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Bosch Rexroth restructures its UK business

01 January, 2002

Bosch Rexroth restructures its UK business

Bosch Rexroth is restructuring is UK operations following the merger of the former Bosch Automation and Rexroth businesses. The company has created six divisions - electric drives, hydraulics, pneumatics, linear motion, industrial and factory automation, and mobile hydraulics - and is creating a regional sales and servicing structure to cover the UK.

"We have become one merged operation very quickly," reports managing director Paul Cooke. This process has been guided by 100 integration project teams that have been formed in Germany and the UK to oversee the merger.

Cooke says that the merged business has "a unique product portfolio". He believes that it can achieve "real leadership and excellence" in the drives and controls market. For Bosch Rexroth employees, the new organisation means job security, he adds.

In addition to Cooke, the UK business is being run by John Wilmott who is deputy managing director and financial director, and by Bryan Hedges who is divisional director of the drives and controls operation.

Hedges says that the merger has given his division a much wider portfolio than before. For example, it can now offer Bosch PLCs that had no Rexroth equivalent. Other arrivals from the former Bosch business include tightening systems and welding controls.

The medium-term plan is for the merged business to develop new families of drives (which should arrive by the end of this year) and controls (due in 2003). "In the interim we`re offering both Bosch and Indramat products," says Hedges.

Overlaps are more of a problem in the area of pneumatics where both partners were offering similar commodity items.

Andrew Stringer, who is in charge of the linear motion business, reports that the Bosch offerings are complementary to those of Rexroth Star. One of Bosch`s strengths was in aluminium products, where Star did not have a significant presence. Stringer expects technologies such as mechatronics and linear motors to play an increasing role in the linear business. "R&d has already started to pull things together," he says.

Names such as Rexroth and Star will continue to be used as brands for some time. "None of the brands will disappear overnight," says marketing manager, Andrew Oswick. "We have to ensure continuity."

The new regional structure splits the UK into three: the North (administered from a new office in Leeds); the Midlands (based at Bosch Automation`s former Leicester premises); and the South (operating from the Rexroth site near Cirencester).

Bosch Rexroth`s headquarters are in St Neots which also houses the hydraulics business. The drives and controls, pneumatics and linear motion divisions will be based at Cirencester. Hydraulic equipment for mobile applications will continue to be made at the company`s plant in Glenrothes, Scotland. In total, Bosch Rexroth now employs around 700 people in the UK.

From Bosch`s point of view, the merger has already produced one tangible benefit - it has reduced its dependence on the volatile automotive market from 60% down to 40%.

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