Abbott Labs 2
Abbott Laboratories is based in Chicago, Illinois. They are the largest company in the
nutritional products market and the second largest company in the worldwide market for
diagnostic products. The company’s products fall into three categories, or production divisions:
medical, pharmaceutical, and nutritional. In 2007, medical products accounted for $2.5 billion, or
9.7% of revenue; pharmaceutical products accounted for $10.5 billion, or 41% of revenue;
nutritional products accounted for $4.3 billion, or 17% of revenue (Abbott Laboratories, 2008).
Their top-selling products include Humira, a rheumatoid arthritis medicine, Depakote, for
epilepsy and bipolar disorder, the Xience V coronary stent, and nutritional products, which
include both the Ensure and ZONE Perfect lines. In addition, their target market runs anywhere
from infancy to the golden years. The company employs around 68,000 people from all over the
world, including Russia, India, and Latin America among others. They have been in business for
over 120 years (About Abbott, n.d.).
Vision, Mission, Objectives
Trust, innovation, and quality are what stand out in Abbott’s vision for the company.
Abbott prides itself in being the leading innovator in healthcare products including their
developments in HIV detection and diabetes care. Their number one concern is for their
customers, making sure that their products are both efficient and profitable. Finally, Abbott
maintains a commitment to its history and to the future (Vision, Mission, and Objectives, 2007).
Porter’s Model is comprised of five components. These five components include the
threat of new entrants, the bargaining power of buyers, the bargaining power of suppliers, the
threat of substitute products, and the intensity of rivalry among competitors in an industry (Dess,
Abbott Labs 3
et al., 2008). The threat of new entrants is medium because most competing drug companies
have already been established; however, new entrants can impose the threat of creating generic
The bargaining power of buyers is a medium threat. Most consumers will choose the
generic drug over the more expensive drug. If there is no generic drug to choose from, the
consumer has no choice but to buy the more expensive drug.
The bargaining power of suppliers is very low. Abbott Labs purchases from over 200,000
suppliers. Therefore, if Abbott does not want to buy from one supplier, they can go to another.
The threat of substitute products is medium high. One thing Abbott has protecting them
against substitute products is patents. However, those patents run out, and there in lies the threat.
Once patents run out, other companies will make a generic drug to compete with Abbott.
Rivalry among competitors is high. Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Novartis are currently
more profitable than Abbott. But, Abbott is ahead of eight other competing drug companies. All
drug companies are competing for patents on drugs, technology, etc, because they have put
intense research into the development of these things. It is constantly a race to the finish line.
Abbott’s stakeholders not only include its shareholders but also its employees. Everyone
from research and development to those who work in the plant are stakeholders. They also
include Don Patton, the CEO, and all managers that support the CEO. The decisions and
progress Abbott makes in its discoveries and developments contribute to the wealth of the
company and its employees.
Abbott Labs 4
The biggest strength Abbott has over other companies is that Abbott is currently
experiencing growth in the stock market compared to other companies which are not
experiencing growth due to the economy. Over the last five years Abbott has grown from selling
a volume of 5,413,760 shares in 2004 to selling a volume of 8,715,920 shares in the beginning of
2008 (Abbott Laboratories, 2008). Abbott has also been around for over 120 years. The company
has a history of innovation; Dr. Wallace C. Abbott was one of the founders of modern day
pharmacy (History, 2008). Because of the enormous growth of the company, Abbott now sells
their products in over 130 countries, employs over 68,000 employees, and has more than 100
facilities worldwide (Fast Facts, 2008).
One of Abbott’s major weaknesses is that the company depends on mature products.
They depend on a couple of products whose patents are nearing expiry. One already expired in
2005 (Abbott Laboratories. SWOT Analysis, 2008). Another weakness Abbott faces is pending
litigation. According to the company’s own SWOT analysis, “A number of antitrust cases are
pending in US federal courts…and various state courts in connection with the settlement of
patent litigation by Abbott involving…a drug sold by Abbott (Abbott Laboratories. SWOT
The most significant opportunity the company has, are the discoveries they have yet to
make. Abbott is working on making a new product to measure blood glucose levels more
comfortably, and more importantly a pain-free method. Their biggest opportunities lie within the
improvements they can make in the products that they already make—through research and
Finally, Abbotts threats two threats faced by all pharmaceutical companies, the threat of
competition from generics, and price regulation of pharmaceutical products in various markets
Abbott Labs 5
(Abbott Laboratories. SWOT Analysis, 2008). Go to any Wal-Mart, and they can offer you most
generics for four dollars. When consumers buy their products at such a reduced price it causes
companies like Abbott to have to cut their prices, or sell less of their product. This leads to a lack
in sales which directly effects the funding that goes into research and development. Price
regulation has the exact same effect.
