New Bosch President Outlines Proactive Strategy
â€œOne of the two things that Iâ€™m really going to push in this organization is trying to bring innovation to market,â€ Hurley pledged. â€œInnovation creates opportunity; it demonstrates other ways of solving problems and that, in itself, generates spectacular growth. In our organization over the last three years, Iâ€™ve seen innovative products literally bring double-digit growth, into the 20-percent range.â€
He also emphasized evaluating projects from the customerâ€™s standpoint and concentrating on returns so the projects are self-funding. â€œWhen you have a mindset of self-funding, you really look at making priorities tangible,â€ Hurley described. â€œYou say â€˜noâ€™ to a lot of things that just donâ€™t have a return, and you also ask a lot of questions of your customers about whatâ€™s going to compel them to make an investment.
â€œWhen you start doing those things, you really align your organic growth skills, so that once youâ€™ve highly focused organically the finite resources you have, you can grow very fast,â€ he insisted. â€œAnd weâ€™ve been in double-digit growth since Iâ€™ve been on board.â€
In his new role, Hurley reports to the chairman of Boschâ€™s worldwide security business and is responsible for the security systemsâ€™ legal entity in North America. He reports to the Robert Bosch North America board.
In addition to overseeing the sales and marketing operations for the Americas region, Hurley also has direct responsibility for all customer-care functions in that area, which includes most of North, Central and South America.
â€œThe strategy we have is a solid one, so weâ€™re certainly going to continue to execute on that, but if I could do anything that, in my mind, will really add value for our dealers, it would be the ability to start anticipating the latent needs of the people who are ultimately using our technology,â€ Hurley pledged. â€œThatâ€™s the biggest thing that I think I will focus on.
â€œObviously, weâ€™re going to continue looking at acquisitions, increasing the breadth of our offerings,â€ he conceded. â€œBut the world is changing, things are consolidating and from a manufacturerâ€™s perspective, I donâ€™t ever want us to lose sight of the latent needs that are going to occur down the road in three or four years and try to anticipate those now so that weâ€™re really ready to deliver those things. â€œAgain, thatâ€™s, in my mind, a Herculean challenge for anyone, and itâ€™s a very tough thing to do, given sometimes how fast technology can evolve in this industry or how slow it can be adopted for a multitude of reasons,â€ he admitted.
â€œI want to let people know that we are going to work better and focus on anticipating the future needs of our business and our customers, and we are here for the long haul,â€ Hurley declared. â€œThe board of Bosch has made a decision that this is a very important industry for us, as a manufacturer of technology, and that people can expect to see us as a very competitive and a very aggressive player for a long time.â€
Among the major challenges Hurley listed are the debilitating effect of false alarms on the industry.
â€œAs an industry, weâ€™ve been talking about it for so long now that weâ€™re almost becoming comfortably numb with it, and thatâ€™s a scary thought,â€ he said of false alarms. â€œWhat Bosch is concerned with is dilution of the value of deterrence and detection that could be a consequence of the false alarm issue in the industry.
â€œItâ€™s creating the consequences of municipalities wondering if this issue is creating a financial burden or challenging the role they play as a responder,â€ he noted. â€œI think itâ€™s our job to work with all those folks. I think we need to collectively arrive at the right solution, and ultimately, we shouldnâ€™t dilute the value of deterrence and detection. Prevention is everything.â€
The second major challenge Hurley sees is a lack of acceptance of IT networks.
â€œIn general, I see this industry as a little slower in understanding and embracing the power of networks and the Internet in their role in providing a better value in security,â€ he observed. â€œI think itâ€™s just an educational challenge for us.
â€œBut in the meantime, the consequence is that those new technologies like RFID and biometrics and facial recognition, trace detection and all these things that can utilize the medium of the Internet or networks to transport the data quicker, they tend to get more slowly accepted than what would be the case otherwise because of this perception of reliability,â€ he lamented.
â€œDonâ€™t get me wrong, we see a tremendous amount of good integrators out there who are highly knowledgeable and know how to extract a lot of value from the IP networks and the networks in general to deliver a better security solution, thereâ€™s no question about it,â€ Hurley stressed. â€œMy key thing is not the reliability of networks but the perception of the networksâ€™ reliability.â€
Hurley, a Canadian citizen and permanent U.S. resident, started in the security industry by pulling cable and selling and installing systems and central station monitoring. He estimates he has spent from two-thirds to three-fourths of his career on the customer side of the industry.
â€œI think that, personally, has made my transition to the manufacturing side of our industry a very easy and an exciting one, because I feel extremely comfortable looking at technology from a customerâ€™s perspective,â€ he maintained. â€œI automatically start from that side of it, if you will.â€
Hurley also has run distribution, dealer and manufacturing businesses in the security industry in Canada, the United States and Latin America. He joined Bosch in 2002 as vice president of sales for North America, and in 2003, was promoted to vice president of the Americas region.
Bosch has invested $3 million to expand its customer care facility in Fairport, N.Y., and its order processing, service, technical support and training efforts.
â€œOur whole premise is to make it easier to do business with us,â€ Hurley explained. â€œThat takes a tremendous amount of effort and investment of people, time and training to pull off, but at the end of the day, thatâ€™s what it comes down to, just anticipating those needs and delivering to those expectations by making the right investments up front.â€