Contech Medical

Contech Medical Inc.’s Road to Success

Company Profile

In 1987, Rhode Island native and entrepreneur Ray Byrnes was on a mission to solve a problem. He wanted to create user-friendly spiral wound dispensers for guide wires/catheters and stents for critical medical applications such as cardiac catheterization and open heart surgery. Byrnes tamed these previously unwieldy devices by creating a unique dispenser that allowed the guide wires to be inserted and contained inside these spiral wound dispensers. Byrnes’ product innovation put his company — Contech Medical — on the road to success.

Contech is a highly successful multimillion dollar contract manufacturer of not only dispenser coils but a whole range of patented and proprietary medical products. The company was one of the first in Rhode Island to achieve ISO13485, a manufacturing standard which encompasses a host of in depth quality requirements for the comprehensive management, design and manufacture of medical devices.

Located in Providence, the company is a global supplier of medical devices to some of the largest companies in the world including Bard, Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific. With more than 100 employees and exports to more than eight countries, Contech routinely posts double digit yearly sales growth.

Situation – Needed Flexibility for Dynamic Customer Requirements

And they’re one of the best Rhode Island success stories you may never hear of – and that’s okay with them. According to Contech’s Vice President of sales, Frank Barrett, it may be one of the keys to their success. “We don’t advertise or actively market our products,” he says. “We concentrate on making them the best in the world and let our products, quality and excellent customer service speak for us. We actively collaborate with our customers and suppliers and we are always available to them. That’s the way we do business.”

According to Chris Byrnes, Vice President of Operations, flexibility is what keeps Contech competitive and innovative. The company’s manufacturing capability is designed to suit dynamic customer requirements. As a result, Contech can now supply a whole suite of products ranging from drug delivery equipment to dental implants and medical packaging. “Our flexibility is our strength,” says Byrnes. “We can retool in 15 minutes in response to a customer call. That ability, coupled with our quality, also separates us from competition.”

Solution – Continuous Improvement & Lean Manufacturing

The company’s commitment to their employees and continuous business improvement is another factor to their success. Contech recently worked with Polaris MEP (formerly RIMES, Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Services) and, through a Comprehensive Workforce Training Grant, trained employees in Lean Manufacturing tools and techniques which have proved highly valuable. “The results from the training that (Polaris) provided have proved a sound investment for Contech,” said Don Lachapelle, Corporate Controller. “Not only did (Polaris) provide the training and implementation services, but they also helped with the technical writing to secure a grant to off-set the cost. The manufacturing improvements have saved Contech over $50,000 and increased the investment in our workforce by $20,000. With our out-of-pocket investment of $10,000 the return on investment to our company is $7 to $1. That ROI helped our organization to reinvest in the company,” added Lachapelle.

Results – Infrastructure & Technology Investments

In the past two years alone, Contech has invested close to $500,000 in infrastructure and technology improvement. The company has also been able to provide opportunities for interns from local colleges to gain valuable real-world experience. One intern project resulted in the creation of a disaster recovery plan that would have the company operational within 48 hours should there ever be a natural or man-made disaster.

What does the future hold for Contech? According to Frank Barrett, it’s pretty straightforward. “We’re committed to growth, diversification and the highest quality products and customer service.”

Testimonial

“The manufacturing improvements have saved Contech over $50,000 and increased the investment in our workforce by $20,000. With our out-of-pocket investment of $10,000 the return on investment to our company is $7 to $1. That ROI helped our organization to reinvest in the company.”

– Don LaChappelle , Corporate Controller