‘Life without limitations’ is the mission statement of Össur, one of the world’s biggest names in non-invasive orthopaedics. While the Icelandic company may have arrived in Eindhoven by sheer coincidence, without limitations is just as applicable when it comes to the European distribution centre and sales office in the city. The Brabant branch has grown explosively since it first opened its doors in 2002.
Össur started off in Eindhoven with a staff of 25 – today the offices house 115 employees. “But our growth is not restricted to the staff complement alone,” says Össur Europe’s financial director, Jos van Poorten. “In this location we are responsible for four Össur branches in Europe, which employ a total of 600 people.” The company employs 1,600 people around the globe and is also present in North America and Asia.
Bionic production line
Össur is a relatively young company, one that started off in 1971 developing and producing just a single component for leg prosthetics. Today the listed company is at the global pinnacle of the industry in the fields of prosthetics, orthotics and compression therapy. ”When it comes to innovations, then we’re truly the number one company,” Van Poorten adds. “Össur employs extremely high-tech equipment in the development and production of orthopaedics, enabling the disabled to restore their natural physical functions to an extraordinary degree.” The company from Iceland is the leader of the pack thanks to the development of computerised knees and feet, and was the first to launch a bionic knee on the market. “Our production line is absolutely unique.”
It was actually the takeover of an American company that brought Össur to the shores of Europe. “That company had already opted for Eindhoven, thanks to the excellent logistical conditions and high-tech environment,” the financial director explains. “Moreover, you encounter many international companies here where English is the medium of communication. It’s the same with us. We have 25 different nationalities working for Össur in Eindhoven, and the international culture is of the utmost importance, given our global orientation. From here in Eindhoven we not only cover Europe but the Middle East and Africa too, which means we represent about half of the company’s total sales in this location.”
Van Poorten’s enthusiasm for Eindhoven as the perfect location for Össur has not diminished with time. “We’re connected to the European highway network from here, and are centrally located between the major hubs of the international transporters that we work with. And of course we’re also close to international airports.”
Össur not only has an international sales office and state of the art warehouse in Eindhoven, it also has its very own academy. “Through our Össur Academy we are able to raise the training level of our employees and the quality of our products even more,” says Van Poorten. “It’s our knowledge and implementation centre, where we also host seminars for our clients.”
Össur’s products result in only one type of person, Van Poorten believes – a winning person. While part of the reason for this may be that, of the many events of the Paralympic Games, nearly all the podium-finishers are “running with our gear, it’s also because we can provide everyone we rehabilitate through our efforts with comfort and – last but certainly not least – self-confidence. In our eyes that makes them all winners. That winner’s mentality is bound within the genes of Össur, here in Eindhoven, Brabant, too.”