Summer Time, And The Livin’ Is Easy!…Not!

Welding & Gases Today - Summer 2011Exactly six months ago, Welding & Gases Today published the Annual Business Forecast for 2012. Across the board, GAWDA members predicted sales to be up after a dismal few years. In fact, 82 percent of Distributors expected sales to increase at an average of 7.6 percent over the course of 2012. Projected sales growth among Suppliers was 8.5 percent.

If you were present at the Spring Management Conference in Baltimore, the excitement was palpable. You could hear it and see it in the faces of attendees. Not only is old business coming back, but GAWDA members are reaching for new markets, new niches, new products and new ways to do business. Change is definitely good.

So where is the money?  This issue attempts to answer that question, as we enter the 3rd and 4th Quarters of what hopefully (fingers crossed) will become a turnaround year.

Much has been written in the past year about LNG. But no one has addressed the market investment from the standpoint of a small- to mid-size distributorship. Since distributors know how to store and transport gases, could this be a marriage made in heaven? Larry Pinder begins that discussion.

Jason Bader is an expert on distribution. He explains how to balance inventory with customer demands and offers an interesting take on this age-old dilemma.

If you are located near a shale, you definitely know where the money is. Check out the map in Bob Garland’s article for a shale near you. There are 27 in the United States and more on the way.

Automation helps customers do more with less, shorten production cycles and increase accuracy rates. Michael Sharpe, director of materials joining at Fanuc Robotics, explains how advances in technology are making it easier for the small fabrication shop to get into robotics. This market just may be the sweet spot for distributors.

Social Media is generating a return on investment, provided we avoid some of the most common missteps. For many in this industry, it’s like the Wild West, a new frontier. Judy C. Flanagan breaks it down and shares the good and bad of being “Social.” You may be surprised.

So with all the clues on finding that pot of gold, technical tips, training articles, and more, reading this Summer issue is not for the faint of heart. The industry is heating up and business is getting hot again.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Carole Jesiolowski Carole Jesiolowski is managing editor of Welding & Gases Today magazine, which is published by Data Key Communications in Syracuse, New York, and on the Web at She can be reached at 315-445-2347 or