Success Story

Reorganisation improves R&D success at three locations

Increased efficiency and effectiveness in projects plus greater growth and stronger market-orientation are the encouraging results of a new R&D structure Zühlke designed for three business sites of a medical equipment company.


The company wanted to increase its output of marketable products to step up its growth. For historical reasons, development activities are spread across three R&D facilities in Europe. They benefit from special cooperation arrangements and the company wanted to retain them as competence centres. The goal in this project was to improve inter-location cooperation within the R&D processes by optimising the organisational structure. This optimisation also included cross-divisional interlocking of the R&D departments with Sales and Marketing on the one hand and with Production and Logistics on the other.


In cooperation with the management, various possible versions of the organisational structure were drawn up and assessed with respect to process, collaboration and project mechanics and the incentives associated with them. The top management positions were staffed for the newly optimised basic organizational structure.

Then Zühlke joined with the new R&D management team to work out the details for organising the team structure and cooperation within the processes. The reliable “functional diagram” was helpful in coordinating the responsibilities and deliverables of the individual teams in each work process. From this joint work on the detailed functioning of the organisation, the R&D management team developed a common understanding of the mechanisms of cooperation. The new organisa­tional structure began to take effect from the reference date without any major obstacles. Three months later the new structures were already having positive effects. Better use was being made of R&D resources and engineers switched tasks less frequently.

Customer benefits

  • Development and organizational knowledge: Drawing on its own development practices and long experience in organisational setup, Zühlke suggested structures perfectly adapted to the requirements of the industry and the level of risk involved.
  • Outside viewpoint: The impartiality of an outsider helped to make the discussions objective and to resolve controversial issues.