More than a year ago, Haemonetics (NYSE:HAE) launched a major restructuring effort, moving nearly 300 manufacturing jobs out of the country in an effort to cut between $35 million and $40 million by fiscal 2018.
The cuts were painful, not only for the 42-year-old blood management company and its workers, but for CEO Brian Concannon, who grew up only a stone’s throw from the company’s headquarters in Braintree, Mass.
Speaking at MassDevice.com‘s DeviceTalks Boston event last week, Concannon said it was a "real challenge" for a guy with strong local roots to cut jobs in his back yard.
"We really needed to understand what we were going to do tomorrow differently than what we’re doing today, because we had to invest differently for our future," Concannon told us. "It was grounded in doing what was right for our customers, our employee base and what was right for shareholders.
"You can do the right thing for the company, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do the right thing by the people who are affected in a negative way through this process," he said.
Haemonetics took the unusual step of providing up to 18 months’ notice to the affected workers, something Concannon said went against the accepted wisdom.
"A lot of people will say, ‘That’s a dumb thing to do and you shouldn’t do that because you die a slow death,’" he said. "But we’ve received good responses from our employees."
Over the past year, he added, the company has worked hard to re-train workers hit by the cuts, providing assistance with everything from English-as-a-2nd-language classes to bringing in potential new employers to interview workers at Haemonetics’ South Shore headquarters.
Concannon said the results speak for themselves.
"The most amazing thing is, 1 month into the transition, the productivity at our Braintree headquarters was higher than when we started," he said.
Conconnan opened up about the cuts and more in this 35-minute interview, recorded July 15, 2014, as part of our DeviceTalks series. Stay tuned for more details on our upcoming event in Orange County, Calif., this December.