Pulling in one direction

Coloplast turned their fortunes around, thanks to John F. Kotter’s eight steps

In 2008, previous actions by top management resulted in poor financial results at Coloplast. The company failed to deliver on promises and had to make downward adjustments four times between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2008. Shareholders lost five billion danish kroner and 500 jobs were eliminated. Therefore, in October 2008, a new executive management took over and things began to change. Coloplast had failed to focus on their core competencies (ostomy care and continence care) in Europe, and the organisation wasn’t pulling in the same direction. Instead, the company was focusing on all products in all markets. As CEO Lars Rasmussen puts it, “We wanted to drive the company from a situation where we had too many activities to a place where we could oversee all of these activities.” In 2002, Coloplast, like a lot of other companies, moved production to low-cost Hungary and China. But unlike a lot of other companies, Coloplast didn’t reap the benefits of low production costs. That was because all the money the company saved in production went directly into a big black hole, the Danish part of the operation’s administration, known as Global Operations. Global Operations had become a company within the company, a small kingdom. This made the organisation very complex and that resulted in costs that far exceeded those of our competitors.

Anders Monrad Rendtorff

Anders Monrad Rendtorff is head of communications at VL - The Danish Management Society and associate partner at RelationsPeople. Previously, he was senior vice president of people and communications at Coloplast. Anders has a strong background within corporate communications from Ericsson, TeliaSonera and BG Bank.