This is a part of the 2014 Distribution Trends Report. The annual report 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 report.
2014 Distribution Trends Report
Channel convergence comes to fluid power. Power transmission distributor Kaman’s acquisition of B.W. Rogers, Akron, OH, firmly established the company’s plans to continue growing its fluid power business. The deal made Kaman one of the largest Parker Hannifin distributors. It also gave Kaman a firm footing in the oil and gas industry. Fluid power also continues to be a big growth area for Applied Industrial Technologies and Motion Industries.
It also goes the other direction. Hydradyne’s executive vice president David Parks highlighted the company’s plan to expand its motion control offerings by increasing its electromechanical options.
Demand for engineering skills increases, but the pool of potential employees with these skills is tight. “You’re not finding a lot of the college graduates in the engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering that are looking to get into sales type of positions,” says Ken Fischer, president of Fischer Process Industries, Cincinnati, OH. “You just don’t see people wanting to get into pump sales or the technology side of the fluid handling equipment that we’re out selling.” Demand for highly engineered solutions, however, continues to grow, particularly in shale development areas.
Consolidation is taking place up and down the supply chain. Although 2013 wasn’t as active on the M&A front, fluid power continues to be a growth target for many of the diversifying distributors, in large part because of the access to oil & gas markets, which are expected to continue growing for some time.