Pumps & Systems staff spoke with Randy Breaux, Motion Industries Inc. Senior Vice President of Marketing, Distribution & Purchasing, about the major trends to anticipate in 2017 and how the landscape of the pump industry will change.

How is departure of longtime, knowledgeable employees due to retirement, etc., affecting your company, and what steps are you taking to fill the resulting employee skills gap?

We are fortunate to have many long-term employees throughout the organization with a lot of technical expertise. Over the years, we have been preparing for their retirements in a number of ways. Of course, the obvious is to bring in new employees to fill in the voids left by retirees. But, additionally, we have focused on new ways to present information and solutions to our customers such as videos and live chats.

We will continue to explore new and additional ways to service our customers as both our and our customers employee base continues to change.

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

The most interesting innovations are in the areas of how information is being handled. Digital information platforms continue to reshape our business. We are seeing much more activity in the areas of preventive and predictive maintenance, which leads to new products being developed with the Industrial Internet of Things in mind.

How do you see governmental regulations impacting the market in the coming year?

We are unsure at this time. The one regulation that may have a minor impact on the market is the legislation for higher efficiencies in industrial electric motors. This may increase the price of electric motors initially, but should allow the customers to recoup the increase through lower operational expenses.

What are your predictions for the oil and gas market in 2017?

Still an unknown. We are happy to see the price of oil increasing slightly, but we are not ready to make any predictions in the overall oil and gas market for 2017 at this time.

What trends/activity are you seeing in mining, desalination, chemical processing, pulp & paper, etc.?

We have seen all of these industries be affected in one way or another over the past couple of years. We enjoy a MRO leadership position in all of these industries and expect to see improvement when the overall economy improves in the coming months.

What general business trends/challenges do you foresee for the future?

You have already hit on a number of them such as employee retirement and knowledge transfer, governmental control and regulations. We continue to see significant pressure on pricing across all industries. We also see more and more factory automation.

What can end users expect to see in 2017, and what should they do to prepare?

Expect to see some industries continue to show improvement, particularly those that are producing consumer goods such as food and beverage, health care products, etc. Focus on the rapid change in data collection, analytics and technology or get left behind. Industry 4.0 is here!

Do you have any other comments?

Everyone in our industry is looking forward to a better year in 2017!

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