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Sandhill Scientific: Where to Manufacture?

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biotechnology management case

Staci D. Sanford and Arlen Meyers
University of Colorado Denver

Key issue/decision: Sandhill Scientific is the world’s largest manufacturer of diagnostic esophageal monitoring equipment and other devices associated with gastrointestinal function. This case follows Rick Jory, CEO of Sandhill, as he faces the key strategic challenge of deciding where to relocate his overseas manufacturing operations. At issue was that Sandhill faced rising manufacturing costs in the face of globalization and competition.

Companies/institutions: Sandhill Scientific, Inc.,

Technology: Sandhill designs, develops, and manufactures medical diagnostic equipment including products used to measure the motility of the esophagus and devices that measure acid or non-acid reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. This is part of the evaluation of patients with an array of swallowing disorders as well as those with signs and symptoms suggestive of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Stage of development at time of issue/decision: Sandhill has been selling its products since 1981 to customers throughout the world. Sales in 2008 approached $20 million. During the global downturn in 2009 Sandhill’s revenues remained flat, but are expected to grow in the low double digits in 2010 and beyond.

Indication/therapeutic area: Swallowing and esophageal motility disorders and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Geography: U.S., Europe, Asia

Keywords: esophageal motility disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD, global manufacturing, global supply chain

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