Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What do the next few years look like for fluid power?

As a member of the NFPA, I regularly take in their quarterly economic webcasts presented by the Institute for Trends Research also known as ITR.  You may be familiar with their most familiar faces, Alan and Brian Beaulieu, who regularly educate and entertain the audience at the NFPA's Industry and Economic Outlook Conference.

By the way, if you have attended in the past or are interested in attending this year, the registration is now open at NFPA.  I highly recommend this event to anyone with a business interest in the fluid power industry and the many markets served by fluid power technology.

At the end of May, the update was done by Chris Steel, an economist at ITR and I would like to share a little of what he presented.  Overall, it looks like the remainder of 2017 and all of 2018 will be good years for our industry.  We may be looking at a minor recession in 2019, however.

The forecast for the fluid power industry is positive for this year and next year with a dip in 2019 and this holds true for fluid power in general as well as hydraulic and pneumatic shipments.  The downturn should be brief and mild.

It appears that several of our end use markets will follow the general macroeconomic trend of an upturn then a downturn.  This includes construction machinery, agricultural machinery, and material handling.  With that being said, Chris offered some suggestions on how to deal with the coming years.

Included were understanding your markets and where they are in their cycles, beware of the tightening labor market, retain your "A" players, and follow the leading indicators.  Before any recession might set in, some other suggestions were to consider acquisitions, conserve cash, and budget for rising wages.

Considering the depth of the past rescissions, this can be taken as good news viewing the big picture. If any of the major markets for fluid power components stay strong, we may see even more positive news.  For example, an infrastructure spending bill should help road construction machinery in the coming years.

Now is still a good time to continue promoting your company and your products.  We at Fluid Power World can certainly help you with that.  Just contact me anytime for consultation.