Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Good news with housing starts

The report out today about January housing starts in America jumping 9.6% to a 5-1/2 year high should be good news for the fluid power industry.  Lots of hydraulics are used on the machinery that builds America's homes.  Skid steers alone have significant hydraulic systems plus the machinery that cleans and levels land is powered by hydraulics.

We have been hearing the 2014 through 2017 should be good years for fluid power and this indicator is certainly a positive.  Add to that the continuing 50+ ISI Manufacturing Index and the signs are still positive for our industry.

This is a great time for the IFPE/ConExpo show taking place next week in Las Vegas.  It is the same kind of boost that having a country hold the Olympic games gives to that country.  The IFPE is a big boost to our industry.  If you have not already registered, go to www.ifpe.com for details.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Content is still king

In my early years in the publishing business, knowing the importance of the content of your magazine was key to success.  The reason that magazines were created in the last century was that audiences wanted the content found in those magazines.

The same is true today but the content is delivered over so many platforms.  Most magazines today deliver their content in print, online, and through e-newsletters; even the newspapers do it that way.  While the delivery methods continue to evolve, the content remains the focus.

I have been reading a very interesting book titled Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi.  In this book, Joe emphasizes the importance of content to an audience and to the providers of the content.  Whether the content is consumed in print or digitally, it still holds the same importance.  Readers will shy away from non-intereting content.

In the fluid power industry, makers of components have more than one kind of interesting content.  They have product knowledge that they share with customers and prospects so that they understand how things work.  They also have application content that explains how their products actually did work in a system.  Both are interesting and important to furthering the knowledge of fluid power.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Olympics of Fluid Power

Well the 2014 Winter Olympic Games at Sochi are over and will not take place again until four years from now.  There is always a big buildup, big show, and many memories from every Olympic Games.

In a similar way, the IFPE Show, which is the international expo for fluid power and motion control products takes place next week at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  It only happens every three years and the buildup has been going on for some time now.

It will be a big show with thousands of exhibitors and over 100,000 attendees, new products will be launched, and new memories will be made.  At IFPE will be the largest display of fluid power technology anywhere or anytime in North America.  There are also numerous educational opportunities for everyone in attendance.

The IFPE Show is held in conjunction with the ConExpo/ConAgg show having a huge display of construction equipment.  This makes for a great audience for all of the fluid power displays.

So plan to attend, here is the link, download the mobile app for your show guide.  Take in a few classes, visit all of the booths of interest, and you will come away with a gold medal experience.

Friday, February 14, 2014

NAHAD - Passion, Innovation, Execution

NAHAD is the Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution.  This year, NAHAD will be holding its 30th Annual Meeting and Convention at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, AZ on April 26-30.

This annual meeting always packs in lots of networking, informative sessions, and gatherings.  Rotating locations, this year brings NAHAD to the sunny Southwest at the JW Marriott in Phoenix.  It kicks off on Saturday April 26 with the Welcome Reception that really offers members a great opportunity to renew their acquaintences from a year ago.

The keynote address will be delivered on Sunday, April 27 by Eric Greitens a Rhodes and Truman Scholar, humanitarian volunteer, documentary photographer, and United States Navy Seal.  His presentation will be based on his bestselling memoir The Heart and the Fist available on Amazon.com.

NAHAD will once again feature there UID-in-a Day which consists of a series of sales and management seminar sessions presented by experts  Some of the speakers will bE Steve Deist, Alex Goldfayn and Kathryne Newton.  Jim Pancero, Toby Mack, and Harry Moser will also present.

If your company is involved in the hose and accessories supply chain in any way, I strongly suggest your consideration of this event.  Click here for details.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Content Marketing

I have been involved in business-to-business media for many years and in, in the beginning, we mostly only had print publications to reach targeted audiences.  It worked very effectively and it still does.  Then, about in the 1990's digital media became an important part of the b-to-b marketing plans of many advertisers.

That portion of the business, digital media, continues to evolve.  There are now many ways to reach your target audience including print publications, e-newsletters, website ads, webinars, and more.  Add to that mix content marketing.

I am in the process of reading a book by author, Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute titled Epic Content Marketing, here is a link.  In the book, Joe gives this formal definition "Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action."

