MRC Global October 2017 InSight
MRC Global October 2017 InSight

Strategic Execution as
Business Sectors Recover

MRC Global is pleased to bring you our October edition of InSight. In our last publication in April 2017, we reported an improving market and a generally optimistic view that a long-awaited upturn had finally arrived. As that recovery continues to build momentum, we remain cautiously optimistic that we will see sustained improvement through 2018. A tighter supply chain and increased overall spending has moved the market to a more balanced focus on competitive pricing and sustainable availability levels for products.

The North American market has shown the highest degree of growth and is driven by an improved rig count and strong investment in the midstream pipeline sector. However, not all global geographies are experiencing the same outlook. Europe and Asia Pacific markets are flat and show little sign of recovery, with predictions for offshore growth to be negative through 2018. The Middle East region has continued to be resilient and the Caspian area has benefitted from large capital expenditure investments from integrated oil companies.

The increased demand in the North American market and subsequent extension of lead times has resulted in price increases for the first time in two years. In the following pages, you will read about increases in all product scopes and, in particular, where products are heavily consumed in the midstream and upstream markets. Domestic manufacturers of valves in these markets have significantly lengthened their lead times with noticeable price increases. Ensuring inventory availability is critical.

Since our last publication, several anti-dumping suits have been successfully levied against imported products. In the case of carbon steel flanges, an action was proven against manufacturers based in Italy, Spain and India, resulting in significant duties against these countries. Specific manufacturers have also been identified and will incur heavier penalties. This outcome directly affects supply over demand, with an outcome that significantly increases prices for both domestic and imported flanges.

The US Department of Commerce has commenced an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 into the impact on US national security of imports of steel and aluminum products. The deadline for the ruling under Section 232 has slipped past, and it appears that there will be a further delay until early 2018. Under Section 232, if the import of these products threatens the US national security, the President can then concur or not with the Secretary of Commerce’s recommendations or take action to adjust the imports of an item and its derivatives or take other non-trade actions to address the threat. The anticipation of this ruling still looms over the marketplace and will continue to cause some uncertainty until a decision is reached.

At MRC Global, our mission is clear: we will deliver superior service to our customers around the world, and provide innovative supply solutions to enhance our customers' operations.

At MRC Global, our mission is clear: we will deliver superior service to our customers around the world, and provide innovative supply solutions to enhance our customers’ operations.

Our role in the supply chain is critical to our customers, and we endeavor to use our scale and leverage to deliver a competitive solution through our global network of branches. All of our customers are faced with challenges in both inflationary and deflationary markets, and utilizing distribution is an effective method to smooth out the volatility in the marketplace.

Earlier this year, hurricanes ravaged the US Gulf and East Coasts, endangering lives, homes and businesses. Hurricane Harvey, specifically, hit the heart of our industry and our organization. In the wake of such a devastating storm, our focus was to monitor the safety of our employees and to help our customer base return to production as quickly as possible. We immediately engaged our disaster recovery plan by investing in critical inventory, bringing in resources and emergency supplies from other regions and operating on a 24/7 call schedule as our customers began to come online. We are now fully operational and serving our customers in their recovery efforts.

Our company continues to invest in infrastructure, systems, processes and our people to ensure we continue to meet our customers’ needs and expectations. In the last article we commented on our investments in the US, Singapore and Thailand. In this edition we are also proud to announce the addition of our new Regional Distribution Center (RDC) in Houston, TX, which will be operational in Q1 2018. In what will be our largest facility in the world, this new RDC will cover 410,000 square feet and contain a 50,000 square foot Valve and Engineering Center (VEC). We have also successfully rolled out a new SAP ERP system across Europe and our other international locations to bring our international business onto a single platform, delivering internal efficiencies that bring benefits to our customers.

Our focus is also to add new products and services to our portfolio wherever it makes sense and adds value to our customer base. We have increased the number of VECs to 28 global locations and we have added measurement products to our line of distributed products in North America. We have also developed and launched a new online catalogue (MRCGO) which will enable our customers to search and buy products online and keep pace with the rapidly growing B2B market.

Our outlook for 2018 is optimistic, we expect to see a continuation of the steady growth seen in 2017 and for the North American market to lead the recovery.

We are proud to serve our customer base and are grateful for the trust that our customers place in us that allows them to focus on their core businesses. Together we can continue to extract real value from the supply chain and enjoy some growth as the market continues to recover.

InSight Magazine: October 2015

Robert Stein

Senior Vice President
Business Development
InSight Magazine: October 2015

John Bowhay

Senior Vice President
Supply Chain Management,
Valve and Technical Product Sales