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Reorganization of Quality Management at the ceramic implant manufacturer CeramTec

Case Study


In expectation of increasing demand for ceramic implants, a new medical technology production site was built at a second CeramTec venue, with an investment of 45m Euros. In this phase, we lost our Head of Quality Management without warning. We wanted to reorganize our quality management activities innovatively and cost-efficiently.


Atreus achieved a significant reduction in the costs of quality management and restructured the division to reflect the demands of the global market. The official audit for re-certification was passed without any problems.

Interview with Karl Billau, Managing Director of CeramTec

Why did you call on Atreus for help?

First of all, we needed to fill the position quickly because the previous executive left the company at short notice. It was particularly important to us to get an external expert on board who could further develop the division. With his innovative concepts, the Atreus manager convinced us that he was the man for the job – this even though he didn’t come from a medical technology background, but from the automotive components industry. With his help, we were able to use his know-how from that highly competitive sector for our production.


"To meet the expectations on us as market leader, we wanted to examine and optimize our quality management."

What objectives were set for the Atreus manager?

The Atreus manager was tasked with taking over the leadership of the division within two weeks. In just four weeks, he completed an analysis of its weaknesses, which he then presented to the management board along with the new strategy. The focus was on significantly reducing costs and restructuring the quality management division.

Which prerequisites did the Atreus manager have to bring with him, particularly with a view to foreign markets?

Since 2005, CeramTec has done almost 50% of its implant business through US companies. That of course means there are special requirements that have to be met. These are highly specific in the USA, which means that part of our daily business involves taking into account all the documentation and authorization that the Food and Drug Administration prescribes.


"The Atreus manager very quickly gained an excellent understanding of our product and processes."

"We were able to set up our quality management cost efficiently and in line with the demands of the global market."

Karl Billau

"We were able to set up our quality management cost efficiently and in line with the demands of the global market."


"Another key milestone was that we passed the audit for the re-certification of our quality management system with the Atreus manager’s help."

What moved you to offer the Atreus manager a permanent position once his interim agreement had terminated?

The permanent position was an option from the outset. Initially, the need was to act quickly and prevent a drop in quality. Our main objective was to have the Atreus manager set up the division cost-effectively and in line with the demands of the world market. He did such a good job that we wanted to have him on board permanently.

How did you primarily measure the success of the Atreus manager?

Cost reduction in the quality management unit was the most important factor. But we were alos impressed with how he was able to set it up in a way that was stable and ready to face the challenges of the future. Just as important in my view is also the high degree of acceptance he earned within his team and among colleagues.


"The fast reaction time and knowledge transfer stabilized the division. This made a valuable contribution to the company’s development."

Atreus is the leading interim management provider in Germany and one of the largest in its field in Europe. We solve difficult operational management and transformation problems quickly and reliably. Contact us and find out how we can help you master your situation with management expertise that is available at short notice and that is the perfect fit for you.

Atreus is a co-founder of Globalise – the market’s leading and largest provider of international interim management. Accelerating change and delivering success. Worldwide. Structured as a global group of leading interim management firms, Globalise has the reach to support you in solving your company’s most important issues around the world.