Several years ago, SKF had a problem.* For years, the company had been a major producer in the world bearing market, with manufacturing facilities, dealers, distributors, and direct sales. With the rise of competition from Asian suppliers, along with automobile companies and digital competitors selling into the aftermarkets, sales and profits had become flat.

The company had three primary market segments: vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), machinery OEMs, and the vehicle and industrial aftermarkets. The OEM segments composed about 60 percent of the company’s revenues, with relatively low profitability, while the aftermarket segments contributed about 40 percent of SKF’s revenues, with ...

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