|Proposed VMA Quarterly Reporting Forms|
Below is an excerpt from an email by Mark Adams of Emerson, in which he details the new reporting forms he proposed for VMA's Quarterly Reports. Participation in all of VMA's surveys is weak and particularly so with the Quarterly Reports. We hope that with updated forms, members will show more interest in the VMA Statistical Program. The proposed forms have been reviewed by the Statistical Committee and should be vetted by as many members as possible, so please take some time to review the forms (click here). Send your comments to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments by Mark Adams:
First, some background is in order. The VMA statistics program has been pretty much as it is for maybe 30 years. In that time, there have been significant structural changes in the valve industry. Regrettably, the statistics collection process has not been kept up to date. I believe that this is a key factor contributing to the lack of broad-based interest in the program. Some major trends and their impacts follow:
--Valve instruments have grown both in importance and in their dollar impact. They are not just "appurtenances" any more.
--Many new companies have sprung up specializing in a single type of product, for example, specialized actuators, or switchboxes.
--As a counter, the acquisition binge led to creation of some very broad line companies, companies reporting across several VMA product divisions.
--New standards, for example on mounting interfaces, have changed the way products fit and work together.
--Distribution patterns have changed dramatically. Much more assembly of valve packages is now done in field distribution, not in factories.
--Automation is much more frequent now, probably representing the majority of valves sold by VMA members.
--New valve, actuator and instrument types have arisen or grown substantially. Examples are triple offset butterflies and segmented ball valves.
As a result of these factors, the old lines of demarcation in the industry have become blurred. The industry has truly been modularized. Assembly has moved out of the manufacturers and closer to the customer. In our now modular industry, I think it is apropos that we begin to record statistics in modular fashion, then mix and match the data to better reflect our mix and match industry complexion. So how do we do that? Step one is to sack the old Division 7, 8, 9 and 13 reporting. The categories are simply too confining for today's more open markets. From there, we can create a single, comprehensive new valve, actuator and instrument report. Later I will propose a "single form" report that replaces the four current Division (7,8,9,13) data collections. In the process, we can give up some of the unreliable categorizations of the past, and extend new categories to catch up with product and market evolutions.
Attached is a spreadsheet file containing two pages. Please open it and print the pages under both tabs.
The first tab (Reporting Categories) summarizes the reporting dimensions of the current Division 7, 8, 9 and 13 reports. At the bottom of that page are the dimensions of the comprehensive reporting that is being suggested. Generally it covers the prior categories and extends them in some areas. Notable omissions (yellow highlights) include orders, % automated, throttling vs. on-off, and ball and butterfly valve end connections. Orders are omitted because I think they create unnecessary complication in the reporting. Orders are also somewhat unreliable statistically. They change, get added to, and get cancelled. I'd rather simply concentrate on getting good shipment data. The % automated measure is dropped due to low reliability. If many things are automated in the field, it is not much worth having the factory level automation percentage. The throttling vs. on-off measure is dropped because it is quite impossible to know. There is often no hardware distinction. And again, with many valves being automated in the field, this factory based number is virtually useless. Finally, I dropped the end connection on ball valves and the screwed and grooved BFVs to decrease complexity. That was a judgment call. Ball valves were the only category with an end connection dimension in the reporting.
New dimensions were then added to more fully categorize and describe instruments, to cover triple offset and segmented ball valves, and to better segment the highly popular area of pneumatic actuators. In this now blurry valve market the only remaining demarcation for control valves is the unique interface between valve and actuator that most manufacturers still employ in order to achieve better control performance. To be able to segment here, we need to add a dimension for mounting interface. This will sort out the ISO and Namur standard interfaces from the company-specific interfaces of the control valve industry. The bottom line is that a single report can very well summarize the industry.
The second tab (Single Form Report) has the format for the revised reporting. The first category is "parts"...all parts for all products. This is a vast simplification from prior reporting which required a separation (often impossible) of parts by product line. Next comes the new reporting category for valve instruments. It is still simple, but vastly better than just an undefined portion of "parts and appurtenances." I think some of the members that make only these accessory products will be thrilled to have a category of their own. Next comes the actuator reporting...still simple, but more informative than before. And finally, the valves reporting...butterfly, ball, plug, and control....all together. Valves are also segmented by size on the right.
With this raw data and a bit of spreadsheet work, it is possible to create a very comprehensive and useful picture of the valve industry. I think it could be a positive step forward and a step that might induce a few more members (even Fisher) to participate in the statistics program. Please consider this approach and advise your thoughts. I am happy to provide more explanation as needed, or present to your Statistics Committee or Directors as appropriate. The VMA statistics program does need some change to spark renewed interest.