f your company is leading the world in sales, it only makes sense to reinvest in some parts of that world, right?
I recently examined a list of the Top 10 orthopedic device companies by sales (according to Orthopedic Design & Technology in December 2022) and cross-checked their facility investments since 2018 in the Conway Projects Database. Over one-third of the more than 25 projects I found came from one company: Michigan-based Stryker Corp. — the No. 1 company by sales by a longshot ($17.1 billion) over No. 2 DePuy Synthes (part of Johnson & Johnson MedTech). The company employs more than 51,000 globally.
Stryker projects have struck gold around the globe:
But it’s hard to keep up: In August, the company announced a warehouse expansion was well underway in Cary, Illinois, where the company is increasing storage capacity by 40% by adding on 100,000 sq. ft. by the end of November. The expansion also partakes in the trending practice of making distribution center footprints more sustainable for the environment and for employees.
“Our commitment to sustainability for this project includes the installation of LED lighting and the addition of four electric car charging stations,” said Rick Ulreich, senior manager, Facilities & EHS Facilities at Stryker, in a press release. “We’re also converting the existing lawn to no-mow prairie grass [750,000 sq. ft.) and installing over 200 bushes.”
These measures pair well with the recent completion of the 200-MW Sunflower Wind Project in Marion County, Kansas, a project expected to account for over 70% of Stryker’s electricity consumption as the results of a power purchase agreement the company signed in 2022 with Ørsted.
The people part is most strikingly evident at the company’s HQ at 1941 Stryker Way in Portage, which in 2022 earned Michigan’s first-ever WELL-Certified Platinum-level award. “From walking trails to workout areas, from the way meals are cooked to the way sound is dampened, every detail of 1941 Stryker Way was intentionally designed to best support our people and inspire their future innovations,” the company says of the 480,000-sq.-ft. space, which includes meditation/mothers’ rooms on every floor, instructor-led fitness classes and free fresh fruit every Tuesday and Thursday.
The company opened its new additive manufacturing facility at Anngrove in Carrigtwohill, County Cork, Ireland in August 2022. The $300 million, 600-job project was the largest by both measures among all the projects from the top 10 companies studied for this report.
“In addition to housing Stryker’s manufacturing facilities, Anngrove is also the worldwide headquarters of the AMagine Institute, which is the center of excellence for additive manufacturing across Stryker,” the company said of the seven-year-old Anngrove site. Stryker’s Irish presence includes more than 4,000 people across eight facilities in Belfast, Limerick and Cork.
Prominent in these orthopedic companies’ global portfolios is a large footprint in Latin America, led by Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.
Stryker’s headquarters in Portage, Michigan, recently became the first facility in the state to receive Platinum WELL Building certification from the International WELL Building Institute.
Photos courtesy of Stryker
The most recent of several Costa Rican projects from Minnesota-based Medtronic was the November 2022 opening of a third manufacturing module measuring nearly 54,000 sq. ft. in the Coyol Free Zone in Alajuela. It’s part of a $65 million overall manufacturing expansion at the site that began in 2020 and will continue into 2024. The site devoted to spinal devices has grown ninefold in size since 2015. Five percent of the site’s output is in the form of 24 final products, while the other 95% consists of metal parts for spinal cord devices that are exported to Puerto Rico and Ohio for their final assembly and global distribution.
“This opening is the perfect prelude to our 50th anniversary in Costa Rica, which we’ll celebrate in 2023,” Medtronic Vice President of Manufacturing Paolo Tolari said last November. “The new facility responds to our strategy to reinforce Medtronic’s specialization in manufacturing medical devices for spinal surgeries and, on a broader level, contributes to the future of the life sciences industry in Costa Rica, while projecting the role that Central America can play in developing medical technologies over the long term. The country meets all the characteristics that align with our company’s global goal of being carbon-neutral by 2030.”
As for talent, “We currently employ 40% women and 60% men — mostly precision technicians who graduated from vocational schools and the National Training Institute (INA),” said Alberto Meseguer, director at the Coyol de Alajuela manufacturing site, at the opening. “We are the largest employer of precision mechanics, and we are not only interested in recruiting the best talent, but also in training and retaining it.”
Among non-device-oriented investments is a 500-job corporate services center opened by Indiana-based Zimmer Biomet in Bogota, Colombia, in July 2022. In a release from Invest in Bogota, Rob Bradford, vice president of Global Business Services at Zimmer Biomet, said more than 20 other cities were considered for the project, which will handle finance, accounting, customer service, global operations, regulatory affairs, product engineering, human resources and purchasing operations for the company’s offices in the Americas. The center will deliver services in Spanish, French, English and Portuguese.
Among other investments by the top 10 orthopedic companies, Össur Custom Solutions, a maker of prosthetics which also focuses on osteoarthritis and injury solutions, announced in August 2023 it is expanding into a new facility in Orlando, Florida, that will include a fabrication facility, an Össur Academy Training center and an expanded customer care center. The Iceland-based company’s Americas operation maintains manufacturing and distribution facilities in Michigan, New Jersey and Tijuana, Mexico, and its headquarters in Orange County, California.
Orange County was identified in JLL’s 2023 Life Sciences Industry and Real Estate Perspective report, released in September, as the No. 1 med-tech market “due to its presence of renowned academic and research institutions, support of the local government and industry associations and strong VC presence.” JLL said Minneapolis-Saint Paul (2), the San Francisco Bay Area (3), Greater Boston (4) and Salt Lake City (5) comprise the remaining top clusters.