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The past two years have resulted in many challenges for manufacturers but some manufacturers were given unforeseen opportunities in a few instances. Core Technology is one of those fortunate manufacturers whose capabilities enable them to provide pharmaceutical companies with the materials needed for mass vaccine delivery. Core Technology reached out to North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) partner, NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES), for training to hone their pre-existing skills and learn about pharmaceutical manufacturing. 

Core Technology, established in 2006 and located at Gateway Research Park in Greensboro, NC, is a plastic injection molding supplier to several industries. They serve the biological pharmaceutical, automotive and heavy truck appliance, outdoor lawn equipment and aerospace industries, and a list of prominent customers includes Merck, Pfizer, BMW Manufacturing, Volvo, Mack Trucks, Volvo Cars, Husqvarna and more. Core Technology’s strategy is focused on providing integrated and innovative plastics solutions to the world’s leading companies, thus offering lower pricing by removing costs. 

We spoke with Geoff Foster, Founder and President of Core Technology, about how the pandemic provided opportunities for Core Technology. “Two years before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 5% of our customer base was in the biopharmaceutical industry; now, we are over 60%. As a result, sales tripled last year from the previous year,” Foster noted. Core Technology was able to partner with pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer. “We obtained a contract with a few pharmaceutical companies to make the plastic plunger on syringes and create components that help pull out impurities in vaccines,” Foster told us. “We’re making them for the measles, mumps, chickenpox, HPV, rubella, shingles, influenza, vaccines and others.” Foster continued. “We’re talking about millions of vaccines going into people’s bodies so we want to be as close to perfect with our manufacturing.”

When asked about the organization’s history with NCMEP partner NC State IES, Foster replied, “NC State IES reached out to us about five years ago. Since then, we’ve developed a good relationship with them, and we have had them come in to help us with training through the years. NC State IES always has an expert who can help us.”

In early 2021, Core Technology reached out to NC State IES to conduct Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) training. “We got some pretty impressive training facilitated by NC State IES. It was custom training focused on what we needed; we didn’t waste time on things we wouldn’t use day in and day out,” Foster said. NC State IES ordered the training materials, coordinated with the instructor and created specialized training focused on vaccines and assembly. In the end, NC State IES provided Core Technology with its certificate of completion, leaving them with the employee training and knowledge to view their business in the pharmaceutical industry.

When the project was surveyed, it was shown that Core Technology was able to realize $1,000,000 in retained sales, a total cost saving of $125,000, the creation of 10 new jobs, 10 jobs retained and a total investment in the plant and equipment of $700,000. Geoff also noted an amazingly low defect level due to their NC State IES quality training in 2021. Core Technologies’ manufacturing defect level when working with Merck was zero. 

Geoff and Core Technology are moving ahead full steam. The company is expanding its current facility to handle the new demand. “Because of the growth, we’re adding onto our building this year; we’ve added so much automation since the pandemic began,” Foster said proudly. When asked what was memorable about working with NC State IES. “They’re phenomenal–their experts don’t quit until they know your organization has accomplished a training goal.”