Toshiba sets two zones for field sales/service

May 6, 1992

Toshiba America Medical Systems has completed restructuring ofits U.S. field sales and service organization for all imagingmodalities other than ultrasound. A two-zone system should improveToshiba's ability to respond to customers and coordinate

Toshiba America Medical Systems has completed restructuring ofits U.S. field sales and service organization for all imagingmodalities other than ultrasound. A two-zone system should improveToshiba's ability to respond to customers and coordinate sales,service and financing activities, according to Frank Parker, TAMSvice president of corporate marketing.

TAMS trimmed the field structure for what it calls general-linemodalities from four to three zones last year (SCAN 8/14/91).Last month, these zones were consolidated further into:

  • an eastern zone headquartered in Chicago with responsibilityfor 10 districts; and

  • a western zone with five districts functioning outof corporate headquarters in Tustin, CA.

The most recent consolidation will result in a reduction ofabout 25 employees in Toshiba's U.S. work force. Sales and servicedistricts are now geographically the same, which should help incoordination of customer relations, Parker said.

"There were some overlaps (of sales and service districts)in the past. This caused some communications problems. Now theyare identical. The service district manager and sales districtmanager can work more harmoniously," he said.

Toshiba has accelerated its effort to build medical imagingmarket share in the U.S. over the past three years so as to matchits stronger positions in Japan and Europe. At the same time,however, the U.S. imaging market has become more competitive interms of price and customer requirements.

TAMS has delayered its organization in Tustin and in the fieldin order to run more efficiently and provide a more direct channelfrom managers to the customer, Parker said.

District managers are better able to respond to customers withcomplete financing and multimodality product packages under thetrimmer organizational structure. They have more authority todecide on product configurations and clinical relationships. Thisallows the managers to react more quickly to customer needs, hesaid.

"The marketplace is highly competitive with Medicare reimbursementand other pressures," Parker told SCAN. "We have toreact much faster than has been normal in the industry. This (thedelayered structure) is the most effective way of doing that.We have to get closer to the customer."

The number of large multimodality purchases is also on therise, which requires greater authority and flexibility on thepart of district managers, he said.

At headquarters, TAMS has reduced layers of management betweennew president Kunio Sumikawa, who came from Tokyo world headquartersin February (SCAN 1/29/92), and the vendor's line organizations.

"Mr. Sumikawa has a very short distance to the customer.The sales organization, service, operations and business unitsreport directly to him. He can be involved intimately with eachgroup and with the customers," Parker said.

TAMS has also finalized the restructuring of its MRI businessunit. Toshiba originally envisioned transferring sales and marketingfunctions from Toshiba America MRI (TAMI) to Tustin, followingacquisition of the South San Francisco-based business from Diasonicstwo and a half years ago. TAMI was to have focused on engineering,manufacturing and international MRI sales (SCAN 5/23/90).

Instead, Toshiba has centered MRI sales and marketing as wellas engineering in South San Francisco, Parker said. MRI fieldoperations function through the same dual-zone structure as theother general-line modalities.

TAMS' ultrasound business runs on a regional office structureseparate from the main zone/district organization. These regionalultrasound offices do tend to align closely with the general-linezone structure however, he said.