Water Well Journal

March 2016

Water Well Journal

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

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Page 24 of 85

Beyond VFDs, other developments in complexity include starter panels, remote monitoring, smartphone apps, drives, and online sizing programs. A hot buzzword in the industry is "intelligent pumping." The implications are twofold: You can't sell what you don't know and manufacturers can't sell what you don't know. This leads to: • Mandatory hands-on training • Mandatory technical support • New products will require a balance between feature-rich and user-friendly. Reeder points out how TurboTax, an American tax prepara- tion software package, hit its stride by simplifying its product. The founder of the company says it took its product to retire- ment homes for senior citizens to do their taxes. If anyone got stuck, the owner knew where the product had issues. Reeder adds TurboTax currently has about 90% of the market share. Through this example Reeder stresses to always strive to make the product easier to use. The opportunity is far-reaching: • Differentiate yourself via training and expertise • Demand technical support from the manufacturers • Train smarter with targeted training efforts; train with a purpose (not just to meet continuing education require- ments); and systems focus. "We need to train smarter than we have in the past to get the most out of it," Reeder says. 2. Flat to declining growth in residential wells The lifeblood of the groundwater industry took a major hit following the subprime mortgage crisis that coincided with the U.S. recession of December 2007–June 2009. Unfortu- nately, despite the housing recovery in recent years, the after- math is still being felt throughout much of the country. "Best case, the residential business is really flat," Reeder says, "and in some cases it may even be declining." According to the U.S. Census Bureau and National Associ- ation of Home Builders, the total number of homes that had a private well system in 2013 in the United States was flat at 8%. The number of residential water wells is growing slower than housing. In new housing developments, the trend has been toward centralized water systems instead of individual wells. In spite of this, opportunities exist: • For community water systems, a water systems approach is needed, requiring greater expertise, and a drive is likely needed • The good news no matter how you view it: There are 10 to 15 million homes on a private well system in the United States. Even if that number is going down a few percentage points every year, it's still a large market • Estimates of 800,000 four-inch submersible pumps are sold in the United States each year, according to Franklin Elec- tric, which is a large number • More opportunities exist today than before to upgrade and upsell a product to the homeowner. Tom Downey, CWD/PI, president/CEO of Downey Drilling Inc. in Lexington, Nebraska, says on the residential side of business his employees upsell with the evolution of the VFD pump controller. "Most customers have a real feel for technology in all areas of their daily lives, so they're not afraid of advances in all sorts of home appliances, including their water system," Downey says, "and the willingness to spend a few more dol- lars is usually there." SEVEN TRENDS from page 21 22 March 2016 WWJ waterwelljournal.com Mark Reeder of Franklin Electric presents his seven industry trends session at the 2015 NGWA Groundwater Expo and Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Downey Drilling's P38000HD Pulstar pump rig pulls a lineshaft turbine pump in spring 2015 near Hemingford, Nebraska. This well/pump is set at approximately 360 feet and supplies a pivot used to irrigate sugar beets. Drilling photos courtesy Downey Drilling in Lexington, Nebraska.

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