Tyson’s Growth and Development
Tyson’s legacy of meat-industry leadership – surpassed only by its strides in product development, marketing, and distribution – powers its consistent business success. The company revolutionized the chicken business with its modern chicken processing plants and a product development platform emphasizing processed chicken over fresh products. Tyson’s most ambitious business transaction allowed it to fulfill its self-proclaimed destiny of owning the center of the plate — thanks to its history of acquiring other businesses. Tyson’s growth from a chicken business, starting in 1931, to a full line protein supplier is tied to its acquisition, over a 22-year period, of more than 25 separate operations, including seafood plants and a pork division. The integration of its products with the IBP acquisition allowed Tyson to leverage customer relationships and gain access to additional opportunities for its entire product portfolio. Accelerating the movement of beef and pork up the value chain to mimic its chicken progression positioned the company to manage the entire meat case with its value-added focus on case-ready and fully-cooked products. By dominating the foodservice market, Tyson was favorably positioned to capitalize on changing consumer-eating patterns — especially their penchant for restaurant dining.
Tyson currently generates $26.4 billion in annual sales, and operates in 26 states and 20 countries. The company hallmarks include low-cost manufacturing, product quality, strategic marketing, customer service, and new product development.
To be sure, Tyson is no longer just the synonym for chicken – the company that began as a small poultry company in northwest Arkansas whose holdings included one plant and one hatchery. The 70-year-old company, girded by a growth-through-acquisitions strategy, is methodically carving a trail toward global domination of the meat protein business. The leadership reins remain in the hands of a family member – John Tyson. He represents the third–generation as the grandson of John William Tyson, who pioneered broiler marketing when he hauled the first load of live chickens from Arkansas to Chicago to fetch better prices. His son Don Tyson dropped out of college to stand beside his father to help battle the vulnerable and fluctuating market that defined the ‘50s. When his parents died in a 1966 car and train accident in their Springdale, AR, hometown, young Don stepped up to shepherd the company through more than three decades of phenomenal growth.
Tyson Foods, now under the leadership of John Tyson, chairman and chief executive officer, continues growing and prospering. People development drives him because he understands that the security of his family’s legacy can only remain safe in the hands of a fortified team.
To that end, Tyson is preparing the next generation of leaders with an emerging-leaders-development- and-mentoring program focusing on dignity and respect, problem solving, team building, and ethics.
“We are a company of people engaged in the production of food, seeking to pursue truth and integrity, and committed to creating value for our shareholders, our customers, and our people in the process,” Tyson asserts. “Our Team Member Bill of Rights provides support for our people so our workers understand their rights in the workplace.”