Covid-19, part 3 | Adapting to an ever-changing world


In his final blog updating us on developments over the past year, Lincotek CEO Winfried Schaller looks at investments made in Europe and Asia and reflects on lessons that he feels should be learnt from the COVID-19 crisis.

November 2, 2020 | Part 3

I wrote last month about the significant investment Lincotek has made recently in the United States. That is matched by our doubling of coating capacity at our facility in Wuxi, China, where we’ve also introduced a state-of-the-art cleaning and packaging line – designed and built to the highest standards of the medical industry.

At our Italian facility in Bologna, we have recently started a significant manufacturing efficiency program with the implementation of lean initiatives and installed new state-of-the-art multitasking equipment, capable of all the steps in the machining process. We are firmly committed to making the plant in Bologna a cornerstone of our Integrated Supply Chain Solutions.

We have also recently boosted our additive capabilities too. In fact, we are one of the biggest CMOs for additive manufactured orthopedic devices globally, with more than a 100,000 devices produced per year.

With the completion of our brand new, state-of-the-art Additive Production Center for medical devices in Trento, Italy, we have expanded our lab capabilities and installed a new high-vacuum furnace and a validated heat treatment process. As a result, we have tripled capacity and consequently reduced time to market with an even more robust validation strategy.

A complete service offer for additives

We’re delighted that so many OEMs are now taking advantage of our complete additive service offer. Our outstanding performance is based on a profound technical mastery of the additive manufacturing process, building on our R&D and validation capability. Today, we’re globalizing our reach, having invested in an AM facility in our plant in Memphis, Tennessee and are looking towards expanding our AM capability in China too.

We are now committed to other projects, such as the capacity improvement of the facility in Trento with a new coating cell featuring two pieces of APS equipment, validated and operational from Q3 2020.

The time ahead is going to bring great challenges for everybody and we are ready to respond to new trends and demands when the markets begin to recover. The OEMs in the medical market can always rely on us as a trusted partner.

What have we learnt from COVID-19?

Flexibility and reactivity are key. One of the most important lessons from COVID-19 is that operating a successful business is about building an organization that adapts well to change.

The coronavirus pandemic tested the limits of this ability to adapt and showed us how well teams can perform when given the right environment and tools.  At the beginning, I was incredibly impressed with how quickly our teams responded and reacted to such drastic changes that seemed to be coming in every day.  That is a testament to the professionalism and acumen of our teams and highlights the need to prepare constantly.

It’s also important to strike a balance between a harmonized organization with best-practice standardization, while at the same time leaving local teams the autonomy to address the specific needs of each market and region. This has helped us a lot to manage this crisis with the necessary responsiveness and adaptability.

Our high level of technology standardization, with the same process validation approach across US, EU and China, has allowed us to deliver a strong message about safety and business continuity, which has been really valuable for our customers.

A new way of working

And what about human factors? We think that is now time to turn necessity into opportunity, adopting a flexible approach to work and human interaction, transforming simple ‘home working’ into truly ‘smart working’. Now, more than ever, we need to be adaptable, create motivation and discover new ways in which we can contribute to build our future growth. It’s all about having a smart organization that adapts to change well.

The crisis has shown that we are all in this together along with our suppliers, customers and patients. It has also proven the capability of the orthopedic device supply chain to confront crisis situations in a proactive manner, always being aware of the importance of our activity for the individual and for society.


Related content: Part 1Part 2