The way that I understand content marketing is that it involves a company using specific content or information about products or services to describe how the company can work with the reader/prospective customer to add value to their products, machinery, enterprise, process, or business in general.  In other words,  it offers solutions, solves problems, of gives customers a source to partner with and tells them how and why.

I hope that I described this correctly; it is a work in progress.  Please contact me for more information.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Another really interesting presentation from AC14

First of all, check out this link that will take you to some cool videos shot at the NFPA Annual Conference AC14 last week in Florida.  You might even see me there.

What do you know about the impact of shale gas and oil?  I guess that before listening to a presentation from Peter Zeihan titled Powers of Yesterday, Powers of Tomorrow, I really didn't know that much.  Here is a link to a summary.

Peter referred to a system of trade that has been in place since the end of WWII called Bretton Woods after a very important conference held around that time to decide how trade will be done.  It involves free trade, U.S. market access, shipping, and more.

That is changing and it appears that energy sources found in the shale in the U.S. Midwest is part of that change.  Fracking, which includes hydraulics, has leveled energy prices because a 150-year supply of natural gas has been located.  The U.S. is now the largest producer of gas and oil for energy.

This changes the patterns and balances of trade, especially as it involves energy.  It changes our dependency on foreign oil and the shipping of it.  These were matters that were discussed and laid out at Bretton Woods.

There are mixed feelings surrounding how that energy is extracted and most of that controversy surrounds the hydraulic fracturing or fracking that is used.  This source is so abundant that the U.S. is shutting down gas production in the Gulf.

Peter gave quite an interesting and informative talk.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

More from AC14

I really like the name that the NFPA used to refer to the 2014 Annual Conference held in Manalapan, FL last week.  The even started the program with AC14 "starts now."  It was kind of cool.

Going back for some detail on the speakers, Steven Gold was the first featured speaker and Steven is from MAPI where economics is their core mission.  This is actually the 80th Anniversary of MAPI and if you have not heard of it before, it stands for Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation.  Here is there website.

To industry people, like myself, really like those words Productivity and Innovation as they are both key activities to the success of the fluid power industry.  This theme has been playing for a while at NFPA and that is great because the industry must keep on innovating to stay competitive.

Some of my key takeaways from Steven's presentation are that there have been more than 80,000 regulations put in place in the United States since 1992.  Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Health Care Act have both added many new regulations.  About 1,300 are new each year compared to about 133 bills that go through Congress

In a survey of NFPA membership, Steven found that 85% feel that regulations are increasing for them.  The SEC is actually adding the most right now.  In a volatile economic climate, increased regulation scold have a negative effect on business.  All in all, this was a well presented and very informative talk.

Here is a part of the Conference that was probably even more enjoyable.


Thanks again NFPA team for a great site selection!

Monday, February 10, 2014

AC14 A Big Success

The 2014 National Fluid Power Association Annual Conference aka AC14 was a big success by all measures.  The location, Eau Palm in Palm Beach, FL was a fantastic location and facility, the weather was superb, and the speakers were outstanding.

Steven Gold talked about governmental regulations and their effect on the business community.  The presentation was clear and concise but not surprising.  Peter Ziehan presented on geopolitics with the title Powers of Yesterday, Powers of Tomorrow.  His comments pointed to a mostly favorable future for the United States.

Jeffrey Lumetta revisited the topic of innovation which I feel is very relevant to the fluid power industry now and in the future.  It relates to the work of the CCEFP in developing new and exciting technology.  Max Brown finished with Leadership Vertigo, a very energizing talk.

The food was great, the company was better.  The general meeting was preceded by a meeting of the NFPA Board of Directors.

I thank the staff of the NFPA for their work in organizing this Annual Conference as it was one of the best that I have attended.  Great job NFPA!

Monday, February 3, 2014

AC14 is under way

The 2014 Annual Conference for the National Fluid Power Association is now under way in Palm Beach, Florida.  It actually started on Sunday and continues on Monday with Board of Directors meetings.  There is lots of important topics to discuss and resolve.

The main event actually kicks off on Tuesday morning with the general session.  As always, there will be plenty of opportunities for networking at this conference along with interesting speakers and topics, and ... great food.

Visit the NFPA website at www.nfpa.com for more details