Newell Rubbermaid wants to get its products into your drawers, your kitchen cabinets, and your workbench. The go-to company for men, women, and children makes housewares (Rubbermaid plastic products, Calphalon cookware), hardware (Amerock cabinet hardware, IRWIN and Lenox hand tools), home furnishings (Levolor blinds), juvenile products ( Graco), hair products (Goody), and office items (DYMO, Sanford, Sharpie). Newell Rubbermaid sells its items to mass retailers (Target) and home and office supply stores (Staples). Past Gillette executive Michael Cowhig is chairman. Michael Polk took over as president and CEO in 2011, prior to the 2012 retirement of ex-Procter & Gamble executive and former CEO Mark Ketchum.
Newell Rubbermaid wrapped up a four-year restructuring in 2012. The company's reorganization plan, referred to as Project Acceleration (PA), was expanded and became fully implemented by 2011. The company logged PA-related restructuring costs of $50 million in 2011, slightly lower than its $77 million in 2010. PA aimed to strengthen and transform the consumer products maker's portfolio. Citing rising resin costs, Newell Rubbermaid had targeted resin-intensive products for downsizing or elimination. Actions taken under PA have included cutting some 5,000 employees from its workforce of 31,000 and shuttering a third of its 80 factories. To consolidate offices, the company moved its headquarters to a 350,000-sq.-ft., 14-story building in Atlanta. Newell Rubbermaid also sold portions of its Home Decor Europe business to window-coverings giant Hunter Douglas. The sale included businesses in Portugal and the Nordic, Central, and Eastern European regions. (Previously, the company sold its Home Decor operations in the UK.) Overall, the company projects annual savings from PA to total between $175 million and $200 million.
Sales & Marketing
One facet of the restructuring was to boost spending significantly on specific areas of its business, including marketing (and building its brands), R&D (developing new products), and "international growth opportunities" (strengthening its business portfolio). Newell Rubbermaid relies on the largest retailer in the world to help it peddle its products. Wal-Mart accounted for about 11% of Newell Rubbermaid's 2011 sales.
Mergers & Acquisitions
To grow overseas, the company acquired Technical Concepts, an Illinois-based company that makes restroom hygiene systems for the away-from-home (AFH) market. The deal has strengthened Newell Rubbermaid's commercial products business and secured its position worldwide in the AFH washroom category, as some 40% of Technical Concepts' sales are generated outside the US. The company has become a diversified manufacturer during the past couple decades, mostly by acquiring companies that produce brand-name, low-tech staples, such as American Saw & Manufacturing (manufacturer of power tools under the Lenox brand). Also, to its benefit, the company shifted production to lower-cost facilities and countries. In recent years Newell Rubbermaid has been whittling down its businesses and concentrating on key competencies. Its IRWIN subsidiary sold its BernzOmatic torch and solder operations to Worthington Industries in mid-2011. – less