RIA Members See the Good in a Bad Economy


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!

 

NOTE: Click the comment link and let us know what you think companies should do to succeed in an economic downturn or leave your own holiday message.

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2 Responses to RIA Members See the Good in a Bad Economy

  1. brianhuse says:

    A Conversation with RIA Member Helmut Schreiberhuber of KEBA
    My phone rang early on a mid-December Monday and it was Helmut Schreiberhuber, Vice President of KEBA Corporation, calling to check on his ad status in the 2009 Robotics Industry Directory. It is one of the free benefits his company gets and we wanted to make sure all was in order. As is my habit, I asked Helmut for his perspective on the industry. I learned his company has a good outlook so far for 2009 and is expanding into the motion control industry.

    KEBA controllers work with many kinds of robots and in many cases orders are from OEMs that fabricate their own multi-axis manufacturing devices. They use his controller in conjunction with a robot and auxiliary equipment; a good way to contain costs is to use one (rather than separate) controllers in a work cell. This is the same benefit that appeals to a variety of customers who have robots, CNC and other machines to control. KEBA helps companies bend tubes, actuate presses, handle injection molding parts or even process food and streamline packaging by integrating one controller for many machines and numerous axes of motion. It was interesting to learn that one of his customers is in the meat processing industry

    He noted that handheld terminal orders are strong with their partner, Adept Technology, a member of RIA from Livermore, California

    Diversity and aggressive marketing help KEBA stay vital even as the economy stays in the news for its volatility. We are proud to have them as a member and glad to help them and all the RIA members tell their sales and marketing story with a free ad and listing in the upcoming 2009 Robotics Industry Directory. Call me if you have any questions about how RIA can help you (734/994-6088).

  2. Sergio says:

    The needs of everyone have changed. Success will come if we are able to identify what everyone needs and quickly adapt to a position in which we can supply solutions. Peril will come if we stick to the old ways – and force our old solutions to the new needs.

    What is it that companies need ? What is it that people need ?

    When companies are forced to lay people off, they create a hole in their organization. They create a void in capacity, a void in capabilities. This opens opportunities for outsourcing – engineering firms that can supply engineering solutions, fab shops that can supply per piece and low volume production, etc.

    Do you have a measure of any increased activity in these operations ?

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