Pumps & Systems staff spoke with Global Pump CEO Gino Mersino about the major industry trends and workforce challenges to anticipate in 2017.

How is the skills gap affecting your company, and what steps are you taking to fill the gap?

Like every business, but especially in our particular niche industry, we are challenged to find quality people who have the skills and the drive that are essential for success. While possessing the skills necessary to provide expert service and solutions is a requirement for long-term success in our industry, we believe that it is just as important that we recruit, hire and develop personnel with the proper work ethic and integrity that fits our culture.

The real gap is in finding those who have the requisite skills and who share our company’s core values. Our approach has been fairly simple in addressing these gaps. We recognize that we need to have a proper blend between experienced technical experts who score well on both counts, and sharp, entry-level employees who have both the basic skills that will serve as a foundation for learning our industry, and the characteristics and traits that fit well with our company’s culture and core values.

Ultimately, we continuously seek to balance the team between those industry experts who have demonstrated their own personal success over many years in the pumping industry and entry-level employees who prove to be trustworthy, hard-working and eager to learn. This marriage of proven experience and raw potential allows us to develop and prepare the next generation of leadership for our company. Through mentoring and training programs, we are able to overcome scarce resources in the labor market.

What are the most important innovations for 2017 in instrumentation, controls and monitoring?

Much of the market is eager to see continued development and implementation of equipment fitted with interactive instrumentation for controlled operations. A goal for many of our clients—especially those who operate multiple units spread across a large area—is to reduce operational costs and increase their own efficiency by:

  1. Eliminating the need to hunt for mechanical failures that may have already occurred in the field by zeroing in on problems via remote monitoring technology before ever deploying a technician to the field
  2. Scaling back 24-hour pump watch on less critical pumping systems by collecting and monitoring operational data from afar, and responding to issues only when they arise
  3. Utilizing remote technology to activate a pump on standby or to deactivate a pump that no longer needs to operate – without the need to deploy personnel
  4. Managing preventative maintenance and fueling operations by using the information gathered and reported back electronically
  5. Avoiding disastrous system failures on unmanned operations due to mechanical breakdowns via instrumentation-driven messaging when certain pre-determined triggers are met, allowing rapid operator response time to mitigate potential damages

Devices such as the Global Messenger Device allow clients to have this kind of functionality on any pump they rent or purchase. They can set certain operational parameters, maintain a database online to track performance data and track a pump’s physical location using GPS technology or by establishing geo-fences to trigger an alert when a pump is relocated.

All information captured by the instrumentation is available to customers on an exclusive, secure and password-protected web page for immediate remote access. I would expect the demand for this type of technology to only grow over time.

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