I asked four IT professionals about the future of technology in the gases and welding industry. Here’s what they had to say:
Michael Chelgren, American Welding & Gas: “There is an opportunity for mobile applications to facilitate inventory management on our trucks. Our drivers would be able to print out invoices for the customers right from the truck. Orders and deliveries could be processed on a handheld device and transmitted back to our data center and go into the system without requiring any human intervention.”
Rodney Huber, Huber Supply Company: “E-commerce is growing, but it will never replace face-to-face sales, especially in our area. Even with our online orders, customers call us to make sure they’re buying the right part. They rely on us for advice. When it comes to welding equipment, customers want to have a salesman call them and have that personal interaction. Although e-commerce will never replace personalized sales, I think it will complement it and help us reach out to new markets.”
Allison Earlbeck, Earlbeck Gases & Technologies: “From an operational perspective, file sharing could help improve our efficiency. We have the capability now with our network, but we don’t have an organized system in place. Training our staff on the system would help things run smoothly. When you have 40 or 50 employees in the same pool, it can be a big problem if something is saved in the wrong place or is accidentally moved or edited.”
Chris Bennear, Dale Oxygen: “We can do a lot more with automation and with cylinder tracking. Using RFID and microchips can help us track our cylinders when customers don’t know where the cylinders are. We can save money and preserve good customer relationships by avoiding disagreements over lost cylinders.”
To learn more from these and other young IT professionals, see their complete profiles in the June issue of GAWDA Edge.