Medtronic Case Study

8600 words 35 pages
Harvard Business School

9-698-004
July 8, 1997

We’ve Got Rhythm! Medtronic Corporation’s
Cardiac Pacemaker Business
The legacy of Medtronic Corporation, the company that created the cardiac pacemaker industry, is a proud one. Starting from its earliest pacemakers, which had to be carried outside the body, Medtronic had achieved dramatic improvements in the functionality, size and reliability of these devices. In so doing it had extended the lives, and improved the quality of life, for hundreds of thousands of people in whom pacemakers had been implanted. The pacemaker has been designated as one of the ten most outstanding engineering achievements in the world over the past 50 years, along with the digital computer and the
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Medtronic Corporation's Cardiac Pacemaker Business

Management changes which were initiated in the late 1980s, however, had sparked a dramatic reversal in the company’s fortunes, and by 1996 the company had regained its position of product and market leadership. By all accounts, it was in front and pulling away from its competitors. On a pleasant Minneapolis spring afternoon in 1996, several members of the team that managed this turn-around -- Steve Mahle, president of the Brady Pacing Business; Mike Stevens, general manager of the Pulse Generator & Programming Systems (PGPS) Division; Bill Murray, general manager of the MicroRel component manufacturing subsidiary; Director of Marketing Paula
Skjefte (pronounced Sheftee); and Director of Product Development Technology Don Deyo -gathered to assess the progress they had made since they had taken the helm of the troubled division in the late 1980s. They were also anxious to understand whether the management structure and the processes, values, and resources they had created to achieve this turn-around, were capable of maintaining the company’s successful momentum in the future. This case recounts their achievements and concerns.

Medtronic’s Brady Pacing Business
Medtronic’s Brady Business Unit designed and built pacemakers that delivered a rhythm of electrical impulses, to remedy a disorder called Bradycardia, in which the heart's electrical system does not generate pulses to cause the heart to beat

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