Those who have had the pleasure of working with Piet De Later often praise his calm and diplomacy when resolving controversial issues. A real gentleman, he listens whilst others speak, looks for the best all-round solution and then puts forward his expert vision in a way which commands respect.
Indeed this combination of professional knowledge and tact has helped Mr De Later throughout his career which has seen him tackle many complex challenges. For example, he has worked extensively with peers from other ends user companies (national, international and global) to implement asbestos-free replacements for gaskets and packings, to reduce fugitive emissions, to optimize the reliability performance of valves and to resolve various valve quality issues. He has also been a very effective bridge builder among the different markets (for example: ASME vs EN/DIN) and cultures in various regions.
In short, after a thirty-five year career in which valves have played a key role, Mr De Later knows a considerable lot about valves, and especially the “bread and butter” market formed by standard commodity valves.
“It is in many ways a world that has hardly changed for decades. For example, proven valve designs have remained as they are, the route to market from manufacturer to distributor to agent to end user continues to be well-used, and winning orders is all about price and quality,” he comments.
This is a situation which Mr De Later believes is a major concern. “Following my retirement and a time completely away from valves I have been able to look again at the valve industry from a higher level. I had expected that the valve world would have changed faster. Throughout my working life the western valve manufacturers would regularly complain about competition from low cost countries. I had imagined that these manufacturers would have moved away from thinking about volumes, prices and lead times and instead be looking to add more value for the end user but they seem to be still stuck to volume, price and quality thinking.”
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