The primary activities in the value-chain analysis are inbound logistics, operations,
outbound logistics, marketing and sales, and service (Dess, et al., 2008). At Abbott, inbound
logistics include the use of a logistics management company that plans and executes logistics,
stores the product, and tracks each shipment.
This same logistics company is involved in the operations as well. Abbott has a plant that
is connected to its offices in downtown Columbus. This makes it easier to produce, store, ship,
and track product. With the use of the logistics management company, Abbot is able to store and
track its product after it is produced, and after it leaves the plant. Once the product leaves the
plant, it is ready to be sold.
This is when the marketing and sales teams come in. It is because of them that other
companies pick up the product and choose to sell it on their shelves. It is also because of them
that doctors use their products in hospitals. Abbott has a pharmaceutical, nutritional, and
pediatric sales and marketing team among others. Without them, Abbott would not be able to sell
their product with the success that they do.
Abbott employs many people who answer phone calls all day. Their job is to answer
questions in regards to baby formula, diabetes products, nutritional supplements, etc. They
Abbott Labs 6
respond to customer complaints as well. This is how the company receives feedback and resolves
issues about their products.
Abbott’s supportive activities include general administration, human resource
management, technology development, and procurement (Dess, et al., 2008). Procurement at
Abbott includes the machines used to test the products, the machines used to package the
product, and mostly the machines used to produce the product. This is a supportive activity
because it would not exist if there were no operations.
Technology development also includes the facility Abbott uses to produce its product, or
its plant. It also includes the tools used to log in product, packages, and shipments. Without the
product there would be no need for this technology.
General administration includes Don Patton, the CEO of Abbott Laboratories. It also
includes his supporting managers’ ability to achieve goals and objectives, as well as his ability to
maintain a positive relationship between stakeholders and the company (Dess, et al., 2008).
Human resource management includes those in charge of recruiting, developing, and
retaining employees at Abbott. Human resource management uses many incentives to draw in
new hires, such as good pay, flexibility, and a diverse workforce. They provide extensive
training, leadership, and mentoring programs to develop the skills of new hires and current
employees. The good pay, diverse workforce, and their reward and recognition of hard work are
what retain employees.
An important facet of procurement is “the analysis and selection of alternate sources of
inputs to minimize dependence on one supplier” (Dess, et al., 2008). In 2007, Abbott purchased
an estimated $12 billion in goods and services from more than 200,000 suppliers worldwide.
Abbott Labs 7
More than $8 billion of those purchases supported their operations in the United States (Our
Currently, Abbott employs over 68,000 people worldwide. The company attracts this
human capital by offering flexible schedules, a family friendly atmosphere, and through
involving the poor as employees, entrepreneurs, suppliers, distributors, etc. (Mahmud, A., and
Parkhurst, M., 2007). Abbott spends a lot of time developing the skills of these employees by
spending an average of $1,600 on each new hire during his or her training; a formal leadership
program, which lasts one year, further improves the knowledge of Abbott employees. Formal
mentorship programs are also available (2008 Best Places to Launch a Career, 2008).
One of Abbott Laboratory’s biggest intellectual assets is their patent for the Xience
coronary stent, a tiny mesh scaffold used to prop open clogged arteries. Over 13 million people
in the United States suffer from coronary artery disease; the Xience stent is a major scientific
breakthrough in the treatment of this disease. The product went on sale in July of this year, and
Abbott is hoping to even further extend the patent until May 24, 2011 (Barris, 2008).
Abbott’s star performers are consistently their pharmaceutical and nutritional products.
These two lines of products continuously bring in money for the company; both experience high
growth and high market share. Abbott’s question marks are their diagnostic instruments and
tests. These two could potentially experience enormous growth if more research and
development could be focused on them, which would require more money. Medical and surgical
devices are the company’s cash cows. Now that the patent for Xience has been approved, this
product will lead to huge profits for the company; it also gives them a competitive advantage
Abbott Labs 8
over other companies that were not able to beat them to the punch. Finally, animal healthcare is
the company’s dog. This is a very small sector of the company, and not much money is devoted
to it compared to the company’s other products, such as nutritional and pharmaceutical products.
Abbott is not known to be a leader in animal healthcare; they are known more for their
innovative advances in human healthcare.
Abbott Lab’s strength is in its differentiation. Its strength in differentiation comes from
the immense diversity of products the company offers that are considered innovative and unique
compared to products made by competitors. Abbott Labs produces pharmaceutical, medical, and
nutritional products. They are the leading innovators in anesthetics, HIV, and diabetes care.
