with an open-door approach, creativity flows freely and everyone’s contributions are heard.
The Paceline team works with distributors and manufacturers who add value by combining materials and processes to come up with finished products. About 75 staff members make it all happen on three shifts that run five days a week. Personnel receive a profit share in the company and this way, everybody benefits.
When it comes to giving back, Paceline leads the way by the very nature of its business. It also works closely with an organization called OPAF, or the Orthodontics and Prosthetics Activities Foundation, where David is a former board member, and the company sponsors local clinics that assist people who are mobility challenged. Becoming mobility challenged can happen in many ways – through accidents or strokes, amongst other unfortunate incidents. Sponsored events include swimming, biking, or even tennis clinics where people who are challenged are motivated and aided to regain their mobility.
Paceline is very proud of the longevity of its customer base, with a number of customer relationships spanning 15 years. This would not be possible without trust and close connections with clients. Testimony to this fact is the Shining Star award the company received from a client for the partner who exhibited the greatest improvement and who drives industry change within the orthotics and prosthetics field.
The ability to spur change in the industry is enabled by Paceline’s capacity for innovation. When clients need large volumes of a product that doesn’t yet exist, Paceline’s team of experts is always open to consulting with engineers who can make it happen on the manufacturing front. In this way, the company is continually bringing brand new goods to market.
At Paceline, the customer comes first. “We typically don’t try to push or mold the prospect into how we want them. We rather try to hear what they want and come up with the solution that works best,” David says. This aspect is what draws and retains most of the company’s customers. Its open-door attitude to problem-solving means that the sky is the limit, which is exactly what appeals to market leaders in medical manufacturing.
Paceline’s answer to dealing with foreign competition is pragmatic. It keeps its current business model in place by avoiding the addition of commodity-type, high labor production items to its portfolio, and instead focuses on fabricating niche materials to client specification.
Its large range of niche products includes the Tensitube® Blue post op shrinker, which provides pain relief by applying controlled compression to the remaining limb after an amputation. This shrinker also reduces hypertrophic, or raised, scarring and a condition known as edema, a type of water retention in bodily tissues and cavities that can occur after operations. Paceline’s fabrics also feature in pediatric care. Its specialized cranial interfaces are made of fabric that allows measuring for cranial remolding orthoses, commonly known as cranial head bands or helmets that correct skull asymmetry in infants.
The company’s series of stockinette products ranges from cotton, polyester and nylon to nyglass, which is a mixture of nylon and fiberglass. The latter is lighter in weight than other types of stockinette, while nylon makes it as stretchy as the original. Paceline’s range of braids are mainly used for reinforcing laminations and wall constructions when building prosthesis moulds, and vary from carbon mixed with fiberglass to Kevlar, a high-strength synthetic fiber which is a great reinforcement for stress points and other problematic areas in medical moulding.
Roughly 85 percent of the company’s market resides in North America and 15 percent is international. Products are exported to all corners of the globe, including the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, Asia, Russia, South America, and South Africa.
The company believes in growing its customer base organically. The team first studies and then approaches new markets with viable solutions to existing problems. In this way, it grows through collaboration which in turn drives new product lines and opens new markets. And when it comes to growth, things are looking promising, with Paceline enjoying a whopping 18 percent growth rate in 2017.
With this in mind, Paceline’s plan for the coming year is focused on expansion. “With our existing customer base, we’re going to cross-promote related ranges. This will definitely enable huge growth. With 15 percent of our business internationally, there’s a lot of room for expansion there as well,” David tells us.
The team will also approach new and interesting companies to investigate possible fits for future acquisitions, while another route for expanding its footprint this year is the various international trade shows it will attend. Paceline is not limited to where it is now; if another prospect wants to do business, here or abroad, Paceline is on board. The great news is that with its strong leadership and creativity, Paceline will continue to make a significant difference to a great number of people’s lives, globally.