An Interview with Stephen Mauro, President, and John Innocenti, President, Sales and Marketing

Founded in 2002, AUDIT® MicroControls™ Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aalto Scientific Ltd. Specializing in calibration verification/linearity products, and routine and esoteric chemistry quality controls, AUDIT products are available through a number of regional and national distributors. The biotechnology company is FDA-regulated. We spoke to AUDIT MicroControls’ Stephen Mauro, president, and John Innocenti, director of sales and marketing, about the company’s place in the marketplace and its ambitions for future growth.

CLP: What is the story behind AUDIT MicroControls’ development?

AUDIT: When we first started AUDIT MicroControls, our goal was quite simple: to make a superior product at competitive prices. We have done this by following one simple rule—avoid overdevelopment of our product lines. A sure way to fail is by trying to be everything to everyone. Essentially, our products are the “race cars” of the clinical quality-control industry. They do what they are designed to do, and they do it extremely well. No fluff, no unnecessary features, just high performance.

We also wanted to become a customer-oriented, customer-driven company. The need for a rapid customer service/technical service response is not unique to our industry. Other industries suffer with the lack of a timely response to their customer base when the need arises. AUDIT prides itself in providing stellar customer service and technical support to our customers. We intend to continue and improve on this as we become better known throughout the industry.

CLP: What need in the market does the company satisfy?

AUDIT: In our market, we address the need for an easy-to-use, low-cost product. Our R&D personnel have done a great job achieving this goal, developing products that are truly second to none. Our AUDIT MicroCV™ product line has been designed to assist the nonwaived laboratory in satisfying the CLIA-88 requirements for calibration verification/linearity. We continue to create new products within this product line to help these labs revalidate and become reaccredited. The need for these products is increasing as the government-regulated laboratory surveyors (COLA, CAP, JCAHO) are looking for calibration verification systems to be in place when they visit the labs. The “grace period” for this requirement is over, and nonwaived laboratories must have this process in place. AUDIT continues to add new calibration-verification products to its line as we attempt to have a product for every analyte being performed in the chemistry lab.

CLP: What kinds of products does AUDIT MicroControls offer the industry?

AUDIT: In addition to our growing line of MicroCV calibration-verification/linearity products, AUDIT offers a complete line of routine and specialty chemistry and immunoassay quality-control products. Our MicroFD™ BNP control is the only product currently available that allows for the daily QC monitoring of both BNP-32 and NT-proBNP in the same vial. Our MicroFD™ Glycohemoglobin A1c control is a high-quality, low-cost alternative to the more expensive products currently available. We pride ourselves in continuing to grow both product lines before new assays even become available.

CLP: Can you tell me a little bit about your AUDITOR™ QC program and how it fits in with the liquid controls and products that have been the main focus of the company?

AUDIT: The other factor that plays into the superior nature of our products is our online, real-time AUDITOR QC program. We saw a need for a real-time, easy-to-use quality-control program that would allow our customers to compare their values with similar laboratories instantly. This has been a huge success, and we have received nothing but good feedback about the program. The best part is that it’s free to our customers and does not require any software downloads. If you have access to the Internet, you have access to AUDITOR QC. In our industry, it’s important to be consistent, and the AUDITOR QC fulfills this need perfectly. It also gives us a chance to observe the performance of our products, giving us feedback that will be useful in fine-tuning our product lines.

CLP: What new products is the company developing?

AUDIT: While we don’t like to publicly discuss our new products, we do have some exciting new ideas in development as we speak. I will say that we are developing innovative packaging and product-delivery systems that will save both time and money for our customers.

CLP: What trends are you noticing in the clinical laboratory market, and what is the company doing to keep up with these trends?

AUDIT: We believe there is a real trend in the direction of simplicity, ease of use, and on-demand feedback. AUDIT has been there to meet these demands through new product development and by listening to what our customers want. We have no plans to deviate from this philosophy in the future.

CLP: What challenges has the company experienced, and how have you worked to overcome them?

AUDIT: Our biggest hurdle, as with any new company, is simply expanding our market share, getting our name out on the street, and getting new customers familiar with the product features. Our products truly do speak for themselves. Fortunately, our current customers have proven to be very satisfied and very loyal. As other labs begin to recognize the benefits of using our controls, as well as our AUDITOR QC program, we should have no problem retaining more and more customers as time goes on. Pressing the flesh is the name of the game—get out and sell. Any hurdle can be overcome with hard work and know-how. We have plenty of both.

CLP: Where do you see the company in 5 years?

AUDIT: In the next 5 years we see ourselves on top of the clinical laboratory quality-control marketplace. If you don’t have that attitude, you shouldn’t be in business. Our strategy is to stay agile, be flexible, and stay determined.

CLP: Any final thoughts?

AUDIT: We plan to be the best. We believe we already are!

Michelle Said is associate editor of Clinical Lab Products.