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Eliminating Obstacles to Explosive Growth with SAP


As the undisputed global leader in the emerging field of robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery, Intuitive Surgical has been growing at the rapid rate of more than 25% annually.

However, the company’s existing systems for handling critical business functions presented obstacles to sustaining this explosive growth:

  • Manufacturing operations
  • Quality management
  • Complaints management
  • Service repairs—a combination of an out-dated, heavily customized legacy system; and
  • Paper-based records.

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Intuitive Surgical recognized it needed a fully integrated, scaleable solution that was not only capable of supporting the company’s continued growth, but that would also help improve efficiency, streamline processes, and enhance compliance controls. The company turned to Clarkston Consulting, known for its extensive experience in the medical device industry and its widely recognized SAP expertise, for help with the effort.

Clarkston’s team of skilled and dedicated consultants helped Intuitive bolster its performance by:

  • Making major enhancements to its existing SAP system; and
  • Transitioning remaining critical business functions to the SAP platform.


By eliminating the out-dated legacy system and transferring these processes to its scaleable SAP platform, Intuitive Surgical realized immediate benefits, including;

  • Improved system reliability
  • Better visibility of production, repair and complaints status
  • Higher quality data; and
  • Greater operational efficiency.

Most importantly, Clarkston delivered a solution that supports Intuitive Surgical’s high growth potential well into the future.

World’s First, Only “Surgical Robot” Fuels Record Growth

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. is the recognized global technology leader in robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery. In 2000, the company’s da Vinci® Surgical System became the first and only surgical robot to be cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since then, the system has helped surgeons perform hundreds of thousands of complex procedures such as open-heart surgery through incisions as small as one to two centimeters.

The advantages of such minimally invasive surgery are substantial are a plus for patients and good for a hospital’s bottom line as well:

  • Faster recovery
  • Less pain
  • Fewer complications; and
  • Shorter hospital stays.

With so many benefits to offer—and as the only technology of its kind in the world—it’s no surprise that the da Vinci System is in high demand.

Since the system gained approval, Intuitive has expanded its installed base to more than 1,000 hospitals around the world, generating sustained growth in excess of 25% per year. In fact, fiscal years 2007 and 2008 saw revenue growth of 61% and 46% respectively.

Download the Full Case Study Here

Tags: Case Study, SAP