Dover Corporation is a diversified global manufacturer headquartered in Illinois, but the company is opening a new office in Watertown this summer. We sat down with Girish Juneja, Chief Digital Officer at Dover Corporation, to discuss why the company is opening an office in Massachusetts and how the digital transformation is impacting traditional manufacturers. Our (lightly edited) discussion follows.
Give us the elevator pitch for Dover Corp. What do you do?
Dover is a diversified global industrial manufacturer. We build equipment, components, specialty systems, software, and digital systems for various markets. We operate in three major segments: fluids, engineered systems, and refrigeration and food equipment. And through these segments we serve customers in markets like retail fueling, retail refrigeration, waste hauling, waste compaction, marking and coding, and various other markets. We have been around now for 60 years. We were founded in 1947 and have been a public company since 1955. We have about $7 billion in annual revenue and 26,000 employees.
So what are you doing in Massachusetts?
We continue to expand our R&D operations in various businesses, and we have also started a new initiative around digital. So those two aspects — an R&D office of one our businesses called Markem-Imaje and Dover Digital — those are the two offices we are opening here in Watertown in Massachusetts. Our objective, of course, is to take advantage of the talent that exists in the region and bring the capabilities that we need to do the digital transformation of our business, to create new innovative digital solutions, and to expand the R&D of this particular business unit, which operates globally. Markem-Imaje, operates globally and has five other R&D centers as well.
Is Dover Digital totally new?
Yes, the Dover Digital effort got started last year. We have not had a physical location as of yet. So this is brand new.
You mentioned the talent, so is that what is attractive about Boston for both of these endeavors or there are other aspects of the local tech ecosystem that brought Dover here?
Well, there are a few things. The business that I have talked about, Markem-Imaje, it has had a center in Keene, New Hampshire. So the area itself is not new to us. Dover has had a presence in the northeast. We’re familiar with the talent pool. We’re familiar with what is possible in this region. But when you look at the Boston area ecosystem, there are a lot of digital industrial enterprises around us. There are a lot of sensor companies around us. There are a lot of robotics and AI companies around us. That provides us the opportunity to network with the ecosystem and to take some collaborative efforts with some of these other players and accelerate our time to market in terms of some of the opportunities we want to develop.
We have seen a lot of this trend of traditional manufacturers moving to this area because of the digital side of things. Where do you see that trend going?
Well, the industrial transformation using digital technologies is in its second or third inning. There is really a long transformation that is going to happen across the industry in various manufacturing organizations. As companies like ours go through that, we have both the opportunity and the need to expand our talent pool to have more digital-native employees and to have a more digital ecosystem. Companies like ours will tend to gravitate towards places where such networks exist, such talent exists, and it’s easier to pick the right partners, it’s easier to move forward quickly in those transformations. I expect this to continue for a while.
Are there technology areas that are particularly exciting for Dover, that you think are really going to change things?
Well, as I said, we’re fairly diversified. We play in many, many different markets – all the way from retail fueling to waste hauling to auto service repair equipment manufacturing. As you look at that, there are different kinds of sensors, different kinds of digitization opportunities, different kinds of machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities that can be used to upgrade the kind of service that we offer through our products to our customers. So I would say these are the capabilities, the sensing, the AI and machine learning, and some of the capabilities around cloud services, that we want to bring together and offer new solutions. Those would be exciting areas for us.
Tell me about the new office that’s going up in Watertown.
We have been a little bit ahead and fortunate in having on-boarded a few employees in this area, even though currently we’re working from home offices. The new office, first of all, gives them a place to congregate. It will be in Watertown. It’s actually an older industrial building where we’re putting this environment and we’re upgrading it. And, we expect to hire about 30-35 people over the course of next 12 to 18 months as Markem-Imaje sets up their R&D center and Dover Digital staffs up. Then from that point on we will expand further down the road.
Will there be people relocated from other Dover offices or you want all the growth to be local and organic?
I think it’s going to be mix of both. We obviously will bring experience and expertise in our products from other geographies where relevant. But we’re also looking to hire a lot of new talent here as we expand areas that we’ve not traditionally been in before.
And what are the skills or the positions you’re looking to hire for?
Many of these will be R&D engineering-type positions, whether that be in the cloud, AI, machine learning type environments. Or as it relates to the product growth, it may be in various marking and coding-specific R&D technologies that we’re investing in such as laser and other capabilities. We would build R&D capabilities both on the digital and the product development side.
Any interesting recruiting strategies?
I think there are a few things that Dover brings to the table for a prospective employee which are rather unique. One, we’re an industrial digital company, so the kind of experiences someone can have in this market – in the areas where the physical and cyber come together – are something unique to us, or to a few other players in this region. That’s one thing. Second, in the marking and coding business that I talked about, we develop systems that help in product identification and traceability for a whole variety of products that you and I consume every day. The technology solutions for this market are evolving rapidly. So, we are investing in laser & ink based hardware technologies at the Watertown R&D center. The R&D engineers that have that background now have a unique opportunity to be part of that change. And there are relatively fewer opportunities in those areas in this region. So those would be unique things that we bring as we look for prospective talent in the region.
What are the community programs that Dover is interested in and what do you see happening here as you build up your staff?
Dover historically has been a big part of every community we’ve been in. To give you a little bit of a background, we’re currently headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois, and we participate in various community organizations in that region in many cases as a charter member, helping move the agenda of those community organizations forward and bring more involvement from the community. Similarly, we look forward to opportunities in this region and we started by becoming a MassTLC member because we thought that’s one place to network and to find out what are those community opportunities available. We look forward to contributing to those.
What are some innovations that have already come out of your R&D and the digital innovation?
Really good question. We’ve started on the digital side in the journey towards creating digital solutions around our industrial equipment for the last few years. Some of those have been organic, some of them have been acquisitions. To give you an example of an acquisition, we acquired a company called 3rd Eye in the Austin area which provides vision and vision-based monitoring systems for driver safety. We coupled that with our waste equipment hauling and compaction company. Now, as a result, many of the waste equipment that we sell comes preconfigured with these cameras which enable driver safety and security.
That’s one example. Another example: we have a fairly big presence in retail fueling. These are gas station equipment and we’ve had a digital offering around our retail fueling solution that allows for remote monitoring of pumps and issues around pumps and underground levels of fuels in these gas stations, providing the fuel station operator a bird’s-eye view of the health of their business. And those are the kinds of capabilities that we look forward to expanding around our other industrial components.
Are those mostly camera-based or are there sensor-based?
They’re both. The first one that I talked about is vision-based. The second is more sensor-based.
Where are the places that other members would unknowingly experience Dover Corp. products?
That’s a fascinating question because, you know, on a daily life, you knowingly and unknowingly are touching many of our products. To give you an example, you know, you get up in the morning, you’re putting on a jogging t-shirt, that’s likely printed on a digital textile printer that may have come from Dover digital printing business. Then you’re taking your car out and maybe the car needs service, you’re likely driving it into an auto repair shop that has some of our lifts and tire rotation equipment. Then you’re stopping by to get fuel, likely you’re going to a fuel station that has equipment that we provide. Then you might be stopping by for groceries and in many cases, you might be taking out of a refrigerated case some of the food products. Those refrigerated cases are likely manufactured in our Dover Food Retail business. So there are many such products that as a consumer we touch everyday which Dover manufactures.