Acuson expands beyond radiology as ultrasound popularity grows

July 29, 1992

Major changes are under way at Acuson. The long-time leader inthe supply of high-end radiology ultrasound scanners is broadeningits corporate focus and restructuring operations to meet the requirementsof an increasingly diverse user base. As clinical

Major changes are under way at Acuson. The long-time leader inthe supply of high-end radiology ultrasound scanners is broadeningits corporate focus and restructuring operations to meet the requirementsof an increasingly diverse user base.

As clinical applications and demand for ultrasound imaging expand,system vendors must balance technological focus with breadth ofmarket reach. The ultrasound industry has reached a new and uncharteredera, said Daniel Dugan, Acuson vice president of sales.

"If you look at the history of ultrasound, there hasn'tbeen a track record of companies successfully focusing on multiplemarkets at the same time," Dugan told SCAN. "There aremany markets now in the ultrasound arena and it is continuingto grow. We are trying to build an organization that can serveall of the markets. Acuson is no longer just a radiology company."

Acuson studied the evolving market intensively last year andinitiated a plan of organizational change over the last six months,he said. Two broad sales organizations have been created to targetcardiovascular and general imaging. General imaging, in turn,has been divided into subsegment groups aimed at various specialitiesas well as radiology.

"We have set up separate groups within general imagingthat will focus on individual markets," Dugan said. "Lastyear, for example, the perinatology market was a subset of radiology.Now we have a marketing manager for perinatology. We have triedto align marketing and sales to specific markets."

Acuson has expanded its general imaging regions in the U.S.from five to seven, with the addition of Washington, DC and Cincinnatioffices, and has expanded its field and headquarters supportsstaff, Dugan said. Service and applications support personnelhave also been brought on to meet the needs of vascular imaging,perinatology and other emerging segments.

"We are positioning ourselves for growth over the nextfew years at a time when a lot of the manufacturers are scalingback. This is an opportunity to invest and differentiate ourselves,"he said.

Dugan returned to Acuson last spring after a stint with competitorToshiba (SCAN 4/10/91). Rick Smith, Dugan's successor as vicepresident of Toshiba America Medical Systems' ultrasound business,moved to Acuson in May as director of general imaging sales. ThomasJedrzejewicz, formerly TAMS director of ultrasound marketing,also came back to Acuson in May as director of marketing for cardiovascularimaging (SCAN 5/6/92).

Timothy Chaney, director of cardiovascular sales, and ClayLarsen, director of general imaging marketing, round out Acuson'smanagement of the two organizations.

Acuson has also boosted R&D expenditures this year to developsoftware and hardware options that meet the needs of the new marketsegments. The vendor has introduced a new pricing structure toaccompany the specific market configurations of its 128 XP scanner.

"What we try to do is take components and/or softwareout of the system that would not be necessary for a market andfine-tune the configurations for specific market areas,"Dugan said. "We have a vascular system now and a system forperinatology."