The new Ottobock plant in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria was officially opened in a traditional ceremony recently. By taking this step, the international medtech company is expanding its production locations in the EU. A team of 225 employees currently work in Blagoevgrad, which is Ottobock’s tenth production location.
The ceremonial opening of Ottobock's new plant took place at the beginning of October. Together, Ottobock CEO Philipp Schulte-Noelle, COO Arne Jörn and Bulgaria's Minister of Economy Daniela Vezieva (from left to right) cut the ribbon.
In his speech during the official ceremony of the Opening the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev said: "I congratulate you for your decision to choose Bulgaria for your investment and more particularly Blagoevgrad – with its availability of workforce, two universities, strong secondary school education and most of all with its highly motivated people."
The plant in Bulgaria serves as a production site for finished products and components primarily for manual activities. The corresponding assembly and production processes are therefore being transferred here from Duderstadt, Königsee and Vienna. Production steps in wheelchair fabrication that were previously carried out in China will now be performed in Bulgaria as well. As a result, the products will be available much more quickly and at the same high level of quality. This will allow the teams in Duderstadt, Königsee and Vienna to focus on their strategic competencies. Select products in the supply chain that were previously manufactured externally will now be produced in-house going forwards. Less time will be required for implementing new products, and existing products can be upgraded more quickly.
"Blagoevgrad is an ideal location for our new plant. It has an optimal infrastructure, the people are very well trained and technically adept, and we are creating new jobs in the EU by selecting this as our location," said Hans Georg Näder, owner and Chairman of the Board of Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA, to the opening of the new plant.
The city of Blagoevgrad is located in a region of southwestern Bulgaria with well-developed logistics and personnel. Its location allows for shorter and therefore more sustainable delivery routes. The new plant thus represents the final step in the company’s production structure known as Operations Footprint, which is part of the operational strategy developed by Chief Operations Officer Arne Jörn in 2018.
Within a space of three months at the beginning of 2020, the existing building on the acquired premises was renovated and the infrastructure required to start production was set up – under difficult circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic. The investment volume is in the lower double-digit million range. Plant Manager Stoyan Stoyanov moved into the new premises in March of last year, initially with a team of 17 employees. The company is planning to have over 300 employees working in Blagoevgrad in future. The new building is now completed as well, and the development on a total area of 16,413.49 square meters has reached its conclusion.