Certainly, some of the businesses closing their doors or deciding to temporarily remove themselves from the purchasing mix may have been operating fairly well, but the bulk of those seceding from the ranks of Alberta manufacturing likely only existed because of the high prices and capacity of the industry. When prices are high, differentials are good, and there is a time pressure to complete projects, it seemed almost anyone could open a fabrication shop and start bidding and building. Moving forward, there is no room for inefficiency, closing our minds to ways to improve, or simply sticking our heads in the sand and hoping for the best. The good old adage hope is not a strategy that applies very well at this juncture. It is the responsibility of all of us to work with only the best partners at all levels, and the current move to reduce the number of trusted partners in the supply chain is certainly supported by Plains.
Thankfully, new business is all around us. Trust based relationships, high product quality, and the agility of Plains Fabrication means we have access to a good percentage of the business currently being transacted. Certainly, commodity prices are low. We read about them practically every day. That being said, we cannot control WTI or Brent prices, the spread to WCS, or the exchange on the Canadian dollar in the U.S. and global markets. We CAN control our own business, which includes how and where we choose to expand and which new markets to attack, while at the same time improving efficiency both internally and externally. We continue to invest in our people, processes, and plant to achieve these goals.
We ALL need to understand the flow of investment cash in the future will be directly linked to our willingness and ability to truly collaborate AS AN INDUSTRY on identifying areas where we can all improve. We must all focus on cost and value and not get misled by lower up front pricing designed to escalate as a job moves forward. Rather than Gloria Gaynor’s, “I Will Survive,” our mantra needs to be, “Ain’t No Stopping’ Us Now.”
Developing your people and maintaining your core values and culture should also be part of your core.