In February 2012, Becton Dickinson (BD), a New Jersey-based global medical technology company, expanded its international presence into the Netherlands with the acquisition of KIESTRA Lab Automation BV, a Netherlands-based pioneer in automation solutions for the microbiology lab.
BD Diagnostics employs approximately 30,000 people in more than 50 countries and took notice of the small, family-owned company after seeing KIESTRA at various European trade shows and hearing good things from customers, according to Steve Conly, Global Business Leader for Lab Automation. BD was impressed by the Dutch company’s innovative, entrepreneurial spirit and felt that the two companies were aligned, both in technology and in their approach to the work.
The Drachten facility now serves the global market as BD’s Global Center of Excellence for Laboratory Automation and grew from a small company of under 100 employees operating out of Drachten in the northeast Netherlands, to an integral part of the larger BD global organization.
“We have been committed and aggressive in our growth of the Netherlands facility,” Conly said. “We operate manufacturing, supply, R&D, sales, marketing and support activities all out of the Drachten facility while serving customers globally.”
Drachten’s strong local workforce contributed greatly to the company’s growth following the acquisition. “It’s quite rich in talent,” Conly said of the Drachten area. “They’re hardworking, passionate about what they do, and have a sense that their output matters.” The Drachten facility now employs 275 workers, with many more field-based associates operating in local countries.