It has been a wonderful year for WQP—we celebrated our 20th anniversary with a special issue and a celebration at WQA Aquatech USA, attended great trade shows and events that allowed us to connect with readers and learn about new technologies and trends, offered extended content to help educate our readers on the commercial water treatment market through the Commercial Water supplement and webinar series, and much more.
Reflecting on the 2015 State of the Industry survey results, it seems that the past year has been a good one for many of you as well. In the survey, 48.5% of respondents rated 2015 as a “very good” or “excellent” business year for their companies, with another 33.3% saying it was “good.” Company websites, the Internet, market diversification and new product/service launches all were cited as having positive effects on sales in the past 12 months.
Positivity abounds for 2016 as well—18.2% of respondents predict it will be “excellent,” 42.4% predict it will be “very good,” and 27.3% predict it will be “good”—but that does not mean that it will be smooth sailing all the way.
The economy continues to weigh heavily on the minds of many in the industry. Although signs are pointing to recovery, nearly 60% of survey respondents said that the economy had a negative effect on their businesses in the past 12 months.
Slow economic recovery certainly will have an effect on business expansion—another topic frequently mentioned in answers to a free-response question asking survey takers what their biggest challenge over the next 24 months would be. Many respondents noted their goals to increase sales and expand into new markets, including the commercial, industrial and municipal sectors.
Expanding a business most often requires additional manpower—another problem area noted by survey respondents. The responses indicate that employers struggle to find employees who not only are interested in working in the water treatment industry, but qualified for the jobs as well.
As in past years, regulations and legislation round out the issues of concern in the coming year. Several survey respondents specifically pointed out that softener brine discharge regulations and alternative salt-free technologies will be on their radars in 2016.
Although the challenges are many, so are the opportunities, and with hard work and innovation, these opportunities can lead to success. We wish all of our readers success in 2016—along with happy holidays and a happy New Year!