Veterinary Diagnostics:

Customer Centricity, People and Innovation: The Secret to VPG’s 20 Years’ Success

Published: 1st July 2021

The Veterinary Pathology Group (VPG), a member of SYNLAB UK and Ireland today announced that it is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The company attributes its success over the last 2 decades to 3 main factors – customer centricity, its people and a focus on innovation.

The VPG was born out of a conversation between two friends – a passionate pathologist and “businessman with a soul” – on a patio somewhere near Cambridge. What started with 2 founders and 1 brilliant administrator working out of a small laboratory in Exeter University Innovation Centre, financed by mortgage extensions, is today a team of over 150 expert staff, 25 boarded pathologists and 14 residents in training supporting over 2,000 veterinary professionals out of 6 laboratories across the UK and Ireland.

Customer centricity is the first of 3 factors key to VPG’s success. On its first day of trading, 1 practice sent 4 samples for analysis. A start-up with low cost equipment, it took the team from 9am to 9pm to process the samples, but the customer received their results that same day as promised.

100% investment in and commitment to the business from the 3 starters, 1 year later the case load had grown significantly, resulting in the need for greater capacity. In the years that followed VPG launched laboratories in Leeds, Cork, Ringwood, Hitchin and Bristol with extremely talented partners and brought in top specialists in molecular testing, equine medicine and cell therapy. With additional space importantly came the additional resource and expertise – the 2nd key factor to the Group’s success.

In addition to securing experienced pathologists and directors from competing companies and academia, VPG attracted new pathologists through the launch of its Residency Academy.  Founder and Managing Director Andy Torrance commented “Through the launch of our Residency Academy we were able to attract some of the brightest minds in veterinary pathology at the very start of their careers. Through our in-laboratory training programme we have successfully trained 25 residents to become specialists in their field – a huge achievement for them and something I am particularly proud of”.

Through the additional capacity and people, VPG quickly established itself as the laboratory of choice for referral centres, the people doing the most demanding work in the country, with a reputation for quality, service levels and innovation.

In relation to the 3rd success factor – innovation – VPG has changed the expectations of the veterinary profession in the UK and Ireland as to what a clinical pathology laboratory can do for them.  Its ongoing research and investment into molecular diagnostics and histopathology, along with its latest partnership with Scopio Labs, resulting in the launch of the first digital cytology platform in the UK (ScopioVet), has transformed the face of patient care. 

Since its inception in 2001, VPG has grown year-on-year. Through its loyal customer base it weathered the storm when confronted with independent practices consolidating and is now backed by one of the leading medical diagnostic services provider in Europe, SYNLAB. Andy commented “The last 20 years has been like riding a wave, there were times when we thought we may fall off it, but we’re still standing”.

When asked what customers can expect from VPG in the next 20 years, the focus is clear “VPG will become the leading veterinary diagnostic lab in Europe. We will continue to invest in our people, and our research will result in cutting edge innovation, which will allow us to continue to exceed our customer’s and their customer’s needs” Andy commented.

And the process has already started. VPG is continuing to add expertise to the profession by developing and growing its training programme, The Group is also on the cusp of launching a unique and generous pathologists’ contract to attract the very best candidates. The contract will acknowledge their vocation and empower pathologists to choose how they work.

The company is soon to announce the launch of a new Point of Care Testing (POCT) platform for customers and has some ground breaking plans in progress around molecular diagnostics.

Andy concluded “More of the right people and innovative processes will make our next 20 years as successful as our first. With a continued focus on customer centricity and quality, I am confident we will continue to be known as the Group that serves the veterinary community best”.

For more information on VPG and the services it provides click here.

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