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Lincoln Electric

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Fall 2009 Lincoln Electric [pic] Submission Date: Nov 20, 2009 Lincoln’s Vision Statement “We are a global manufacturer and the market leader of the highest-quality welding, cutting and joining products. Our enduring passion for the development and application of our technologies allows us to create complete solutions that make our customers more productive and successful. We will distinguish ourselves through an unwavering commitment to our employees and a relentless drive to maximize shareholder’s value. ”[1] Introduction Lincoln electric was founded by John C Lincoln in 1895 to manufacture motor generators. James F Lincoln joined the company in 1907 and in 1911 company built its first arc welding machine. James mechanical genius gave company a head start in welding. He developed a portable welding machine which was a significant improvement from stationed machine which gave L. E a lead in this industry. During World War II, Mr. Lincoln responded to Government call and offered to share his proprietary methods and equipment designs with the rest of the manufacturing industry. In 1955 L. E again started manufacturing electric motors and its position in the market has grown steadily since then. pic] Lincoln Electric started its first major global expansion in 1986. It went from 5 manufacturing facilities to 22 manufacturing facilities in a short period of 6 years. The new acquisitions in Europe and Latin America suffered huge operating loses and company had to borrow money to pay bonuses to its employees in US facilities. The inexperience of L. E Executive staff with trade unions and labor laws and practices in other countries lead to a stumbling block in the effort to integrate new acquisitions into Lincoln’s distinctive management culture. In 1996 company bounced back and became profitable and renewed its expansion into other countries such as Italy and Indonesia. In 1997 company opened its joint venture plant in Indonesia and in 1998 it expanded to China. In 1999 L. E acquired 35% of equity position in Taiwan based consumables company, Kuang Tai. In 2000 L. E acquire Italian based manufacturer C. I. F. A Spa and strengthen its position in Europe. In 2001 L. E strengthen its position in Latin America by acquiring Venezuela based company in consumable welding products. In 2002 it acquired Bester S. A a Poland based welding manufacturing company and expanded its operations in Eastern Europe. Following exhibit shows the breakdown of L. E sales industry wise. [pic] Valuable lessons learned from 80s expansion proved to be very useful for the company’s second round of global expansion. L. E is more cautious about the local economies, its socio economic and political fabrics, but is has not compromised on its bedrock principles. 1. Should Lincoln Electric expand into India by investing in a major production facility there? The fact India accounts for 3% of the Global Welding Industry Sales and 17% of the world population makes this market naturally attractive, in addition India’s GDP has been growing at an average of 6% year after year for about 20 years, and Goldman Sachs projects that India will become the world fastest growing economy over the next 50 years, which means that the country will be investing heavily in infrastructure that will boost the welding market including, but not limited to, highways, railroad, oil and gas pipes and airports. In addition, India is located in a geo-economical region that represents 45% of the global welding sales – more that North America and Europe combined that account for 23% and 21% respectively. [pic] Source: “Lincoln Electric” Article, Jordan Siegel, Harvard Business School, August 25, 2008 Specifically to India, although the major competitors are Ador and ESAB, there are over 300 other smaller competitors, but the major companies have been enjoying sustained profit: [pic] Source: “Lincoln Electric” Article, Jordan Siegel, Harvard Business School, August 25, 2008 On the other hand when considering the Six Forces of Industry Analysis, this is a tough market to get into: • Threat of new entrants: High, there are already hundreds of firms and requires low capital • Rivalry among existing firms: High, including high imitation • Threat of substitute products: High, imitation, other welding technologies • Bargaining power of buyers: High, multiply producers • Bargaining power of suppliers: High, multiple buyers • Relative power of other stakeholders: Low to Medium, business friendly government This probably explains why major competitors that are already established in India are still not able to make a significant profit. However, in our opinion Lincoln Electric should have a presence in the Indian market and must do it fast as the late entry to Japan market was a major reason why Lincoln is straggling in that market. The question is how? Considering the challenges above we suggest Experimental entrance with selected exporting and building partnerships with distributors, goods can be shipped out to India from nearby manufacturing facilities in China and Indonesia. This careful entrance way will enable Lincoln to better understand the Indian market, culture, and government regulations so they don’t make the same mistakes they made in Europe. At this point it seems that a natural progression will be to acquire a local plant, but this may change after they’ve spent enough time studying the market and they may instead go with other options such as building plants or other forms of partnerships. 