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Spark of Opportunity Greets Boiler Customers

Sept. 1, 2020
FROM OUR SEPTEMBER ISSUE: This time of unprecedented challenge has allowed many to reset priorities and shift focus, writes ABMA's Scott Lynch.

The economy continues to be challenged by a global pandemic this fall. While we have a little clarity, the outlook remains unclear and companies seem reluctant to make major decisions.

ABMA has been regularly surveying its membership to share industry-wide news and trends and to assist each other in supporting companies and employees during these unprecedented times.

Prior to COVID-19 hitting the shores of the United States, many ABMA members were having a pretty good year and projecting better sales than the previous year. In addition, most boiler manufacturers then had manufacturing backlogs of about four to six months, or more.

Starting in March, our members focused internally on the health and safety of their employees. Externally, ABMA members began dealing with project delays and new business leads dropped off dramatically.  However, in most cases, manufacturing continued without a hitch and companies transitioned quickly to virtual office where necessary and continued to fully support their customers.

Amazingly enough, we are now six months into this pandemic. Our members are operating effectively in these unique times and starting to see new business prospects increase slightly, not at pre-COVID-19 levels, but going in the right direction. For most manufacturers, backlogs have decreased given the drop off in new business and this is no different in the boiler industry. While manufacturers would prefer to have robust backlog and significant new business inquiries, this is a great opportunity for customers.

Boiler companies have more time and resources available to spend on projects and when projects are ready to proceed, the decreased backlog will enable a quicker turnaround time for manufacturing and installation. This is especially beneficial if you have imminent needs.

Forward-thinking companies also are seeking out strategic decisions now to ensure that they are ready when the pandemic is behind us and the economy returns to normal levels. This is probably not going happen until sometime in 2021. But if you wait, you may miss the window and not be able to take full advantage of the upturn.

In addition, in many cases, this is the ideal time to address infrastructure needs while the demand for steam or hot water may be down. Boiler end-users should think strategically about potential future needs along with ways to optimize systems and improve technology. If you run two boilers during peak times but your current needs are being met by one boiler, this is the perfect time to explore improvements to the overall boiler system, and specifically to the off-line boiler, so as to avoid any downtime.

A majority of ABMA members are expecting business to begin improving by the end of 2020 and to ramp up in early 2021. Reaching out to ABMA member companies now can put you near the front of the line.

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If you have not already done so, please visit ABMA’s Industry Newsfeed and subscribe to our Boiler Weekly E-Newsletter at abma.caboodleai.net to stay up to date on the latest boiler industry news, in addition to accessing our online Buyers Guide of Member Products & Services. Visit these websites to learn more, or contact ABMA at [email protected] for additional information.