June 2014 GPI Panel Member of the Month

June 30, 2014
June 2014 GPI Panel Member of the Month Bart Hughes is the Purchasing & Materials Manager for QEL LTD., a manufacturer of gas detection systems for industrial and commercial applications.
Bart HughesPurchasing & Materials Manager

How would you describe current business conditions in your industry?

We are a manufacturer of gas detection systems for industrial and commercial applications. The conditions at this time are most favorable, as new construction starts have increased in both commercial and industrial sectors, fueling the need for our monitoring systems. These systems are used for the protection of property, but more importantly for the protection of workers and the public in all sectors of our economy. Safety is of prime importance, as well as monitoring of greenhouse gases and toxic gases as we move towards a “green environment.”

What are your greatest concerns about the electronic components market?

Counterfeit components and costs are just two of the biggest concerns. Sticking to trusted sources who have excellent quality control and screening helps to alleviate some of this. Raw materials costs for components: costs for this need to come down. If these come down, so can final product costs and the trickle effect continues. If costs can come down, things start moving more globally and everyone then gains, driving then the economy.

What are some of the supply chain issues that “keep you up at night?”

Lead times can create some restless nights. Constantly trying to expedite parts for production and “anticipate” component delivery times. Things that were once two weeks are now turning out to be six weeks or even more.

Do you think the overall economy is improving? Why or why not?

We have experienced a strong steady growth over the past two years in most sectors. The majority of the products we manufacture and sell are intended for new builds that have significantly increased as our products are in greater and greater demand. Clients in the past were and are concerned about cost, what is the cheapest that they could purchase to meet basic specification but now more and more engineers and architects are requesting that more features, such as electronic data collection and other capabilities, be offered with products to meet more stringent “green” standards. There is a clear movement towards quality and feature-driven products.

The overall economy is moving forward albeit slowly.

How would you assess your business confidence over the next month?

Business confidence over the next month is positive as we receive more inquiries from new clients and observe forecasting sales materializing. We expect this confidence to grow steadily over the next year.

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