2. If you were to expand into India, would you enter through acquisition, a Greenfield site or some type of joint venture? Which factors would inform your decision among these entry mode choices? For many years major welding challenges were major roadblocks from the Railways and Shipping Industry. Of late Nuclear, Aerospace, Oil and Gas industry offers major challenges to the Welding industry in terms of highest quality and technical requirements. The unprecedented growth in the Auto Industry, Oil & Gas, Steel and infrastructure development generated many applications of Welding technologies and large number of openings for the skilled Welding professionals in the country. The investments and skills required for welding applications in the Power Sector are high according to Mr. Baldev Raj, Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam. [2] All of the above challenges are faced by the growing Indian economy in all of the above situations and that’s where Lincoln electric can come to the rescue and expand its global operations in India. Some of the challenges Lincoln Electric would face while planning to expand to Indian welding market would be • Difficult to deal with local government authorities • Difficult to establish distribution channels Strong competition with major and minor players • Little profitability of the existing international players • Difficult market to enter through acquisition Despite the challenges there are many favorable characteristics to grow in to Indian market as well which includes • High industrial growth rate • Growing demand from large infrastructure products • Friendly to use of incentive pay-for-performance which has been their unique model in North America • Low labor cost • Bilingual and local talented managers easily available • High demand of the welding products Indian market is a very high risk market with tremendous amounts of challenges despite of high growth rate and other factors mentioned before. Our suggestion would be to enter the market through a major distribution channel as the strategy adopted in South Korea. This would give them a slow and experimental entry while minimizing risk entering into such a volatile market. It will also give LE an opportunity to understand the market conditions better while learning the rules, regulations and culture of the country. The lessons learned from building in Chinese and South Korean market can be applied to expanding in Indian market. Also the harsh lessons learned from the failure of expansion in Japan, Germany and other European countries can be used to avoid making the similar mistakes. While establishing the distribution channels, Lincoln should provide their technical expertise to Indian customer base to provide an integrated package to solve customer’s process problems and improve process productivity with its ability to combine both equipment and consumables development needs. This will be a particularly attractive proposition to the customers where Lincoln Electric can offer technical advice to the customers without actually charging them directly for the advice. By providing the world class welding training to the customers in India, Lincoln will strengthen their brand identity and will be able to provide unique value to the customers. Visiting prospective customers, evaluating their requirements and providing specific suggestion as to what products and processes along with return on investment projection will help bring trust and value among Indian market. Since Lincoln Electric already have a fully operational manufacturing facility offering complete range of products in China, it can serve as the country exporting to India while Lincoln is establishing in India through distribution channels As LE understand the market better and get more comfortable with the Indian culture, the natural progression from there would be to acquire one (or more) of the other major players like D&H Secheron , Anand Arc, Indo Matushita which have their own niche in the market. This would give LE a stronger presence in the country. Lincoln can also initiate green initiative awareness program in the country where they focus on company’s initiatives to reduce environmental impact of its manufacturing processes and products. While expanding in the Indian market they need to stress on the fact that their continued investment in technological advancement for its welding products has resulted in lower environmental impacts for its customers adhering to the environmental standards and helping keep the environment green. They can use it as one of the distinguishing factors from other major players in the market. Customers are looking to automate