Now is the time to pause, re-evaluate your strategy and get out there in front of your customer base and realise it in a post-pandemic world.

That was the overriding sentiment of gasworld’s recent US-focused Lands of Opportunity webinar.

Sponsored by DOD Technologies, the webinar explored the US industrial gases market as both the original land of opportunity and a market reloaded with market drivers and opportunities.

Various trends, challenges and opportunities facing the US gases business were discussed during the 60-minute webinar, with guests Josh Pringle of CO2 Meter, Jim Appledorn of ARC Services LLC, and Nick Marco of Otodata Technologies.

Asked for their concluding thoughts on the single biggest opportunity for the US gases industry going forward, the panel’s overriding sentiment concerned the inflection point that the market finds itself in as we not only move away from the Covid-19 pandemic, but also strive to grip the many opportunities that present themselves today.

These range from clean fuels and energies to circular economies and the wave of digitisation sweeping through the industry. In the US market in particular, there are also pockets of growth for the independents against a backdrop of consolidation, a proliferation in e-commerce opportunities for distributors, and significant growth drivers for gases like CO2 as applications like the cannabis sector continue to take off.

This confluence of opportunities necessitates a strategic review, in Pringle’s opinion, if companies are to truly realise the openings available to them and their own value-add within those.

“In strategic terms, I think this is the perfect time for organisations to sit down and think about what they want for the next 1,3,5-10 years from now, and what they need to do to make these things happen now,” he encouraged.

“Their strategic plan of say one year ago or maybe even 3-5 years ago, that’s out of the door. I think the biggest opportunity in the market today is to re-evaluate who you are and where you sit – and where you want to go.”

“If you can sit down and think about that critically and be honest with yourself, I think that’s going to really guide how people move forward over the next 3-5 years.”

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Source: gasworld

Pringle, Vice-President of Business Development and Operations for CO2 Meter, Inc., had also expressed his belief that companies need to get back out there and in front of their customers again – particularly if they have overcome any risk aversions and successfully reappraised their strategies.

This was a message that fellow panellist Jim Appledorn of ARC Services, a now-retired industry veteran that spent 43 years with Lincoln Electric until as recently as 2020, agreed with and saved for his own concluding thoughts.

He urged, “I think an opportunity is the ability to embrace technology without abandoning customer relationships. It’s still a relationship business in many respects.”

“A lot of us hid away during all of the lockdowns, and there’s a thirst out there in the industry to call on one another and help with cost reduction solutions and efficiencies, and that’s not something you can do over a cell phone necessarily, that’s something that involves getting out and seeing the customer – it’s still a customer service business.”

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Source: gasworld

Marco, Senior Business Development Manager of Industrial Gas at Otodata Technologies, agreed on the need to get back out there and in front of customers – new and existing – and on the opportunity to pause and reappraise business strategies. Understandably, Marco believes that moment of strategic review should also include conversations around critical data points and the integration of services

“I think a huge opportunity is in the integration of services, and preparing for the integration of services. Bringing in critical data points – like levels, pressures, temperatures, PPM and atmosphere concentration – has always been there on some level. I think where you’re really going to start realising operational and maintenance savings and critical decision-making, is where you drill it down to a point where you’re only utilising one or two interfaces to consolidate all that information – which is going to allow distributors to make decisions more efficiently and quickly.”

“The services that can bring this all together, in conjunction with the hardware that provides the connectivity, to make an optimised business interface, that’s really where you’re going to see the self-sufficiency being realised even more so than it is now already. It’s an opportunity to start thinking about that.”

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Source: gasworld

Marco had explained earlier in the webinar that there’s still a lot of ‘runway’ to be explored in assisting customers on deployments of bulk tanks, as well as the deployment of NB-IoT (Narrow-Band Internet of Things) in the US, a lower power, wider area network.

Lands of Opportunity, Part 2: Asia-Pacific

If you enjoyed this week’s webinar focusing on the US Land of Opportunity, don’t forget to register for Part 2 this Friday, exploring the new lands of opportunity emerging in the Asia-Pacific region, only at gasworld.tv.