By Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association
Lately, I’ve had the good fortune to see and talk to a lot of RIA members and I’ve made it a point to ask for opinions about doing business in this economy. We know robot orders are down 19% through the first three quarters of 2008, but most people I talk to seem fairly positive in their business outlook. One of those people was Dan Peretz, Vice President of Sales at IPR – Intelligent Peripherals for Robots, who was kind enough to have lunch with me and talk business.
He works with Nicky Borcea, who is President of IPR and a good man to know. His company uses German and American engineering to make various end effectors, grippers, tool changers, seventh axes rails for robots and much more. They are expanding their product lineup and investing in new technology that can help users in automotive and non-automotive markets.
Since they have a foothold both in and out of the automotive industry, we were able to talk about the business and economy from several angles. Dan explained to me that his company helps users and integrators take some of the fixed costs out of design and fabrication of end effectors, plus they help eliminate risk by taking full responsibility for their part of the job.
We got to talking about business philosophy and Dan is an advocate for investing in your business and your marketing when the economy is down. For his part, Dan plans to help IPR do more marketing to make sure customers know what makes them special. An upturn will happen eventually, and with guidance from Nicky he plans to position IPR so it is ready to capitalize on upturns in demand.
He also gave me his take on the role of Robotic Industries Association. I told him that despite economic unrest so far membership is up somewhat over last year. He thinks one reason is that business people look a little differently at not-for-profit trade associations. They want RIA to succeed in its mission to build business and goodwill for the industry. He plans to use Robotics Online to position IPR for success and is looking at investing in higher levels of marketing with the Association.
We also got to talking about the future of the industry and why robots seem to have risen in popularity lately. One of our conclusions was that more students are coming out of technical colleges with skills and degrees in robotics which makes it easier for employers to adopt technology they can use. RIA has taken an interest in this important industry segment and the Membership Committee is devising a new set of benefits for educators to use.
I appreciate the chance to sit down with people like Dan who is an industry veteran and really good guy. He is one of many that make this such a good industry and I am honored to help promote such an interesting technology whose products and services contribute so much to productivity and quality. In my childhood I was a big Isaac Asimov fan and fate brought me to this industry so I want to give back what I can to our members. Please contact me if you have any questions about member benefits and what RIA can do for you. (734/994-6088)
As Poinsettias spring up around us and the holidays unfold I hope you have time to find happiness and fulfillment. If times are bleak for you, I hope they are soon sweeter than ever, and if you are well I hope those around you are lifted up by your good spirits. Peace unto all and to all a good year!
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