their welding processes to increase productivity, improve quality, offset a shortage of welding operators, resolve environmental and safety issues, and compete better in the global markets. Lincoln can be a partner in achieving this goal for the customers. Lincoln is the world leader in automation technology for the welding industry and has invested aggressively in research and development to meet this growing need. While further expansion in India they would need to evaluate • Markets and Customers Education and the Workforce’s Image • Business Practices and Economics • Developments in Information Technology • Quality, Reliability, and Serviceability • Regulation, Certification, and Standards • Integration of Products and Processes • Development of Materials • Safety and Health • New Technological Strategies • Competitive analysis • Profitability Evaluating above factors, and after analyzing the profitability from their experience through distribution channels, Lincoln can plan to invest in a Greenfield facility. They need to project their return on investment if they plan to expand through Greenfield facility. In addition to expanding manufacturing in the Indian market, Lincoln can also explore technology relationships with India’s leading industrial companies. They can start with low production capacity and increase it based on demand. They can use Indian facility to meet the domestic needs initially and later it can serve as the production facility catering to the needs of other neighboring countries. Also they can expand in more than one production facilities depending on growth and return on investment. While doing the research we found that Lincoln Electric has already inaugurated its manufacturing facility in Chennai, India in May 2008 investing $20 million. “We have grown at a CAGR of 46% in the Indian market from 2003 to 2008, and the share of Asia in our global business has risen from 5% to 22% from 1998 to 2008,” said Lincoln Electric Asia Pacific president Thomas A Flohn. “We felt our volumes had reached enough scale in India [pic] to set up our own unit here. ” He cited the growth of the infrastructure sector and the planned spend on infrastructure as potential demand for the company’s consumables. 3] 3. In Which countries is Lincoln Electric likely to be most successful or least successful? Why? How would this guide your own choice of where to place Lincoln Electric’s production facilities abroad? Lincoln Electric is a leading global manufacturer of welding products. Lincoln Electric is the leading supplier to the $12 billion global arc welding market and is recognized worldwide for its innovative technology, high-quality products and creative business model. The Company is the market leader in North America and among the top three suppliers in all of its major geographic markets. 4] Lincoln Electric is likely to be most successful in the following regions a)North America Lincoln Electric is most successful in North America. Their strategy is to empower their employees, promote employee involvement and build a winning relationship with the employees. Their success in North America can be characterized by the following factors. • Strong brand identity • Large technically trained field sales • Leader in innovation and technology • Broad Product line and distribution base • Very flexible, efficient consumable manufacture • Dedicated and talented workforce Strong distribution and customer service • Incentive performance system • Bonus incentive programs for employees based on their performance evaluation and company’s gain sharing program b)Latin America The Latin America is particularly attractive and has higher chances of Lincoln Electric’s success. In Latin America, Lincoln Electric had led to increased demand for welding product. Lincoln had expanded and strengthened its infrastructure by cost positioning and increasing its manufacturing capacity in Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and Columbia. Strengthening of the energy sector and increased global demand for commodities has generated healthy industrial growth and domestic consumption for many economies in Latin America. Oil-related investments were particularly strong in 2005, and countries such as Mexico and Brazil have leveraged their relatively low cost bases to grow their exports in a variety of industries which directly impacted the opportunities of Lincoln Electric. c)Asia Pacific Asia Pacific is fastest growing market in the Welding industry. Lincoln was failure in beginning for several decades in China. After that company had decided Chinese expansion with a Taiwanese Partner and focusing on developing stronger distribution and marketing, a local R & D Capability, a broad logistic network, local management and with technical staffing, Lincoln had achieved its many goals. Asia Pacific market is very attractive and gives ample opportunities of growth and success for Lincoln Electric since the demand for welding products has been constantly growing because of the following factors • Infrastructure expansion projects throughout the region • Growing economies • Strengthening of the energy