Mark Holmshaw says that “if you treat people in the way you would like to be treated, then you have already solved many issues”. And as a President and CEO, Mark lives by this mantra at Canon Medical Systems Europe.
The company develops medical equipment such as X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines and advanced software that enables the visualisation and analysis of 2D, 3D and 4D images of anatomical and physiological features.
‘Lunch with the President’
At the heart of Canon is its people and Mark holds them in high regard. So much so, he regularly holds a ‘Lunch with the President’ with up to four employees, which is also a chance for him to glean insights from his team.
“These are normally people from head office who wouldn’t have the exposure to me or the business domain that some of the more senior members would,” Mark explains.
“It is an opportunity for employees not directly involved in direct sales, such as service, IT, logistics and warehouse, to have lunch with me and ask questions relevant to their situation.”
“It’s also a chance to get feedback on what we can do to improve the business process, because these are the people who are doing the work day in, day out, and can make sometimes small, but important, changes to hugely impact the organisation.”
A bigger force in health care
While Canon is often associated with cameras and printers, its footprint in the medical sector has been steadily rising.
In 2016, the company announced the acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems, which specialised in diagnostic medical imaging equipment.
The now Canon Medical Systems (the name was officially changed in 2018) is set to become a bigger force in health care.
“Canon had a much smaller footprint in the medical industry than Toshiba, so it’s a case of integrating the relevant parts of the two businesses in the new organisation,” says Mark.
“The Canon brand is strong compared with Toshiba’s, but Canon has not been closely associated with the medical business. So using the strength of the Canon brand with the medical expertise of Toshiba should bring a combined benefit larger than the sum of the individual parts.”
Why effective communication matters
Mark is a firm believer in effective communication between employees. “If you don’t have the right people in the right place doing the right things then you’ll die as a business,” he says.
“You need to ensure that people have the correct personal philosophy and that this is aligned as much as possible to the company values; but also, you need to educate, motivate and communicate with them.”
“If you don’t have the right people in the right place doing the right things then you'll die as a business.”
“If people feel informed and involved, they’re more likely to make a positive contribution. On our intranet, we’ve introduced video communication to keep all employees and partners informed about what’s happening with the company – particularly during the transition – and to keep them updated about the current business environment.”
“If people feel informed and involved, they’re more likely to make a positive contribution.”
Learning from other’s mistakes and successes
And when it comes to improving the business, Mark finds it useful to look at its individual components rather than approaching it as a whole.
“I remember reading an article about British Cycling’s performance, which was not so good some 15 years ago,” he explains.
“It’s about remembering that all the people in the provision of any service are important and they can all contribute greatly to the success or failure of any task.”
“It was said they broke down the business of cycling into its component parts and looked for a one percent improvement in all the individual pieces. When they put it back together again, the total improvement was phenomenal.”
“And now British Cycling is held in much higher esteem than it was 15 years ago, and is very successful.”
“That’s the sort of philosophy I adopt here. Again, it’s about remembering that all the people in the provision of any service are important and they can all contribute greatly to the success of any task.”
‘Made for Life’
At the core of Canon Medical Systems Europe is its motto ‘Made for Life’. This not only reflects its products but its overall approach as well.
“The main philosophy is that it should benefit all parts of the business, but also mankind,” Mark says.
“When you buy equipment from us, it’s made for life: to contribute to the life of the patient, the life of the service, and the life of the systems themselves.”
“We’re looking for reliability, good outcomes for the patients, and the value-for-money proposition as well, which means it’s a win–win–win situation.”