The ASH Group, owner of Swenson Products and Meyer Products, has announced a leadership change of their North American division on June 13th, 2017. Eric Larsen, formerly the president of Swenson products, is taking the reigns as part of a broader restructuring of the Zurich based ASH Group.
Larsen brings 12 years of experience with Swenson Products with him to his new post. Before that Larsen worked in several consumer products companies. Larsen is also active in several positions with the NTEA.
Meyer Products, located in Cleveland, Ohio, has been manufacturing plows since 1926 and over the years has introduced several innovations to the industry. Swenson Products produces spreaders for contractor and municipal markets since its beginning in 1937 and it is currently located in Lindenwood, IL. The ASH Group is one of Europe’s largest suppliers of snow and ice removal equipment for the contractor and municipal markets in Europe.
The ASH Group has big hopes for Meyer and Swenson with Larsen at the helm. “Eric has demonstrated strong leadership capabilities and his strategic decision-making skills make him an ideal leader to help our company better penetrate the highly competitive North American market,” said Christian Stryffeler, COO for ASH Group.” Market penetration has been difficult for all except the largest US manufacturers who are working hard to keep a majority of the market share in the hands of just a few players.
Both Swenson and Meyer are expected to be transformed, not only by their new leadership, but also through their new Lean Manufacturing initiatives. Begun in Spring of 2016, the ASH Group expects to see its North American facilities fully functioning within the ASH Group’s Lean Manufacturing framework by 2021. When Lean Manufacturing is implemented correctly, there is a focus on driving customer value, optimizing for what customers want and eliminating waste as much as possible. While the ASH Group’s North American facilities are not strangers to Lean Manufacturing, it appears the new framework will help bring their continuous improvement journey to the next level.
Formerly owned by Louis Berkman Work Products Company LLC, Swenson Products and Meyer Products were acquired by ASH Group September of 2015. Now looking for improved results in market penetration, ASH Group saw fit to create significant change in the top management team. Andy Outcalt, the outgoing leader of Swenson and Meyer, has led the combined organization since 2006 and has been with the group since 2003. Before that, Outcalt held various positions with MTD.
With the resources ASH Group brings to Meyer and Swenson, there is ample opportunity for these old manufacturers to bring about necessary changes to step back into a significant growth pattern. Larsen seems upbeat about how the ownership of ASH Group can leverage the future of Meyer and Swenson for success. “This is an exciting time for our company as we begin to leverage the additional resources available to us as part of the global ASH Group organization,” said Larsen.
Swenson and Meyer will need those resources from the ASH Group in order to grab market share from Douglas Dynamics (Western Products and Fisher Products), Toro (Boss Plows), and other big players dominating an industry that continues to see consolidation.
It is not clear how the relatively soft winters in the US over these last few years affected the decision to change up leadership at the ASH North American operations. Many snow and ice industry manufacturers have seen little organic growth because of the mild winters which is mostly hidden from view because of the growth by acquisition among some of the larger players.
Before you share this article, check out our interview with Eric Larsen from last year about recent products introduced into the market by Meyer Products.