Organisational change is a hot topic right now as companies see the benefits of collaborative and horizontal working relationships. We talk to CEO Augusto Mitidieri of Sintetica S.A., a company leading the way in the new model.
In an era of crisis and turbulence, organisational change is providing a third way out. Forward-thinking companies have discovered that the combined power of technology and collaborative working relationships have allowed them to find a new form of stability.
Along the way, they have learned that notions of ethical behaviour and corporate responsibility mean more than a superficial marketing strategy. And, that by instituting organisational change, human resources can be better capitalised, productivity improved and global relationships enhanced.
We talked to Augusto Mitidieri, CEO of Sintetica S.A., about what organisational transformation has done for their award-winning pharmaceutical company.
What’s the business of Sintetica S.A.?
We’re an old Swiss company that’s been operating for nearly a century. We are a pharmaceutical company delivering injectable anaesthetics and analgesics to patients worldwide, through innovative science and excellence in development, production and marketing.
Local anaesthesia and pain relief are two areas in which we have been the market leader for many years in Switzerland. We are also seeking to develop a leadership position in the growing field of neuromodulation.
We are now a global company, employing 300 people with an average of 41 years from 29 countries in the world. We have sites located in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy and United Kingdom. We established the global division in 2012, and it was our first international corporate structure.
We tasked the global division with pursuing international growth under two distinct models, being a B2B licensing strategy and somewhat later a B2C strategy in select markets.
How successful has the global push been?
We have submitted more than 350 product registrations in over 100 different countries via the network of partners we have built over the last five years.
The first phase of expansion covered North, Central and South America, South East Asia, and the Pacific. Many of these registrations have yet to come through, but so far, we have seen steady growth in the US, and some good returns in the Pacific.
YOY Global Division growth is exceeding 200%, consolidating the impressive growth stream of the last years.
How has organisational structure and change influenced Sintetica’s success?
What differentiates Sintetica from competitors is its culture and how all strategic choices are firmly based on the values of respect. Respect is the core value of the company, and it permeates across every employee. It is expressed in relation to its employees, enhancing the different characteristics of each one. It is about creating a pleasant environment in which employees can work and express themselves.
At Sintetica, we take the obligation to meet the highest standards of business ethics and integrity very seriously. We make meeting those standards the responsibility of all our employees. That is why, when hiring new employees, we look for ‘smart’ people who share our thirst for diversity, our respect for traditions and our aim to be a leading global company.
How does the value of respect extend to your business partners and patients?
The idea of respect puts people first. Sintetica always seeks to build the business by finding partners with whom we can share our values. As such, all our partners must meet strict ethical criteria and share our innovation-driven ‘quality without compromise’ value proposition.
Respect also affects our behaviour towards our partners. It means showing them loyalty, absolute ethics and both operational and development support of advanced go to market strategies.
Establishing the right ethical and value-driven relationships was the most critical and difficult challenge we have faced since beginning our internationalisation efforts. However, I am proud to say that we have been very successful.
Respect is absolutely expressed towards the patients using Sintetica drugs worldwide. It means providing them with the highest quality products and investing in innovation to imagine the best care solutions for the future.
What ideas have informed your core values as a company?
As Corporate CEO, I have complete responsibility for all the sites and affiliates of the company, and I see my role as defining the strategy and vision of the organisation, following the strategy implementation through to execution. Innovation is not only about the products, but also about management style and organisation: getting this right is one the essential elements of our long-lasting success.
That’s why I’m implementing an innovative organisation model called ‘Human Centered Organisation.’ It’s based on the idea of responsibility and meritocracy than hierarchy, and rigid, closed and internal structures. We understand that companies need to be flexible to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and we can’t be flexible and adaptable under a rigidly controlled system of management.
So Human Centered Organisation requires an innovative managerial philosophy. Managers are moving from a role of command and control to a coaching style, to better manage people, enhance talents, through delegation and accountability for results, and to reward their merit.
At Sintetica we’ve created inter-functional, interconnected and multi-level teams (called routines), supported with digital tools and apps.
Can you tell us more about Routines?
Interfunctional Management Routines (IMR) consist of groups of people whose level of responsibility is not necessarily homogeneous. They come from heterogeneous functions, able to harmonise operations with the strategy in the hinge sectors for the development and growth of Sintetica.
Rebuilding strategy and operations means acting, changing one or the other, correcting routes, abandoning paths – all in the shortest time possible and with the highest involvement of responsibility in the organisation.
The expected result is maximum agility.
Let’s consider strategy as a band drawn in space and time. Operations chase it from below, cross it, move away from it. The goal of IMR is to lean on the two bands and pull the one diverging towards the correct position: continuously operating to make the operations adhere to the strategy, but also bending the strategy to operations, if necessary. Flowing of critical information is the essential condition for the proper functioning of IMR.
I believe in a company culture that promotes creativity and informed risk-taking. In this respect, it must also promote a good feeling for all employees that work here, who should always feel safe when they are in work.
And finally, what are your most recent achievements?
We have recently obtained marketing authorisation in the United States for a new drug application called Clorotekal (spinal Chloroprocaine). This approval is an outstanding achievement. We are one of the few small to medium-sized companies in the world which managed to register an original, innovative product in the US.
We have built up our international network and have done most of the legwork to register our products in over 100 different countries, and over the next five years, we should see these efforts bear fruit and our products launched in many of these countries. We should be able to maintain and expand our current innovation-driven value proposition significantly over the coming five years.
Lastly, one radical innovation in the field of pain relief after surgery is in final stages of development. The potential of this innovation could be disruptive all over the world and could enhance the way pain is managed in hospital and at home after surgery.
We think our achievements are a direct result of how we have chosen to work, and it pays.