The result is an organization committed to timely product introductions and aggressive marketing practices.
Leo Cadelo, newly appointed executive vice president of sales and marketing for Eureka, confirmed the company lost some share in 1991 due to its conservative nature regarding product introductions. The mindset, he said, has vanished.
“What you’re seeing is the emergence of a new Eureka,” Cadelo said. “We’re going to be more aggressive this year than we ever have in the past.”
Cadelo also said Eureka’s advertising and promotions budgets were expanded in 1992, but he declined to give dollar figures. Dick Smith, advertising manager for Eureka, said the company will expand its advertising budget 300 percent in 1992.
“That includes national print, network, cable and syndicated television,” said Smith. “We’ll obviously be supporting our new Bravo line, but we’ll also be targeting other markets like hand vacuums, where we feel we should be a bigger player.”
In addition to Cadelo being named executive vice president of sales and marketing. Eureka also named a new executive vice president of manufacturing and engineering operations–Cennert Steffen. Steffen’s appointment is one of the key changes for Eureka, said Dorsey.
“Eureka, which already markets products in 16 foreign countries, must look more and more to the global economy in which all industry finds itself today,” said Dorsey. “In Cennert, we are fortunate to have a person who can provide us with the expertise in international marketing and manufacturing processes.”
Steffen comes to Eureka from the company’s parent organization, AB Electrolux of Sweden (No relation to Electrolux vacuums sold in the U.S.). At AB Electrolux, Steffen was senior vice president of floor care in charge of vacuum cleaner production worldwide.
Steffen also worked with Eureka from Stockholm on technical operations for the past two years.
“Cennert gives us a fresh look at the entire floor care market,” said Dorsey. “He not only will be instrumental in developing new products but also the processes used in manufacturing those products.”
The sales and marketing team has been restructured under Cadelo, who is now responsible for all sales and marketing activities for floor care products. Cadelo is also in charge of the service division.
John Hoppe, currently vice president of merchandising, has succeeded Cadelo as vice president of marketing. Dominic Gentile, field sales manager, has become vice president of sales. Both Gentile and Hoppe will report to Cadelo.
“Splitting the sales and marketing responsibilities between two individuals means each can focus on his individual disciplines,” said Cadelo. “This allows us to be more geared toward advertising and marketing than we have been in the past.”
All three new marketing and sales vice presidents are Eureka veterans. Cadelo was Eureka’s vice president of marketing since 1988 and has been with the company since 1973. Hoppe, a 28-year veteran of the company, served as vice president of merchandising since 1990. Gentile signed on with Eureka in 1976 and became field sales manager in 1989.
The company also recently added three more vice presidents and a new national accounts director. (See related story.)
Manufacturing operations were realigned earlier this year. Much of the company’s upright production was moved to its El Paso, Texas facility. However, Dorsey said Eureka is still committed to its Bloomington Normal, Ill. headquarters and operations. But, the company consolidated manufacturing and headquarters operations in Illinois from three buildings to two.
“The changes we made in manufacturing over the years gave us additional space,” Dorsey said. “We found that with the excess space, we could sell one of our buildings and still maintain our level of production.”
Dorsey said the company invested more than $2.2 million to remodel its headquarters and to handle the changes in material flow. Bloomington Normal operations will continue to be used for some upright component production, as well as Power Team canister and straight canister production. The service division will remain in Bloomington, with the company investing more in automated equipment.
In Bloomington, the company invested in individual-cell manufacturing stations, where an entire cleaner is assembled by one individual.
“We like the cell, and our people feel better working with it,” said Dorsey. “It helps us track quality, and production is always balanced because you can change the rate of production very easily.”
Taking the repetition out of assembly operations reduces the chance of trauma or motion injuries. That, in turn, reduces employee distress, as well as time off, workers compensation and health care costs, Dorsey said.
A New Boss
Retailers gave Eureka rave reviews for its new Bravo Boss and confirmed the company is in position to be more competitive.
“I haven’t seen the whole line, but from what I’ve been privy to they have some real winners,” said a major department store buyer. “They’re going to have a really good year coming right out of the gate.”
“From what I’ve seen and the time frames they’ve shown me on new product introductions, they will certainly be more competitive in 1992,” said Dennis Dorn, senior vacuum cleaner buyer at Kmart.
“I’m not sure how much of their business they can recoup in 1992, that depends on how aggressively they attack the market.”
One advantage Eureka has in 1992 is pricing, many retailers agreed.
“Eureka is lowering prices,” said a department store buyer. “Royal has announced it will maintain prices, while Hoover announced a 4 percent increase some time in March. That will make Eureka even more attractice for mass merchants who want to move the tonnage and aren’t as margin conscious.”