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The DNA of Puritan as a Company

Posted on Sep 7, 2016 8:30:00 AM

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Puritan Medical Products is known worldwide as the most trusted manufacturer of swabs and other single-use products for the healthcare, diagnostic, forensic, critical environment, food safety, and drug manufacturing industries.

Maybe you've heard us say that before. But do you know why we're able to? Do you know what sets Puritan apart?

The secret is in our company's DNA. 

In biology, DeoxyriboNucleic Acid, or DNA, makes up the genome that holds an organism’s complete set of genetic instructions. All the information needed to create the organism and allow it to grow and develop is held in this DNA. 

Similarly, the DNA of our business determines what kind of company we are. There are at least four building blocks that come together to form Puritan's structure. Keep reading to see what we're made of!

History & Community

Puritan was originally founded in 1919 under the name of Minto Toothpick and Specialty Company. Our sole product was—you guessed it—toothpicks. Over the years, as market demands increased, the business separated into two operating businesses to better serve two distinct markets.

The Puritan you now know hardly resembles that small toothpick company in terms of sales. Our reach is wide; Puritan's swabs and other products can be found anywhere from local doctor's offices to the International Space Station. And yet we're still family-owned business that has deep roots in Maine, where we employ more than 400 community residents from a small town called Guilford.

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We always hope to change and evolve, but never lose sight of where we started. 

Self-Sufficiency

Our self-reliant "yankee ingenuity" is another important piece of who we are. All of our American-made products are manufactured in our fully-integrated state-of-the-art facility in Guilford. Every step of the manufacturing—from processing of raw material, to fabrication of complete devices, to inspection and packaging of the product–takes place at this location. 

Take our tongue depressors, for example. We have an abundant supply of sustainable white birch at our disposal, allowing us to control the entire manufacturing process, from raw material to finished product.

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Birch logs arrive at Puritan’s plant, provided by vendors that support practices that assure the preservation of our woodlands for everyone’s future. There they are cut into bolts, warmed up in huge ovens (in the cold north winters, they may be too cold to process) and debarked. Then, broad ribbons of clean, white birch are veneered off and “chopped” into flat products.

Fresh, sweet new wood is also processed in the lathe room where birch is turned into dowels for applicator sticks as well as items for other industries. All items are dried and inspected for dimensional accuracy and to remove any defective product.

Puritan's full line of transport media devices are another example, as they're formulated and filled onsite. Our eyes and hands stay on the product every step of the way. 

Flexibility

We also have a complete on-site facility for the design, manufacturing, and tooling of all our machines, such as our unique carding machine. This tool cards and coils all our cotton, polyester, and rayon fiber for our tipped swabs to maintain consistency and quality control throughout the process.

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The ability to adapt and machine all our own equipment allows us to serve many markets—medical, surgical, diagnostic, food processing, crime scene investigation, microbiology—from one facility. It also gives Puritan an unparalleled ability to customize products for very specific customer needs

We have a research and development team and engineers on site, which means customers can come to us and ask for things they can't buy anywhere else. If they ask for a product we've never made in the past but we think we can make, we can prototype that item for them.

We can also work with OEMs to develop cutting-edge product solutions for the newest medical, diagnostic, forensic, and industrial equipment. Timothy Templet, Puritan's Executive VP of Global Sales and grandson of the company's founder, points to this as a major selling point—for himself.

"I knew I had made the right decision [to work for Puritan] when the company started to be recognized as one that enjoyed taking on challenges from potential customers, solving problems for them when they came looking for a manufacturer to make special items that were not stock items. Fostering new products and watching them go from the initial opportunity to a finished product, continues to be of great interest to me personally and something I never tire of."

Family

Puritan may be a global leader in the manufacture and distribution of disposable medical products, but at our heart, you'll find family.

Timothy's daughter, Virginia Templet, also works at the company. The company made an indelible mark on her life a lot longer ago than that, however. 

"I remember visiting the mill and being fascinated by it all," she recalls. "I loved going to visit my Dad at work when I was younger. The smell of the mill is also very nostalgic: a combination of cardboard and white birch. My dad’s office has two large 80s-style vintage leather chairs that I would plop myself into and swirl around in. They were there when my grandfather worked at the mill and are still there today."

Virginia notes how her family has given their lives to the business. It hasn’t been without great sacrifice, she says, but there has also been great success. 

"To see the hard work multiple generations have dedicated to growing and expanding Puritan Medical Products over the years is humbling and encouraging," she says. "My only goal as being a fourth generation family business member is to continue Puritan's positive impact on the world, one swab at a time."

That, more than anything, tells you who we are. 

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