Proco Products, Inc. Vice President of Administration Mike Lassas comments on the annual State of the Industry for Pumps & Systems.
How are international politics and issues like the steel tariffs affecting your business and/or the pumps industry overall?
International politics has little effect on our day-to-day business, however, the foreign trade tariffs have a considerable impact on our import business. Proco has done a great job in diversifying our manufacturing locations to countries that are “trade friendly,” but other manufacturers that we rely upon for other products are facing steep price increases and material shortages due to longer lead times.
Are changes in the workforce affecting your company? What are you doing to try to mitigate issues related to the skills gap? What are you doing to attract millennials and younger workers to the field/your company?
The biggest challenge that we have in our geographical location is competing against bigger warehouse/distribution facilities like Amazon or Tesla. Wages play a huge roll in finding capable warehouse personnel. Proco has raised our base hourly rate in order to be competitive and draw quality workers.
Do you think the recent approval of the U.S. water infrastructure bill will impact your business? How so?
Yes, one of Proco’s biggest markets is in the water and wastewater industry and infrastructure spending will provide a nice boost.
How have advancements in IIoT affected your business? How do you predict they will continue to do so?
In our business sector, Proco lags behind in the IIoT advancements, but over the last couple of years we have been exploring the opportunities and product advancements to take advantage of IIoT and be in the forefront of our industry.
What are you most optimistic about in 2019?
The chemical and petrochemical market. The U.S. needs to become less dependent on foreign sources.
What else should the end users who read Pumps & Systems know about the year ahead?
Always be prepared and open minded about advancements in age-old designs. In our economic and political arenas, change is always inevitable.