MIAMI BEACH, Fla.—Don't ever look for Richard Meyer to have a large staff around him at his home base in San Diego.
Although his title is CEO for the Schauenburg Hose Technology Group overseeing its companies in North America and China, he knows that the real action—and decisions—occur at the operating level. That's why he and his partner in the hose side of the firm—Marc Schauenburg—believe strongly in decentralization.
So Meyer has just an IT person to support him in San Diego, and that's just because the IT person happens to live there.
Schauenburg, who is based in Germany and oversees the companies in Europe, has a financial person, a couple of secretaries and some accounting people at his disposal.
All of the seven separate companies in the hose unit—three in Germany and one each in the U.S., Canada, France and China—have their own IT and human resources functions.
“We don't ever talk about centralization and cost savings in that manner,” Meyer said during the recent NAHAD annual convention in Miami Beach. “I think what happens in our minds is you build up this large infrastructure, and you start convincing yourself that you're pretty important in that central infrastructure. In fact, all that is overhead, and decisions will start being made in a central location that has no knowledge of the marketplace or what the customers are looking for.”
Schauenburg Group is a family owned, privately held group of companies that includes the hose group of which Meyer is minority partner along with a second sub-group primarily focused on mining. It is run by Florian Schauenburg, Marc's brother.
The overall company functions as a holding company that owns industrial enterprises, with an emphasis put on profitable businesses managed by “skilled individuals and specializing in niche technologies,” according to the firm's literature.