Field of Biotechnology
Study of performance indicators considering a
case of Monsanto
What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is technology based on biology, especially when used
in agriculture, food science, and medicine. The UN Convention on Biological
Diversity has come up with one of many definitions of biotechnology:
"Biotechnology means any technological application that uses biological
systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or
processes for specific use."
For thousands of years, humankind has used biotechnology in
agriculture, food production and medicine. The term itself is largely believed to
have been coined in 1919 by Hungarian engineer Karl Ereky. In the late 20th and
early 21st century, biotechnology has expanded to include new and diverse
sciences such as genomics, recombinant gene technologies, applied immunology,
and development of pharmaceutical therapies and diagnostic tests.
Introduction to Monsanto
American MNC founded in 1901 by John Queeny
Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, United States
A Fortune 500 company
A pioneer in agribusiness with products like herbicides, pesticides & crop
Global employee strength of 21,183
First to genetically modify a plant cell in 1982
Monsanto was a pioneer in applying the biotechnology industry business
model to agriculture, using techniques developed by Genentech and other
biotech drug companies in the late 1970s in California. In this business
model, companies invest heavily in research and development, and recoup
the expenses through the use and enforcement of biological
patents. Monsanto's application of this model to agriculture, along with a
growing movement to create a global, uniform system of plant breeders'
rights in the 1980s, came into direct conflict with customary practices of
farmers to save, reuse, share and develop plant varieties. Its seed patenting
model has also been criticized as bio piracy and a threat
to biodiversity. Monsanto's role in these changes in agriculture (which
include its litigation and its seed commercialization practices), its current
and former agbiotech products, it’s lobbying of government agencies, and its
history as a chemical company, have made Monsanto controversial.
A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is
industry jargon for a type of performance measurement. An organization may use
KPIs to evaluate its success, or to evaluate the success of a particular activity in
which it is engaged.
A business may have as one of its Key Performance Indicators the
percentage of its income that comes from return customers.
A school may focus its Key Performance Indicators on graduation rates of
A Customer Service Department may have as one of its Key Performance
Indicators, in line with overall company KPIs, percentage of customer calls
answered in the first minute.
A Key Performance Indicator for a social service organization might be
number of clients assisted during the year.
1. High Technology
Science based industry
Emphasis should be on continuous innovative activities
High Technology is highly essential for Survival & growth
Research & Development should be the core competence
Measured in terms of advancements in R&D pipeline
2. Capital Intensity
Investments exceeding $100mn to develop a single product
Takes an average of 12 years to have an imminent result
Long lead period could affect survival of these companies
Ability of a company to raise capital becomes a crucial factor for its
survival and growth
Can be measured by using financial statements
Net Sales, Earning per share & Cash Flow of Monsanto for the year 2010, 2011 & 2012
3. Public Relationship
Need to foster strong relationship with finance providers, press etc.,
Public relationship is a crucial survival factor
Transparency could secure continuing investors support and confidence
Companies need to maintain a positive public image
Can be measured using sentiment analysis & Public opinion
An example of opinion survey on Starbucks