For this Voice of Industry article, Oregon Bio recently reached out to MSEI and BIOTRONIK, two connected and growing research, development, design and technology companies with North American headquarters in Lake Oswego, Oregon and with 450+ employees, to learn more about growth plans and new strategies going in 2022.
We queried Juergen Lindner, General Manager at MSEI (Micro Systems Engineering, Inc.) and member of Oregon Bio’s Board of Directors about the emerging opportunities for one of Oregon’s largest biotech employers.
Question: What are the MSEI/BIOTRONIK growth plans here in Oregon, what’s driving growth?
JL: MSEI offers medical technology for active implants and is the supplier of microelectronics to BIOTRONIK, one of the fastest growing companies in the cardiac rhythm management industry. MSEI is part of the Micro Systems Technologies Group, offering highly innovative products and services for active implants for the sole purpose of improving people’s lives.
MSEI/BIOTRONIK is planning future expansion for manufacturing, process and product development and laboratory space at its current Lake Oswego facility. This is driven by the ongoing expansion and upgrades to the highly automated manufacturing operations and corresponding digital factory operation. In the last few years, in addition to the BIOTRONIK business, MSEI has added significant manufacturing activity for other medical device customers who benefit from our expertise in electronic assembly, supply chain, processes, and quality and leverage the experience of millions of products built over the years. New product categories and expansion with new business units for additional electrotherapies are another growth driver for BIOTRONIK’s development. We’re planning our overall worldwide strategy, taking post-COVID requirements into consideration. The centerpiece will be a new manufacturing cleanroom space that enables the expansion of the digital and physical automated manufacturing adjacent to the current manufacturing operation. We are fortunate that the Lake Oswego campus offers room for expansion and flexibility.
With what we do at MSEI for BIOTRONIK and other medical companies, we’re always expanding our talent and will add 30+ employees in 2022 alone. The breadth of disciplines in these positions range from advanced R&D with therapy; technology and product development to design; engineering and process development; and advanced manufacturing operations for highly miniaturized and connected implantable medical devices. We highly value our collaborations with Oregon community colleges and universities and have great success attracting and retaining entry-level employees which complement the specialized and experienced talent at MSEI and aids in their medical device technology career advancement.
Question: How is MSEI/BIOTRONIK dealing with the challenges presented by the pandemic? How has it impacted your supply chain, a tight labor market, workplace modifications/safety protocols, etc.?
JL: Immediately at the onset of the pandemic, the MSEI team switched to a hybrid working model which supported uninterrupted manufacturing and essential on-site operations while continuing all other activities, mostly through remote work. The performance of the MSEI team has been amazing, and it has helped that over the years, that MSEI regularly collaborated successfully remotely with other teams and sites in Europe and the U.S. It also helped that most of our operations are in a clean room environment and the use of PPE and other precautions were standard procedure.
The supply situation was a challenge from the very beginning of the pandemic– beginning with securing sufficient and adequate masks, shipping and other services. Now we’re focusing on lead times and material availability. Fortunately, the medical devices are regulated with strict controls of materials to ensure inventory to cover availability delays and not a “just-in time” supply approach. Additionally, long-standing supplier relationships and close communications are proving very helpful, allowing MSEI to deal with the challenges.
Question: In what markets do MSEI and BIOTRONIK expect to see growth in 2022 and beyond?
JL: MSEI/BIOTRONIK has been on a constant growth path over the past 40+ years and we see this continuing. The recent establishment of a new business unit as well as key strategy customer engagements have filled our pipeline.
Question: What challenges do MSEI/BIOTRONIK forecast for the near term?
JL: Challenges are opportunities; we believe that new work models like hybrid or more remote will allow us to tap into resource pools that we could not access before. That will further strengthen our engineering team, helping to keep our pipeline filled and attracting even more customers. However, I think everyone is hoping that we transition into post-COVID phase soon, allowing us all to spend time face-to-face again and to also meet all our new employees in person.
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