The upcoming transition whereby Autocam Medical moves into Medtronic’s facility along U.S. 30 is moving slower than expected, but the Michigan-based company remains eager about its future in Warsaw.
Shortly after Medtronic announced in late 2022 that it planned to close its facility, the orthopedic giant said they had found a company to take the building sometime in 2024.
Autocam Medical has a close working relationship with Medtronic — and numerous other top 10 medical device manufacturers — and wants to tap into the existing skill set available in the orthopedic capital, said John Kennedy, president and CEO.
Autocam Medical thinks Warsaw is a great fit and hopes to hire many Medtronic employees as they phase out of their existing jobs. But they are taking a patient approach.
“It’s going slower than we thought but that’s OK. We’re operating at Medtronic’s timing and their business has continued to be relatively strong … they’re trying to move stuff while they’re very busy,” Kennedy said.
Autocam Medical has a small presence at Medtronic in Warsaw, including a small sign outside of the entrance. The Grand Rapids, Mich., company plans to take over the entire property by the end of 2025.
Autocam Medical is a contract manufacturer that provides precision surgical and medical components and devices and works with many of the top 10 orthopedic manufacturers, including Zimmer Biomet, DePuy Synthes, Smith & Nephew Co. and Stryker.
Autocam Medical currently occupies 13,000 square feet of the Medtronic building but is expected to take over the entire 150,000 square feet by the end of 2025 – a year later than originally planned.
While the company is waiting for Medtronic employees to become available, they’ve already hired roughly 10 people from other local companies.
“We’re certainly finding the quality of personnel in Warsaw to be exceptional,” Kennedy said. “We’re pretty bullish about what we can do in a long-term basis in that facility.”
Kennedy said Medtronic had roughly 300 employees when the company announced its plan to exit.
The Michigan company has a record of success.
At one point, Autocam recorded $400 million in revenue and began to diversify over the years. They also have a company that specializes in medical devices for cataract surgery.
The company eventually sold the automotive segment in 2014, Kennedy said.
Autocam Medical has been growing at a fast clip. Three years ago, they had sales of $120 million and anticipate sales in the neighborhood of $180 million in 2024, Kennedy said.
“I think we can grow this business for certainly the next five years at 25 to 30% a year with the biggest impediment being engineers and machinists that can appropriately support our customers in that growth,” he said.
The company built a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Kentwood, Mich., (just outside of Grand Rapids) in 2022, and has other facilities in Plymouth Mass., and Murfreesboro, Tenn. They also have operations in Brazil and China, but Kennedy said those are only used for local market needs.
Kennedy said the company pays above-average wages, covers all insurance for employees who adhere to a healthy living approach and covers education costs for employees seeking engineering degrees.
“Our view is the more knowledge we have in the building the better we’re going to do in innovation and continuous improvement, which are why our organizations have been very successful over time,” he said.
Kennedy said future plans for expansion would include Warsaw.
On top of the workforce, he said he likes Warsaw’s proximity to Grand Rapids (2 hours, 15 minutes) and the 30-acre lot that’s part of the Medtronic property.
“It’s a very natural place for us to be, given the amount of talent that’s available in the Warsaw community,” Kennedy said. “It’s a great way for us to get into that labor market and support our customers throughout the world, including Medtronic.”
Bob Vitoux, president of OrthoWorx, was one of several community leaders from Warsaw (including then-Mayor Joe Thallemer) who toured Autocam Medical in Grand Rapids after learning the company was interested in Warsaw.
Vitoux said he thinks the background in automotive benefits the company in how they operate in the medical device field.
“I think they could be a really great organization to go along with others that we have,” Vitoux said.