CLEVELAND—Demand for products with longer life, fewer leaks and less weight drives Parker Hannifin Corp.'s Engineered Materials Group to focus on innovative products.
Andy Ross, the group president, said a sluggish world economy with slow or almost no growth puts a greater emphasis on market share and innovation.
Through his first year leading the business, he is pleased with the progress it has made.
"I was building from a position of strength," Ross said. "We have a culture of continuous improvement regardless of how we perform. We're constantly looking for new ways to innovate."
Ross had a number of goals when he took over the group in June 2012. He wants Parker to be the safest place to work in the world, gain market share, implement and execute new strategies for success, recruit talent and develop employees for long-term success.
He also wants each of the 10 divisions within the Engineered Materials Group to be the best in its industry—the Chomerics, Composite Sealing Systems, Engineered Polymer Systems, Engineered Seals, Integrated Sealing Systems, Medical Systems, O-Ring, O-Ring (Europe), Packing (Europe) and TechSeal divisions.
The group changed its name from Seal Group to Engineered Materials Group in July. The rationale was to open things for the other types of products—beyond seals and gaskets—the group offers. Ross said seals and gaskets is a well defined area, and broadening the name opens itself up to different kinds of companies.
"We're so much more than seals from a product standpoint," Ross said. "We took a step back and looked at who we are and what we want to be. Our material science develops and markets materials to meet customer needs. We want to continue to leverage our material science capital to meet the needs of the customer. We're so diverse. We have so many different products that we look at the customer use and what the main point is."