How CEO Søren Birn transformed a production mindset into a pharma culture
Søren Birn, CEO, Fertin
For Søren Birn (CEO), cultural development has long been on the agenda for a long time, with the desire to create a strong commercial culture where leaders demonstrate drive and responsibility.
The company has roots in confectionery but is today the world’s leading manufacturer of oral products to support healthier living e.g. nicotine products for smoking cessation with large international pharmaceutical companies on the customer list. A development that places much higher demands on control, quality assurance and customer service.
Fertin’s roots in traditional production of chewing gum – from the Dandy days in Vejle – were inconsistent with the high demands of a pharma company of today in terms of documentation, hygiene etc. So, in a lot of areas, there was a need for a change in behavior – a new culture.
Survey creates focus
The first culture survey involved all the company’s approximately 500 employees. Throughout the following year, the survey was followed up by actions at all management levels. Together they reviewed the results, prioritized areas for action and prepared action plans. The focus was particularly on sharpening management skills as well as on the leaders’ ability to transmit our mission, vision, and values.
“The survey showed that the organization was not self-satisfied. On the contrary, it was about a lack of commercial sense. Today, we have therefore set up our performance management system so that a third of our significant KPIs are related to customer satisfaction – because if people are measured on something, they are also aware of it,” says Søren Birn.
Simple and effective tools
Søren Birn, CEO, Fertin
History creates pride
The process gave a common direction
- Top managers and directors experience a high degree of initiative, execution, and drive throughout the organization.
- Production progress – reduced outage time and reduced waste
- 15-20% more energy and passion of the leaders – according to themselves.
- Improved commercial understanding more broadly rooted throughout the organization.
- Improved compliance with the values and understanding of vision and mission.
- Common language, common tools and better leadership
- Improved culture
Fertin helps leading global brands create pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products to support healthier living.
We develop and manufacture innovative oral and intra-oral delivery systems that enhance the efficacy of your active and functional ingredients – without compromising on taste-masking, texture and the consumer experience.
With more than 800 employees across our R&D centers and manufacturing facilities in Canada, Denmark and India, we produce approximately 3 billion units a year, used by consumers all over the world. Fertin was acquired by Philip Morris International on July 1, 2021.