CLEVELAND—Eaton Corp. has restructured its hydraulics business, putting in place an organization to bring a clearer focus on products, markets and innovation.
The new setup comprises the former Fluid Conveyance, Power & Motion Controls and Global Market organizations, and it includes global product marketing and engineering; pricing and strategy; market and business development; commercial excellence; and program management.
Jeffrey A. Finch, previously leader of the Fluid Conveyance business, was named senior vice president and general manager for the new organization.
"What we did is launch the products and markets organization globally, so I have responsibility for that," Finch said. It includes all products within the hydraulics portfolio, including the hydraulic and industrial hose, fittings and couplings within the fluid conveyance business.
In addition, he said Cleveland-based Eaton created a chief technology role for the group that it is looking to fill. The person who is named to that position, like Finch, will report to Bill VanArsdale, president of the Hydraulics Group.
"The intent of that is to make sure that we had a very dedicated focus on innovation, both in product as well as non-product areas," Finch said.
One of the forces behind the reorganization—put in place earlier this year—was the dramatic growth the group has seen over the past 10 years, more than tripling in size through organic growth and the integration of about 12 acquisitions.
"What it does is it gives us a cohesive global growth so we can focus on the existing product array and making sure that we market that efficiently and effectively through our organization to OEMs, distributors and end users," he said.
It also ensures that new product innovation is a key component of the hydraulics unit going forward, according to Finch.
"We make sure we have a dedicated team that is focused—and can stay focused—on innovation and not be constantly pulled into the day-to-day fray of managing the current product portfolio," he said.
The team, Finch said, will look at what technologies exist, what opportunities exist, and then decide how to proceed, getting through the process faster than if they were in charge of both existing products and all new product development.
He said the restructuring also allowed for expanded leadership opportunities with bigger responsibilities for a number of people in the hydraulics organization. Those reporting to Finch will include:
• Paul David, who leads the global market development organization;
• Raja Rajagopalan, commercial lea¬der for the Polimer Kaucuk hydraulics hose business the company purchased last year in Turkey;
• Greg Gumbs, leading the hydraulics hose and fittings unit;
• Ryan Williams, overseeing the specialty hose and fittings group;
• Farrokh Batliwala, in charge of the power and motion control unit;
• Willie Harbert, leading the actuation, projects and services unit; and
• Chris Shadewald, who will be in charge of program management.
Eaton's matrix organization still has hydraulics teams to run the daily operations in each of the three regions of the world: the Americas; Asia-Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa. Finch said those groups manage plant operations, regional sales teams, product ordering and shipments.
His group then handles product marketing, engineering, some new product development work, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, business development and end market segments.
"It's an opportunity to intensify and streamline the focus on the products and market teams, and also get more attention on program management and innovation," Finch said. "As we listen to the voice of our customer and distributors, some of their feedback was, 'We like what you're doing. We'd like it even better if you could improve predictability on programs and also enhance innovation.' "