New York, NY (September 14, 2017)—Coming just six months after closing its $8 Billion acquisition by consumer electronics giant Samsung, Harman Professional Solutions will undergo a major internal restructuring, radically revamping how it creates new technologies and brings products to market. That shift will result in 650 employees being laid off within the next nine to 12 months across its various professional audio, video, lighting and control system brands, which include AKG, AMX, BSS, Crown, dbx, DigiTech, JBL Professional, IDX, Lexicon, Martin, Soundcraft, Studer and SVSI.
Also with the layoffs will come closures of various facilities; earmarked sites will include Elkhart, IN; South Jordan, UT; and a number of smaller offices in Europe inherited over the last 10 years via acquisitions. In the wake of those closures, Harman intends to consolidate its R&D efforts into three “Centers of Competency,” with acoustics to be headquartered in Harman Pro’s existing facilities in Northridge, CA; electronics, DSP, and video and control tackled in AMX’s hometown of Richardson, TX; and lighting centered in Martin Professional’s longtime base, Aarhus, Denmark.
The planned centers are intended to be largely R&D based, creating technologies that will be funneled to a newly formed New Product Introduction (NPI) team that will turn the technologies into actual products. A conglomeration of R&D and design groups based in Shenzhen, China; Bangalore, India; and Budapest, Hungary, the NPI team is anticipated to provide more collaboration between the Centers of Competency, speed the process of getting products to market, and presumably foster more integration of technologies across the different markets’ products.
Speaking to Pro Sound News sister publication, Systems Contractor News, David Glaubke, director of public relations, global professional solutions, Harman International, referred to the changes as “…the culmination of a transformation that the Professional Solutions Division has been undergoing for the last two years to better serve our customers, increase our competitiveness, and accelerate new product innovations.”
Along with the consolidation, Harman Pro plans to invest in new ways to aid sales, in the form of new IT tools and platforms to aid distributors and representatives, as well as new "Experience Centers" in the U.S. and Europe, based on two existing sites in Asia where Harman customers engage with the company’s products.
“We have given our employees advance notification of the changes we will make over the next year to assist with the transition and will do our best to mitigate the impact to our employees and their families,” Glaubke said. “Importantly, we also will ensure that the process is completely seamless for our customers.”