Medtronic’s Growing Presence in Thailand
Medtronic is a global medical and technology company with a major presence in Thailand. Its operations in Thailand include a manufacturing facility – the Kendall Gammatron plant – in Nakorn Pathom, and a sales and marketing office in Bangkok, employing more than 850 employees combined. The Kendall Gammatron plant sits on 14.3 acres, and includes three manufacturing buildings, two warehouses and one administrative office. The largest Medtronic manufacturing facility in Asia, Kendall Gammatron is a leading manufacturer of disposable medical devices and equipment.
Established in 1983, the Kendall Gammatron plant has continued to expand in Thailand. In 2013, the facility added 2,300 square meters (24,756 square feet) to its existing operations, which brought 150 additional jobs, to accommodate Medtronic’s regional growth. This expansion allowed the plant to add several product lines, including endotracheal tubes, vascular accesses devices and medical supplies. The Kendall Gammatron plant features state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, which includes automated tube processing machines, blow molders and extruders to ensure highly consistent processes to produce quality medical technologies. The facility meets globally recognized standards, including ISO 13845, European Medical Devices Direction and the Japanese Good Manufacturing Practice. The plant is also registered with the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Thailand Emerges as Medical Hub of Asia
As the medical device manufacturing industry continues to expand and evolve, Thailand is well positioned to take advantage of the growth. According to Lim Chau Eang, manager for the Kendall Gammatron plant, "Thailand has a large pool of cost-effective labor and well defined investment policies that focus on encouraging foreign investment.” In addition, the Thai government has placed a high priority on promoting skill enhancement, technology and innovation, and is investing in the necessary resources, including infrastructure with modern transportation services and improved IT networks, to accommodate the medical device sector.
Ranked as the 11th best destination for foreign direct investment in the world, Thailand continues to act as a gateway to Asia, with preferential market entry into China, India and members of ASEAN. Thailand offers multiple channels for exports, which is crucial for Medtronic because it exports 95 percent of the products produced at the Kendall Gammatron plant. Thailand also appeals to manufacturing companies with its consistent quality performance, skilled workforce, investment-friendly environment, government support and the competitive cost of production. In addition to Medtronic, Thailand is also home to major international medical device manufacturers or distributors, such as 3M, GE Medical Systems, Johnson & Johnson, Philips Electronics (Medical Systems) and Tyco Healthcare.
Medtronics’s Future in Asia and Beyond
By 2015, ASEAN hopes to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which will allow for the free flow of goods, services, capital and skilled labor. Once established, the Kendall Gammatron plant’s central Thailand location will be of even greater benefit to Medtronic. “Thailand will continue to be one of our top choices of investment location. We have been enjoying the product distribution advantages from our centrally located position in Thailand. This advantage will be even more significant with the potential new investment in Thailand,” says Mr. Lim.
Already one of the most competitive and high-performing manufacturing sites for Medtronic, the Kendall Gammatron facility looks forward to the positive impact from the AEC, particularly access to bigger labor and talent pools, larger markets and improved logistics/transportation.
“The Thailand Board of Investment is one of the best government sectors. They are very supportive and helpful to investors. They have provided maximum incentive to the medical industries for so many years.”
- Lim Chau Eang, Plant Manager, Kendall Gammatron Co, Ltd.