Parker began acquiring companies in the 1950s, with the objective of expanding its manufacturing and geographic foot print. As a key part of the company's strategy following World War II, guidelines dictated that growth would be achieved through a combination of internal research and development as well as acquisitions. Further, Parker sought to be the dominant player in any proposed merger and the company to be acquired was expected to expand and complement existing motion and control products and technologies.
While these centralized principles helped guide the pursuit of acquisitions, the execution and integration components were customized according to the details of each transaction. Joining Parker in 2004, Vice President of Corporate Finance Robin Davenport was given leadership responsibility for the company's global mergers & acquisitions, divestitures, integration process and corporate strategic planning functions. With the launch of the Win Strategy just three years before, the company had set out on a path toward streamlined processes and a shared vision to achieve growth.
"Parker had always shown a great enthusiasm for acquisitions, yet in our decentralized structure, the approach to target identification and integration execution varied. Implementation of the Win Strategy positioned us to generate more cash which in turn accelerated acquisition activity across all of Parker's operating groups."
To efficiently integrate this large volume of companies into Parker's operating structure, shared resources and standardized processes became paramount.
"Being well prepared to execute the integration in the early days of an acquisition is critical to ensure the retention of customers, employees, and strategic alignment through thoughtful communication. Instead of waiting until the transaction is finalized, we begin planning very early on and assign a dedicated integration manager; all of which is designed to prioritize synergy capture and maximize the returns of each acquisition investment."
For Davenport, The Win Strategy also helps support her in her current role by positioning the company to better manage the liquidity and capital requirements through economic cycles with added resiliency.
Leading by example
As chairperson of Peer W, Parker's women's business resource group, she has been gratified by the company's focus on providing an inclusive environment to engage global team members.
"We have a greater awareness of the alignment of our employee demographics to match the markets that we serve. There's a constructive dialogue around inclusion and a strong recognition of the value of a diverse workforce globally."
The people who live Parker's culture around the world are considered the company's greatest strength; a truly unique competitive advantage.
"For a 100 year old company, there is a freshness at Parker, embodied by a culture that invites a continued evolution of ideas and practices against the backdrop of the company's rich history. We continue to demonstrate our capabilities and commitment to outpace the competition, due in large part to the talented group of Parker team members who are all ‘rowing the boat' in the same direction. As a top-performing company that is committed to being a strong generator and deployer of cash and capital, Parker is a great environment for what I love to do!"
This post is the fourteenth in a series of leadership interviews to commemorate Parker's centennial anniversary. To learn more about Parker's history, visit www.parker.com/centennial.
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