Strategic Audit Project
Part II: External and Internal Analysis Paper
Medtronic Inc. can easily be compared to le Concorde, a turbojet supersonic passenger airliner first flown in 1976. This jet was more than twice as fast as any other airliner ever created, flying at speeds of up to 1,350 mph. The capability to fly at more than twice the speed of a regular airliner equates to twice the flights and premium prices for this astonishing service. The resulting profitability of le Concorde is what puts this machine at the top of its class. In 1957, Medtronic founder Earl Bakken created Medtronic’s Pacemaker, the first wearable device to treat abnormally slow heart rates. The Pacemaker is now the staple product of Medtronic and can be compared to le Concorde for its innovation, efficacy, and profitability. This is just one example of Medtronic’s ability to use its innovation to transform the treatment of chronic disease worldwide. The firm has been a leader in the Medical Device Manufacturing industry for over two decades, developing and manufacturing innovative medical devices to treat more than seven million patients each year. Its products include pacemakers, defibrillators, heart valves, and stents, among others. Medtronic’s drive for excellence is best summed up by its corporate mission, “To contribute to human welfare by application of biomedical engineering in the research, design, manufacture, and sale of instruments or appliances that alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life” (Medtronic.com). To achieve its goals and maintain success, Medtronic must constantly monitor and evaluate its external environment and the forces in it that could affect the company. The Medical Device Manufacturing industry is exposed to numerous forces and trends that can generate opportunities for firms to exploit as well as threats for firms to avoid. Of note are the effects of rivalry, buyers, regulation, and globalization trends. The Medical Device Manufacturing industry, as a whole, has grown at an annual rate of 18.9% since 2005, contributing to a high level of industry attractiveness (ibisworld.com). Medtronic is the clear leader with 17.2% market share. Its closest rivals, Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical, have market shares of 2.8% and 4.8%, respectively (ibisworld.com). Recently, the industry has seen a dramatic increase in consolidation as larger firms have acquired smaller operations in an effort to diversify their portfolios and gain market share. This shrinkage has resulted in greater industry concentration, increasing the rivalry among these key players. Focusing on a more narrow analysis of the Cardiovascular Device segment reveals a similar, more intensified, environment for rivals. Compared to the overall industry, this specific segment has recently witnessed much lower growth rates because the market is saturated with products that have little differentiation and limited innovation possibilities. For this reason, merger & acquisition activity is especially prominent among top firms seeking to create strategic competitiveness. They have identified the threat of rivals and are looking to gain additional resources and capabilities through diversification. The role of buyers is very unique in this industry. While individual patients are the ultimate consumers of medical devices, firms often focus on healthcare providers when selling products. This is because patients in the market have low brand recognition of the devices they use. Instead, they rely on their hospitals and physicians to recommend products for treatment. It is important for manufacturers to understand this distinction since it is these physicians and other providers that have the greatest brand loyalty. That said, individual patients still drive demand for products, and their satisfaction remains the ultimate goal. One key demographic trend of buyers is the aging U.S. population. As life expectancies continue to...
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