ESAB has won the 2009 Global Best Partners Welding & Cutting Systems for Energy Generation Award following the company's emergence as the leading manufacturer of welding and cutting systems for energy generation industries - including power, LNG tanks, offshore and pipelines industries - in Europe, and rising strongly to be a leader in the global market as well. In 2009, ESAB accounted for nearly 18 per cent of the global welding and cutting market for energy generation.
Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Archana Chauhan states: "Key performance drivers for ESAB have been its unique product range in response to the energy-specific needs of various industries, being a one-stop-shop and having globally dispersed manufacturing facilities. Providing a comprehensive service portfolio at competitive prices, minimising machine downtime and ensuring customer-focused growth has also been central to its success."
ESAB has one of the largest product ranges in its market. Over the past year it has further expanded its portfolio by introducing dozens of new consumable, equipment and automation products to suit various energy industries' needs.
Furthermore, ESAB's equipment and consumables are manufactured under a strict ISO 9001 quality assurance programme that supports their use in industries with high corrosion rates. With ESAB obtaining the IS0 14001 worldwide certification, its equipment and consumables are also preferred by energy industries, as they are likely to have the least welding defects, be of the highest quality and be best suited for highly corrosive applications. Many energy customers surveyed indicated that they preferred to partner with ESAB despite being offered cheaper products by other welding suppliers.
Single source for welding
Chauhan continues: "The company is a one-stop-shop which provides all the necessary equipment and software for varied applications in the energy industries. Hence, EPC's (engineering, procurement and construction companies) do not have to locate multiple suppliers and, instead, can select ESAB as a single partner for all their welding needs. ESAB's service and complete solutions, as well as its increased penetration in Eastern European and African regions, are expected to provide higher growth in the future. ESAB is one of the few welding companies that are expected to record a growth in all the regions in the world, even in North America where the dominant players are projected to be stable. Whilst competitors have focused on its APAC and Chinese market growth through acquisitions and partnerships, ESAB's acquisitions enhanced its product portfolio offering whilst penetrating the market with strong customer service programs and value additions."
ESAB has 29 manufacturing plants across the globe and has established itself in nearly 80 countries. Each major region has a specific research and development facility that supports the provision of equipment, automation and consumables customised to suit local requirements. The company therefore has the ability to offer high-quality goods at competitive prices based on local expectations. ESAB says it is uniquely positioned to combine its advanced market technologies with the needs of developing markets and create customer focused products.
Along with introducing an array of equipment and technology for the energy industries, ESAB also provides services to EPCs and fabrication houses, which is another distinguishing factor. It has an extensive network of sales and service engineers, backed by complete, efficient and cost-effective customer and technical support services. Frost & Sullivan global research identified that one of the key challenges facing welding companies is the increasingly stringent customer service requirements and need for higher technology. ESAB anticipated this challenge in early 2008 and made 'Customer Focus' its main strategic thrust. This has led to extensive review of its marketing, sales and supply chain functions. In 2009, it restructured its European region and the regional supply chain with the intention to reduce lead times dramatically and improve its 'delivered-in-full-on-time' KPI (key performance indicator). The Frost & Sullivan research shows that customers have observed the positive change. ESAB demonstrated its ability to meet customers' needs for higher technology by the recent launch of its telescopic boom (TELBO), which is said to be a first-of-its-kind in the industry.
The company's Project Management system is designed to ensure that each customer is dealt with efficiently from the point of initial enquiry to after-sales service. On-site support, including repair and maintenance, is provided to EPCs.
Chauhan adds: "ESAB has its own spare parts division that helps customers rapidly buy and order parts, minimising machine downtime. Reduced machine downtime is a key element of ESAB's after-sales service and includes the provision of planned machine maintenance and service programmes for all cutting systems."
The Frost & Sullivan survey highlighted that the energy-related welding market in North America will experience pedestrian growth, EMEA will have medium growth and Asia will have high growth. This indicates and supports the fact that ESAB's footprint in the higher growth areas makes it well placed to benefit from this growth owing to its increasing focus on customer requirements and additional services that have helped it in winning higher orders.