Smiths Group, a global, diversified family of companies, can infuse you, seal you, detect you, connect you, and hose you. With operations in more than 50 countries, it has five main divisions: John Crane (provides seal, bearing, filtration, and rotating products), Smiths Medical (drug delivery and infusion devices), Smiths Detection (security sensors), Smiths Interconnect (electronic connector, microwave, and protection products), and Flex-Tek (HVAC and fluid management components). Key customers include hospitals, oil and gas and power generation companies (Chevron), government agencies (US Department of Defense), telecom companies (Motorola), and aerospace/defense manufacturers (Raytheon).
Smiths Group has operations in more than 50 countries, with a network of dealers and distributors in many more. North America accounts for more than half of its revenues and around a third of employees.
The company is organized into five divisions: John Crane, Smiths Medical, Smiths Detection, Smiths Interconnect, and Flex-Tek.
John Crane, the group's largest division representing more than 30% of total sales, is a leading provider of mechanical seals, engineering bearings, couplings, and rotating technologies that serve OEMS and aftermarket customers in the oil and gas, power generation, chemical, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, and mining markets.
Smiths Medical is the group's second largest division and manufactures drug delivery devices that are used to treat cancer patients and those with pain disorders. Its vital care products are used to treat hospital-acquired infections, manage patients airways during surgery, maintain body temperature, and assist in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy. Its safety products help prevent needlestick injuries and reduce cross-infections. This portfolio of products is sold under the brand names BCI, Graseby, Portex, Pneupac, Medex, Deltec, and Medfusion, among others. Manufacturing facilities are located in the US, Mexico, the UK, Italy, Germany, and China.
Smiths Detection designs and manufactures sensors that detect explosives, weapons, chemical agents, biohazards, narcotics, and contraband. Its detection products include X-ray, trace detection, millimetre-wave, infrared, and biological diagnostics. It has manufacturing centers in North America, the UK, Germany, France, and Russia. The division sells both directly and through third-party distributors to the likes of the TSA and the UK Ministry of Defence, in addition to the US Department of Defense.
The company's smaller Interconnect division manufactures electronic components and subsystems that provide connectivity, power, and protection. Products include connectors, microwave components, and protection products to OEMs, system suppliers, and subsystem manufacturers primarily in the telecommunications and aerospace/defense markets.
Flex-Tek, the group's smallest division, makes engineered components for fluid and heat management. Products include flexible hosing and rigid tubing, which are used for fuel and hydraulic applications in commercial and military aircraft, delivering fuel gas and air conditioning in residential and commercial buildings, and providing medical respiratory care. Its heat and thermal systems are designed to improve the performance of HVAC equipment, domestic appliances, and medical diagnostic equipment.
Sales and Marketing
About three-quarters of Smiths Group's end users are hospitals, with the remainder comprising the alternate care market, such as homecare, clinics, and other surgery centers, as well as OEM relationships. It has a direct sales presence in more than 20 countries and distribution arrangements in 100 others.
After experiencing stable growth in its revenues since last few years, in fiscal 2014 (July year end) the company’s revenue decreased by 2% in local currency (including a currency translation benefit of £1 million offset by a £1m reduction from a small business disposal in John Crane. The underlying decline was due to growth in Smiths Medical (up £32 million) and Flex-Tek (up £10 million) being more than offset by declines at Smiths Interconnect (down £40 million), Smiths Detection (down £34 million) and John Crane (down £23 million).
Smiths Group's net income increased by 6% in fiscal 2014 due to higher operating profits.
The company's operating cash inflow increased by 4% as the result of higher net income and a change in working capital items.
Smiths Group believes that investing in new product development across all lines is a key driver of future sales and continued margin growth. It is also trying to drive more growth through bolt-on acquisitions that add to its technologies and extend its geographic reach.
John Crane's business strategy is focused on sustaining a cycle of growth and productivity. It is built around four core priorities: to profit from core products and services, build-out selected growth markets, drive continuous productivity and expand across the energy value chain.
In fiscal 2014 John Crane launched a major investment program at its Tianjin facility as part of a group-wide drive to triple revenues in China over the next three years. The manufacturing and customer service center in Tianjin, south of Beijing, is being expanded and strengthened to meet growing demand from local energy service customers. The new investment is going towards improved plant, customer support and training facilities, and a new global research and development center. (John Crane has operated in China since 1986, giving local customers access to a wide variety of mechanical seals and aftermarket services).
Smiths Medical's primary focus is on improving patient outcomes and reducing the total cost of care by helping healthcare providers solve their clinical needs efficiently and economically. This drives investment in new product development, manufacturing optimization, and improvements in supply chain, marketing, and distribution models.
Smiths Detection’s strategy is one of balanced growth supported by continuous improvement. Operational savings achieved through ongoing cost control initiatives and elimination of waste will be reinvested in focused development of products and software systems, as well as improvements in aftermarket coverage and service levels. Future product development will be driven increasingly by greater customer insight. Product development priorities remain competitive differentiation and ease of installation, service and upgrade. Operational improvements will be based on value engineering, quality improvements, and continuous improvement initiatives to drive out waste and reduce lead times.