This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
TITANS OF INDUSTRY


Having served Alliance Laundry Systems in a variety of roles since 1998, Rick Pyle took over as president of global business Alliance International in August 2014. “We’re the largest in the world, but we’re humbled by that,” he tells Michael Jones


L


aundry may not be a concern for all hospitality sectors, but to many operators across the globe, being able to present clean linen to customers every day is as essential as ensuring that the food and service hit their marks. Having worked for 17 years in a range of roles for Wisconsin- based parent company Alliance Laundry Systems, the largest commercial laundry manufacturer in the world, few in the industry are better placed to understand that need than the leader of the firm’s global division, Alliance International. Richard ‘Rick’ L Pyle has been


president of Alliance International, the company responsible for all business outside of North America, since August 2014. Originally an accountant, training with Deloitte & Touche, Pyle was previously vice president of international sales at Alliance Laundry Systems for three years. Employed with Alliance since 1998, he has held various management positions, including controller of a number of divisional operations, materials manager, VP of customer support and VP of marketing services. Prior to joining Alliance, Rick served in various accounting and operations positions for eight years with Alliance Remanufacturing, Inc.


When we met in London earlier this


year, in the offices of Alliance’s PR agency, Pyle told me that 70% of his time is spent “on the road”, or, to be more precise, “up in the air”. His life is a blur of airports, trade show conferences, manufacturing plants, client facilities and hotels. Prior to London, he was in Brazil for a few days, then the Philippines, then Chicago, Paris and Belgium (“but just for a day”). The day after we meet he is off to Scotland, then back in Chicago for three days before flying on to Dubai. He is hugely reliant on Skype and social media to keep in touch with his 17 and 20-year-old daughters back home in the US. Is he starting to flag at all, or tire of the itinerant businessman’s life I ask? Not a bit of it. “With the opportunities I’ve had, I feel extremely fortunate. I think I’ve got the best job in our company and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else,” he says with a broad smile.


A global brief Pyle’s mission at Alliance Laundry Systems is to grow the business outside the US and Canada. “We have historically had a large market presence in the US, but our growth opportunity has been outside the country,” he says. “As we’ve grown and developed, our real business has changed. Our company has recognised that international business is different


and we have to approach it differently. Previously we were largely seen, and actually behaved, as a company that just exported product. Now there’s a keen awareness that’s not how we can best get to these markets. So Alliance International is under the umbrella of Alliance Laundry Systems, but in effect it’s a separate internal organisation that is responsible for really focusing on those markets and not something that’s driven out of one central corporate area in Wisconsin.” Alliance International segment the rest of the world into four regions: Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Pyle has a director in each of those regions reporting to him, and they are ultimately responsible for all sales and marketing activity within their region. The division has sales and service offices in São Paulo, Delhi, Barcelona, Lyon and Pribor in the Czech Republic, where the firm also has a manufacturing plant. Another plant operates in Guangzhou, China, while the European headquarters is in Gullegem, Belgium. “We previously also had a manufacturing facility in Belgium, but we transferred production to the Czech Republic, which is where our main product is manufactured for the international markets. Wisconsin in the US and the Czech Republic are our two main manufacturing centres of any volume production. In China, we build our largest product, but it’s at fairly low volume,” he says. Alliance’s products are, says Pyle:


“not the lowest-priced product in the marketplace,” but they steal a march on their rivals through their design, quality of materials and value-added services. “We have to be competitive, but our product is positioned as a premium product in the marketplace. We wrap a lot of services and support around that heavily engineered, reliable product. What also differentiates us is not where the product is manufactured, but the design of that product and the tooling investment. We emphasise the structural


> 33


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84