Water Well Journal

March 2016

Water Well Journal

Issue link: https://read.dmtmag.com/i/643500

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Guest EDITORIAL 8 March 2016 WWJ waterwelljournal.com WWJ Kelvin Cech is the content director with Viking West Engineered Products, based in Langley, British Columbia. For more information, visit www.viking-west.com. I f you learned a secret you knew would only help yourself, would you keep it to yourself? Now if you learned a secret that would help an entire group of people, such as, say, an industry of water well drillers, pump installers, geologists, construction workers . . . . You get the point. We weren't totally sure what to expect when we hopped on a plane, Scorpion Pipe Handler in tow, for the 2015 NGWA Groundwater Expo and Annual Meeting in December in Las Vegas, Nevada. "The economy is so rough nobody will be there," we said to ourselves, "and the people who are there will probably be grumpy." Boy, were we wrong. Here's four secrets we learned at our company's first Expo we're happily letting out of the bag. 1. Do Things Differently Every industry gets comfortable with traditional processes. It's simply how people operate. However, what worked for the water well and drilling industries once upon a time isn't work- ing right now. It's not our fault, though, and while we can blame our problems on the price of oil, that doesn't mean we should con- tinue along the same path. The people we met at the Expo were hell-bent on turning their small corner of the market around. How? By zigging while everyone else zags. The criteria is just right for a shift, too—the economy has been beating us up, costs are high, and engineering is heavily taxed. So let's find new ways to solve our problems. 2. Respect Costs The more we can put ourselves in the shoes of our cus- tomers, the easier it will be to discover efficient solutions. Every company in the energy sector is searching for ways to control their costs. Let's pay attention to the situations others are in and do our best to help. For example, developing new equipment is expensive, sure. However, when you find something that really works, something that's flexible and durable, you can leverage engi- neering to produce multiple products of the same design. 3. Patience and Cooperation Our initial conversations at the Expo gave us the distinct impression people considered us competitors first, allies sec- ond. Our company, though, is unique. We make attachments for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and don't sell completed rigs, so we were quickly able to extinguish the fires of competition. Worrying about competition is a reality of our industry, particularly during a time of economic uncertainty. But it's an attitude that's not helping. Let's stop worrying so much about competitors and focus on our work. This is the best way to get the economy back on its feet. Make helpful products, stick to your values, and let new customers discover you. We'll all benefit from increased workflow throughout the industry. 4. Smaller Volumes Alright, this is one secret we brought to the table. There's plenty of apprehension in our corner of the market when it comes to relatively small volumes of products. We actually miss out on opportunities because prospective OEMs think our volumes are too small. However, our process is set up so we constantly have goods coming back and forth from our factory to our ware- house, which helps us control costs and pass on savings to our customers. It's early, but we believe small volumes are going to become the new norm. The key to our industry is efficiency. We had several con- versations at the Expo about our processes; leveraging engi- neering; and taking advantage of time, energy, and inventory space whenever possible. The water well industry is feeling the oil price pinch just like every other niche in the energy world. Times are tough, but the only way to work our way through it is just that— work our way through it. Together. FOUR SECRET TRICKS WE LEARNED AT 2015 NGWA GROUNDWATER EXPO A first trip to the biggest show in the industry yielded some interesting finds. By Kelvin Cech The more we can put ourselves in the shoes of our customers , the easier it will be to discover efficient solutions.

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