What is New Deantronics’ corporate culture?
Our culture is based on integrity and responsibility to continue meeting the demands of regulatory requirements and of our customers, along with growing our business in ways that positively impact the communities in which we operate and serve. Our approach involves a combination of continuous improvement, investments in innovation, rigorous traceability, reducing our environmental footprint through sustainable practices, and ensuring the quality and reliability of our products for the safety and well-being of patients.
What were some of the biggest challenges at the beginning and what are your proudest accomplishments?
In 1987, starting a medical device manufacturing business as a woman was my first challenge. Manufacturing was pretty much a man’s domain. With some wonderful people providing encouragement, we managed to get off the ground.
I view the past three decades as periods of both challenges and accomplishments. The first ten years I was challenged as “a woman in a man’s world”. My education was in Law and Business. Nevertheless, I had to become an expert in operations, manufacturing, R&D, quality, etc. I learned about the medical device market. As a heavily regulated market it presented an additional layer of challenges which meant a great deal of hard work and constant learning.
Our customers were mainly in the U.S. and some in Europe so we needed to be more international with our skills and views. Therefore, we looked to hire bilingual project managers, engineers, and those with an overseas education.
We have since moved to a facility three times our previous size and established a vision for the next 20 years.
How do you plan to carry out that vision?
This year, we will complete the construction of a new facility in Chia Yi, located in Southern Taiwan which will add 450,000 sq. ft. to our current 250,000 sq. ft. Taipei facilities. It will also include world class EO gas sterilization services in order to ship finished sterile devices directly to customers’ global distribution centers. Furthermore, over the past several years we have also greatly expanded our R&D operations.
We wanted to expand our global presence and be closer to the customers and main markets. Consequently, in 2017 we acquired 16 acres of land in Spanish Springs, Nevada to construct an overseas manufacturing and R&D facility.
Another building block was establishing a targeted VC fund two years ago with the planned future inclusion of a Medical Device Incubator in the new US facility.
How important will this incubator be?
Through our VC firm, ForMED Ventures, we have investments in the US and Israel. Israel is a major center for innovation. Manufacturing is limited because the population and location are relatively small. ND has the development and manufacturing expertise to help innovative start-ups move more rapidly from concept to finished device. ForMED has several investments in early stage companies in Israel and the U.S. which can be incubated in our Spanish Springs facility.
How can innovation and technology transform the private sector in Taiwan?
In the late 1980s we chose not to chase cheap labor in China, India or Southeast Asia. We stayed in Taiwan and focused on automation in order to utilize our innovative production process control skills. We want to coach the younger generation to think outside of the box when it comes to automation design and innovation in order to be competitive and produce consistently high quality products.
Previously, we were producing millions of surgical devices on several manual production lines, each with about 20 people. Then we developed and patented a new product designed for automation manufacturing. Today we run three automation lines – each needs only one operator and produces a product every 5 seconds. We were able to move people to more skilled positions, thus increasing their skill sets and gaining added value per person.
What is your view on the “Made in Taiwan” and “Taiwan” as a brand?
I think it is wonderful but at times misunderstood. “Made in” Japan, Germany, Switzerland etc. immediately brings thoughts of value and quality to the consumer’s mind. Apple, Google, Sony, etc. are globally recognized.
I also believe branding is of value even if the brand is not widely known in the consumer market. There are thousands of companies with very strong brand equity in specific areas. New Deantronics does not “sell” to the public and it is not a consumer recognized brand. However, our customers are among the global leaders of medical devices and we have brand recognition within R&D, marketing, etc.