One Teleflex. That’s the mantra of Teleflex Marine’s leadership as it restructures to better focus on the boating business and its marine clients.
The company’s customers had been complaining for years about having to order from five different facilities, says Paul Smith, Teleflex Marine’s new president. And now the company is doing a much better job of listening. In fact, Teleflex has changed its management structure; instead of basing it around its facilities, it’s now centered on its customers.
“We have mechanical steering, hydraulic steering and we have electronic steering,” he explains. “All of those products were under different product managers. That is being changed. Now, we have one product manager that looks at what’s best for the customer.”
In the past, a boat builder client might have been working with as many as three separate Teleflex product managers – and those product managers were working across multiple industries.
“You now have somebody that wakes up in the morning and thinks about, ‘How do I service and grow our marine market?’” Smith adds. “There are no distractions now.”
That will translate into new and revamped products for the marine market, some of which will be unveiled at IBEX – and perhaps even new products designed specifically for individual customers. Behind this is a more formal product development process, says Smith.
While Teleflex is more focused than ever on the marine market, it does plan to leverage technology developed for other markets to deliver economies of scale. For example, it recently began using sensor technology developed for its automotive group, and used on its industrial products, in its marine shifts and throttles.
“… we understand [our customers are] under the same pressures we are. They have competition,” Smith says. “We are helping each customer differentiate their product based on their needs, and then being able to leverage the insides of it, which really is of no interest [to them] as long as it is cost-effective and it performs the way they want it to. Those are the kind of very subtle but meaningful [signals] that Teleflex is coming back in a new way.”
As Teleflex Marine achieves what Smith considers the “fundamentals,” it’s likely to start down the acquisition path. The company will be looking to its customers to help it identify product gaps.
“We have to be looked at as a good company to be acquired by,” he says. “The great thing is we have a great name. We’re committed to the industry.”
All of this is designed to lead to growth, something Smith – who’s been at Teleflex for eight years – has a reputation for generating. Right now, Teleflex Marine’s revenues are roughly $320 million per year, but expectations are for double-digit increases.
While Smith says he is hopeful the marine industry continues to hold strong, Teleflex Marine isn’t counting on the market to grow his business. The company’s strategy is to add more content per boat.
With that said, Teleflex was one of the early contributors to the Grow Boating campaign – and Smith says manufacturers like Teleflex can also help grow the market through product improvements.
“Make a boat drive like a car, make it so it’s maintenance-free, whether it’s a 20-footer or a 40-footer – make sure you can dock it easily so you can make the transition from land to water with ease, we can handle that part of it,” he says.