Go with the Flow

By Peter Everett, CEO of H.S. Pipequipment

Valves play a critical role in the construction, control and safety of operations. Increased investment activity and changes in the location and size of projects are creating increased challenges for procurement specialists within the industry. In addition, fluctuations in commodity prices and currencies and fast tracking of investment programmes are affecting the availability of materials.

For the procurement manager, the loss of skills from the UK engineering sector compounds these pressures. As a result the need for service companies such as valve stockists and distributors is increasing.

The UK stockist and distributor today now has to be a service specialist, not only with regard to the supply of valves, but also with regard to services in logistics, engineering, actuation, project management, expediting and documentation. Health and Safety concerns and the need for traceability are driving the need for extensive documentation of the procurement, manufacturing and testing of valves.

Whilst the valve industry is not normally associated with technology, changes in operating environments have resulted in the use of more sophisticated designs and materials. An experienced distributor must therefore provide balanced advice on materials as well as the products themselves.

Despite recent investments in Valve Manufacturing plants and foundries, most valve manufacturers still have full order books. This has meant that delivery periods are still at historical highs. Gone are the days when engineering contractors could expect ball valves in four to six months. Now clients have to consider valves not just as items requiring expert evaluation but also requiring proactive planning and sourcing.

H.S. Pipequipment (HSP), one of the UKís largest valve distributors to the Oil, Gas and Petrochemical industry, has been developing their portfolio of products and services to meet this challenge.

In terms of products, the company has doubled its inventory to over £5m; whether itís a small-bore forged valve or a large trunnion mounted ball valve, the company recognises the importance of a comprehensive inventory. The company stocks a complete portfolio of products including: Bonney Forge, Audco, Maxseal, Crane Stockham, Hobbs and Larsen and Tubro and represents specialist world leading manufacturers such as OMS Saleri and Orton.

The company has three branches; the Aberdeen office supports the UKCS, the Teesside branch services the UK onshore petrochemical sector and the Newbury office supports the global Engineering Contractors in the London Area. In this way the company is able to provide support to the needs of customers in all parts of the Oil and Gas industry.

Recent changes within HSP and the ongoing development of staff and processes have ensured that the company is continually developing and growing with the market. An example of this is the monitoring and improvement of on-time performance at the Aberdeen branch to over 85%.

As demands and standards in the industry increase, distributors can play a pivotal role in the Oil and Gas Industry by providing support as well as products. The challenge for distributors is to improve their services and so ensure they are relieving the pressure in the industry.

For more information regarding H.S. Pipequipment and their bespoke services please visit their website www.hsp.co.uk, or alternatively call +44 (0) 1635 201329.

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 7

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