Zimmer uses employee creativity to spark innovation

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Zimmer Biometrics General Manager Claude Costelloe

BELIEVING in the quality and creativity of staff is critical to the success of a multinational firm that’s driving Shannon’s emergence as a base for healthcare innovation.

Zimmer Biomet, a leader in musculoskeletal healthcare, is celebrating a decade in Ireland at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Shannon and Oranmore as well as its professional education centre that attracts healthcare professionals from around the world.

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“Our team is at the heart of our success,” is the simple summation of General Manager Claude Costelloe.

“We are proud that our Ireland operations deliver products that treat a broad range of musculoskeletal health conditions and help alleviate pain and improve the quality of life for people around the world.”

As a Limerick native, he is proud of Zimmer’s continued success in the region.

Having previously served as operations director of the Shannon facility, which he joined in 2012, he was recently promoted to General Manager and site leader for Ireland.

The University of Limerick graduate is a veteran of the Medtech industry and has also held leadership positions in the electronics and the engineering sector for more than 20 years.

He said it was a privilege to be asked to lead two of the best-performing sites in the global Zimmer Biomet network and that he was looking forward to working with the outstanding teams in both Shannon and Galway to grow the company’s presence in Ireland.

Founded in 1927 and headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana, Zimmer Biomet designs, manufactures and markets orthopaedic reconstructive products; sports medicine, biologics, extremities and trauma products; office-based technologies; spine, craniomaxillofacial and thoracic products; dental implants; and related surgical products.

Industry collaborations are key to advancing the pace of innovation and the firm’s products helps patients suffering from disorders of, or injuries to, bones, joints or supporting soft tissues.

“We help millions of people live better lives. We have operations in more than 25 countries around the world and sell products in more than 100 countries.”

The value of staff involvement in the company’s success is also highlighted by Human Resources Manager Timmy Mulvihill.

“While we are constantly looking to recruit high calibre candidates across all disciplines, including operations, quality, finance, validation, engineering, compliance and HR, I am proud that many of our employees have progressed their careers with us over the last ten years.

“With the support of the company, a significant number are also continuing their education at the University of Limerick, NUIG, Limerick Institute of Technology and GMIT.

“We are committed to creating an environment in which our employees can use their creativity to achieve innovative solutions for patients and give back to communities and people in need.

These values drive our decision-making and are fundamental to our success.”

Manufacturing Execution System (MES) technician Rob Geary from Clarina says that when he first went for interview eight years ago, he was told that a flood of opportunities awaited those who were willing to take them.

“Two years later, my opportunity came along a when I was hired as a MES technician. This turned out to be a great opportunity to learn everything from master data cleansing to project management.

“Since then, I have gained invaluable experience in a variety of different roles including now in a management position.

“Through guidance and mentoring, each role has given me a greater knowledge of the business and I am very excited about the future.

Shannon man Steven McLoughlin said that his career path has taken him through many promotions, but Zimmer Biomet gave him unwavering support and guidance.

Brian Bourke from Sixmilebridge said that five years into his journey with Zimmer, he saw that if he took a keen interest in further training it would be to his benefit.

18 months after he started, a promotion crossed his path and now Brian is undertaking a second round of third level studies in UL.

Zimmer Biomet’s success has been recognised on national level by the country’s promotion international promotions arm.

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan said that the medtech sector was part of an export industry that is worth eight per cent of Ireland’s total merchandise exports.

“As a global leader, Zimmer Biomet is a significant contributor to that number and a great example of successful investment in Ireland. In terms of economic impact, the company’s two locations mean that the benefit is spread across Shannon and Galway, providing a substantial number of jobs and creating considerable benefit for both communities.

This is also the view of Shannon Chamber chief executive Helen Downes who said that Zimmer Biomet’s reach extends beyond the two manufacturing facilities through its outsourcing sub-supply and professional services.

“The company’s contribution to local economic development is also highlighted through staff involvement in educational programmes, its corporate social responsibility support with the Mid West Rape Crisis Centre and Milford Hospice and through employees’ economic support of the local community.

“As Chairman of the Mid-West Lean Network, Claude Costelloe is playing a leading role in ensuring that the Mid-West region becomes synonymous with excellence in Lean and Continuous Improvement.

“Zimmer Biomet’s open-door policy of engaging with other companies, sharing its knowledge and helping others on their Lean Journey must be applauded,” Ms Downes added

Committed to its corporate social responsibility, a recent employee cycle race between Shannon and Galway raised more than €10,000 for BUMBLEance, the charity that helps sick children around Ireland travel safely and comfortably to hospitals, hospices, treatment centres and respite centres nationwide.

“Our success in Shannon and Galway can be attributed to our talented employees, relentless focus on quality, investment in leading-edge technology, and the building of a strong culture of innovation and continuous improvement,” said Mr Costelloe.

“We have had a positive experience doing business here the last ten years, and we look to the future with confidence.”