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VOL. 133 | NO. 49 | Thursday, March 8, 2018

Olympus Opens Expanded Bartlett Campus

By Michael Waddell

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Medical device manufacturer Olympus celebrated the grand opening of its $12 million expanded Bartlett campus at 2937 Appling Road on Tuesday, March 6. The state-of-the-art facility expands Olympus’ existing R&D and surgical manufacturing building on Appling Road, which has operated in Bartlett since 1984.

It was a project that involved two years of planning and development.

The new Olympus National Service Center East and medical asset warehouse operates as a service and distribution center for a variety of medical equipment and devices such as endoscopes, surgical devices and generators. The company operates in similar hub in San Jose, California, to serve West Coast customers.

Inside the new Olympus medical repairs building in Bartlett. The medical device manufacturer opened the $12 million expansion of its Appling Road facility this week. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)


“This facility can easily exceed the capacity in San Jose right now,” said Nacho Abia, president and CEO, Olympus Corp. of the Americas. “We can run up to three shifts here, add more people to become the largest service entity we have in the country.”

Over the next three to five years, Olympus expects to create approximately 280 new jobs in disciplines such as medical device repair, distribution and management.

The company chose to stay in Bartlett for its long-term growth for a variety of reasons, including the growing medical device industry in the area and the pool of local talent.

“I think the talent pool that we have here is very strong from an employee standpoint, the ability to attract good people for our products on the manufacturing side and repair side,” said Joe Doherty, president, Olympus Surgical Technologies America. “From a logistical standpoint, this works much better than shipping back and forth to San Jose, and it gives us a quicker turnaround.”

Operations actually started inside the two-story, 110,000-square-foot facility last October, with two eight-hour shifts running from 6 a.m. to 11:15 p.m.

“Within the newly constructed building, we have about 120 people right now. Twenty on the supply chain side working in the warehouse, and the remainder are on the repair side,” said Dan Scalzo, vice president of Service Engineering & Repair for Olympus.

The new Olympus medical repairs building in Bartlett. The medical device manufacturer opened the $12 million expansion of its Appling Road facility this week. (Ted Colegrove)

He cited the Memphis area’s logistics capabilities and being closer to the company’s customer base in the eastern part of the U.S. as a primary factor for the recent expansion.

“One of the huge advantages here is pickup from FedEx is 10:30 at night. They’re delivering it early in the morning between 6 and 8. So in some cases depending on what’s needed, you potentially could get it back out the same day,” Scalzo said. “Turnaround time is very important for us. We realize if the scope’s here, the hospital or the doctor doesn’t have it to use.”

The new facility was designed by Renaissance Group and built by Chris Woods Construction. The large warehouse space, which is attached onto an existing building, features 32-foot clear-height ceilings to maximize the footprint.

“For us, the reason to co-locate it with repair is that any time something comes back from the market we’re going to inspect it and make sure that before we put it back on the shelf and send it out to the next person that it’s working like it should,” Scalzo said.

Natural light from wall-to-wall windows and a skylight illuminates the repair shop, where technicians fix the family of medical devices from Olympus, including a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopes, advanced energy-based hand instruments, sterile single-use devices, and ENT implants. A specially designed electrostatic epoxy floor creates a ground for the technicians while working on the electronics.

“The product is definitely cutting-edge for cancer detection and prevention, so it’s really saving lives on a daily basis,” said John Place, Olympus director of repair operations.

Olympus specializes in the development of devices for many surgical specialties including urology, gynecology, ear nose & throat, respiratory, energy and general surgery.

In total, the entire campus is expected to provide more than 500 jobs and support one of the largest concentrations of medical device growth in the country.

Those attending the grand opening event Tuesday included Bob Rolfe, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald; Akihiro Taguchi, senior executive managing officer of Olympus Corp., Tokyo, Japan; and Todd Usen, president of the Olympus Corp. of the Americas’ Medical Systems Group.

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