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It’s (Still) All About The Team

When a successful company is growing at hyperspeed, it absolutely must hold on to the foundation on which that success was built: its people.

For centuries America’s founding principles—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—have shaped and guided the country’s growing economy, fueling the minds of business leaders and entrepreneurs with the ambitions needed to launch and grow their businesses. While these ideologies act as the perfect stepping-stone, they alone do not guarantee a company’s success. When it comes to building and maintaining a prosperous business, leaders must develop innovative growth strategies to meet client demands and remain both stable and relevant in market.

The need for a strong foundation is universal to companies across all industries. Today’s most successful business leaders often implement similar strategies, they merely execute them differently. In business, unless you have a patent or product niche, the best companies excel in executing upon the strategies, systems and processes adopted for success. The company I have the privilege to lead is Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM), a parenteral contract development and manufacturing organization. We are proud to be based in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the heart of the Midwest. Life in Grand Rapids is symbolic of what has made America strong—excellent people dedicated and hardworking, committed to making a difference.

GRAM has experienced rapid growth over the past five years and is expanding significantly, due largely to the company’s ability to execute and deliver on its customer promise of quality and service. In my six years as president and CEO, we have found the most success employing growth tactics that focus on three important attributes: talent management, quality service and steady innovation.

It should come as no surprise that a company’s most important asset is its people. To ensure that companies hire and develop the knowledgeable, driven and collaborative talent needed to keep a business thriving, it is vital for leaders to establish a bulletproof talent management system. To do so, executives must conduct a company analysis and ask: “What do we value? What are our strengths, priorities and greatest challenges? What is our ultimate goal?” Having a full sense of company identity enables leaders to create an individualized talent management strategy that attracts top talent and keeps them engaged once they join.

GRAM opened its doors in 2011 and in that time, we have grown to about 200 full time staff. As our company continues to expand, we are on track to hire 30+ more people by the end of 2020. Focusing on recruiting, developing and retaining talent has been a top priority of ours. Hosting a weekly standing staff meeting to provide updates on company happenings keeps everyone up-to-date and proactive communication tends to build morale. Offering Volunteer Time off has also made an impact on employees, giving them paid time off during work hours to give back to the community. This helps our team members feel valued and build better communication and relationships, both internally and externally. Lastly, we take the time to celebrate our successes and to enjoy a family approach in working together.

Within every industry, companies compete to secure consistent clientele, and today’s consumers prefer businesses and brands with a strong reputation—a hard-to-earn position which links directly to the products and services that the company delivers. Ultimately, when it comes to providing the best products or the top service, it is the people delivering quality and service that make the difference.

To guarantee such excellence, we emphasize the importance of quality and service. Applying this methodology makes certain that the product or service delivered—in our case, parenteral pharmaceuticals—is safe to market and reliably provides its intended benefit. Admittedly, we are obsessed about quality. Quality is our top strategic objective and our quality group is our second largest department. To underscore how important it is, 100% of our entire staff is trained on how to bring quality to every aspect of our work, with multiple quality metrics measuring that success.

Many of America’s most admired brands have seen the greatest success by taking a measured approach to driving growth and innovation, while remaining true to their core values. Developing and implementing inventive tactics that directly correspond with a company’s standing revenue, size and ideals enables leaders to set short and long-term goals that can capably be met; especially important for growth companies.

Since its beginning, GRAM has focused on the sterile injectables market. As we continue to grow our team and facilities and innovate our equipment and methods, a key goal for us in the coming year will be to continue playing to our strengths amid the growth and modernization. To that end, 2020 will be a milestone year for our company as we launch a new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical facility, culminating a two-year investment of significant capital and human resources

Predicting business success is nearly impossible, and when opportunities for growth arise, it’s hard not to jump the gun—but to successfully garner growth, business leaders must invest time and effort to accommodate accordingly. By having a strong team, dedication to high-quality products or services, and commitment to steady innovation, businesses have potential to hit the ground running or continue to gain momentum.


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