Amway COO Mike Cazer talks about positive global trends with Emily Richett of WHQ News
By Cory Olsen | WHQ News
Ada, Michigan — Ask Amway Chief Operating Officer Mike Cazer about positive trends in Amway’s business and expect to get a lengthy response.
“We have so many opportunities in front of us and we’re pursuing them with such energy,” Cazer said. “The future is bright.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Cazer highlighted some of those opportunities, along with actions the company is taking to realize their benefits. From China to the United States, robots to organic farms and experience centers to pilot programs – he covered a lot of ground. Here are some of the highlights:
A recent PwC study highlights a growing trend – people want more flexibility in their lives, specifically in how they work and the schedule they keep.
Dive deeper and you’ll see an equally important perspective from millennials – productivity shouldn’t be measured by the number of hours worked, but by the output of the work performed. They view work as a “thing” and not a “place.”
These trends, among many others, place Amway in an advantageous position, according to Cazer.
“At Amway, we are all about giving people that flexibility,” Cazer said. “Our business model gives people the flexibility to have the business that they want – to invest the amount of time that they want and determine when they do it.”
Testing new ideas & approaches
New ideas are the driving force behind the Amway business model. As a result, the company is constantly testing new means for product development and the best practices to highlight its offerings to the general public.
Amway’s new in-car air treatment system, called Atmosphere Drive, is a leading example of testing new approaches to getting innovative products to the consumer. Amway combined its own expertise in air treatment technology with outside resources to speed production from concept and design to testing and manufacturing – and created the new offering in a matter of months. Atmosphere Drive is already available in Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea and the company is ramping up production to bring it to other markets soon.
“Our ABOs love it, it’s selling like hot cakes,” Cazer said. “In fact, we initially couldn’t keep up with the incredible demand that we’re seeing for this product.”
Another example highlighted by Cazer was the company’s work in the Philippines – a nation where a majority of the population is part of the millennial generation. Amway paired its employees there with staff on assignment from its corporate office to experiment with ways to continue its long-term appeal with customers. New digital tools, ways of communication and company positioning are being explored there – among other things.
“We’re trying to pilot new ideas to see what works, adjust it, and then roll it out throughout Amway,” said Cazer. “I think our work is a great example of how we’re learning to work faster – at the speed of an ABO.”
Amway product launches are always exciting but the arrival of XS Energy Drink in China created a huge impact, Cazer said.
“We just launched XS in China and what an exciting experience. Now China is one of our biggest XS markets in the world and in fact, it achieved that status in just three days.”
Cazer said over one million cans were sold in the first hour in China and that number grew to over 17 million cans in the first few days. He credited that success to the energetic atmosphere created by staff and ABOs at launch events across the country, as well as the quality of the products themselves.
“The team worked tirelessly and they visited dozens of cities around China creating a ton of energy and our Chinese ABOs and their customers really engaged.”
Back at Global Headquarters in Ada, Michigan, product development is being aided by a multi-million dollar investment in robotics within the company’s manufacturing facilities. Amway is capitalizing on its use of robots to aid the already productive manufacturing workforce. The company has already invested $2 million in robotics and has committed another $2 million for the future.
“The way the teams are applying them, it’s really innovative,” Cazer said. “They’re taking the person and the robot and having them work in close proximity so that the robot compliments the skilled technician in our factory.”
The robots provide a safer environment for all workers when dealing with highly repetitive tasks and moving heavy weights. Their use leads to a more efficient production process and further supports the need to meet global demands for Amway products.
Amway’s certified organic farms are an amazing source of many product ingredients. The company recently completed its fall harvest and yields were up, with some coming in at record totals.
“It’s increasingly important to consumers around the world that they know where the products that they’re taking, particularly products that they ingest, come from. … Having our own organic farms is a big part of that.”