At the end of 2021, the German company for the production of medical prostheses, orthoses and wheelchairs Ottobock positioned its new production base with a total built-up area of 16 413.49 m2 in Blagoevgrad, with an investment of nearly 20 million leva. Although Plovdiv and Burgas were considered at first, the investors point out Blagoevgrads’ good logistics as the main reasons for their choice - the highway and the easy transport access, as well as the two universities in town.
For its Bulgarian production, the company uses metal profiles, polyurethane, silicone and medical textile materials. Each product gives back people a piece of normality - a business model that has given Ottobock a special place in the economy for over a hundred years. Products from Blagoevgrad are exported to more than 60 countries, first passing through a central warehouse in Germany, as the starting point of distribution. The factory in Blagoevgrad is the 10th plant of the Ottobock Group, which has facilities in other countries in Europe, North America and China.
The most important point is related to the recruitment of staff and the teams' structuring. Employees with great capabilities and potential can easily be found, but the key is to get them to work together as a team, according to the company. The company has hired more than 225 employees in Blagoevgrad so far, and the goal is to exceed 300 by the end of 2022.
Regarding the production materials, the company's headquarters is training employees on how to assemble items and select the raw materials themselves. Part of the German company's philosophy is also to create and support local suppliers, and they already have several in Blagoevgrad. Of course, local suppliers undergo a very detailed inspection as the company operates in the healthcare industry.
The production base minimizes the negative effects of higher electricity prices through an internal cost optimization program.
In April 2022, the Bulgarian Investment Agency awarded Blagoevgrad with an honorary prize in the category “Bulgarian municipality with most investments" precisely because of Ottobocks’ large-scale investment.
Ottobock started business in 1919. The company operates in nearly 60 countries and has over 8 thousand employees. The company has been a partner of the Paralympics since 1988 and is among the world leaders in the production of high-tech prostheses, orthoses and bionic implants.