and shipbuilding sectors )Europe, Russia, Middle East & Africa: Demand for welding products in Eastern Europe has grown significantly largely due to the transfer of heavy industry and shipbuilding from Western Europe to this lower-cost region. In order to lower costs, it shifted its Harris Ireland and its LE France operations to Katowice, Poland. The eastern European factory is cheaper to run and is closer to the market for goods in the region. Lincoln had improved its operation by lowering cost and introduction of variety of new products to serve customers more efficiently and gain market share in established Western Europe. In addition, increasing investment in oil and gas production in Russia is leading to new opportunities for Lincoln. The Company continues to expand its commercial infrastructure and presence in Russia. Although the markets for Lincoln’s products are growing more rapidly in Eastern Europe and Russia, the Company has strong product portfolios and opportunities to grow market share in Western Europe as well. Although Lincoln Electric’s products can be used almost everywhere but some of the markets would remain unattractive for expansion. The countries where Lincoln Electric is likely to be least successful would be a) Japan In Japan, Lincoln had started producing low end consumable for domestic production but the domestic producer had focusing on advanced and automated welding equipments. Low end consumable were imported from South Korea and China. Japanese welding market demanded the latest high technology welding product with exceptional presale and post sales support and high quality commodity consumable at competitive prices. Lincoln electric did not had any market access at the commodity end of market and company had limited in country or after sales support capability. The reasons for failure in the Japanese market included • No Lincoln distribution channel, • Lack of brand recognition • No sales force to sell commodity products that can be imported from China or Taiwan. • Small customer base • Equipment not customized to Japan’s voltage system resulting in poor performance of the equipment; hence the inability to charge premium price for the product. • Lincoln did not enter in strong local competition with sufficient resources • Lack of proper market research for local Japanese market. b) South Korea Some of the major challenges for Lincoln Electric to be successful in Korea would be • Reluctance of companies to invest in high end welding equipment • Challenges of providing prompt product delivery and complete technical support with any local production • Long lead time to ship the high end products from Cleveland, Ohio, USA to Korea Korean market is slowly turning into more attractive market and Lincoln Electric can be more successful eventually by • Hyundai heavy industries and others began to move into shipbuilding and thus demanding latest welding technology. Lead times can be reduced by planning to ship the products from China production facilities c) China Lincoln Electric Shanghai welding company had faced problems while trying to establish a operation in China. The problems included • Difficulty to deal with local government authorities. • Hard to establish strong distribution channels • Finding competent local managers • Challenges in day to day manufacturing operations Because of the negative experiences of LE, the company decided expansion with a Taiwanese partner, Kuang Tai. Lincoln had achieved many of its goals; however, because of partnership structure future growth is restricted. The company was also finding challenging to attract and retain local talent in supply chain logistic, quality assurance, product development, purchasing and sourcing. How would this guide your own choice of where to place Lincoln Electric’s production facilities abroad? While Lincoln Electric started its expansion expanding in various countries around the globe, they had encountered failure in some countries. Lessons learned from those failures would be necessary to plan for other global expansion projects. The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest-growing market in the welding industry. Throughout the region, infrastructure projects, improving economies, and the strength of the energy and shipbuilding sectors are combining to generate substantial demand for the welding products. In developing economies like China, India and others, buying powers of customers is growing and high end automobile and other infrastructure’s projects demand is also continuously increasing. This makes the developing economies an ideal choice for Lincoln Electric’s global expansion. Also demand has been strong in South Korea and Japan, reflecting the growth of liquid natural gas and shipbuilding projects. Although company had faced challenges in these countries earlier but with appropriate strategies, these markets can be leveraged for Lincoln Electric’s strong growth. The Company also is expanding capacity at its Indonesia facility to meet the increased demand for electrodes. Growth in the mining regions of Australia increased demand for engine-driven welders in 2005. This