Bob Bruce, Orchid Orthopaedics, Orchid Orthopaedics

Bob Bruce, Orchid Orthopaedics, Orchid Orthopaedics

Q: What made you choose your career in orthopaedics?

A: Coming from a materials manufacturing background, previously within the Aerospace, Defence and Automotive sectors, I was attracted to Orthopaedics in 1995 when my then company moved me to what was then Centaur Precision in Sheffield, now Orchid Orthopaedic Solutions Sheffield.

What made you choose your career in orthopaedics?
Coming from a materials manufacturing background, previously within the Aerospace, Defence and Automotive sectors, I was attracted to Orthopaedics in 1995 when my then company moved me to what was then Centaur Precision in Sheffield, now Orchid Orthopaedic Solutions Sheffield.

Why do you find your job rewarding?
This can be summed up by Orchid Orthopaedic Solutions Core Purpose “To provide an opportunity for people to live a better life.” We are very fortunate to work in an industry which delivers this on a daily basis.

Does the role involve a lot of travelling?
Most certainly – the market place is truly global and to serve our customers we clearly have to travel. The Sheffield operation is extremely active in the UK, mainland Europe and increasingly so within Asia and Australia.

Why did Orchid choose this particular site?
Orchid’s origins date back to 1957 and have been very successful within North America with nine facilities; the acquisition of Sandvik Medical Solutions in March 2012 brought a further five manufacturing sites. The acquisition, not only gave access to casting technology, complimenting their strong forging presence, but also a world class European manufacturing base; better placed to serve their growing European and Eastern customer base.

How many employees do you have, both within Europe and the UK?
We currently employ around 240 people in Sheffield with a further 1250 employed in various locations in the USA.

Do you find it difficult to recruit suitable and qualified staff?
In certain disciplines yes. Fortunately our Sheffield sites are in an area with a great tradition of metal forming and two excellent universities. Again, one of our core values is to create an “enviable environment to work and do business” and if we deliver this then attracting the right people with the right attitude is certainly achievable.

What is the most efficient way of advertising your products?
As a contract manufacturer we don’t have any products as such and are here to serve and support our customers in their success. A further value of “service before self” is actually a great way of promoting our business with our existing and potential customers. Customer service and a desire to be the best in class coupled with designated trade shows, advertising and customer visits are our main routes to market.

How closely do you work with surgeons or with other medical device companies?
Our position is to support our customers (OEM’s) in their product development, supply and market launches. This can cover new technologies, speed to market and removing waste from the supply chain. This is particularly important in today’s tough economic environment. We have a number of customers who actively bring surgeons to our facilities to see at first-hand how the products are manufactured. This can create a “win – win” situation as one can see in detail the great care and skill in creating an Orthopaedic Implant whether it be a cast, forged or machined.

How do you go about developing new projects?
Developing and commercialising new products is expensive and time consuming. From design assistance through rapid prototyping, full scale production, coating and packaging, plus assistance in the regulatory pathway, we provide our customers with a turnkey solution. Utilising a range of prototyping processes, Thermojet wax manufacture, Objet resin printing and Direct Metal Laser Sintering, we provide customers with cost effective flexible and fast solutions.

How is Orchid looking to expand further in the future?
Since the acquisition of Sandvik Medical Solutions, we have been listening very closely to our customers as to what they would like to receive from us. The supply chain has historically been fragmented and the regulatory pathway means the management of many layers of suppliers has become more difficult and expensive. To this end, we are currently evaluating a number of significant investments in supporting our customers within Europe and Asia, utilising what has been a very successful and established footprint within our American operations. Our varied capabilities include design, forging, casting, machining, polishing, coating and packaging of implants and the manufacture and assembly of instruments. There are some very exciting times ahead for both our customers and employees.

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