Arete was designed specifically to take its clients from start to finish – by offering a solution that guides them through every step of the laboratory design and implementation process, and even going that one step further to assist them in dealing with the difficult task of disposing of their chemicals and waste when they are done with them.
Arete Founder and Managing Director Francis Micallef created the company with that very need in mind. He set it up in 2011, when he already had over 16 years’ background in the sector. Today, the company is run by a dedicated team of six professionals with over 60 years’ of industry and management experience between them, and it has offices in Balzan and a warehouse in the Mriehel Industrial Zone.
“We supply everything a laboratory could ever need,” Mr Micallef explains. “With the exception of a small number of very high-level items that require 24-hour back-up, we can provide everything from the smallest test tube to full laboratory solutions. This includes glassware, consumables, microbiology supplies, analytical chemicals, personal protective equipment, media and cultures, disposables – practically anything that a lab could need.”
Mr Micallef says that the company works across a number of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, life sciences, clinical, food and beverage, and education. “Pharma is, of course, a huge sector for us,” he continues. “And the growth of that industry on the island meant huge change for the laboratory supplies sector here in the last 15 years. Along with labs involved in research and development, it created a demand for speed, documentation and quality from us as services providers, and we have stepped up by streamlining ourselves and meeting those needs.”
Originally named after the Greek word for ‘the pursuit of excellence’, Mr Micallef explains that Arete was also built on the idea of continuous improvement. “I am driven by turning problems into opportunities,” he says. “We do not stop at commercial action. We believe in providing a value-added service that even starts with our quick response time on quotations: in 92 per cent of cases we are able to provide the client with an offer within 48 hours.”
“We have also developed software to give our major clients regular updates on the status of their order. It was a huge investment but it enables us to inform them about where their order is on a regular basis. This, in turn, enables them to schedule their analysis, which is so important for them as they cannot afford to have idle resources.”
Meanwhile, in parallel with all that, Arete provides a series of services that are closely linked to these activities. Its sister company, Specto Ltd, provides consultancy and technical advice in a range of support areas, including occupational health and safety, the handling of chemicals, dangerous goods safety advice, and waste and environmental issues.
“Specto also provides clients with the ethical waste disposal of pharmaceutical, laboratory and other hazardous waste via a permit we have with the Environment and Resources Authority,” Mr Micallef says. “Through it, wastes are packaged, exported and eventually disposed of in authorised facilities in the EU. As a result, we can literally offer a complete service in chemicals from supply to disposal – it’s a unique service in Malta, and all available under one roof.”
And there have been numerous clients that have taken Arete up on the offer to guide them from start to finish. “We assist them every step of the way, from choosing the right chemical and then safely transporting it here to Malta, to its safe storage in their lab, its proper use with all the due respect to its hazardous nature and, finally, its safe disposal,” says Emma Micallef, Arete’s Marketing Manager. “We believe in building up our clients’ competences, to enable them to gain the knowledge they need to develop and grow.”
And now, Arete will be taking another unique step, with a move into the educational arena. “Education is a natural focus of our line of work and we are working on something very special to bring to the market in the months to come,” Mr Micallef continues.
“In the meantime, we’re 100 per cent focused on maintaining and further securing our strong reputation in the sector, and to ensuring our clients receive the elevated service that they have come to expect from us. We anticipate big changes in the laboratory sector in the years to come, and believe we are ready to not only raise the bar but to set the standard for this fascinating and dynamic sector.”
This article originally appeared in The Commercial Courier