Water Online Radio: Guaranteed ‘Fresh' Expansion Joints And Check Valves
Cal Hayes of Proco Products describes the importance of getting products off the shelf and into the hands of customers — on time, every time.
Todd Schnick: We’re coming to you live from Dallas, Texas. This is day three of AWWA ACE 2012 and Water Online Radio. I’m your host, Todd Schnick, joined by my colleague, Todd Youngblood. Todd, we’re having a good time already and it’s still early in day three.
Todd Youngblood: You know what? Day three always seems to be the best day at a tradeshow.
Todd Schnick: It is the fun day in the show.
Todd Youngblood: Well, I don't know why that is.
Todd Schnick: I don't know why that is either.
Todd Youngblood: And I may need time to get back into the groove, I don't know, but I love day three.
Todd Schnick: Well, one of my theories as to why day three is always good is, we interview people like our next guest. So I want to welcome Cal Hayes, who is the General Manager in the WaterWorks Divison for Proco Products. Welcome, Cal.
Cal: Good morning. Thank you for inviting me.
Todd Schnick: Oh, it is our distinct pleasure. Cal, before we get into it, take a quick second and tell us a little bit about you and your background.
Cal: All right. Been in the water industry for about 30 years now. I am out of Canada, I work for a company in the U.S. called Proco Products. I’m the General Manager, like you just mentioned. Basically, my position is to sell this product and to introduce new product lines into the industry, such as the water industry like we’re at this week.
Todd Schnick: Well, Cal, take a second. Tell us a little bit more about the WaterWorks Divison at Proco. Tell us more about the kind of work you're doing for your market.
Cal: All right. We’ve been in business since 1985. Our industry focuses on the water industry, which is one of our products. And expansion joints, rubber duck bill check valves, penetration seals are all products that any of our customers will use on a day-to-day basis within the industry.
Todd Youngblood: Cal, change is something that did not visit the water industry for a long time, but there are all kinds of trends hurdling at us now. Give us your spin on what the greatest, biggest, most impactful trends are going to be over the next couple of years.
Cal: I think public awareness has really opened up the window to the WaterWorks Divison. Potable water has been a concern; we’ve had a few circumstances around the world where potable water wasn’t what it should’ve been. Obviously, people that are here at the show this week, a lot of us are introducing and exposing products that will guarantee that we have a more resourceful potable water industry.
Todd Youngblood: Cal, tell us how Proco Products is positioned to help deal with these coming trends.
Cal: We have “just on-time delivery” — our deliveries are well known within the industry. We have on any one day, a $2 - $2 ½ million inventory, which is rubber expansion joints, rubber duck bill check valves, penetration seal, metal hose — all products that any of the customers can use and can specify within the water industry.
Todd Schnick: Cal, you talk about “just on-time delivery.” I get that, and customers love that for the obvious reasons. But doesn’t that imply that you have, inside Proco, higher costs? And maybe an impact on higher price? What I’m really driving at is, how do you help customers deal with the expense of operating a water utility?
Cal: Proco’s well-renowned around the industry for the last 25 years, being the experts in carrying the proper inventory. Our inventory is cycled; we use barcoding to make sure that we don’t have any particular item that is going aged, or causing some concern for us as — let’s say an expansion joint that may have sat on a shelf for two or three years, and now we’re not sure whether or not it should be sold into the industry.
So our inventory is cycled very, very rapidly. Something that comes into our warehouse from our manufacturers are — within days or shorter periods of weeks — sent out to the customer.
Todd Youngblood: Cal, you mentioned this “just on-time deliveries” thing. Everybody says that they do on-time deliveries. How do you guys really stack up there, and why is that so important to your customers?
Cal: Going back to 1985, the original owner of Proco Products was very, very, very concerned with people calling and saying, “Well, we can’t get it from this particular customer, we can’t get it from this particular supplier.” So he’s made an effort — and a real strong effort — making sure that we have inventory on time to ship.
What it does, obviously, it does carry some more cost for us as a company to carry it in inventory. But, obviously, our marketing is done very, very carefully and we take care of that.
Todd Schnick: Cal, darn near everyone we talk to, darn near everybody at this show is worried about the aging infrastructure. And the obvious thing is, if we can protect the pipes and the pumps a little bit better. What kind of things is Proco doing, in terms of making things last longer?
Cal: Well, obviously, in the last several years, the elastomers that we use in the manufacture of rubber expansion joints or the duck bill check valves has come a long, long ways. Years ago, expansion joints and check valves were built out of Dacron material, which is very similar to your denim jean material. Obviously, they last a little longer on our denim jeans.
But in today’s world, polyester cord and nylons have come a hundred times better than they were in the past. So that’s what we think is the longevity of expansion joints and check valves.
Todd Schnick: Cal, it’s ACE 2012. You guys are exhibiting here. So what are your goals and objectives here at the show?
Cal: Well, we’ve had a phenomenal show so far. The amount of people that we’ve had stop by our booth and ask us for additional information, people that are interested in working with us as a manufacturer to a supplier or to a distributor has been exciting this year.
Todd Schnick: Let’s talk a little bit about innovation. What kind of innovations do you see coming down the road?
Cal: Right now in the United States, I did some Googling yesterday and there’s over a million miles of pipeline throughout the U.S. And within that innovation as you mentioned, every day there’s somebody getting up with a new idea or something that’s going to make us stronger in the workplace.
And in the industry, I think that our experience in expansion joints — we’ve got a brand new expansion joint out into the marketplace which is a buried service expansion joint. So it can either be buried directly underground, or they can breach the ground and go into a reservoir or into a tank. We’ve gotten a lot of interest in that, and it’s obviously going to create some interest in the market.
Todd Schnick: Cal, I hate to say it, my friend, but we’re out of time.
Cal: All right.
Todd Schnick: Before we let you go, how can people get in touch with you, and where can they learn more about the WaterWorks Divison at Proco Products?
Cal: Well, we’ve got an exciting, brand new website. Everybody that has gone to it has come back to us and said it’s a great site, it’s easy to maneuver. So we can be looked at: www.procoproducts.com. Or you can call, our 800 number is 1-800-344-3246. Thanks.
Todd Schnick: Cal Hayes, General Manager in the WaterWorks Divison at Proco Products, it was great to have you. Thanks so much for joining us.
Cal: Thank you very much, guys.
Todd Schnick: All right. Well that wraps this segment. On behalf of our guest, Cal Hayes, my co-host, Todd Youngblood, all of us at Water Online, I am Todd Schnick. We’ll be right back with our next guest.