Croom Medical is a Limerick-based orthopedic implants and aerospace components manufacturing company with over 39 years of experience in partnering with global multinational companies. To learn more about how they gained this impressive longevity in the industry, we asked CEO Patrick Byrnes to share the details of the journey of the years and the pivots that helped them remain successful.
1. When and how did Croom Medical start?
- Croom Medical was founded in 1984 in order to serve the local electronics and oil and gas industry. Originally named, ‘Croom Precision Tooling’, the company designed and manufactured a series of fixtures to aid the production lines of these corporations. Several American multinational companies had moved to the region such as verbatim, Analog Devices, and Dell computers. Howmedica OSTEONICS began operations in the region in 1995, it was at this point that Croom Medical started its journey in medical devices and adopted several industry certifications such as ISO 1348.
2. Can you give a little bit of background or information on the founders? Who are they, and how did they come together to create the business?
- Croom Medical was founded by Paddy Byrnes who served his time as an apprentice toolmaker and went on to evolve into several different leadership roles within the manufacturing industry, including operations manager. Paddy made the strategic decision in aligning the organization to orthopedic medical devices in the mid 90s where the company has gone from strength to strength in serving American blue chip customers.
3. What were some of the largest hurdles faced when the business first started?
- The Croom Medical business model had some significant challenges initially where there was no certainty of business beyond an 8 week window. As the company was solely relying on the requirements of American blue chip companies in a B2B business model, it had proved particularly difficult for the company management to invest in technology and additional resources with the certainty of return.
4. What lessons did the founders learn in overcoming those hurdles?
- Process consistency is absolutely key to success in business. Tailoring the business to its customer base and understanding what the customers want and how they want it, is paramount and has been a key pillar to the success of Croom Medical.
5. Have there been any major pivots that the company has made over the years?
- Aside from the initial pivot from tooling to medical devices in 1995, the company further reinvented itself in 2016 when it began marketing efforts both nationally and internationally to be recognized as a technology brand. This key differentiator has unlocked several opportunities from its existing customer base over the past seven years which have catapulted the company into the eyes of a growing international audience.
6. Are there any growth statistics you can share?
- Croom Medical has grown significantly over the past four years in particular. Since 2018, the company has:
- Grown from 22 people to 132 people
- Increased its facility footprint from 8000 square feet to 39,000 square feet
- Increased its sales by over 380%
- Gained three long-term manufacturing contracts on behalf of American blue-chip companies
7. What is the mission of your company, and has the mission of the company changed at all since it was founded?
- The mission of our company has evolved over the past decade where initially we were perceived as a ‘mom and pop shop’ style outfit which was adequate for our previous customer base. However, with ambitious growth plans on the horizon, Croom Medical repositioned itself as a high-performance supplier to a global customer base in a highly regulated industry. The team at Croom Medical firmly believes that together with its customers, it is driven to make healthcare better.
8. What decisions were made that have been instrumental in achieving the company’s current success?
- The establishment of a research development and innovation team in 2018 was the beginning of this phenomenal growth story. Initially, the company focused on novel technologies which were being adopted by the wider orthopedic industry. Through the detailed research of market industry reports, the focus of these novel technologies was that projectors onto the existing customer base at Croom Medical. From here, several orthopedic companies engaged with our team on a medium to a long-term partnership for the development of these manufacturing process technologies in addition to legacy manufacturing technologies.
9. What achievement of the company so far are you most proud of?
- The company has created over 100 jobs in the rural community of Croom, Co.Limerick in the past four years. This significant growth strategy has been a catalyst for substantial economic growth within the region which it looks to continue. In addition, these high-value positions within the medical manufacturing space have secured growing confidence for the organization on a global stage.
10. What project that the company has done are you most proud of?
- In January 2020, Croom Medical engaged with a customer to begin manufacturing femoral implants for the North American market. With growing external pressures such as Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Croom Medical successfully delivered the project within its timeline having recruited over 60 people in addition to delivering and validating 17 manufacturing assets which came from all over the globe. This product line was also the first FDA-registered product at Croom Medical.
11. What do you hope the future of the company looks like?
- Croom Medical has further expansion plans on the horizon, where it has acquired a second greenfield site for an additional facility that will focus entirely on additive manufacturing for the medical device orthopedic space. The organization is extremely excited about this project where it will be creating a further 50 jobs for the immediate locality.
12. How has the experience of being a part of your company impacted you personally/ your personal growth?
- 2020 was a particularly challenging year to deliver this life-changing project in the midst of a global pandemic. However, we are out the far side of it now where it looks to be the foundation of the company’s significant growth over the next decade
13. Looking back on the growth of your company, is there anything you would advise someone else to do differently than you had done?
- There are incredibly clever and smart people within the Irish business networks. I would advise engaging with these business networks as soon as possible in order to leverage free information which is widely available. The more information you have available to you, the better equipped you are to serve your business and empower its team members.
14. Can you share a bit about the personal relationships you have formed through the company?
- In 2018 I took over as CEO from my father, Paddy Byrnes. In hindsight, it was the beginning of a substantial relationship test between father and son where these manufacturing projects required significant financial debt to be raised which would put the 34-year-old company, its team, and my father’s work in jeopardy if not handled correctly. some four years on, the success of these projects has made for trusting relationships both internal and external to the company where we have relied heavily on funding partners, business consultants, team members, and family.
Croom Medical has an incredible story, and we admire their goal to improve healthcare globally. We thank them for sharing their story!