Cadence targets growth in medical manufacturing, molding with new hire

Cadence, a single-source contract manufacturer headquartered in Staunton, VA, announced last week that it had hired Jeff Kelly as Vice President and General Manager of its finished device and plastic injection molding division. It piqued our interest that Kelly, who has more than 15 years of experience in the medical technology and life sciences space, would find professional fulfillment on the other side of the supply chain. So, we phoned him.

 

Jeff Kelly
Jeff Kelly

Prior to joining Cadence, Kelly was with Quest Diagnostics, the leading global provider of diagnostic testing, information and services and a developer and manufacturer of diagnostic devices. He was responsible for marketing and sales, business development, and international expansion. Kelly has also worked at Thermo Fisher Scientific, Bayer Healthcare and Immunetrics.

"Yeah, I guess you could say I'm not a traditional hire," said Kelly. He admits to having more experience on the commercial side, managing marketing and sales teams, and so forth, but, he adds, "I have had broad responsibilities in product development—everything from the clinical aspects to voice-of-the-customer research. I have a thorough understanding of the supply chain and manufacturing both here in the United States and internationally," said Kelly, who spent three years in the Netherlands building a sales team and getting product ready for market.

That breadth of experience will come in handy at Cadence, says Kelly, where he is tasked with accelerating growth in the medtech contract manufacturing and molding business. "It's important to have been on the other side of the table and to bring that knowledge to my present position," said Kelly. An understanding of the myriad challenges of developing medical products, from the clinical science to reimbursement issues, and launching them in the marketplace will help him connect with "customers large and small." It also gives him informed insight into the market potential of medical projects brought to the attention of Cadence.

Cadence began as a maker of high-performance cutting blades under the name of Specialty Blades. The company developed a proprietary CNC sharpening process that brought considerable demand for its services among manufacturers of minimally invasive surgery devices. In 2008, it acquired Popper and Sons, a specialty needle and metal tubing manufacturer with a significant footprint in the medical space. In 2014, Cadence brought plastic injection molding into the mix, with the acquisition of three operating business units of Plainfield Precision Holdings, a supplier of assembled products that integrate stamped metal and molded plastic components. Today, in addition to its Staunton headquarters, Cadence operates four facilities in the United States—Cranston, RI; Pittsburgh, PA; Sturgeon Bay, WI; and Plymouth, MA—and one in the Dominican Republic.

"The acquisitions broadened our overall product offering," says Kelly, who now must find new outlets for that portfolio in a crowded field of contract manufacturers with molding capabilities chasing medical device OEMs.

 

Cadence and hundreds of other contract manufacturers and molders will exhibit their expertise at the co-located MD&M West and PLASTEC West events coming to Anaheim, CA, from Feb. 9 to 11, 2016.


 

There are certainly many very qualified medical molders out there, concedes Kelly, but he sees opportunities. "One of our advantages is in cleanroom capabilities: We are currently expanding our cleanroom in the Dominican Republic and installing a new one in Plymouth," says Kelly. The company's plant in the Dominican Republic also provides geographical advantages. "Our nearshoring option is valuable both from a cost perspective and because of our proximity to customers manufacturing in Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean and Latin America," says Kelly. Ninety percent of production in the Dominican Republic facility is for the medical market; the remainder goes into automotive.

Cadence offers plastic molding in four of its six locations, including insert and two-shot molding and MuCell-based molding, which is integrated into its complex subassembly processes. When all is said and done, "our strength is being a single-source supplier managing the whole supply chain for our customers," says Kelly. He will make his case, in the company of hundreds of competitors, at the co-located MD&M West and PLASTEC West events in Anaheim, CA, from Feb. 9 to 11, 2016.

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