Interviews, Lean & Opex, Smart Engineering

Stryker Interview: The Recipe for OPEX


Christian Jahn
Director Supply Planning, Stryker


Christian Jahn
Director Supply Planning, Stryker

On the occasion of the Global ManuChem Strategies event we spoke with Christian Jahn from Stryker about the need of OPEX, standardization in the field of automation and environmental challenges for his company.

Christian’s career at Stryker started back in the year 2000, when he worked as Distribution Analyst, SAP-Keyuser (SD) for Stryker Leibinger GmbH & Co. KG. At this site he held various positions like Manager US Supply Chain & Business System Integration and Manager Manufacturing Development. In 2011 he advanced to the senior level as he became Senior Manager for Manufacturing (Implants) until he took his current position as Director for Supply Planning in 2016.

we.CONECT: What is your recipe to achieve business performance excellence with operational agility?
Implementation of a global manufacturing footprint which can support different business areas within the industry –> scale effects / performance excellence
Definition of clear competencies per manufacturing locations to enable standardization and efficiency increase / performance excellence
Implementation of a strong organization and interfaces between the different business areas (sales and marketing) and manufacturing to align operations with the market demand –> operational agility
Implementation of strong network supply planning capabilities, processes and organization to leverage the capacities within the network for the different demand curves of the different business units –> operational agility
In your opinion, do we need more or less OPEX?

There is not a YES or NO possible. It depends on the overall situation for what the OPEX are needed.

Do we need to:

Support M&A activities
Support a significant short term increase or drop in demand
Manage increasing or decreasing market segments
Manage increasing competition

Depending on the overall framework of a dedicated business unit within a company we need more, less or stable OPEX which enable us to support the real market demand. This needs to be aligned with the long-term profitability development of the business unit. If we can increase e.g. the long-term profitability by increasing the OPEX in a growing market with low competition, we should do. Further on the OPEX itself should be under permanent review. This means what kind of investments are done. We could spent more in automation and equipment and less in manual processes. As a result the overall OPEX could stay stable, but the spent mix could change over time.

What are the new and main environmental aspects that are challenging your company?
Increasing price pressure in the MedTech industry driven by e.g. governments and laws
The transfer from a standardized product (mass production, same design each time) to the capability to supply custom specific products (1 piece production, different design each time)
Increasing regulatory requirements, different by country
Integration of new technologies like 3D printing and new services like OR planning support for hospitals into the product portfolio and supply
Standardization in the field of automation: Heaven or hell?

Hell to implement – Heaven as soon as it is available: Standardization is needed, critical and important also in the field of automation to enable a global and flexible manufacturing footprint. Without standardization between manufacturing lines there is no chance to manage short- and mid-term capacity bottlenecks. Further on positive scale effects e.g. design and/or manufacturing transfers can’t be realized. In addition supply planning and management is much more complex.

What are the challenges in organizing efficient & risk based supply chains in complex and fast changing business environments & volatile markets? How do you tackle them?
Technology standardization within the global manufacturing footprint to increase capacity flexibility in manufacturing different product lines
Dual sourcing strategy within the own company (e.g. 2 manufacturing locations) or supported by a strategic external partner
Implementation of back-up processes and capacities already with the design transfer during the new product development phase
Implementation of a strong Demand- and Supply Planning Organization and processes incl. a strong product life cycle management approach
Implementation of surge capacities for critical processes and/or products
Thank you for your time to participate in the interview!

Interview partners: Josefin Fügener and Christian Jahn

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