Jim Olsztynski 0000-00-00 00:00:00
3 Reasons Why The Manufacturing Slowdown Might Be Temporary As I write this in mid-June the news is filled with economic gloom, including a slowdown in manufacturing and what appears to be a correction course for the stock market, if not worse. The term “double dip” has cropped up so often it sounds like stuttering. So it was refreshing to read at least one upbeat assessment from a manufacturing industry economist. Dr. Chris Kuehl, economic analyst for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA), says the slowdown is only temporary and not the start of another breakdown in the economy. He cites three reasons for optimism: 1. The unexpected surge in inflation that occurred at the start of the year won’t spur the Fed. “This is not yet an increase in the all-important core rate that motivates the Fed to make decisions,” said Kuehl. According to him, the price of oil may be heading down soon and gas prices have already eased a little. More important, the inflation threat is not yet manifesting in a way that will shift consumer behavior permanently. 2. Much of the recent decline has been related to the Japanese earthquake. “The flow of parts and supplies for the world was interrupted and many manufacturers felt the pinch,” he said. “The Japanese are already starting to recovery, most of the parts will be flowing soon, and by the end of the years there will be a return to some semblance of normal.” 3. Some of the conditions that led to the recession are fading. “Observers are a little baffled that banks and corporations have more money on hand than they have had in years, but that cash is not going anywhere,” Kuehl says. “The banks are sitting on it in part to contend with the wave of rule changes that stemmed from the Dodd-Frank legislation, and partly because they have returned to their old-school ways. Slowly but surely, the new system is getting in place, and banks are interested again in expanding their business through loans. Credit is still far from loose, but it isn’t as tight as it has been. “The business community is holding on to cash more aggressively as well, uncertain about what they can count on from the banks and partly because they are just more cautious. The need to spend that money is not pressing as yet, but if the competition starts to move or there appears to be more demand, they will start to less loose that cash, and the economy will be stimulated again,” Kuehl reasoned. And what about the industrial sector, which has been pulling the economy along on the strength of expanded exports and the need to rebuild inventory? “It is likely the export demand will return, although in fact it has not declined all that much in the past few months,” Kuehl says. “The big drop has been in inventory build, and until the consumer gets more aggressive there will not be a drawdown sufficient to provide much impetus for the manufacturer.” Maybe he’s just whistling in the dark, but it sounds like music to these ears. You can read more of Dr. Kuehl’s analysis at www.fmannet.org. MRC Acquires Aussie Distributor: Last month McJunkin Red Man Corp. completed the acquisition of Stainless Pipe and Fittings Australia Pty Ltd (SPF). SPF will operate as MRC SPF. SPF, founded in 1996 and headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, is said to be the largest distributor of stainless steel piping products in the southern hemisphere. Andrew Lane, MRC’s chairman, president and chief executive officer commented, “This acquisition furthers our vision to be the world’s premier PVF distribution company to the energy and industrial markets. SPF’s PFF capabilities would allow MRC to expand on our valve platform to have a complete global PVF supply capability.” Whopping Gains in May: PVF distributors belonging to the American Supply Association reported a dramatic 18.7% gain in May per-day revenues compared to May 2010. Those sales represented a 26.3% increase over the dark days of that month in 2009, and lagged only 3.9% lower than in 2008 before the foul matter hit the fan. Overall, ASA reported plumbing and PVF sales as up 6.1% year-to-date and 5.9% on a rolling 12-month basis. Industrial Division Changes At F.W. Webb Ernie Coutermarsh (left) has assumed the role of senior vice president, industrial business development for F.W. Webb Co. (Bedford, MA). He will focus on major projects and possible acquisitions of industrial competitors, along with additional markets where Webb can be an industrial player. Jim Bodle (right) has been selected as Coutermarsh’s replacement as vice president of industrial sales. He will assume his new responsibility after a transition period during which Webb will choose a successor as general manager of Webb BioPharm/Webb Piping Products and a GM of Webb Pump. NIBCO Expands Iron Valve Plant NIBCO held a ribboncutting ceremony and open house on June 9 to mark the official completion of its iron valve plant expansion and grand opening of its new distribution center in Blytheville, AR. NIBCO broke ground on its 50,225-sq.-ft. expansion in March 2010, allowing the company to maximize its manufacturing processes while freeing up 100,000 sq. ft. To accommodate its new distribution center. The facility manufactures ductile and cast iron gate, globe, check and butterfly valves for the commercial, industrial and fire protection markets. BITS AND PIECES PVF PEOPLE ON THE MOVE… NIBCO appointed Mark Hamilton vice president, sales and marketing. Most recently he served as vice president — U. S. trade sales for American Standard Brands. Northwest Pipe Co. Scott Montross as COO. Montross most recently served Evraz NA as executive vice president of the Flat Products Group with commercial and operational responsibilities for the Oregon Steel Division, Claymont Steel Division. And the Regina Steel Division. Harvel Plastics added Peter Koenig as a regional sales manager for its industrial PVC and CPVC pipe, duct, and extruded products, covering the South Central region of the U.S. including Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. ACQUISITIONS & EXPANSIONS… Curtiss-Wright Flow Control celebrated the completion of its $36-million manufacturing facility in Chambers County, TX. The Cedar Crossing facility builds large vessels and equipment for the refining and petrochemical industries and supports production of large valve products for the severe service process industries. Marmon/Keystone doubled the size of its Monterrey, Mexico location to a total of 54,000 sq. ft. Of warehouse space and also added equipment. J. T. “Tim” Spatafore, executive vice president, said the expansion was necessary because “growth in the Mexico market has far exceeded our expectations.” PARTNERSHIPS… Mueller Co. Signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Advanced Valve Technologies (AVT) for its EZ2 Insertion Valve System, making Mueller its master distributor in the U.S. and Canada. AVT’s EZ2 Valve System is an advanced line stopping and insertion valve to help water service providers improve efficiency. Bonomi North America, an Italian manufacturer of valves & actuators, hired Mega Western Sales (Gardena, CA), to cover Southern California and Southern Nevada. OBITUARIES Frank Lazzaro, 76, a respected purchasing professional in the PVF supply business for more than 50 years, died June 13, 2011. Before retiring in 2008, Lazzaro worked for Robert-James Sales (Buffalo, NY) where he held positions including purchasing manager, head of special projects and Buffalo branch manager. He was known to have an encyclopedic knowledge of both products and the distribution process. Previous employers included Stritt & Priebe, Case Elderfield, Hysen Supply, Grinnell, W.A. Case and Cramer Case. Spiros Raftis, 86, entrepreneur, founder and chairman of Red Valve Co., died June 1, 2011. He founded the Pittsburgh-based Red Valve Co. In 1953 as a one-plant operation originally built from five sheets of plywood. He held 36 U.S. and international patents, primarily for products in the water and wastewater industry. One of his sons, George Raftis II, heads up Mid-Atlantic Valve and Equipment, where grandson George Raftis III serves as sales manager.
Published by SupplyHouseTimes. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.bnpmedia.com/article/The+PVF+Beat/781303/75295/article.html.