Harry & David Holdings owes its fame to its status as one of the beginners of the provision of fruit to customers who would send in orders for them. Its first fruit-growing areas were for pears, and it got its start in the early 1900s. The company started out strong, but it went downhill for some time until Steve Heyer CEO came in to help.
When Heyer took over the business, he had a lot of work ahead of him. The crisis that closed businesses all over North America was also working its rot on the business, which was sinking. Heyer's first solution was intriguing: he fired several of the high-level officers of the company and hired more mid-level officials.
Heyer's unusual business decision was essentially a pruning of all those who could not deliver the right skills for their top-tier jobs. The best part about the decision was the result: tens of millions in savings without having to resort to wage cuts. A number of paychecks have suffered in the past years.
Heyer claimed that the occurrence of multiple channels where one would have sufficed was sinking the company. The organization was suffering from a crippling unwillingness to go out of the old box and think outside of it. Heyer is one business leader who is not afraid to try new things.
When he was still working for Coca Cola, he was already talking about the importance of innovation. He challenged them to challenge the convention and to empower the customers they serve. Heyer thought that the coming years would see consumers demanding more and more customization.
Heyer's advice was that businessmen should rethink their approaches. To illustrate, one may look at Heyer's activities for Starwood to see what he is trying to advocate. In a stroke of genius, he directed Starwood's marketing departments to repackage the product, stressing that it was not so much a room that was being sold but rather the possibility of creating memorable experiences.
Other executive roles Heyer has occupied would include the COO seat in Turner Broadcasting. He also held a position of power with AOL Time Warner then. Other media and advertising experience comes from having led an international advertising company in the 1990s.
When he took the leadership of Harry & David, he was surprised to see this huge company in disarray and did not have any representation at the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). The lack of advertisement was hurting the company. It was crucial to be link to the Advertising Specialty Institute.
It was simple for Heyer to see what was wrong. He said, “There was no communication between marketing and merchandising, no joint problem solving." To put simply, Heyer said, “There has been a shortage of innovation” at Harry and David.
Today, Harry and David is picking up the scattered pieces and putting them together in beautiful harmony. The company’s looks and selections have widened; innovation and creativity are once again taking a foothold. Steve Heyer CEO notes that the company is now a growing, healthy organism again that should recover from its old issues.
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