Strategy Implementation, Innovation and Customer Focus at Intervet, part of Schering-Plough
Intervet, one of the largest animal health companies in the world, specializes in the development, manufacture and sale of animal health products. Intervet is part of Schering-Plough, an innovation-driven, science-centered global healthcare company.
Why did Intervet contact MCE?
CEO Intervet Netherlands Piet Nelis and his management team had defined their Strategic Business Plan for 2007-2011. At the heart of the plan was a shift to more customized products and services, while continuing to integrate with Schering-Plough. Piet Nelis and his team now faced the challenge of getting their people to implement the strategy in the most efficient way. Intervet Netherlands (NL) approached MCE for external expertise to help do this.
How did MCE work with Intervet?
"I expect MCE’s management development to have major benefits once it has been integrated, and the actual processes that we covered, of Strategy Implementation, Innovation Management and Customer Focus, have been established."
– Piet Nelis, Intervet NL CEO
Understanding the Situation at Intervet
The initial discussions between Piet Nelis and the MCE Associate helped to establish an understanding of the:
- Business environment in which Intervet operates
- Organization itself and its particular strategy
- People issues related to implementing the company’s strategy.
To gain an even deeper understanding of the above, MCE:
- Interviewed more people in the company, in particular line managers, to find out how they saw things
- Used MAP (an organizational analysis tool) to check if the behaviour of the people at Intervet NL supported the chosen strategy. The results of the analysis would show which parts of the company were aligned (or not) to the strategy and why that was the case.
Analyzing what Intervet needed
Intervet’s strategy concentrated on moving from a Product to a Product + / Customer Specific Solution strategy, while at the same time continuing to integrate with Schering-Plough. Intervet wanted to maintain top and bottom line growth, and even more focus, direction and employee development would help this.
Piet Nelis and his management team wanted to establish an even better way of working together, with a shared and aligned approach to getting the job done. Based on the research, discussions, input and feedback that had taken place between Intervet NL and MCE, it became clear that three key areas could be looked into:
1. Strategy Implementation: Line managers could gain even more understanding of the importance of moving from a Product to Product + / Customer Specific Solution strategy
2. Innovation: Intervet NL could benefit from finding out about new innovation opportunities
3. Customer Focus: A thorough understanding of different groups of customers was key to Intervet’s success, as was a consistent customer approach
MCE’s proposal focused primarily on those three issues.
Deciding on the right Customer Specific Solution for Intervet
The proposal was presented by the MCE Associate, discussed in detail with the client and then reviewed by both parties to ensure that all key stakeholders were on the “same page”, and that the management development would meet Intervet NL’s needs. They agreed to develop three workshops, one on strategy implementation, one on innovation and one on customer focus.
Development of the Solution for Intervet
The Customer Specific Solution was then developed. To prepare this solution, the MCE Associate liaised with more Intervet NL people to develop specific company-related information and case studies to be used as examples in the workshop.
Implementation of the Solution for Intervet
Each workshop lasted three days. A brief summary of what they covered is below.
The CEO and the top management team took part in this workshop. The MCE Senior Associate facilitating the workshop used a "zero-slides-all-flipcharts" approach. The group took Intervet’s strategic objectives one at a time, and then worked on next-level strategies to cascade the objectives throughout the organization. Specific tools and methodologies were introduced to help Intervet NL’s management team achieve this. At the end of the session every participant designed a personal action plan that they later shared with CEO Piet Nelis. They also received personal coaching from the MCE Associate on the implementation of this plan.
This workshop looked at innovation challenges, including innovation processes, strategies and models. The group worked on ways to create innovation opportunities for Intervet, and on how innovation could help Intervet NL move from Product to Product + /Customer Specific Solutions.
Action plans and cross-functional teamwork were agreed, and the executive team received additional personal coaching. Thirty members of the staff at Intervet NL took part in this workshop.
The people from the Innovation workshop came together again to work on consolidating common language and actions when dealing with customers. Participants used practical tools and techniques to understand and anticipate new customer needs, to focus on key customers and products and to develop effective long-term relationships.
The executive team received additional personal coaching in order to follow up with their teams on newly built individual action plans.
Results and Benefits for Intervet
During the whole initiative the different teams regularly shared and discussed content and success stories. This helped build a sense of teamwork and purpose.
The MCE Associate returned to Intervet NL several times following the workshops to continue the development in all three areas. One example of this was with innovation. Intervet NL formed a core innovation team made up of senior management. There was a one-day kick-off for this team in Paris. The MCE Associate participated actively in this event.
Most importantly, the management development activities by MCE successfully linked Intervet NL’s strategy formulation exercise to real strategy implementation. The management team embraced some best practices to help them guide and coach their people in order to position their role in a more strategic context. The people at Intervet NL now have a common understanding of the company’s strategy and of how an organization can be customer-focused and innovative.
Intervet specializes in the development, manufacture and sale of animal health products. With its comprehensive research and manufacturing capabilities, and a distribution network covering more than 100 countries, Intervet and its subsidiaries employ more than 5,300 people and operate in over 50 countries.
Intervet is part of Schering-Plough, an innovation-driven, science-centered global health care company. Schering-Plough employs approximately 50,000 people around the world (see: www.schering-plough.com).
For more information, visit www.intervet.com.