will make Australian market an attractive market too. Also it might be a less challenging market because of similar language and culture. In 2007, Lincoln’s revenue came more from foreign countries than U. S. |Breakdown of Revenue by Geography (in thousands) |2005 |2006 |2007 | |United States |$839,038 |$1,004,786 |$1,064,113 | |Foreign countries |$762,152 |$967,129 |$1,216,671 | |Total |$1,601,190 |$1,971,915 |$2,280,784 | | | | | | All the emerging economies and developing markets offer a growth potential for Lincoln Electric. They should place production facilities in developing regions like India, China, Brazil, and Russia. India is currently an important hub for R & D outsourcing. All the major companies in the business of technology and financial services are growing in India with India offering number of advantages like availability of large talent pool, lower operating cost, attractive government policies and number of other benefits. All these factors make India a very attractive choice for Lincoln Electric’s expansion. . When Lincoln Electric goes to India and other countries, what factors should determine how much it adapts its core incentive pay-for-performance management practices to local labor market norms? Should Lincoln Electric follow the adage “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” or should it seek to always replicate the recipe behind its success in the home plant in Cleveland? Lincoln Electric’s was founded in late 1800’s by an engineer, and has strove never to have layoffs. Their unique incentive system rewarded for hard work and instills personal responsibility to all the employees. Their incentives included • Wages based solely on piecework produced in all manufacturing. • No payment for a faulty product ensuring quality product • Annual bonus which could equal or exceed individual annual pay. • Guaranteed employment for all workers. • Promotion from within These are the bedrock of Lincoln Electric management philosophy but during 80s expansion, which showed us that one fits all strategy does not work properly and they need to be adjusted. For example in Europe, Government is the main labor organizer and wages solely on piecework produced caused major troubles. Secondly European were more interested in paid time off then bonuses, which leaves Lincoln Electric to only one incentive that seemed to be effective in almost all countries and that is guaranteed employment for all workers. Indian labor market is fragmented and there are many forces that dictate some kind of influence on the labor market. Since the Independence, many political parties have chanted the mantra of fair labor laws practices but corruption on the higher levels in government stop short of providing concrete benefits. During Cold war, India was closely aligned with Soviet block and many of its politicians aligned their political slogans with communism and Marxism, but they all proved to be empty slogans. Since the collapse of Soviet union, India opened up to Western investments and with steady government support for international business and investment Indian economy is one of the fasted growing economy in that region. India since its independence is being a stable democracy. It has seen its share of problems but the fact remains that during the worst of times Indian democracy prevailed which provides comfort and security to international businesses. Now the question is how to implement incentives in Indian manufacturing facilities to maximize the profitability and production. India has seen major growth in GDP in its 60 years of history but the fact remains that majority of its population remains below the poverty line according to international standards. By looking at the superficial makeup of socio political and economical factors of Indian labor market, it seems obvious that implementing the incentives program would make sense but previous experiences teaches us not to take a leap on basis of assumptions and weak research data. After analyzing the Indian culture and its labor practices L. E should start with some kind of hybrid formula which will not contradict with its core values. This should be done in start and slowly all manufacturing workers will be brought into its core incentive program. For instance, job guarantee would be implied in the beginning stage with base salary program. Once the work force is trained properly, then bonuses should be introduced followed by slow transition to wages based on piecework produced. By doing so it will give L. E enough time and knowledge to judge which incentive works best in Indian market and will give enough time to adjust to its local workforce needs and demands. In short, ‘One stroke for all folks’ is not a strategy that Lincoln electric should be pursuing but rather flexibility and willingness to work along with the local needs and desires without compromising its core values will produce optimal results. “When in Rome, do as Romans do” will be the adage that Lincoln Electric will definitely need to follow. They can maintain their core values and principles but be flexible enough to modify their strategy, incentive