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Fenner Dunlop restructures ECS operation

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From left: Amy Thaman of Thaman Rubber Co. talks with Dario Elli and wife Cassandra Pan at the NIBA meeting.

SEATTLE—Fenner Dunlop P.L.C.'s Engineered Conveyor Solutions Division, the company's largest operation, is being restructured at the top level to put more emphasis on its regional and global presence.

It also is focusing more on the service end of its business.

David Landgren, formerly head of Fenner Dunlop's Australian sector, has been selected to head the entire global operation as ECS president.

Three regional directors will report to him: Cassandra Pan leads ECS-Americas; Edward Have oversees ECS-EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); and Graham Lenz takes over as chief of ECS-APAC (Australia, New Zealand, China and Southeast Asia). Pan also will serve as president of the company's North American business.

Other directors will report to the regional directors.

Changing markets

Fenner Dunlop restructured ECS because “markets continually change, and the global mining industry is currently in a period of recession brought about by low mineral prices,” Pan said at the NIBA—The Belting Association convention, held Sept. 24-27 in Seattle.

As a result, she said, “mining companies around the world are focused on reducing their costs, and some of the world's largest miners—and industrial accounts—are now exploring the possibility of global supply contracts.”

She noted that “it is difficult for Fenner ECS to take full advantage of these large opportunities with the current country-based organizational structure.

“In addition,” Pan said, “the need for greater alignment across ECS' businesses—in terms of technology development, procurement, sharing of best practices and global customer management—has led to the creation of a global ECS leader charged with coordinating global strategic business alignment.”

Fenner Dunlop wants to have the best fit to align itself with its global customers, Pan said, adding that the firm has invested heavily in new technologies and equipment for each region, and often all must tie together because of its customers' growing global reach.

“With David overseeing the overall ECS business, we'll have best manufacturing practices in place across the board,” she said.

Service oriented

While Fenner Dunlop isn't changing its focus on belts, it is placing more emphasis on the many services it can provide to customers, said Pan and Scott Frenz, vice president of marketing for Fenner Dunlop Americas.

“In the future, the game changer will be services,” Frenz said.

It's not simply about the best price anymore in the belting world, Pan said, noting that companies are looking for additional services, and Fenner Dunlop can provide them.

Its services include belt splicing and installation, conveyor system diagnostics and problem solving, belt condition monitoring and preventive maintenance, engineering services and training, and others.

“The objective of all services offered ... is to understand a customer's critical risks and inefficiencies and improve performance,” she said.

And though the company will continue to develop its coal business, it also is focusing on the industrial non-coal side of its operation. Target markets include aggregates, grain, power plants, ports/bulk material handling facilities, hard rock, ore mining and wood, pulp and paper, Frenz said.

He said wood and aggregate are growing because of the recent spike in new construction and highway projects as well as geographical expansion in Mexico and South America.

Because of the downturn in the coal mining industry and improved productivity, the company has trimmed its U.S. work force by about 10 percent. The same occurred at its plants in Europe and other parts of the world.

But it has been adding personnel on the service side, Pan said.

She noted that the company actually has been less affected by the drop in coal mining because about 85 percent of the company's business is in the aftermarket—replacing belts and supplying services.