Miller Bearings


Miller Bearings has been dedicated to providing the latest technology for its customers’ motion control and power transmission needs since it was founded nearly 70 years ago. The company looks forward to further growth opportunities after it was recently acquired by Birmingham, Ala.-based Motion Industries.

“Miller has been in business for 67 years, employing more than 130 people,” President and CEO William Bieberbach says. “We are very excited to become part of Motion Industries and the opportunities for growth that will be available to our talented team.”

The Orlando, Fla.-based company was founded by Nils Miller in 1947 with three product lines serving the citrus and phosphate industries. In 1951, Joe and Bud Etheridge – a father and son team – became the new owners of the company. Six years later, Miller Bearings expanded into Orlando to accommodate the state’s growth from the emerging space program.

Today, Miller Bearings operates 17 branches throughout the state of Florida to serve various industries. With its extensive product portfolio and in-depth product knowledge, the company serves the mining, construction, food processing and distribution, beverage, packing, agriculture and mill industries.

Miller Bearing’s international division is staffed with highly qualified people and equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology to meet any export need. “We can handle export packaging and delivery to Miami Seaport or Miami International Airport, which is the largest air traffic cargo facility in the world,” the company says.

Continued Improvement

Miller Bearings aggressively works toward improving every day, Bieberbach says. Over the past few years, for example, improvements have been made in its operations by standardizing best practices across its branches through training and communication. Inventory management was also improved through better reporting and communication from the field to the purchasing department. “In all, these process improvements have allowed our salespeople to spend more time with customers and less time dealing with internal issues,” he adds.

The company also updated its technology from the speed of its servers to the use of smartphones and tablets that provide the tools necessary to work quickly and efficiently. “We are also upgrading our personnel to include product and application specialists to address the specific needs of customers as they arise,” Bieberbach says. “We are looking for better branch locations and enhancing others to make us more accessible to those we serve.”

Lastly, the company continues to evaluate product additions to its line. “We pride ourselves on the vast knowledge of the diverse array of products that we bring to the market, and our ability to have it when the customer needs it,” Bieberbach adds.

In 2012, Miller Bearings expanded its reach by joining the European Power Transmission Distributors Association (EPTDA), the leading European organization for the mechanical power transmission and motion control industry. “We knew that it would be very beneficial for our company to look beyond our boundaries [North and South America] not only for new suppliers but also for key partners,” Bieberbach says.

The EPTDA raises brand awareness within the global industry network with powerful promotion campaigns. “Our organization offers solid grounds and market knowledge to help our members outside Europe reach out to new business potential in unexplored territories,” EPTDA Executive Vice President Hans Hanegreefs said in a press release. “This is where the EPTDA plays its role as a leading, professional association for the power transmission and motion control industry, providing a gateway to Europe and further beyond.”

Coming Together

Miller Bearings hired a development manager in 2012 to pursue new merger and acquisition possibilities, and on Feb. 15, Motion Industries acquired it. Motion Industries is a wholly owned subsidiary of Genuine Parts Co. It is a leading distributor of bearings, mechanical power transmission, electrical and industrial automation, hydraulic and industrial hose, hydraulic and pneumatic components, industrial and safety products, and material handling.

With annual sales of $4.5 billion, Motion Industries has more than 550 operations, including 15 distribution centers throughout North America and serves more than 150,000 customers. Its customers include companies in the food and beverage, pulp and paper, iron and steel, chemical, mining and aggregate, petrochemical, automotive, wood and lumber and pharmaceutical industries.

“The addition of Miller Bearings better positions Motion Industries for continued growth in the Southeast,” Motion Industries President and CEO Tim Breen says. “We want to welcome all of the Miller Bearings employees to the Motion family and we look forward to the contributions they will make to our company in the years ahead.”