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Ron Bryant, vice president of North American operations, Pharmacia Animal Health
Editor's Note: Ron Bryant, vice president, North American operations, at Pharmacia Animal Health, Kalamazoo, Mich., received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Georgia and worked for GoldKist before joining Pharmacia Animal Health (formerly Upjohn Animal Health) in 1978 as a sales representative. He has held the positions of district sales manager, U.S. product manager, regional sales director, international marketing director, executive director of international marketing and vice president, worldwide marketing.

AM: How is Pharmacia Animal Health dealing with challenges such as low commodity prices, integration of industry segments and fewer customers?

Economics have always driven the animal health business, and today our customers are more financially driven than ever. They look at a product's benefits and value, not just cost. However, the cycles and fundamental changes in the industry become less critical when you provide products and programs that pay, along with the service and support that bring what we call "added value."

To do this, Pharmacia applies a team approach when working with the larger operations. Salespeople work with marketing, technical service, training and R&D to prove to customers the value of our brands. We bring brand solutions to the market along with solutions to problems - that's the added value.

AM: Explain Pharmacia's philosophy behind product-use programs.

We are very proud of the fact that we have programs that solve herd health problems. These programs allow us to show the value of our brands and our people.

For example, we have programs like the 100-Day Contract in dairy, The Durable Cure program in beef and the Consistent Pork program in swine. The central purpose in developing these valuable programs is to help our customers keep their animals healthy with targeted use of our products to ensure the most effective herd health program. The goal is to improve their operations' profitability. This ensures that our programs outline product-use regimens that totally support proper drug use guidelines.

AM: Do these programs enter into your mass communication efforts via advertising or public relations?

Our organization, first as Upjohn and now as Pharmacia, has always been incredibly good at direct selling. Working with our customers on a face-to-face basis is something our field personnel excel at and enjoy.

By supplementing sales excellence with good advertising and product publicity campaigns, you can create something extra. People take pride in the products they use - when the value is high, that feeling of pride can be quite strong. If we can capture that in our communications, we have created something special.

That's something we think we've done well with our "waterfall" campaign for our Naxcel and Excenel brands in the dairy market. There, we have a truly outstanding product, and we've created that "something extra" in our communications.

AM: You emphasize the importance of your people. What do you do to recruit or retain top talent?

We invest in our people by emphasizing their growth and development. We have a proprietary performance-based development program that focuses not only on what we accomplish throughout the year but also on how we get the job done. We also have formal talent review sessions that discuss each and every employee and ensure that management is aware of the talent and skills of our employees.

This is important to our objective of helping our personnel not only set goals but also in helping them reach those goals. Our business is all about people, and if they're happy and productive, the business will do well.

We also work hard to recognize excellence and reward it. The right incentives have to be in place to recruit and retain good people.

AM: Speaking of the business doing well, Pharmacia experienced good growth over the past couple of years in a flat market. What contribution has NAFTA operations made to that growth?

Pharmacia has long relied on the NAFTA operations to drive our global growth - this region represents about 60 percent of total turnover and has been growing in double digits in recent years.

We expect the NAFTA region to continue to drive our growth, and we're pleased to have such a strong team in place to do that. AM

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