Tooling parts specialist Progressive Components Inc. is out to build itself into a truly global operation, one with an international view that extends beyond merely setting up satellite sales offices.
``We believe this is an important step for companies to make,'' said President Glenn Starkey. ``The appropriate way to do that, if we are going to say that we're global, is to restructure the whole thing.''
Progressive Components already had multiple sites in North America and an Asian headquarters in Singapore, and in early 2004 set up European offices near London. Now the company is moving further, expanding its major branch in Europe to a larger site in Manchester, England, to accommodate more operations, and is signing on distributorships in Germany, Portugal and Italy.
To emphasize its new ``transnational'' outlook, Starkey even has moved to Singapore for a year to firm up Progressive's reach in Asia.
``This positions us so that our teams are able to handle all sides of the decision-making process,'' Starkey said in a Jan. 5 telephone interview at Progressive's Wauconda, Ill., headquarters. ``Today we might have a part conceived in the United Kingdom, made in Asia and used in Texas, Ireland and China.''
Starkey will serve as director of engineering and sales. Also on the global team is his brother, Don, director of operations and finance; John Wakefield, general manager of Progressive Components Europe; and Jessie Lee, managing director of Progressive Components Asia.
Within Progressive Components International Corp., the U.S.-based firm will coordinate inventory to improve transfers between countries and coordinate product development and finance on an international level.
The North American, European and Asian groups will fine-tune local sales and customer service in their regions.
``This model avoids the pitfalls associated with a parent company dictating the business practices in regions where the parent company may not truly understand the customers' needs,'' Glenn Starkey said. ``We're big believers in adapting our business to the world.''
Progressive also is adding to its staff, hiring Randy Winton as research and development manager for its global operations. He will spend about 40 percent of his time in Singapore, with the balance spent in the United States.