Interview with Rick Montani, General Manager Sika USA, on the perfect integration process and the success factors of integration.

With all the recent Aquistions in USA, how do you handle the Integration process?  How do you ensure to keep the best of the Acquired Companies?

The first order of business is we need to make sure the company can continue to do its business and take care of its customers from day one. If the company is successful already, we surely need to keep it on the successful path. During due diligence, we are already preparing for day one when we will own the company and need all essential business functions to be continuing. In particular, of course the financial processes must be prepared to function smoothly with the change in ownership. But overall priority is given to all “customer-facing” parts of the business, which need to be well prepared to ensure no disruptions or confusion for the customers.

Just as important, we must realize if there is high uncertainty for the people in the newly acquired company. Therefore, on day one we always welcome the new employees and introduce them to Sika and explain why Sika wanted so much to acquire the company! We welcome them to the Sika family – with a celebration atmosphere – and introduce the people to current Sika Managers, many who themselves came to Sika via acquisition, who can talk and share their experiences. The former owners are often a part of this welcome meeting to help set the stage for a good transition.

We also introduce key Sika Managers who will be part of the integration, but if the company is a successful one, we make sure to emphasize this and explain that we count on them to keep doing business as usual, taking care of the customers. We also share some Q&As to help answer any questions customers may have regarding Sika as the new owner.

Image: Rick Montani, General Manager Sika USA
Image: Rick Montani, General Manager Sika USA
acquistions in the USA since 2015

What are the main challenges you have faced during these Integrations?

Change is the main challenge. The people coming to Sika do not know Sika the way we do. All the PowerPoint presentations in the world will not give them the understanding of our culture and the way we work and conduct our business. This takes time. First, we present and discuss in welcome meetings and later over time they must meet and interact with Sika people themselves to really begin to understand the great company we are.

We are acquiring companies because we see “synergies” that can be achieved by combining the best of both companies. When we communicate this well, it creates tremendous excitement and enthusiasm. But this communication of change is also a challenge. And this needs to be done with good overall leadership, from the General Manager and Integration Manager, along with a strong, consistent message being communicated across all functional areas. Many meetings and teams are formed to discuss detailed integration plans for Sales/Marketing (incl. cross selling), Operations, R&D, HR and Admin details which are very important to share with key people in the newly acquired company as early as possible to alleviate concerns and prevent rumors. This consistency in communication is vital. Poor or inconsistent communication and mixed messages will raise concerns with the new people and can distract them from the business and lead to retention problems.

What are the main benefits so far?

Each acquisition brings talented people to Sika and knowhow we do not currently have. The companies and their people bring us new ways of doing things and new ideas that can be leveraged across Sika’s Target Markets and functional departments. These new ideas and these talented people bring the most benefits to Sika.

But as mentioned, we need to keep these good people, so in the integration time period it is critical to make sure we keep these talents. They have to get to know Sika and feel our strength over this period to begin feeling secure about their future as part of a new company.

There are more benefits we have gained. Many acquisitions bring new technologies to Sika. By acquiring this expertise and know-how, Sika is able to move quickly and use these technologies to grow faster. Our innovative culture makes us very strong at realizing how these new technologies can enhance the existing strengths of Sika and drive synergies for the future.

What would you say it takes to make an Integration sucessful?

It starts with selecting wisely up front the companies we want to acquire. Then, there must be good planning and a good Sika team organized during due diligence to identify where the opportunities and challenges will come from.

Integration planning begins even before due diligence. We must from the beginning see a good fit, then go into the due diligence process thinking about integration right from the start. This cannot wait until the transaction is closed, because the business must be ready to function on day one, and the new employees must have answers to their most basic questions.

Along with this, a strong Integration Manager is needed. This could be the General Manager or Target Market Head or other, but the new people need to understand who is in charge and how their existing company management will work with the Sika management team. And this is where the communication is so vital from the beginning and consistently across all departments. It is important to constantly reinforce the reasons why Sika wanted to acquire the company, and why we are so excited about our future together!

Finally, we must be open and clear that change is difficult but inevitable. The new company is now part of Sika, and there will be changes in the future. Business processes, ERP systems, branding, to name a few – things will change over time. But, what cannot change is the success of the acquired company and the way we take care of our customers.

And we need to constantly reinforce – and utilize – the new opportunities for growth and synergies that Sika brings to this newly acquired company that is now part of the Sika family.

USA Acquistions

Axson Technologies - Industry
  • World  leader in high-performance resin formulation on epoxy and polyurethane polymer basis
  • Application areas: tooling and prototyping, composites, electronic potting
  • Industries: automotive, transportation, marine, renewable energy, and construction markets
  • Provides global platform with international production and distribution network

BMI - Mortars
  • Excellent production platform with comprehensive range of mortar products
  • Expanding production footprint and product offering in the fast-growing Californian market
l.M.M Scofield
L.M. Scofield - Concrete
  • US market leader for concrete color additives (ready-mixed concrete) and decorative treatments for refurbishment
  • Supports strategy to add new technologies to complement existing portfolio
F.R.C. Industries
F.R.C. Industries - Concrete
  • Producer of high-quality synthetic polypropylene fibers for concrete
  • Strong growth trend for concrete fibers in the US, out-pacing overall construction growth
  • Expansion of portfolio enables Sika to reach new customers and to better penetrate key projects
RMAX Operating - Roofing, Building Envelope
  • US market leader in the production of polyiso insulation products for complete Building Envelope solutions (roofing and wall systems)
  • In-house production in three plants with good geographical coverage
  • Enables Sika to offer complete roofing and facade systems – one source, one warranty
Butterfield color
Butterfield Color - Concrete
  • Manufacturer of decorative concrete floor products and systems
  • Wide range of colors and sealers, innovative tools for stamping and texturing
  • Positions Sika with unique and most comprehensive range of solutions for concrete contractors in North America
Emseal Joint Systems  - Sealing & Bonding
  • US industry leader in development and manufacturing of structural expansion joint products for new construction and refurbishment
  • Extensive cross-selling opportunities for other Sika technologies
  • Reach new contractor customers and better penetrate key projects
Faist Chemtec  - Industry, Automotive
  • Leading manufacturer of high-performance engineered, structure-borne acoustic solutions for automotive industry
  • Faist ChemTec’s innovations are driven by megatrends, such as increased need for comfort and lightweight construction of vehicles
  • Manufacturing footprint supports the aim to achieve global reach combined with local presence when serving customers worldwide
Parex  - Building Finishing
  • Leading manufacturer in facade and tile systems
  • Facade/EIFS business connects well with Sika’s wall insulation business
  • Growth platform and starting point for penetration in the US tile adhesives market
  • Parex benefits from Sika’s cross-selling and specification selling activities