In last week’s blog, we highlighted the outward growth that Concordance has experienced since our formation through the merger of our legacy companies 36 months ago. With tremendous industry support, we have had several opportunities to expand into new geographies; such as Idaho’s Treasure Valley Region (Nampa), the Inland Empire area of Southern California (Riverside), and the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex region in Texas (Grand Prairie).
Through the merger, our foundation of efficiency and service excellence has remained strong and we are continuing to learn from one another and internally adjusting in order to truly become one company and one culture.
In order for Concordance to follow our customers and continue our outward growth, we must also grow up, always increasing and improving upon our sturdy foundation of service. As we combine internal policies and procedures, we are determined to refine our processes to the most efficient and effective state possible.
Earlier this year, Concordance finalized the integration of our operating systems, bringing the entire company onto one ordering platform.
“It’s a big undertaking to move a company of this size through a system integration,” explains Dale Behlmann, VP of E-Business for Concordance. “And, to be honest, it’s not easy. It requires a lot of preparation, learning and compromise, and it has taken time for employees to adjust. On the other hand, it is an extremely important and rewarding step to see our company work together as one and to witness the increasing interaction between the groups. We are all learning new ways of doing things and in the process, improving upon the things that already made us great.”
Shortly after the completion of our system integration, an intranet solution was launched for employee communications, file sharing, training, departmental tools and connectivity among our locations.
“Increasing internal communications is a major goal,” states Elizabeth Jones, Marketing Manager - Internal Communications and lead on Concordance’s intranet project. “When the employees are able to gain details and insights into company initiatives and strategies, they are better equipped to be successful in their roles, which in turn adds to our success as a company.”
Implementing project management and review processes is also a large initiative for Concordance as we continue to expand. “Every start-up and every new project will have unique hurdles of one sort or another upon which we need to react during the process, and those need to be brought up for review,” explains Pat Hoepf, VP of Operations in Tiffin, Ohio and one of the many members of the Riverside start-up team.
Enabling our teams to highlight milestones and accomplishments while also uncovering challenges that occur during conversions or other large projects allows for in-depth conversations about what processes need refined and improved.
“We need to be able to be honest about our processes and identify any issues and shortcomings that occur,” suggests Pam Wescott, Corporate Project Manager for Concordance. “When we take each of those challenges, pull apart all the pieces involved and find where we can implement solutions - that is how we improve.”
Facilitating comprehensive follow-up meetings and process improvement sessions has begun to open up lines of communication and collaboration through all facets of the company. Expanding these types of review sessions in the future will help us reach the goal of establishing repeatable best practices for every process, from order fulfillment to opening brand new locations.
Nathan DeWees, Director of Strategic Projects explains how “Opening a new distribution center, in a new geography is truly a team effort. What we’re accomplishing with each new facility cannot be completed without representation from every functional area within Concordance. Coming back together and reviewing each project as a team, discussing what we’ve learned and applying that to new ventures going forward is what makes us successful. We are always willing to learn and always willing to work as a team to improve.”
Passion and Purpose
Concordance will continue to adjust to the ever-changing healthcare market and do what it takes to provide our unique service model to customers across the country. It is vital that our company remain flexible, while maintaining our service excellence in the way that we treat, not only our customers, but our partners throughout the industry. We will also remain steadfast in the way we build our culture and develop our team, as that is truly our biggest asset.
“It is our people. Our people are passionate about serving the customer,” declares Lisa Hohman, Chief Strategy Officer (and future CEO) of Concordance, “about doing the right thing, every time.”
“Concordance is a team, a family of sorts.” She continued, “We help each other, we pick each other up, we challenge each other, we hold each other accountable. We always have each other’s back and regardless of challenges that arise, the hard work that it takes, we will always come through for the customer.” Hohman adds finally, “That is our passion, that is our purpose and that is what will continue to bring us success.”