After months of preparations, our new Production Supervisor, Annie Witte, and her team are up and running Sandvik Materials Technology's medical wire second manufacturing location in Tucson, Arizona. It's close to the airport and easy for customers to visit.
It was in the beginning of November 2020, we announced that Sandvik Materials Technology had found a second location for EXERA® fine medical wire and wire-based components manufacturing. Now Annie Witte, the new Production Supervisor, and her team are up and running after some months of preparations, all according to the timeline.
Annie, who has a background in umbilical cord blood processing, joined the BU Medical Team in December 2020. In addition to learning a whole new business area, Annie also focused on getting to know both the ways of working within BU Medical and her colleagues and their roles. She also familiarized herself with the corporate culture, doing so quickly and successfully during her short training period in Palm Coast earlier this year.
Annie also used her Palm Coast training period to hire the people who will work with her at the Tucson facility. Due to current restrictions, she conducted the hiring process virtually.
Now Annie and her team of three people are ready to go. They do constitute a small team, but their skills fit together very well. Annie made sure to find a good combination of experience, enthusiasm, and attention to detail amongst her new co-workers.
"I want to build a culture that is multi-functional and resourceful because we will need to solve challenges on our own."
Together with the Palm Coast team, Annie and her colleagues have installed new module process rooms, exhaustion equipment to support the coating processes, specialized fine wire manufacturing utilities. Additionally, the equipment and facility have been going through rigorous IQ/OQ/PQ qualification procedures mandated by the medical device manufacturing industry.
The plans going forward
Right on time, they ended phase one and started to run the production in Tucson at the end of Q1. They will continue to add three more production phases in the run-up to summer when they plan to integrate more product programs. The plans for the Tucson facility are ambitious, and the expectations high.
"The Tucson area and our new facility have several important features," says Gary Davies, BU Medical Manager. "This adds to our manufacturing flexibility and brings us close to our customers, which is why we plan to use this site as our official showplace."
"The facility has a superior technical workforce and local support from the universities and small automation equipment manufacturers," Gary adds. "That will be critical to our growth plan long-term as we continue to add additional operations beyond what is currently planned today."
An ideal location
"As well as having a high technology vibe, Tucson is a great place to invite customers to visit," says Annie, who has lived in Tucson for the past 13 years.
"I would love to guide our customers in exploring this very nice city," says Annie, who recommends this TucsonFoodie article on Tucson becoming the first city in the US to be named "City of Gastronomy" by UNESCO.