One challenge Abbott addressed specifically was the challenge the company has with
products that are patent pending, and with products whose patents are running out. When certain
drug patents run out, that allows for other drug companies to create generic drugs, very cheap
generic drugs. With the introduction of generic drugs, Abbott loses profits because they cannot
sell their products at a higher price. This higher price is what allows the company to fund
research needed to create innovative drugs and technology. When the company has to wait for
patents to be approved, this is also money that the company is waiting on to fund research, as
well as money needed to open new facilities.
Over the last five years, Abbott Laboratories has experienced increases in total revenue
and gross profit, allowing them to further develop each of the three divisions that make up their
product lines, medical, pharmaceutical, and nutritional. In 2004 Abbot’s price per share was as
low as 38.69. Now in 2008, price per share has been as high as 60.50. Abbott Laboratory’s
current market-to-book ratio is 0.2466, or less than one which means that the stock is overvalued.
Abbott Labs 9
Their price per share at today’s closing price was 12.37 and their book value per share was 50.15
(Yahoo! Finance, 2008). Despite tough economic times, Abbott has been thriving because the
130 countries in which Abbott sells its products still need drugs, baby formula and heart-disease
devices. According to CEO Miles White, “Our products are the kind that people rely on and
need, regardless of economic conditionsquot; (Iwata, 2008).
Abbott’s financial performance is consistent with its mission, objectives, and
organizational environment. The company’s vision is “Always at the forefront, always first
choice,” and the company embraces the idea of “focusing on a culture of continuous
improvement and a dedication towards organizational excellence” (Pharmaceutical Field, 2008).
This includes the improvement of employees, products, and the company as a whole. Abbott’s
greatest differentiator is in the diverse mix of their business portfolio. Abbott’s broad line of
products and the success of their employees is what contribute to such high numbers, as well as
the company’s ability to produce what people need throughout the world, medically,
pharmaceutically, and nutritionally.
Abbott Laboratories current ratio is higher than one; therefore their networking capital is
positive. The high current ration indicates high liquidity which is deemed as a good thing to
lenders. This means that the company has an efficient use of cash and other short-term assets.
The company’s total debt ratio indicates that it does have the ability to meet its obligations; the
company has financial leverage. Abbott’s total asset turnover reveals that for every dollar that
belongs to the company in assets, they generate 0.625 in sales. In addition, the company’s profit
margin equals 0.139. This number measures how efficiently Abbott uses its assets or more
specifically, they produce 14 cents in profit for every dollar they have in sales. Finally, Abbott’s
PE ratio indicates that their shares sell for 18 times earning. This number also indicates how
Abbott Labs 10
much investors are willing to pay per dollar for current growth; therefore, Abbott appears to have
significant profits for future growth (Dess at al, 2008).
Johnson & Johnson is one of Abbott’s biggest competitors. Currently, Johnson &
Johnson’s price per share is at 58.77. Their earnings per share are 4.42; therefore their price
earning ratio is 13.31. These numbers indicate that Johnson & Johnson is currently
outperforming Abbott Labs. In 2004 the company’s price per share was as low as 50.1. This is
not far from where Abbott’s price per share is today. In 2008 the company’s price per share has
been as high as 71.33; however in April of 2005 the company’s price per share was higher than it
is today, and it has staggered up and down throughout the last three years. Over the last thirty
years the company has experienced consistent growth. Last year Johnson & Johnson experienced
$61.10 billion in revenue compared to Abbott’s $25 billion in revenue (Abbott, 2008).
Although Abbott did not make the revenue that Johnson & Johnson did for 2007, it did
perform better than at least eight other companies competing within the same industry, including
Merck. Only two other companies competing in the same industry (not including Johnson &
Johnson) outperformed Abbott, Pfizer and Novartis (Abbott, 2008).
Strategic Implementation, Evaluation, & Control
Abbott Labs implement a contemporary approach to strategic control. The relationships
between strategy formulation, implementation, and control are very interactive (Dess, et al,
2008). A traditional approach would not be appropriate for the industry in which Abbott
produces products for because the industry is always changing. Medical technology, new
scientific developments in pharmaceuticals, and new and better formulas in nutritional products
are all reasons why Abbott follows the contemporary approach versus the traditional. The
competitive nature of the industry also affects the approach that Abbott uses. They are not the
Abbott Labs 11
only ones developing new technologies, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. Johnson &
Johnson, Pfizer, and many others are either ahead or quickly catching up in the race to develop
patents. Abbott must be flexible on their strategic control; they cannot wait on feedback.
