Acting into a new way of thinking

At Henry Schein Animal Health, we have implemented many changes over the past two years. Driving our transformation is a redefined mission that ensures we are adding value for our customers and providing the best customer experience possible.

At the same time, we have to keep our destination in mind, our vision of being the animal health solutions provider that also sells veterinary supplies. This new mission and vision have given us a common cause to rally around.

Just as is the case with any sports organization, in order to achieve success, everyone must understand their role on the team and be dedicated to playing their position.

Find the gaps; fill the gaps

When we looked at our employee roster, however, we found that there were some gaps on our team. We set out to change that.
Where previously we had used temporary employees in our distribution centers, we shifted to a direct hiring model of securing permanent employees. We emphasized diversity, recruiting more veterans, women and millennials.

The impact was immediate, driven by higher employee engagement and greater productivity, which led to higher customer satisfaction. Three hundred and seventeen positions were added to our 1,000-person company, 285 of them in the distribution centers.

We also recognized that successful organizations are only possible with dynamic, effective leadership, so we set about transforming our leadership team. We hired some new leaders, but also pivoted people within the organization into different roles.

This changed the internal structure of our company, establishing a new culture of empowerment for our sales representatives and at our distribution centers, who are closest to our customers. Team Schein members in the field no longer have to go up the chain of command to the main headquarters to solve problems. This, in turn, led to better customer service.

Right roles and messaging

The key to our transformation has been consistent messaging. We established operating priorities, choosing those most important for the organization to grow and prosper, and aligned them to support the new mission and enable the new vision. We reiterate these often, so they are engrained in the new culture we have developed.

At Henry Schein, we play to win. We recognized that we needed to transform, and we did something about it. We put the right people in the right roles to reinforce the changes, and expanded our employee roster to improve the customer experience. We are consistent in our messaging, and expect everyone to align with and embrace our operating priorities.

All these initiatives laid the groundwork for employees to act in a new way of thinking. Every employee is playing their position, reinforced with feedback mechanisms such as town hall meetings, leader-to-leader meetings and quarterly reviews of annual management by objectives, to make sure everyone understands their roles. The bottom line? We have positioned our team to succeed.

Fran Dirksmeier is the president of Henry Schein Animal Health. Fran brings more than 30 years of experience to his position as president. He’s recognized in the health care industry for being both a visionary leader and a strategic entrepreneur with a track record for bringing out the best in people to drive growth and operational excellence.