The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

2015 Trends Snapshot: Industrial PVF Distribution

This article is part of MDM's 2015 Distribution Trends Special Issue. It provides a quick look at key trends affecting the industrial pipes, valves and fittings distribution sector.

The annual feature was researched and written by MDM editors based on interviews with dozens of wholesaler-distributors, as well as industry experts and manufacturers. MDM also conducted a survey of its readers to uncover the trends outlined in this issue.

The full special issue is available to download in PDF format to MDM Premium subscribers. Subscribe below for full access. Or log-in if you are already a subscriber.

Trends outlined in the 2015 report include:

  • Good & Bad News for U.S. Economy
  • Distributors Get Back to the Basics
  • ‘Doubling Down’ on Distributor Relationships
  • Distributors Embrace, Expand Online Customer Base
  • Distributors Seeking ‘Lean’ Supply Chain
  • Distributors Adapt to More Sophisticated Supply Chain
  • Distributors Combine Traditional, New Means for Recruiting
  • Distributors Change Tune on Generational Shift
  • Trend Snapshots for 13 Sectors

The report also includes the following case studies and interviews:

  • 2015 MDM Market Movers
    • AJ Adhesives Takes Service to New Level
    • Plumbers Supply’s “Win-Win-Win-Win”
  • MDM Market Leader Profiles
    • Culture Drives Success for ERIKS North America
    • TTI’s Strategic Approach to Global Growth

This is a part of the 2015 Distribution Trends Special Issue. The annual feature was researched and written by MDM editors based on interviews with dozens of wholesaler-distributors, as well as industry experts and manufacturers. MDM also conducted a survey of its readers to uncover the trends outlined in this issue.


2015 Distribution Trends Special Issue


Oil and natural gas price volatility takes toll on industrial PVF distributors. The distributors in this sector are very active in the infrastructure development and maintenance around the shale oil and gas industry. In response to the sharp decline in oil prices earlier this year, many energy companies pulled back on expansion and new rigs. Unlike other sectors, the impact to industrial PVF distributors was more broadly felt.

Diversification and services help boost the bottom line. In its annual report, MRC Global highlighted many of the services it provides its customers, such as embedding buyers at a customer to streamline purchases and mobile inventory solutions that move product closer to project sites. Most of the decline from the oil price drop was felt in the upstream business for these distributors, leading many to focus more on midstream, downstream and industrial/MRO customers.

Distributors look to acquisitions to diversify. The largest industrial PVF distributors continue to acquire companies, but the focus over the last several months has been on companies that can boost their diversification. For example, acquisitions recently competed by Distribution NOW Inc. built on its electrical distribution business and to fill geographic or product holes that it had identified.

Mergers & Acquisitions in 2014:

NOW Inc., which does business primarily as Distribution NOW, was successfully spun off from National Oilwell Varco in June 2014.

MRC Global completed two acquisitions in 2014: MSD Engineering Limited, Singapore, and Metron Holding AS, Skotselv, Norway.

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