Information control is implemented by constantly testing products that are returned to
them. They perform ongoing tests on products that have yet to be released. The company also
employs a consumer relations department for questions, concerns, and comments on products.
In addition to the numerous benefits Abbott offers to its employees, managers are
extremely approachable and actively encourage employees to put themselves forward for
promotion. With opportunities coming up frequently, there is a strong feeling of energy and
progression within the company which helps contribute to a positive atmosphere within the sales
force and rest of the company. The company’s vision is “Always at the forefront, always first
choice,” and the company embraces the idea of “focusing on a culture of continuous
improvement and a dedication towards organizational excellence” (Pharmaceutical Field, 2008).
The company also awards multiple awards for achievement. The Volwiler award is bestowed for
science achievements and their top sales people receive the Abbott All-Star award, to name just a
few (Abbott Onboarding and Development, 2008).
Abbott Labs uses a matrix organizational structure. As previously stated, the company
has locations all over the world, and this type of structure is appropriate for a company that has
operations world-wide. As stated in the text book, the matrix structure is a “combination of the
functional and divisional structure” (Dess, et al, 2008). In this type of structure, each manager
manages over a project, which can last a couple of months, or it can be open-ended. The
employees involved in each project report to the manager in charge of that project as well as the
Abbott Labs 12
manager in charge of their functional area. Those managers report to the corporate office, and
corporate reports to the CEO.
Abbott is always working on a new project, whether it is creating a new formula for
babies, or testing the durability of a container holding product. Each of these projects follows the
structure displayed by the matrix structure.
Abbott does outsource some of its administrative, warehouse, and plant positions. The
front lobby reception desk, library, and mailroom are outsourced to an office solutions company.
Warehouse and plant positions are filled through manpower, or temp agencies.
Evaluation and Contingency Approach
Their largest source of revenue comes from pharmaceutical sales. Other than research
and development, marketing and sales play an enormous role in the performance of the company
and achieving their goals. According to an article written by Pharmaceutical Field, Abbott
implements what is known company-wide as Class A, which integrates business processes, tools
and people with their behaviors (2008). In other words, each sales force meets monthly with the
marketing team and presents qualitative and quantitative information from their territory. The
marketing teams then incorporate the feedback into their forecasting and marketing plans. This
process allows marketing and sales teams to come together, be on the same page, and
successfully sell and market products.
In conclusion, despite economic hardships, Abbott will thrive as they have been by
continuing to develop new and beneficial products that are innovative and ahead of the curve. In
order to maintain a competitive edge, the company must develop patents before their competition
Abbott Labs 13
does. They will do this by continuing to encourage employees to succeed and excel, and by
increasing the flow of funds in research and development.
In the past year, medical products accounted for $2.5 billion, or 9.7% of the company’s
revenue. Additionally, coronary heart disease is the number one life-and-death emergency in the
United States. As a leader for this company, I would further improve the performance and design
of their line of medical devices, specifically the Xience V coronary stent. This will increase the
company’s competitive edge within the industry. In order to fund this project, I would
recommend that the company discontinue investing in animal healthcare.
Abbott Labs 14
Vision and Values
Our vision is to be the trusted worldwide leader in providing
innovative and superior nutrition that advances the quality of life
for people of all ages.
Leading-edge science and commercialization
We lead with solutions that address human needs by pioneering
innovative treatments and products, lifesaving medical devices,
and new approaches to managing health. Pioneering means
leading-edge science and innovative execution.
Customer-focused outcomes and world-class execution
We drive for meaningful results — demanding of ourselves and
each other because our work impacts people's lives. We're
committed to working together to deliver solutions that are
effective and profitable. Our focus on execution and collaboration
ensures that we keep our promises to each other and to those we
Making a difference in people's lives
Caring is central to the work that we do to help people live
healthier lives. We have tremendous respect for the lives of
everyone touched by our company. Our respect for people is
demonstrated in what we do and how we act.
