Stepping into success Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Distribution and Manufacturing

David Smith likens innovation at PSS World Medical Inc. to dancing with elephants. When you do this dance, you’re either quick or you’re dead. Fortunately for Smith, he’s pretty quick both on his feet and when it comes to coming up with great new ideas to keep his business growing.

Smith, the company’s chairman and CEO, recognized that physician incomes were decreasing as the complexity of health care continued to increase. He led a strategic decision to produce a globally sourced private label that would help them make their practices more efficient.

It is just one of the examples of Smith’s ability to listen to his customers and offer a solution that both helps them and provides an opportunity for his business to increase revenue.

Smith became CEO at a time when his predecessor wanted to sell the medical supply distributor after a series of bad decisions had led PSS to trouble. The company’s board asked Smith to take over, and the difference was almost immediate.

He got the company out of markets that didn’t fit its mission. He met with each employee individually to talk about what had happened and what his plan was to make it all better again. And he convinced them that the company was worth saving and that they could be a big part of turning things around.

And to improve the skills and lives of his employees, Smith instituted leadership development training and success planning programs, brought in wellness programs, and supported tuition reimbursement.

At the same time, he put a sharp focus on strategy and discipline to make sure everyone stayed on track toward the goal of serving the customer. This effort has PSS poised to endure the ongoing global recession and come out ahead on the other side.

How to reach: PSS World Medical Inc., (904) 332-3000 or