Winds of Change

November 9, 2015

One of my favorite songs is Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”.  The lyric “When the gales of November come early!” seem to resonate in my thoughts.
While we do not want to see winds bring a storm that would sink a company like the one that hit the ship, we all should be aware of some of the events that causes change in our daily business.
Here are some that come to mind:
Regulatory
A good example of the “winds of change” with regards to regulatory issues is the current atmosphere surrounding chlorinated paraffins. The EPA is looking at banning the use of some chlorinated paraffins in the next couple of years. Many of us have seen this topic raise its head in the past, the certainty this time seems very real. Previously, if customers were unable to fully embrace the use of non-chlorine formulations, we advised them to keep them ready for immediate use as a back-up replacement. Proper preparation leads to avoidance of landing on the rocks when the first sign of change occurs.
Market
Late last year, the “winds of change” could be felt as the price of crude started to drop. While this was good for consumers, at the same time this presented challenges for producers of energy. Sometimes market changes are gradual, at other times they happen quickly. In either case, steering the company through these changes can also lead to opportunities as well.
Innovation
Innovation can also be the “winds of change” that forces you to alter your course. Aluminum and new exotic metals are now being used from medical devices to automobiles. Current lubricants can stain or react with these specialty metals. Many of our customers are altering their formulations to improve their own lubricants to catch up with the new metals.
While the examples of changes above are rarely in our control, the events can sometimes be managed with consistent awareness and with “fifteen more miles behind” us we can find safety……
All the best ….and watch that wind direction!