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Business & Management

Highlights from VMA’s 2016 Leadership Forum

The latest Valve Industry Leadership Forum, held March 22-23 in Denver, was attended by key personnel from VMA member companies. Attendees heard the latest on the state of the economy along with a Wall Street perspective, and gleaned other insights from presentations on talent-driven innovation, how to build a strategy-capable organization and the critical need for more “social” leaders.


Four Systems to Significantly Improve Operating Performance

Four Systems to Significantly Improve Operating PerformanceIn today’s highly competitive business environment, every company should continually strive to improve every aspect of its business.

Unfortunately, some organizations let their success or failure flow with marketplace changes rather than planning and adapting operating methods to be ahead of the market. While it’s tempting to benchmark your company’s operating performance against industry average, if the industry average is a “C” grade, that sets the bar pretty low.

It does not matter if you are just getting started with an improvement initiative or you have been formally at the improvement game for many years, you must have a single-minded objective for the initiative. Every initiative must support the one stated objective.

Generational Tensions: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Generational Tensions Cant We All Just Get AlongMillennials comprise the fastest growing segment of the workforce, and will soon overshadow the GenXers and Baby Boomers. In 2015, Millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce—54 million adult Americans who are between 18 and 34. They know only a world filled with digital devices that change rapidly, so this group is well adapted to working in a “smart” world. But they have very different views of work/life balance and expectations for the future, which can sometimes put them at odds with the baby boomers and Generation Xers that are already in their work places.

Ten Commandments of Exceptional Customer Service

Customer Service help phoneIn the 1980s, American businesses were often being outstripped by competitors from other highly competitive nations. Improved customer service was recognized as one of the prescriptions back to health. An organization that came to the fore around that time was the International Customer Service Association (ICSA). The outstanding work of ICSA continues to this day, but the hoped-for improvement in customer treatment isn’t yet what it could be.

While service excellence is no doubt the goal of every business, there is always room for improvement, and this article aims to help you reach the next step in customer service.

Technical Sales: Focus on Solutions

Technical Sales-Focus on SolutionsThe sale of almost any valve has a technical aspect. Even the most basic commodity valve transaction, where a small on/off industrial valve for low-pressure water service is purchased off-the-shelf requires a working knowledge. For example, a low-pressure, manual industrial valve would require the seller to know about fluid flow, piping, metallurgy and other materials of construction.

Also, the technical complexity scale escalates quickly when talking about more complex valves. A seller needs a high level of know-how for understanding larger diameter high-temperature, high-pressure automated valves manufactured from high alloys for critical service applications in refineries and petrochemical plants; control valves in power plants; remote emergency shutdown valves on an interstate pipeline; or reliable hardened containment vent systems in Mark I and II boiling-water reactor nuclear plants (as mandated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after the Fukushima disaster in 2011), among many others.

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