Case Study: Medtronic Tempe Campus

Medtronic Tempe Campus serves other Medtronic divisions by providing design and manufacture of electronic components. In 2007 they began a restructuring effort that included sending all of the easy manufacturing off shore, resulting in a reduction from 1500 to 800 employees. They have 9 buildings on 31 acres, many empty or near empty. Their standard workstation is a high walled grey cube, with grey chair, on grey carpet, against grey walls. They look like what they were, a manufacturing plant at its height in another era. However, the opportunities here are stunning. Medtronic creates products that save lives, and that is a great draw for passionate engaged employees. The Medtronic Tempe Campus (MTC) has off-shored the easy manufacturing but they still have in house the difficult parts. That means that they have in one location the inventors, engineers, and fabricators that can make new amazing things happen.

Our analysis identified three key areas of business/facility strategy. The first problem is that the departments are silo’d and the key to getting that innovation to happen is an increase in connection between diverse groups. The second problem is branding themselves as a subset of Medtronic corporate but still with their own unique skills and identity since they sell to other Medtronic divisions. Most of those sales start with a tour of the MTC facilities and if what they hear is “best in class” and “innovation central” and “electronic gurus” doesn’t match what they see which is a slightly run down manufacturing plant, there is a loss of trust. Research shows that the more aligned all forms of communication (visual, verbal, physical) the higher the trust level and higher trust leads to more sales. Always. The third problem is that this is a large company that has been through significant change in the last five years. Employees don’t trust the leadership and managers are wary that the next idea won’t work.

We have proposed an overall brand/look, specific areas to begin the transition to a more connected workplace, and an employee communication campaign to gain support.