Commitment and purpose
Enduring means both honoring our history and maintaining our
commitment to the future. We will always be here to help keep
people healthy. We keep our promises, acting in accordance with
all of our values. We grow through our intellectual curiosity and a
desire to continuously learn and improve
Abbott Labs 15
Value Chain Analysis
Inbound Outbound Marketing
> Operations > > > Service
Logistics Logistics and Sales
Activity Actions/Strategies Implications
Abbott Labs 16
1. Flexible work 1. Employees are able to
schedule (Dubil, build a schedule that works
Attracting Human Capital 2002) for them
2. Family friendly 2. Employees don't have to
(Dubil, 2002) choose work over family
3. Involving the poor
as employees, 3. Reaching out to the
entrepreneurs, community gives the
suppliers, distributors, company a competitive
etc. (Mahmud, A., and advantage over other that
Parkhurst, M., 2007) do not reach out to the poor
1. Average of $1,600
spent on training, per
new hire, in 2007 1. It is clear what
(2008 Best Places to employees' job duties are
Launch a Career, and who the company is
Developing Human Capital 2008) that they are working for
2. A formal leadership
program that lasts one
year (The Abbott
Professional 2. Abbott encourages
Development Program leadership, and therefore
[PDP]) (2008 Best does not hold people back
Places to Launch a from performing to their
Career, 2008) full potential
3. Formal mentorship 3. Employees have
program (2008 Best someone to look up to, and
Places to Launch a current employees are held
Career, 2008) to a higher standard
1. By integrating
diversity into every
aspect of its business
Makes Honor Roll For
Its Workplace 1. Diverse people equal
Retaining Human Capital Diversity, n.d.) diverse thoughts and ideas
2. Employees are
2. Recognizing and encouraged to do a good
rewarding hard work job, and they are more
(Dubil, 2002) motivated to do a good job
Boston Consulting Group Portfolio Matrix
Abbott Labs 17
Stars Question Marks
Industry Growth Rate Nutritional Products Diagnostic Instruments and Tests
Cash Cows Dogs
Medical and Surgical Devices Animal Healthcare
Relative Market Share
GENERIC DRUGMAKERS RANKED BY SALES
Company Symbol Price Change Market Cap P/E
Sandoz International GmbH Private - View Profile
Inc. WPI 22.79 -4.04% 2.38B 11.74
Alpharma, Inc. ALO 36.1 0.00% 1.51B 13.49
Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. BRL 62.84 -3.90% 6.88B 47.93
King Pharmaceuticals Inc. KG 9.25 -3.75% 2.28B 8.78
Limited Private - View Profile
Mylan, Inc. MYL 8.85 -5.95% 2.70B N/A
Pfizer Inc. PFE 15.28 -7.00% 103.03B 9.78
Johnson & Johnson JNJ 55.33 -5.55% 153.84B 12.53
GlaxoSmithKline plc GSK 32.02 -7.03% 81.80B 11.77
*Numbers in the thousands w/the exception of PPS and EPS
Financial Ratio Analysis (2007)
Abbott Labs 18
Current ratio = Current assets/
Current liabilities 14,042,733/ 9,103,278 = 1.543
Total debt ratio = Total assets – Total
equity/ Total Assets 39,713,924 - 17,778,540 / 39,713,924 = 0.552
Total asset turnover = Sales/ Total
Assets 25,914,200 / 39713,924 = 0.6253
Profit margin = Net income/ Sales 3,606,314 / 25,914,200 = 0.139
Price-earnings ratio = Price per share/
Earnings per share 52.92/ 2.91 = 18.16
Abbott Labs 19
Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industry — Competitive Operating Metrics (2007)
Johnson & Pfizer Novartis Abbott Merck Wyeth Bristol- Eli Lilly Amgen Schering- Boston Biogen
Johnson (PFE) (NVS) Laboratories (MRK) (WYE) Meyers (LLY) (AMGN) Plough Scientific Idec (BIIB)
(JNJ) (ABT) Squibb (SGP) (BSX)
Revenue (in billions of USD)
Total $61.10 $48.42 $38.95 $25.91 $24.20 $22.40 $19.35 $18.63 $14.77 $12.69 $8.36 $3.17
Gross $43.34 $37.18 $27.04 $14.49 $18.06 $16.09 $13.13 $14.38 $12.22 $8.29 $6.02 $2.84
Revenue 14.57% 0.10% 10.94% 15.30% 6.90% 10.07% 12.12% 18.75% 3.53% 19.78% 6.85% 18.21%
Net $10.58 $8.14 $11.95 $3.61 $3.28 $4.62 $2.17 $2.95 $3.17 -$1.47 -$0.50 $0.64
Net Profit 17.31% 17.05% 16.79% 13.92% 13.54% 20.61% 14.12% 15.85% 21.43% -11.61% -5.92% 20.12%
Operating $13.28 $9.28 $6.78 $4.58 $3.37 $6.46 $3.53 $3.88 $3.98 -$1.22 -$0.01 $0.78
Return on 25.60% 12.06% 14.43% 22.66% 18.33% 28.09% 19.15% 23.96% 17.19% -22.17% -3.26% 10.05%
Employee 119,200 86,600 98,200 68,000 59,800 50,527 42,000 40,600 17,500 55,000 27,500 4,300
Abbott Labs 20
Abbott Labs 21
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Abbott Labs 22
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Abbott Labs 23
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