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Power Plant Isolation Valves Beat the Heat

Power Plant Isolation Valves Beat the Heat

About a century ago, pressures of 300 ps...

NACE MR0175/ISO 15156 & NACE MR0103

NACE MR0175/ISO 15156 & NACE MR0103

Q: Is it possible to produce remanufactu...

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Industry Headlines


Industry Headlines

Schlumberger-Cameron Union Receives Unconditional Clearance


Schlumberger Limited and Cameron International Corporation jointly announce that the U.S. Department of Justice has cleared their proposed merger without any conditions, granting early termination of the waiting period required by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 with respect...


ITT Engineered Valves Approved for Star Voluntary Protection Program

ITT Engineered Valves Approved for Star Voluntary Protection Program

ITT Engineered Valves, LLC in Lancaster, PA has been approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor for the Star Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

Approval into VPP is OSHA’s recognition of the exceptional efforts of employers and employ...


Global Petrochemical Prices Leveled Off in October


Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market in October were virtually flat based on a monthly average, but edged slightly when valued on a month-end to month-end basis from September. This is the first time the markets have shown intermonth gains since May of this year, according to ...


U.S. Rig Count Less Than Half of Last Years Total


According to Baker Hughes, the U.S. rig count declined by 10 last week to 757. Of these 757 active rigs, 564 rigs are seeking oil and 193 are seeking natural gas.

Just a year ago, with oil prices nearly double what they now, there were 1,929 active rigs in the U.S.

The rig count was at its peak in...


Consumer Confidence Falls to 14-Month Low


The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased moderately in October, declined further in November. The Index now stands at 90.4, down from 99.1 in October. The Present Situation Index decreased from 114.6 last month to 108.1 in November, while the Expectations Index declined to...


Manufacturing PMI Dips to 2-year Low


November data indicated a setback for U.S. manufacturing sector growth, following the modest rebound recorded during the previous month. At 52.6, down from 54.1 in October, the seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) pointed to the slowest improveme...


2009 Market Outlook: Riding Out The Storm

The atmosphere at VMA's Annual Market Outlook Workshop, held Aug. 14-15 in Boston, was more somber than in years' past as attendees-primarily manufacturers of valves, actuators, controls and pumps-listened to speaker after speaker predict continued, even worsening, troubles in the economy, in the United States and around the world.


Still, there were a few bright spots among the gloomy news: The power industry in general will remain strong, driven globally by the world's increased need for energy and affected here in North America by the need to tap into new and existing alternative energy sources. Nuclear in particular appears poised to take off in the U.S. as the general public, legislators and other policy-makers accept that nuclear can be a safe, cleaner way to get power. And for the short term, the upstream oil and gas marketplace is actually doing better than predicted a year ago as a reacceleration plays out that may well last into 2009.

Most left knowing that darker times may be coming, but that the North American valve industry has "been there, done that," and with proper preparation and knowledge about new markets and opportunities-global and domestic-their companies can survive this inevitable downturn and come out the other side stronger than ever.

Here's what our speakers had to say:

Yes, the Recession is Still Coming

Many people who attended past forecasting conferences were anxious to hear what Alan Beaulieu, economist with the Institute for Trend Research, had to say-not just because he's an entertaining speaker, but because his prediction last year for the U.S. economy was rather bleak-a good 2008, but a recession by 2009.

As far as 2008: "I'm glad you've been enjoying the year," Beaulieu joked, "but the U.S. is softening. Everything you heard in the first half of 2008-all that concern-was just the band warming up."

"This time next year, we will be recognizing that we are in a full-fledged recession," he said. The same will be said in Europe and in China (whether that country recognizes it or not, Beaulieu commented).

Consumers will lead the parade into the downturn, he said, helped along in part by the fact that despite the current woes, we have had poor leadership in this country. For example: "We are a debtor nation. The richest nation on Earth but we can't pay our bills."

Inflation will be a major pressure, he added, because even though officials and experts say the core inflation rate is "only" 3 to 4%, that rate doesn't take into account energy and food. The Consumer Price Index, on the other hand, is 5.6%, which is high, he pointed out.

When people's budgets are hit as hard as they are being hit at present by food, energy and other daily needs, "they stop spending, and that brings a recession," Beaulieu said.

As far as other locations around the globe, "when the U.S. gets a cold, so does the rest of the world," he said.

Still, Beaulieu was not all doom and gloom.

U.S. industry is "doing wonderful things," he exclaimed. They are proficient in selling to the rest of the world, they have the most competitive work force in the world, and they have twice the output of the emerging giant China.

What it will come down to for industry is what's happening at the company level, he said. "If you are doing well, you have to ask: how can I prepare?"

Among his suggestions:

  • Help your margins by differentiating your company from competitors, and then let everyone who works for your company know how you're different.
  • Develop quantifiable reasons you are better than your competition. "What people want in a downturn is a metric. [They want to hear:]
  • 'I can fix this problem on the first go-around, and I can fix it in four hours, not six,'" Beaulieu explained. Clients want to know that quality is more than an adverb.
  • Consider taking on subcontract work if the backside of the cycle begins to look recessionary.
  • Begin missionary efforts into new markets.
  • Freeze expansion plans unless they are related to the logical next step for a particular company. If those plans are made just to expand the company's reach, rethink those plans.

When things start leaning into a recessionary cycle, Beaulieu suggested:

  • Begin reducing work forces. Don't tell employees that everyone will keep their jobs, but let them know most people will be okay-we've been through this before.
  • Set budget reduction goals by department.
  • Avoid long-term purchasing commitments.
  • Find a way to do business in the counter cyclical or unaffected areas (e.g. energy, travel, green, Canada/exports, higher education, healthcare, etc.).

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