Boston Scientific first made a home in Ireland in 1994 and today stands as the largest life sciences employer in Ireland. With a workforce of more than 6,000 people across three locations at Cork, Galway and Clonmel, every year the company exports more than 12 million medical devices from the Emerald Isle.

While the growth of the US medtech giant in Ireland has been keenly supported by the Irish government, like other companies, Boston Scientific is facing industry challenges in transforming manufacturing and supply chain processes.

According to a new report by Ireland’s inward investment agency IDA Ireland, the next five years will be critical for the medical device industry as companies strive to future proof operations and meet increased global demand for innovative devices.

Medical Device Network met with Boston Scientific at its Cork facility which is the centre of manufacturing for products that treat conditions in the cardiac and peripheral vasculature and gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. In 2021, Boston Scientific announced a €30m ($32m) investment in the site to scale research, development, and innovation activities.

Through a tour of the colourful walls and cleanrooms of the Cork facility, Joe Devlin, Senior Director of Process Development at Boston Scientific Cork told Medical Device Network why the site has become a key part of the company’s growth strategy.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Medical Device Network: What is the biggest challenge you face in scaling manufacturing processes and has that changed over the years?

Joe Devlin: There’s a lot of challenges and competition when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

To scale our production, it is necessary for us to be able to quickly access people with the right skills, but this is an employee’s market and multinational wise we’re all pretty much similar in terms of what we offer in work experience – so what differentiates any company from competition is the culture.

I’ve found that people form culture so if you create a good working environment that people can benefit from then they stay, and Boston Scientific Cork focuses heavily on promoting a great, inclusive culture and positive working environment for people which is built around Boston Scientific’s core business values of advancing science for life. We focus on building employee networks and opportunities for people to grow within the company.

Last year was a very exciting year as we celebrated 25 years of Boston Scientific in Cork, so we had a great week of events including transforming one of our collaboration spaces into a retro arcade for everyone on the teams in Cork to enjoy. I think it is vital that people can take time out of their busy days to take a step back and reflect on the work that we do here in Cork and appreciate the people that they do it with!

We also promote learning and collaboration across the teams. One thing that has changed over the years is we see a lot more people entering the medtech industry from alternative industries which is great because that creates diversity in thought processes.

In the Cork facility we display all the devices manufactured in the plant on the walls of the facility with detailed information about them and this is an idea that formed from colleagues’ curiosity about other departments in the company. We often had people asking about other products made by teams so we decided it would be a great idea to showcase all the manufacturing that takes place in the facility and display our shared mission of putting patients at the center of everything we do.

MDN: What partnerships are in place in Ireland to create the skills of Boston Scientific’s future workforce?

JD: Fostering good partnerships with universities is a very important way for us to find and nurture new talent. We work very closely with universities in the West of Ireland to help shape the courses that will generate the next wave of technical skills coming into the sector. Digitalisation is taking place across the manufacturing of the medical technology sector so the knowledge base needs to expand to accommodate this.

Overall, Ireland has very strong industry and academia partnerships which will be extremely important in steering companies through the changes that will occur in industry due to digitalisation. At Boston Scientific, we are also putting a focus on forming strong partnerships with data and technology companies to expand our technologies. 

IDA Ireland is very supportive to us and we work closely to identify ways we can upskill the workforce and also improve our sustainability efforts.

MDN: What do people like about living and working in Cork?

JD: Cork is small enough to get around, but the interesting thing is that because of the nature of people, there is a feeling of interconnectedness. People may work across different companies in the region, but they keep in touch and that can be very useful as we have a good working relationship with all the companies in the life sciences ecosystem.

The Cork region is also very affordable for young people and families and we’re seeing a growth in diversity, with more nationalities and cultures arriving to work here which creates a vibrant atmosphere. There are more restaurants and entertainment for people to enjoy so the energy of the city is changing, and the locals certainly appreciate that.