One of the keys to long-term business success is listening to your customers. AVL – Solvet is a new Canadian animal health company based in Calgary. Drs Merle and Barbara Olson credit their company’s success by staying in touch with their customers in search of “new solutions to old problems.”
In 2004, Merle and Barbara made a team decision to take early retirement from their research roles at the University of Calgary and jump to the private sector. As Dr Olson now jokes, “Our retirement project has definitely gotten out of hand!”
AVL – Solvet specializes in meeting the pharmaceutical needs of Canadian livestock producers. To accomplish this, they have adopted a unique business model. Dr Olson describes it as a company built on inverting the traditional product development approach. It works based on providing solutions to the needs of our customers instead of from a “top-down” product pipeline hoping to fit a customer’s need.
One of the first products developed by Olson was Ivermectin Liquid for Horses, the first and only liquid formulation of ivermectin horse dewormer. “We were asked to create a product that was easy to administer to fussy horses. We came up with a liquid-based formulation, and unlike traditional ivermectin pastes that are easy to spit out, our product makes refusal a thing of the past. In addition, since refused paste poses a potential risk to pets, our product eliminates that risk. The formulation is designed to treat 25% more horse weight than the other tubes on the market, making it the ideal choice for large breeds, and can also be used to treat multiple smaller horses. We also designed a 120 ml bottle with a draw-off cap and syringe for convenience and waste reduction to treat larger groups of horses.”
Another example of Innovation by Request is their Copper Hoof Treatment, a copper-based solution to treat thrush and to toughen hooves. We received a request to create a hoof treatment that adheres better and is easy to apply. Our solution was a thicker viscosity product that provides better adherence and comes in a leak-proof squeeze bottle.
“We feel privileged to work in the Canadian Agribusiness with so many great people – both our employees as well as the clients we serve. Providing solutions and serving the industry we love is something that motivates us every day,” comments Dr Barbara Olson.