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Rankin Biomedical Corporation Enters its Second Decade of Business

by Barbara Kram, Editor | May 01, 2006
Rob Rankin, president,
Rankin Biomedical Corporation

The whole business started as a college term paper. "During my masters degree in business management at Walsh College we had a small business class in which we had to start a company," reflected President Rob Rankin. I got the idea from my brother Chris Rankin of Didage Sales Company who does similar business in refurbished surgery equipment. I led a team of five people in my class and did the business plan for used laboratory equipment."

Today, Rankin Biomedical Corporation has a professional team and new headquarters in Holly, Michigan. The firm has been in business since 1995, selling refurbished laboratory and medical equipment to hospitals, laboratories, universities, and physicians worldwide. The two divisions of the company specialize in sales and service.

"At first, I wasn't familiar with the market value on much of this equipment. But as you get more experience you learn how to cherry pick and not buy in lots because it creates a large inventory that sits around for quite a while," Rankin advised. "You get more discriminating as the years go on and you buy equipment that has a track record of being marketable."

For Rankin Biomedical Corporation, hot items include histology lab equipment used to prepare tissue samples for analysis, such as tissue processors, cryostats, microtomes, and embedding centers. (Embedding centers are instruments that allow histology technicians to embed tissue in wax molds to be cut with the microtome.)

Rankin has become an expert on the tools of the laboratory trade and on the techniques of doing business in a global market. "We have to drop our prices significantly to get an international sale," he said of his business in markets like Mexico, Canada, Pakistan, Israel, UAE, and other nations. "We try to sell domestically with the price that the domestic market will bear, and if that doesn't work and we want to move the equipment, we drop the price and try to sell it overseas."

The Internet is a reliable business partner including the company's own website at www.rankinbiomed.com and DOTmed. "What DOTmed does is get the name Rankin Biomedical out there to more end users and also to dealers," he said. "It's an advertising tool in itself."

By the way, Rankin got an "A" on that college assignment and has never looked back.