In its third-quarter earnings call last month, Waters’ chairman and CEO Douglas Berthiaume mentioned that the company had almost finished integrating the Waters HPLC and Micromass mass spectrometry sales, service, and technical support teams — a move the company first announced in July. Indeed, some Micromass customers recently received a letter notifying them that as of October 28, there would be “a single point of contact for all of your LC and MS needs.”
But this doesn’t mean that Micromass customers need to worry about the quality of the services they will receive, said Gene Cassis, Waters’ director of investor relations. Layoffs resulting from the reorganization, he said, affected primarily staff in administrative functions and not the field operation. The combined field force will total about 1,200 people worldwide, approximately half of them service engineers. In areas where both Waters and Micromass were present, Micromass customers can expect to deal with the same engineers as before, Cassis said. Engineers from both organizations will likely remain, “but the Micromass sales engineer will be a mass spectrometry sales specialist, focusing on high-end mass spectrometry,” whereas simpler mass spec instruments, in addition to HPLCs, will be addressed by Waters engineers. Response times to mass spec problems in those regions will probably remain unchanged, he said, but “because the Waters organization is very familiar with MassLynx software and with cleaning mass spectrometer sources, a lot of the routine issues will be addressed by the Waters organization.”
However, in other areas of the world, where Waters but not Micromass is present, “now the response time will be much better,” Cassis said. “A key attribute of this reorganization is that now in many countries, we will have some Micromass presence.” These include India, China, much of East Asia, including Korea and Taiwan, most of Eastern Europe, and much of South America. In some cases, he added, Waters will continue relationships with third party Micromass dealers.
Waters’ staff is currently undergoing more training to expand their knowledge of the Micromass hardware, Cassis said. In addition, staff from both organizations have swapped sides. “We have had some pretty substantial staff transferring between the groups, so we can bring everybody up to speed on both technologies,” Cassis said.