A Space for Mission-Critical Repairs

Olympus National Service Center
San Jose, CA

Home to Olympus’ largest medical and surgical device repair facility, the new National Service Center in Silicon Valley houses 102,000 square feet of mission-critical production spaces, modern work environments, and quality amenities for the site’s 700-plus employees.

As the only repair facility for all Olympus customers in Pacific Rim countries, the Center is vital to the company’s financial and operational health. Having outgrown their previous space, Olympus sought to relocate to a larger warehouse facility requiring major upgrades to an existing building. This called for an integrated design approach: SMMA’s architects, MEP engineers, and interior designers working to find creative solutions.

The National Service Center sees the arrival, repair, storage, and shipping of almost 500 medical devices on any given day. “We have delivery targets we strive to meet every day with our customers,” says Will Arroyo, Program Manager at Olympus in San Jose. “One of the values we provide is being able to offer a ‘turn-around’ on their repair within 48 hours of approval.”

To meet this demand, SMMA’s designers optimized the building’s circulation for the most efficient flow of Olympus’ product. The design reduces distances between operations and departments. It also eliminates bottlenecks, accommodates flexible work volumes and staging areas, and improves transportation paths for orders and materials.

Extra tall Vertimax storage systems at Olympus National Service Center
Reprocessing Lab at Olympus National Service Center in San Jose, CA

The range and intensity of Olympus’ operations called for a major upgrade of the building’s ageing MEP systems. To pull this off, the design team first had to structurally reinforce the building’s ageing wood truss roof to support the weight of new equipment.

In the warehouse and production spaces, a skillfully coordinated MEP design allowed for high storage heights to accommodate Olympus’ extra-tall Vertical Storage Systems. The team also designed a ramped-up MEP system for chemistry labs and storage spaces, home to the Center’s most technically demanding repair work. 

The new Center addresses the workplace needs of a traditionally underserved group: technical shift workers who keep critical operations on the road. To this end, the design rejects the traditional hierarchical layout of light-industrial buildings in favor of a more equitable workplace. 

Instead of separating the technical workers on the ground floor from white-collar staff on a mezzanine, all teams coexist on a single floor with no dividing wall. This promotes constant collaboration and interaction between management and their teams, streamlining the communication process.

Equitable workspace with open office and technical spaces together at Olympus San Jose

The large break area hosts rolling lunch breaks for up to 300 people throughout the day and evening, catering for the staggered shift patterns of the facility’s technical workers. With its flexible partitions, the space doubles as a town-hall meeting area for training and company events. Its design approach, such as interior finishes and environmental graphics, mirror the workplace standard created by SMMA at Olympus’ U.S. Medical Headquarters in Westborough, MA.

Break area with dining space at Olympus repair facility in San Jose


Meeting room with views of production floor at Olympus San Jose

The new Center serves as a successful model for other Olympus device repair facilities around the world. “We actively use the San Jose site as a benchmark for the design of repair centers in the planning phase in other global regions,” says Steve Wereley, Olympus’ Global Corporate Real Estate Lead.

“The operation is known to have high levels of productivity while handling large repair volumes. Other sites remain curious how it gets done, and we eagerly share our best practices with them.”