Smith and Nephew makes medical advancements every day

Kelly Dawson
March 28, 2018
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There are more than 250 companies in our combined portfolios, and they are all making amazing advancements. From names you know, like Tesla, to those little gems you haven’t heard of yet, like Xylem, we want you to know all about what your holdings are up to. These ‘deep dives’ will help you understand what you’re invested into and how your dollars are making the world a better place.

Smith and Nephew is part of our Healthy Living portfolio.

  • Smith and Nephew collaborates with a range of professionals in the medical field to supply items that aide in orthopedic reconstruction, sports medicine, wound management, and trauma to extremities
  • Smith and Nephew has 15,000 employees across the globe
  • They are working toward zero waste in healthcare services

Most of us would like to believe that we are unstoppable. And the truth is, that’s isn’t entirely wrong. We push ourselves to get up early and work late, cook fresh meals and connect with our loved ones. We exercise, we plan, we create. In other words, we all hustle. And in those moments when it all seems to come together — if however brief, we feel satisfied with most aspects of our lives — it almost feels as if we exist as purely powerful beings.

Don’t get us wrong, we think that everyone deserves to feel this way. But the other truth to our existence is that as powerful as we are, we’re vulnerable, too. We can strain ourselves into injury, or experience an accident that puts our goals on hold. These setbacks can shift our bodies away from what they once were, when the cravings for a different future crumble and a new one has to arise.

Since we all are tied to the oxymorons of our bodies, as strong and as weak as they are, we know that those feelings of being in control can always be fleeting. And that, in a word, is scary. But there is a middle ground between strength and fragility, and it’s where Smith and Nephew resides. This British company has examined the flaws and beauties of the body alongside advancements in medicine and technology for the last 150 years, and it works to instill confidence in those who need their innovative products to bounce back from setbacks.

Smith and Nephew collaborates with a range of professionals in the medical field to supply items that aide in orthopedic reconstruction, sports medicine, wound management, and trauma to extremities. Its influence spans all over the body, as well as all over the world. Thankfully, unlike the infinite unknowns that can face our bodies at any given time, Smith and Nephew’s future is much clearer: it’s reducing its environmental impact on manufacturing its products, and working toward a future where injuries don’t make us feel as vulnerable as they do now.

Flex that muscle

So how does a company that seems to be unstoppable instill hope in customers that they can feel that way once again, too? For starters, by having the resources to do so. Smith and Nephew has 15,000 employees across much of the globe, and serves people who need its care in more than 100 countries. In 2016, it reported an operating profit of $801 million, and an overall revenue of $4.6 billion. And last year, Forbes voted it a top multinational performer, as well as one of the world’s most innovative companies.

The whole structure of its resources are built around what it calls “sustainable, ethical, and responsible” practices. This means that Smith and Nephew is committed to research and design that creates worthwhile products as practically as possible (for instance, by opting for natural materials and prioritizing others that can be safely reused). It also refers to a standard that when those products are made, a professional team is there to implement them and train those who use them (as to refrain from injuries and broken parts). And lastly, it strives to reach even more people who need these services globally by collaborating with other entities to make healthcare more accessible for all.

Those are big goals, and they provide the groundwork for much of what Smith and Nephew does. Let’s start with an overview of the products it develops and distributes. As we mentioned, the company’s array of items cover much of the body. Its orthopedic reconstruction sphere, for which it is a worldwide provider, covers joint replacements for shoulders, knees, and hips as well as surgical details like bone cement. So, if you’re one of the two million people per year who require a new knee — say, for issues like arthritis — Smith and Nephew has developed specialized options, with one in particular that can last for 30 years. Not to mention, its recent acquisition of Blue Belt Technologies means that a future surgery of this kind can be assisted by robotic help, too.

As for its sports medicine division, Smith and Nephew oversees implants and instruments that doctors can use to repair joints. This includes specialized tools that repair damaged tissues, digital cameras and anchors to see and fix rotators, and mechanical blades to do...well, what you’d imagine. Then there’s the advanced wound management portion, which has a straightforward purpose: to reduce or eradicate problems related to wounds so that they can heal. Last but not least, the company’s traumas and extremities category focuses on external and internal mechanisms to stabilize and correct severe injuries.

Now that you’re acquainted with its sections and items, let’s move on to what happens after these products leave the company’s grounds. Smith and Nephew’s outer network includes surgeons, physicians, nurses, and administrators whose job is to understand, recommend, and implement these products where necessary to their patients. Since the company has locations in 100 countries, this obviously takes a detailed cooperation of mutual education: Smith and Nephew learns what surgeons and those affiliates need, and those parties learn how to make them a part of their routines. We can chat about its robust global compliance program, but you get the idea — a lot of communications are in place and a lot of laws are followed so that everyone, regardless of where they are, can receive the same high level of care.

That’s the general plan, at least. And this overarching goal uniting them all makes it even more compelling: target zero.

Right on target

Long ago, in 1856 in fact, a man named Thomas James Smith opened a tiny pharmacy in the equally small village of Hull, England. It was the beginning of Smith and Nephew, a history that soon included surgical supplies to World War I soldiers — a tidbit the company is very proud of — and an impressive century of advancements in caring for those whose bodies were vulnerable.

And although Smith and Nephew is very much tied to the community values of its past, including keeping a site in Hull and a lasting focus on developing consumer trust, its future is dependent on an outline of nothing: A plan with multiple targets of zero. We’ve already mentioned that Smith and Nephew is working toward higher access to healthcare and a wider range of services, as well as products that have less of a carbon footprint in production. All of that plays into its intent to eventually reach a period where patients are safer. The company is looking for things like zero surgical site complications and healing delays, as well as zero diabetic amputations and ulcer reoccurrences. It also is looking to have zero waste in healthcare services.

Clearly, that’s ambitious, and it’s going to take much research and collaboration over the coming years to work with hospitals and patients to potentially make that happen. Yet, there’s a hope in it that’s worth some optimism. Maybe, just maybe, we can have a future where more people can feel unstoppable and for longer periods of time. That thought alone has the power to make us feel strong in the face of our vulnerabilities.

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