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Partner: DePuy Synthes

Partner: DePuy Synthes

04 May, 2021


DePuy Synthes, part of the Johnson and Johnson family of companies, established its manufacturing facility in Cork in 1997, where it manufactures orthopedic knees, shoulders and hips. The company has since expanded to include a Global Supply Chain Operation in 2002. The Cork plant ships products to Belgium for distribution to European and Asian markets or ships to Indiana for distribution throughout America. DePuy was awarded the Shingo Prize in 2014. This prestigious award is a recognised symbol worldwide of an organisation’s successful establishment of a culture anchored on principles of enterprise excellence.

The Master's programme in Global Business Practice equips students with a deep understanding of contemporary business practice complemented by exposure to the international business landscape. Included in the first semester of the programme are modules in Operational Strategy and Business Relationship Management. Carmel Cotter, Business Excellence Leader for DePuy in Cork, agreed to engage in a live case study with the class groups. This live project would serve as a joint assessment for both modules.

The Need

During her presentation and Q&A with the students, Ms Cotter outlined several challenges that DePuy face in the coming year. These challenges include managing the impact of Covid-19; DePuy has experienced reduced demand for its products as many elective surgeries have been cancelled. The company also had to manage staffing issues and the transition to a virtual workplace, all while maintaining operations and relationships with major external stakeholders. Further obstacles facing the organisation include minimising the impact of Brexit and continuing the E2E supply chain journey.  

The Solution

Students worked in groups to evaluate the Supply Chain Relationships and Operations Strategy of the DePuy facility, comparing them with best practice. Each group produced a research report and presented their findings to their lecturers. Students applied the theory and concepts delivered in class to an actual manufacturing situation, providing an opportunity for deeper learning.

Benefits of the Engagement

It was beneficial for students to work with an industry leader in global supply chain operations. Researching the adversity the company faces in the coming year allowed students to gain a deeper understanding of how global events affect operations. Partnering with MTU on this live case study provided DePuy with an opportunity to engage with students who the company may wish to attract as future employees. Kathleen Rodrigues, a student on the MSc in Global Business Practice, outlined that while the assignment posed unique challenges, they were outweighed by the benefits: “The assignments approach to contemporary topics, including Brexit and the COVID19 pandemic and their impact on DePuy’s operations and relationships, allowed us to develop a deeper understanding of these relevant topics in line with the worlds current economic scenario.”

“This was a great opportunity to  collaborate with MTU and participate in developing the potential supply chain leaders of the future.” 
- Carmel Cotter, Business Excellence Leader, DePuy Synthes




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