In the traditional industrial gas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and refrigerant markets, Worthington Industries (WI) develops cylinder technologies that improve safety and efficiency of industrial gas storage and transportation.
In recent months, WI has been forced to respond to certain changes in the market such as oil price compression and market restructuring. gasworld spoke to the President of WI’s pressure cylinders business, Geoff Gilmore, to garner his view on these turbulent conditions and how he hopes the company will go on to achieve future success.
Can you give gasworld some information on your industry background? What path have you personally carved out for the industry?
I am passionately focused on transforming all aspects of our business, both in manufacturing operations and back office processes. During my tenure in Worthington’s steel processing business, we made successful operations and back office changes that brought value to both Worthington and our customers. I’m excited about the opportunities ahead in our Cylinders business. We’re aggressively driving lean principles throughout the organisation to allow us to compete and remain the premiere supplier of gas and liquid containment to global markets.
I also believe it’s critical to focus on people. Success comes from a highly engaged, energetic and forward-looking team focused on running efficient operations that increases value for our customers and our business. We have a safety-first organisation and are committed to developing a bench of company leaders who are market-savvy, entrepreneurial, passionate about lean and ready for the next assignment. WI’s golden rule philosophy of treating our employees, customers and suppliers as we’d like to be treated, along with a remarkable profit sharing system has allowed us to operate as a high-performing team.
”We want to create a culture in which our team is simply not comfortable being the premiere supplier of gas and liquid containment solutions”
Geoff Gilmore, President of WI’s pressure cylinders business
What challenges has the company faced in recent years?
Two major challenges are global oil price compression and industry consolidation in the industrial gas market.
Low global oil prices have impacted interest in natural gas and propane, specifically in markets where there’s no or little government incentive for switching from current fuels, and where infrastructure is lacking to support end-use of alternative fuels. This has slowed demand in our North American CNG cylinder and fuel systems as well as our propane cylinder businesses. We remain optimistic on global markets as infrastructure is built for cost-effective and readily available supply at end-use. Compressed oil prices have also significantly impacted demand of our oil and gas equipment products. Paired with more efficient wells, demand for new well equipment has drastically slowed.
Industry consolidation and mergers among industrial gas producers has a significant impact on asset utilisation, therefore demand for our products. In our traditional markets, we’ve been able to build strong partnerships with our customers that help ensure we remain a low-risk, credible supplier of the gas and liquid containment products and services our customers need, regardless of the market restructuring.
Where do you hope the company will be in 10 years from now?
In a decade, I hope WI will be providing more value-added products to our customers and will have continued to expand our footprint and capabilities to best support their changing needs. I want to explore and capture markets where Worthington’s technologies and capabilities can provide value by lowering our customers’ total costs, reducing their risk and making their lives easier.
For example, WI has made sizable investment to compete as the world’s premiere supplier of cryogenic vessels to the global industrial gas market, which complements our current compressed gas offering. We believe offering this full suite of liquid and gas storage products enables us to provide low risk solutions through a dependable supply chain to our customers. We’ve invested in a state-of-the-art production facility of cryogenic storage in Bandirma, Turkey, which is set to open in March, 2017. To fully leverage our engineering and production capabilities, we recently moved our cryogenics trailer production assets from Boston to Theodore, Alabama after acquiring Taylor Wharton’s CryoScience business. We launched our beverage carbonation production line last fall, which complements our liquid cylinder offering, launched in 2014, and are excited to fully commercialize our line of MicroBulks tanks this year.
What is your ultimate aim as president of WI?
My number one goal is to increase value for the company’s customers and shareholders. We’ll do that by encouraging a high performing and challenging place to work, driving lean principles throughout the organisation and partnering with customers to add value to their organisations. We want to create a culture in which our team is simply not comfortable being the premiere supplier of gas and liquid containment solutions. We’re in constant pursuit of perfection and opportunities to create value each and every day.