Current trends in manufacturing and engineering at a time of crisis
21 Jul 2020

Vesconite believes that from its greatest challenges come its greatest opportunities.

So says Vesconite Bearings’ CEO, Dr Jean-Patrick Leger, who has identified four trends that will affect manufacturing and engineering in the immediate future.

Engaging with customers through video

“With all our sales and support staff working from home to reduce infection risks, we have had to think creatively about how to work and communicate with clients,” says Leger.

A big part of this is motivating clients to engage face-to-face with video. Where clients are open to video, the company has done remote presentations.

“The result is that we have been able to share the latest technical developments exceptionally quickly, something which would have taken a long time previously,” Leger comments.

Ensuring continuous supply and availability

Many companies face supply-chain disruptions with components manufactured in countries badly impacted by Covid. They are also influenced by the disruptions in air and sea freight.

With vulnerable supply chains under the spotlight due to transport and shipping delays, companies are turning towards trusted suppliers that are able to manufacture and despatch quickly.

“Vesconite has benefitted from having warehouses globally, which have been able to supply stock materials where global logistics has been difficult,” says Leger.

“Vesconite Bearings has also been able to take advantage of the need for custom bushing and wear items that it can engineer considerably more quickly than many traditional suppliers’ delivery times,” he notes.

Towards zero maintenance

There is great interest in reducing maintenance through long-life wear parts – more so than ever before. Water utilities, and the companies that service them, among others, are concerned with having field staff exposed to the virus, and are investigating ways to reduce in-field maintenance.

“Fortunately, Vesconite parts fulfil this need, and answer the call for longer life and less maintenance,” he says.

Emphasis on energy efficiency

With the epidemic raging and concerns about finances, Vesconite has found many customers are thinking about the long-term cost-benefits of better solutions, including using our energy-efficient materials in pumps, for instance.

The company’s focus on energy efficiency has become an important source of new applications and new business.

“With concerns about global carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation – which reached 12 gigatons in 2010 – as well as an awareness that pumps account for 10% of global electrical energy use, energy saving improvements are valued by pump manufacturers and users, among other customers,” notes Leger.

Future

“My father started Vesco in 1958, the year I was born,” says Leger, of his long history at the company.

“I grew up hearing stories about bushes – as a child I thought my parents were discussing small trees!”

With insights into manufacturing, in general, and bearings, in specific, spanning many decades, Leger is aware of the constant changes in industry, including the potentially life-threatening and business-destroying concerns caused by the current crisis.

He believes that at least some of the business developments, including to customer relationships, the supply chain, maintenance and energy efficiency, are navigable and transformative. “Carpe diem!” he concludes: “There are opportunities to be seized.”

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