Tim Bauer joins Eaton to lead Aftermarket team

Tim J. Bauer, Vice President Aftermarket, Vehicle Group N.A. sits down for an interview on his vision for the aftermarket business

Tim Bauer Tim joined Eaton in 2017. He has extensive experience in the Aftermarket business in both North America and Europe. He has held roles in sales, marketing, business development, operations and product strategy and management. Tim has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan and a MBA from Xavier University.

Q: What interested you in the commercial trucking industry to start your career?

A: I started in college as an intern at Rockwell in their Automotive division and then with Allen-Bradley in IT. After college, I wanted to get into a role more closely aligned with the business so I accepted a position at Rockwell / Meritor in their Commercial Aftermarket business as a product manager. I really connected with the business and never left. I also have a family history in the automotive industry with my father working in it and now a couple of my sons are also the in Automotive and Commercial Vehicles, so it is a passion as much as a career.

Q: When you aren’t working, what do you like to do in your spare time?

A: I enjoy golfing and spending time with my family. As a family we tend to play a lot of board and card games, and our sons and I play golf regularly so I get to have the best of both – time with our sons and golf.

Q: You’ve been at Eaton now for a few months, so what is your vision for Eaton Aftermarket? What will be your focus?

A: Growing the business and looking for ways to make it easier to work with us. We need to make sure we are servicing our customers, while looking for new opportunities for expansion and growth for the coming years.

Q: The North American trucking industry experienced some softness in 2016 and will be flat this year, what external factors do you think will influence the Aftermarket this year?

A: There is a lot of optimism in the industrial segment and we think there will be positive direction in this industry and many other markets due to the optimism of pro-business policies and growth. We need to take advantage of this feeling and make sure we have a razor sharp focus on the execution of growing our core businesses, because we can’t be all things to all people.

Q: What are your thoughts on the longer term forecast – what will influence and shape changes in the aftermarket?

A: Continuing consolidation across many areas of the Aftermarket coupled with vertical integration are going to be trends in the future. As a result, we (Eaton) need to continue supporting our customers with the right products and good product information, and make it easier to get access to information. In addition, we need to make sure we have a strong network to provide training on our products for our customers, and also ensure our fleet customers are getting our products when they need them at a competitive price at their chosen point of service, whether it is through the dealer network, independent service garages, or warehouse distributors.

Q: In other markets we’ve seen revolutionary changes such as Amazon to the retail space, Uber in the taxi transportation space, and coming autonomous and highly connected vehicles in the vehicle industry. Is there anything you see that could greatly change how we conduct our Aftermarket business?

A: E-commerce will continue to become a bigger part of how Aftermarket customers source products, run their businesses, and learn about our current and new products. In addition, as more and more younger people join the industry, they are more comfortable using technology in their day-to-day activities. So we will continue to see the Aftermarket business evolve to a 24/7 information model, and a broad and comprehensive Eaton e-commerce platform is a critical component in ensuring we are part of the solution. We must have the proper online tools and services available for our customers to operate their business and vehicles in a 24/7 world. I also believe there is an opportunity to create lasting customer partnerships around the use of electronic tools to help our customers take care of their customers. Once we connect electronically to our customers, there will be a stronger reliance on each other for success.

Q: How do you think Eaton differentiates themselves with their Aftermarket products and service?

A: First, Eaton in general is different because of our strong leadership in commercial powertrain. Second, our Roadranger support team is second to none. I’ve seen many surveys and heard testimonials that the sales, service, training and call center support teams really make Eaton stand out. In addition, products such as our automated transmissions keep Eaton ahead of the curve. I also believe we will be able to leverage our experience and expertise to launch into the next phase of connected services, and the IntelliConnect™ remote diagnostics platform is a great example of this. In our aftermarket business, products like our supercharger and differentials in the auto aftermarket and clutches and reman transmissions in the commercial aftermarket have consistently show product leadership and innovation in their respective categories. Aftermarket customers know the Eaton name means high quality, durability and exceptional performance.

Q: What can our customers expect different, newer or better with you at the Aftermarket helm?

Well I think Eaton already has a great position in the Aftermarket, but I do want to bring energy and focus on our Aftermarket business, its needs and unique challenges. I want our team to be really focused with a deep understanding of the unique needs of the aftermarket. We know we can’t run this business the same way as the OE business, so we need a portfolio of products and services combined with market competitive pricing that enables us to grow by meeting the aftermarket customer needs. Simply trying to sell OE products in an aftermarket environment will not lead to growth or lasting success.

Q: What products and services do you think are pivotal in Eaton’s Aftermarket success?

A: I’m not sure there is just one. We need the right product mix and to be looking at the next generation of products that keeps us ahead of our competition by taking a market-driven approach and truly understanding what our customers need. In addition, I see the integration of electronics into traditional products as one of the key areas of product evolution and differentiation for Eaton.

Q: Any closing remarks?

A: I’m really excited to have joined the Eaton aftermarket team. This is a great company with a long history of leadership and innovation in the commercial trucking industry. I’m looking forward to working with an outstanding group of people, growing the aftermarket at Eaton and making a lot of good things happen. I can’t wait to get out and re-engage with our customers. Many will be familiar faces and I’m sure there will be many new faces as well. It’s also great to be back in Michigan again and I am looking forward to golfing some of the beautiful courses in the state.