Flowserve makes pumps, seals and valves for the flow industry; in other words, for things requiring flows to be controlled, such as in power, oil and gas, water, and others. Like any manufacturer, Flowserve relies on its carriers, but unlike the vast majority, it moves highly sensitive equipment and is needs require specialized carrier partners.
That's why the consolidation in the transportation industry was and remains of special interest to Lewin and Flowserve. It's vital to the company's success that it teams up only with partners with a global footprint and the strength to last.
At the same time, given the economy, Flowserve keeps an eye on its rate structure with carriers. Lewis acknowledges that a shipper's market resulted when rates started coming down in the last year or so, but there is a point of diminishing returns if you start beating up on your transportation providers to save a little here or there. "We felt that if we would stick with them, when rates started going back up, they would look after us. We do look at quotes every year to see what the market is all about, but what we want is a partnership."
That teamwork extends to formation of carrier and supplier councils, says Lewin. That requires that providers meet with Flowserve managers every quarter or so to learn about new projects and requirements. "We keep them engaged in our business. We're not a manufacturer that just needs some boxes moved. We move highly sensitive equipment. So we keep them engaged, and don't only speak with them when there's a movement."
It is about collaboration in a true sense, he says. "We discuss the pain points on both sides. It's not just a one-sided conversation."
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