December 08, 2015
The economic downturn is affecting everyone in instrumentation, automation and beyond. The ISA Edmonton Section reached out to Cory Klassen, ISA Edmonton Section Member and President & Owner at DK-Lok Canada (experts in instrumentation valves & fittings), to ask about the changes he’s seeing in the world of instrumentation due to the economy – and ultimately for his advice on how to stay relevant as demand continues to slope downward.
Change #1 – An Increased Appetite for Change
Having been on the distribution side of the industry for over 20 years, the recent downturn in the O&G industry has most certainly created a new appetite for change, more so than any other I’ve ever experienced in the past. I see the current downturn creating positive shift in mentality towards change in the energy industry – in short clients are simply more open to it and it’s driven from the top down to find the very best in value to help the bottom line. It’s an opportune time for forward thinking companies to promote the value they can bring and grow their market share.
Industry is challenging suppliers/distributors to react and reduce costs, an all too common theme for many of us these days. I don’t believe price by itself will be the answer in the long run; sure it’s an important ingredient but I think you have to think beyond price in order create change…
The major shift in the thinking I see is the status quo may not be the best answer anymore (even at a reduced cost) – it’s time to shake things up, and for the better.
Change #2 – An Increase in Demand for Value-Added
New pressures for suppliers to do more in terms of value-added are also in high demand in this recessionary period. With cutbacks to staff and budgets, companies with the culture to support this environment will stick out and create confidence towards change. I see clients gauging value in a few different ways; nothing really new to report here but perhaps the dynamics surrounding them are motivated differently…
Quality, cost & service/support continue to be the big three from our perspective. Sometimes only one factor is key to the client, other times all three. I feel all three drivers need to be in place to successfully achieve sustainable growth and a trustworthy business relationship. If the client choses strictly on cost it will likely only be a short term fix, a “Band-Aid” … reliable quality, service & support are critical components for the long term.
Change #3 – An Increase in Demand for Sustainability
Sustainability requires a long-term vision with the best interests of the client in mind; this carefully planned with diversified thinking from products to services certainly doesn’t hurt when it comes to creating the confidence to help drive change.
Having a strong and positive company culture is so important during this period; quality/motivated people are critical to making it work and to supporting future growth. Your team needs to buy-in to your company vision and be supported with disciplined systems to help them along. I feel confident that companies with a positive mindset committed to go that extra mile will be rewarded in any economic environment.
Without question the near future will be a challenging in many ways for all of us; on the upside, if you believe what your company is doing makes a real difference and the culture enjoys the challenges related to change, I believe success is imminent, even growth is possible.
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