system according to the local practices adopted in the country adhering to local laws and regulations. Conclusion Lincoln Electric’s success can be summed in its founder James F Lincoln’s words, “Competition is the foundation of man’s development. It has made the human race what it is. It is the spur that makes progress. Every nation that has eliminated it as the controlling force in its economy has disappeared, or will. We will do the same if eliminate it by trying to give security, and for the same reason. Competition means that there will be losers and winners in the game. Competition will mean the disappearance of lazy and incompetent, be they workers, industrialists or distributors. Competition promotes progress and determines who will be the leader. It is the only known way leadership & progress can developed if history means anything. It is completely necessary for anyone, be he worker, user, distributor or boss, if he is to grow. ” (Incentive management) Due to this philosophy Lincoln Electric competed with the competitors in the form of global expansion. Its first operation outside US border is dated back to 1925. LE set its operation in Toronto. Next in the year 1938, it setup sales offices and manufacturing facility in Sydney, Australia. Third and last expansion during James F Lincoln time was in 1955, when James was invited to setup a manufacturing plant in France under the marshal plan. After the death of James Lincoln in 1965, William Irrgang, a brilliant engineer, who at one point had experienced the terror of German Nazis, became the head of LE and later chairman of the company. Given Irrgang experiences in Europe, he remained sceptical of foreign expansion and sought to serve customers world wide through Lincoln plants in Ohio. He was firmly opposed to foreign expansion and domestic expansion through acquisition of domestic competitors due to antitrust laws. After Irrgand, George Willis took the reigns of the company and sought global expansion very aggressively. George Willis began to embark on a program to increase its competitiveness in International markets. In 1987 Lincoln acquired L’Air Liquide, liquide arc welding operations in Australia. In the same year Lincoln acquired Brasoldas in Brazil and in 1988 another acquisition of Torsima in Brazil. Construction of a new facility in Nahara Japan was completed in 1989 and at the same year Lincoln completed a new manufacturing plant in Venezuela. In 1992 Lincoln purchased Harris Calorific, the oldest manufacturing of gas welding and cutting apparatus in USA. Lincoln next big move was to buy Maser Griescheim of Germany, the most expensive company, and named it Maser Lincoln GmbH. During George expansion plan Lincoln invested close to $325 millions. These acquisitions were done on the basis of poor knowledge and judgment of George Willis which resulted big losses overseas and brought the company to its knees. Company solvency was in question and despite strong sales in USA, company could not offset the overseas losses. Lincoln Electric had to borrow money to pay annual bonuses to 3000 US workers. It took another 3 years of hard work and constant research and adjustments to bring the Lincoln electric back to profitability. During 80s and early 92 experiences made Lincoln Electric to realize that one size fits all does not work in International markets. Every market demands different strategy and approach. Every international acquisition should be well researched and well planned. Local customs, rules of the game and labour laws should be well studied. With this new knowledge from its own failures Lincoln came out much stronger and well prepared. Its last decade expansion into China, Korea, Indonesia and India is proven testament to it. Since then Lincoln Electric has been expanding globally fully prepared to be the world leader in the welding industry. References Lincoln Corporate Website; 2005 annual report. http://content. incolnelectric. com/pdfs/corporate/investor/ar/ar05/lincoln_ar_2005_2. pdf. Lincoln Co. Corporate Website. http://www. wikinvest. com/stock/Lincoln_Electric_Holdings_(LECO)#Acquisitions_in_Asia_lead_to_strong_positions_in_developing_ nations. [LECO 2008 Company Report Sterne Agee "Welding Overview" p. 3]. LECO 10-K 2008 "Consolidated Statements of Income" F-5 ; Lincoln’s company Website. http://www. wikinvest. com/wiki/India. http://www. wikinvest. com/stock/Lincoln_Electric_Holdings_(LECO)#Acquisitions_in_Asia_lead_to_strong_positions_in_developing_ nations https://www. cia. ov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/in. html http://harvardbusinessonline. hbsp. harvard. edu/flatmm/hbrextras/200801/porter/index. html ----------------------- [1] http://www. lincolnelectric. com/corporate/about/vision. asp [2] http://machinist. in/index. php? option=com_content&task=view&id=783&Itemid=2 [3] http://economictimes. indiatimes. com/News/News-By-Industry/Cons-Products/Electronics/Lincoln-Electric-invests-20-mn-on-India-unit/articleshow/4510809. cms [4] http://content. lincolnelectric. com/pdfs/corporate/investor/ar/ar05/lincoln_ar_2005_2. pdf
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