Even with simply 33 staff, homegrown medical units enterprise Osteopore Worldwide is placing Singapore on the world map. Located in JTC’s MedTech Hub, the agency produces 3D-printed biomimetic implants that steadily disintegrate into carbon dioxide and water whereas serving to broken bones to regrow, averting the potential negative effects of getting everlasting implants within the physique. Since its institution in 2003, it has already bought about 50,000 of its implants worldwide.
“That’s fairly an achievement for us. We’re additionally very happy with this milestone as a Singapore firm,” says Osteopore chief know-how officer (CTO) Dr Lim Jing, 36.
Dr Lim Jing and different SME leaders share their opinions on embracing Business 4.0 applied sciences.
The agency’s success story has been partly resulting from its revolutionary product, which supplies sufferers a greater high quality of life and lowering general healthcare price. Equally essential has been its dedication to embrace new and helpful applied sciences, upskill its workers and profit from its sources. By harnessing 3D printing know-how, it has been capable of customise implants for various surgical procedures equivalent to advanced cranium reconstructions after traumatic accidents.
“As our enterprise grows and our implants get to extra sufferers, we’re additionally at all times serious about one factor: how we ought to be growing our manufacturing and reworking it to make it extra environment friendly,” Dr Lim provides.
Placing folks first
Final 12 months, at its landlord JTC’s advice, Osteopore signed up for a 20-week programme designed by consultancy McKinsey & Firm to assist medical know-how companies enhance productiveness. The programme was launched to Osteopore beneath JTC’s Business Join initiative, which connects firms situated in JTC estates to companions and programmes for know-how adoption, collaboration, upskilling and different alternatives.
Dr Lim says that the programme lit a hearth in his agency: “We got here up with a blueprint that maps out how we are able to obtain a digitalisation transformation over the following couple of years.” It additionally bolstered the necessity to care for workers throughout such transitions. He explains: “That’s a very powerful factor. You need to be sure that they’re on board with you, they play a big function throughout and after the transformation and that you simply hold them motivated all through the method.”
High quality assurance technician Cathleen Kung, 23, shares how Osteopore adopted by on its learnings from the programme. She remembers: “One of many actions we did was worth stream mapping, to search out out the place our bottlenecks had been. When it got here to the standard management course of, we realised that I used to be the one individual doing the ultimate checks.”
The agency revamped the method and roped in operators to carry out the checks. This improved the general high quality of its merchandise and freed up Ms Kung to tackle larger duties. “Aside from sustaining our high quality management system, I now practice different folks to observe our processes,” she says. “This has been very satisfying.”
Over time, Osteopore has additionally thrived by casting its web vast for workers. The ages of its workers vary from 19 to 69. “What you get with mature of us is a way of emotional stability and maturity that helps to stabilise the work setting,” explains Dr Lim. “When you’ve got folks of various ages interacting, it additionally helps with communication and battle decision.”
Three years in the past, Madam Alice Lim joined Osteopore as a 3D-printing operator after greater than three many years within the journey business. The then- 59-year-old was attracted by the function’s versatile hours. She credit supportive colleagues and superiors at Osteopore for her clean transition into a brand new profession.
She says, “I didn’t have any background in 3D printers, however they had been very open to instructing me the mandatory expertise. Since I got here on board, the crew I work in has greater than doubled in measurement, and we’ve extra machines and extra merchandise, however we’ve maintained the identical welcoming tradition.”
She provides that her expertise underscores the chances open to those that are keen to be taught: “Be open and adaptable to new environments. By no means cease studying new issues, and if you end up unsure about something, ask. If you happen to don’t ask, you’ll by no means be taught.”
Innovating with Business 4.0
Trying forward, Osteopore is exploring the way it can faucet on Business 4.0 applied sciences to additional improve its productiveness and speed up its progress. Dr Lim explains: “To proceed to provide globally, from Singapore, we have to get to a really environment friendly degree of manufacturing. Thus the necessity for us to maneuver to Business 4.0, so we are able to stay aggressive within the medical system business.
“The easy answer to maximise output can be to purchase extra machines or hire extra items, and get your entire manufacturing flooring stuffed up. However the extra thrilling thought is to broaden vertically as a substitute of horizontally. Can we get extra merchandise produced on the identical time with the identical effort? That’s the place concepts about machines, robots and information transmission fall into place.”
Final 12 months, in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, the corporate adopted easy digital instruments and reaped advantages. Dr Lim shares: “Once we had been allowed solely about 50 per cent of our manufacturing workers on the ground resulting from Covid-19 security measures, we had been challenged day-after-day to consider how we had been going to trace actions, and ensure there have been no handover or takeover points.
“We applied a few digital instruments that we had by no means used beforehand – we made use of reside on-line spreadsheets, and programmed them in order that actions could possibly be managed from a software program standpoint to weed out human error.”
It’s now working with the Company for Science, Expertise and Analysis to implement using robotic know-how to automate key elements of its manufacturing operations. This is able to allow it to realize steady manufacturing, which is essential to its growth ambitions.
Dr Lim explains: “We wish to see if we are able to run manufacturing across the clock, and that is an space the place robots can shine. Within the close to time period, our most quick want is to develop our income,” he says. “On the identical time, we should put together our manufacturing movement, by making our present processes smoother and discovering new methods of working.”
Flying the flag for Singapore
As Osteopore deploys extra Business 4.0 applied sciences, it’ll proceed to put money into its workers’s skilled improvement. “On the finish of the day, as a lot as we concentrate on know-how, developments and robots, the supply of creation will nonetheless be human. So, we’ve to respect that. If we perceive the worth of each, we are able to actually maximise what we’ve at our disposal,” says Dr Lim.
He urges different companies in Singapore’s manufacturing sector – which makes up 21 per cent of the nation’s gross home product – to get the ball rolling on their very own Business 4.0 initiatives.
“You don’t must take a quantum leap. You possibly can take small, incremental steps and progress alongside the way in which. It comes right down to the wants of your organisation,” he advises.
Corporations may even have a better likelihood of success if they bring about related workers into the digitalisation course of early, search their suggestions and concepts usually, and act on them.
“Once we implement concepts, we ask our staff for suggestions on whether or not it really works or not, and we’re blissful to make changes. It’s an ongoing dialog. In spite of everything, know-how is to complement folks and make us extra environment friendly,” he says.
He believes that Osteopore will flourish and fly the flag even greater for Singapore because it forges forward on its Business 4.0 journey. “It’s at all times firms from the US or Europe main within the medical system house, notably in high-risk units,” he says. “We wish to present that Osteopore could be a champion for Singapore, and present the world that Singapore is severe in manufacturing medical units.”