Medtronic Case Write Up

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Medtronic Case Writeup 1) What were the root causes of why Medtronic nearly lost its position as market leader in the 1970’s and 1980’s? Medtronic was not the market leader in the 1970’s and 1980’s because of a combination of unique industry factors and the lack of a sufficient product planning/development system in place at Medtronic. In the market, competition from other companies was rapidly increasing during this time. As such, technologies were always changing, and there were higher expectations [for product quality and differentiation] for newly released products. Meanwhile, at Medtronic, their product development was falling behind. In the wake of the company’s growth, functional managers (who historically supervised product development at Medtronic) were becoming busier and busier with operations, while coordination fell through the cracks. Medtronic had many suggestions for new products but lacked the required focus and attention to get projects done quickly. In the end, each new project was already out of date (lagging competitors) by the time it got to market. Another factor relating to development teams was that they had separate development teams working on the two different physical architectures. Finally, the corporate culture inspired by the managers was such that speed was not a primary focus. The bonus structure incentivized them continuing to operate in this inefficient manner. 2) Which of the improvements in the new product development process that the Medtronic management team implemented strike you as having been particularly crucial to turning the company around? The improvements that seemed to be particularly crucial in the success of the new product development system were speed in getting decisions made about products (which resulted in being fast to market) and rhythm, designing using the hybrid circuit, clear definition of the phases

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