Shimadzu shifts facilities, readies MRI effort

August 11, 1993

Shimadzu Medical Systems took another step in its ongoing restructuringeffort this month. The vendor laid off five employees and announcedthat it is relocating U.S. operations to Torrance, CA. Unrelated to the layoffs was the departure of Harry De

Shimadzu Medical Systems took another step in its ongoing restructuringeffort this month. The vendor laid off five employees and announcedthat it is relocating U.S. operations to Torrance, CA.

Unrelated to the layoffs was the departure of Harry De Mint,director of sales. De Mint left Shimadzu to pursue other opportunities,according to Shunji Fukui, director of business management.

The layoffs are part of a reduction in staff intended to achievemore cost-effective operations. Like other medical imaging vendors,Shimadzu has been hurt by sluggish equipment purchasing causedby uncertainty over health-care reform, Fukui said.

"Business is slow," Fukui told SCAN. "Clinton'smedical reforms are hurting the industry. Every (medical imaging)area is slow."

Most of the employees let go were part-timers or were in administration,Fukui said. The number of Shimadzu personnel will eventually increasein areas such as MRI, where the company plans to sharpen its marketingfocus.

Shimadzu has found the U.S. MRI market a tough nut to crack.To improve its fortunes in the modality, the vendor created adedicated MRI division in June (SCAN 7/28/93).

The company's relocation to a new 50,000-square-foot facilityin Torrance will enable Shimadzu to consolidate its warehouseoperations, the company said. The new facility will be operationalin October and is about five times as large as its current Gardenalocation.

The move will improve the efficiency of the MRI division byconsolidating all operations in one facility. Shimadzu previouslyhad cool-down operations located in a separate warehouse, Fukuisaid.

BRIEFLY NOTED:

  • Picker International attributed a large jump in profitslast year to international sales growth (see story, page 4) andincreased productivity. The Cleveland medical imaging vendor alsosaid its equipment service and imaging accessories business wasstrong in fiscal 1992 (end-March).

Picker's sales last year rose 5.5%, to $946 million from $897million in 1991. Profits, however, skyrocketed 20%, to $64.4 millionfrom $53.6 million in 1991.

  • A slump in the domestic ultrasound market has taken itstoll on Acuson. The Mountain View, CA-based vendor reported lastmonth that second quarter revenues (end-July) were $72.1 million,compared to $87.7 million in 1992, a drop of 18%.

The company incurred a pre-tax charge of $12 million for arestructuring in June in which 250 employees were laid off (SCAN6/16/93). Including the restructuring charge, Acuson lost $6.7million for the quarter.

  • MRI shared service provider Alliance Imaging reports thatit is suffering along with the rest of the medical imaging servicesindustry. Alliance's 1993 second quarter revenues of $15.4 milliondropped 8% from $16.8 million during the same period last year(end-June). The company reported a net loss for the quarter of$288,000, compared with net income of $775,000 for the secondquarter of 1992.

Alliance chairman, president and CEO Richard N. Zehner attributedthe results to lower scan volumes caused by the slow economy,high unemployment and uncertainty over health-care reform.