Team Effort for Warsaw’s Orthopedic Industry

The good news about being an orthopedic company located in Warsaw, Indiana (the orthpedic capital of the world) is that there are many talented industry employees. The bad thing about such an arrangement is that the battle to attract and keep those skillful workers can be a competitive one.

A number of Medtronic (one of the 2012 Best Places to Work in Indiana) team members have made career stops at more than one of the Warsaw organizations (big and small) in the field. And while there is competition, Roy Wiley, director of manufacturing and planning at the Medtronic operation, wanted to be sure to tout the OrthoWorx initiative.

"This is the companies getting together and realizing that to get the right type of talent base we have to collaboratively advance the opportunities around Warsaw — the cultural amenities, the schools. It has been an extremely positive development for everybody, us included. Everybody realizes we’ve got a good base (of workers) here, but if we keep stealing from each other, we won’t grow."

During a visit to Medtronic, Wiley also shared the story of a phone call that came in after 5 p.m. on a Friday about a special implant needed for a young person’s life-altering surgery early the following week. Team members, he relates, stayed beyond their normal shifts and were "excited and proud to be able to do something to help that child." That is just one of many heartwarming stories of a company focused on spinal implants.

Medtronic will be profiled in the May-June BizVoice, following the May 3 Best Places to Work in Indiana awards dinner. It’s not too late to attend that event, honoring 70 outstanding Indiana workplaces. To learn more about participating in the 2013 Best Places program, go here.

Medical Devices Making Major Impact

With recognizable company names from Warsaw to Bloomington and spots in between, most people probably realize that Indiana is a player in the medical devices industry. A new study, though, reveals we might be a bigger player than many realized.

From Hearts to Hips: Indiana’s Leadership in Life Sciences was recently released by BioCrossroads. High economic output, exports and employee wages well above the state average are all part of the mix.

The medical devices industry is one of Indiana’s most valuable economic assets employing over 20,000 people and generating more than $10 billion of annual economic output. Today, the medical devices sector accounts for more than 40 percent of the jobs in the state’s life sciences industry, placing Indiana as the fifth largest state in percentage of medical technology industry employment.

And in 2010, Indiana’s medical device companies manufactured more than $2 billion worth of exports, or approximately $100,000 per employee. The industry provides high-paying jobs with the average employee earning $60,000 annually, more than 56 percent higher than the state’s average private sector worker.

“From small towns to larger cities, the economic impact of the medical devices industry is significant and is well-distributed throughout the state,” said David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads. Major companies such as Biomet, Boston Scientific, Cook Medical, DePuy, Medtronic, Roche Diagnostics and Zimmer are either headquartered or maintain major operations within the state and develop a wide variety of medical devices for from cardiovascular to urological to diagnostics and orthopedics.

“This report is proof that Indiana’s medical devices sector is robust and resides on a solid foundation that positions us well for future growth,” added Johnson. “There are still many external factors like the economic, regulatory and health care reform environment that pose real challenges for this industry.”

The report delves into external challenges the industry faces today. In addition to the current economic conditions that have lowered the demand for some medical devices, the industry faces even bigger challenges to overcome in the next decade including:

  • A rapidly changing health care market

  • Tax policies that discourage innovation

  • Increasing regulatory uncertainty

  • A shift to overseas production and expansion to overseas markets

  • Technological changes requiring more worker education

  • Increasingly competitive global market.