The major issues facing the pump industry include continued competition from globalization, the need to continually innovate and develop technical talent.
Increased globalization is a double-edged sword. While it makes foreign markets more accessible to domestic suppliers, it also opens domestic markets to foreign-based competition. The internet has also helped make global sourcing easier than ever. American pump suppliers have adapted well to this and have actually increased their shares of the global market over the last decade.
Suppliers have achieved this is by reducing costs though continuous improvement and lean manufacturing initiatives along with advances made with non-metal components and additive manufacturing.
There is a high degree of innovation that appears in the form of instrumentation, control and monitoring devices that are interactive in nature. The aim of most of the industry stakeholders is to streamline operational costs and simultaneously increase efficiencies.
This is more necessary for those with a wider geographic span with multiple units in operation.
Domestic pump manufacturers also are grappling with the general scarcity of qualified talent in the design and manufacturing streams. Sluggish wage growth and downsizing have also adversely affected the industry, resulting in a flight of technical talent.
The Future of the Pump Industry
The Internet of Things (IoT) will assist in delivering increased efficiencies, fewer product defects and enhanced customer satisfaction for those companies who are the early adopters of an IoT system.
Along with the products market comes the obvious choice of the aftermarket services.
Services such as engineering, education, training, plant assessments, testing and field support are likely to witness high growth.
Global Factors Affecting The Pump Market
Factor 1: Innovation - Instrumentation, Controls & Monitoring
Leveraging remote technology can activate a pump on standby or deactivate a pump that no longer needs to operate without the need to deploy personnel. The instrumentation sophistication may include certain operational parameters and an online database to track performance data. It can track a pump’s physical location using GPS technology and establish geofences to trigger an alert when a pump is relocated.
Factor 2: Regulatory Environment – Savings & Carbon Abatement
The regulations in this industry focus on energy savings, minimum efficiency requirements, recycling of pump motors and product environmental (carbon) footprint.
Factor 3: Russia
Russia plays a significant role in the Eastern European economy. Moreover, its moves are unpredictable, making its impact on the foreign currency markets highly felt. The political and military muscle also makes it all the more challenging.
Factor 4: U.S. Commitment to NATO
The softer stand of the U.S. on NATO could make Russia flex its muscles more, which may have geopolitical ramifications, especially at the level of foreign currency fluctuations, depreciation of the Euro and inflating the cost of U.S. products meant for the European market.