Showing posts with label sales engineer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sales engineer. Show all posts

The Evolving Role of the Industrial Valve and Control Sales Engineer in the 21st Century

The Evolving Role of the Industrial Valve and Control Sales Engineer in the 21st Century

The 21st century has been a period of unprecedented technological advancement. From AI and machine learning to IIoT and big data, industries are undergoing rapid transformations, changing how they operate, design, and deliver products. A key sector experiencing transformation is the industrial valve, process instrumentation and control sectors. 

The role of the Sales Engineer, in particular, has evolved drastically compared to what it was in the earlier parts of the 21st century. Today's Sales Engineers must demonstrate new responsibilities, skills, and contributions to be successful in the modern industrial valve and control environment.

1. From Product Knowledge to Solution Architects:

In the early 2000s, the primary role of a Sales Engineer was to have an in-depth understanding of the product portfolio. They were expected to explain the technicalities and features of industrial valves and controls to clients. However, today, Sales Engineers don't just sell products; they sell solutions by understanding the client's specific needs and industry trends and then architecting a solution that might integrate multiple products and technologies.

2. Integration with IIoT and Digital Platforms:

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), valves and controls are no longer standalone hardware; they are now connected, smart devices that relay real-time data. A modern Sales Engineer needs to be adept at explaining the advantages of these connected systems, from predictive maintenance to real-time monitoring.

3. Enhanced Collaboration with Cross-functional Teams:

Previously, Sales Engineers operated more independently, liaising primarily with mechanical engineering, instrument engineers, purchasing, and perhaps product managers. Today's Sales Engineers, however, have to collaborate with a broader array of teams, from software developers to data scientists, to deliver comprehensive solutions. This shift demands excellent communication skills and a holistic understanding of the business.

4. Continuous Learning and Adaptability:

Modern Sales Engineers cannot afford to be static with new technologies emerging at a breakneck speed. They must be committed to lifelong learning, understanding the basics of artificial intelligence when discussing predictive analytics or learning about cybersecurity when addressing the safety of connected devices.

5. Emphasis on Consultative Selling:

The early 21st-century sales approach was more transactional. A client expresses a need, and the Sales Engineer provides the appropriate product. Today, Sales Engineers take on a consultative role with businesses seeking efficiency and optimization. This approach involves understanding the client's ecosystem, identifying pain points, and proposing integrated solutions that add value.

6. Soft Skills and Relationship Building:

Technological prowess alone is not enough. The modern Sales Engineer must possess exemplary soft skills. Building long-term relationships, understanding client psychology, and showcasing empathy are all crucial. As technology advances, human connection becomes even more valuable in sales.

7. Navigating a Global Marketplace:

In earlier years, Sales Engineers often dealt with local or regional clients. However, with globalization and digital connectivity, they are now navigating a global marketplace. This global reach demands understanding different cultures, regulations, and market dynamics.

8. Sustainability and Green Technologies:

The global push towards sustainability has also impacted the industrial valve and control sector. Sales engineers now need to be versed in green technologies energy-efficient systems, and be able to communicate the long-term benefits of sustainable solutions to clients.

The role of the industrial valve and control Sales Engineer has undoubtedly expanded in scope and complexity. These professionals are now at the intersection of technology, business, and consultative service, requiring them to be multi-faceted and agile. The evolution of their role reflects the broader changes in the industrial sector and the global marketplace.

Companies in the valve and control industry that wish to remain competitive should invest in continuous training and development for their Sales Engineers, ensuring they meet the ever-evolving demands of the job. With the right skills and approach, the modern Sales Engineer can propel businesses to new heights in this dynamic 21st-century landscape.

Piping Specialties / PSI Controls

Worker Shortage in Engineering?

Engineering worker shortage
From the sales people on the front lines, to the engineering staff behind the scenes, to the managers in between, every staff member has a powerful influence on the success of a manufacturing company.

But are you facing difficulties in your manufacturing company in filling open positions? Are you finding a lack of skilled and qualified applicants? If the answer is, “yes,” you are not alone.

There are a multitude of factors contributing to the worker shortage in engineering starting with historically low unemployment, the aging population, and economic growth outpacing the rate at which jobs can be filled with trained workers. The talent pool shortage is expected to increase over the next 10 years.

Skilled Workers Aging and Retiring

The baby boomer retirement has been on the horizon for more than a decade, but the recession delayed some of its impact as older workers stayed in their jobs. High unemployment made it easy for businesses to find employees willing to work for less. A significant portion of the current manufacturing workforce is nearing retirement age and as these aged and skilled workers leave the workforce, they take critical industry knowledge with them.

STEM Skills Lacking

In recent years, the lack of STEM courses in high school has produced workers who are relatively unprepared for the demanding tech requirements of 21st century manufacturing jobs. Not only does STEM skills (math, science, and computer skills) prepare young workers for technical jobs, STEM also equips workers with problem solving skills, which is also a potential deficiency in individuals' capabilities for these jobs.

Many Students not Aware of the Industry

For the students who do possess strong STEM skills, they are often unaware of the career paths which would potentially match their skills. Industrial and Systems Engineering degrees are specifically designed to provide students with the skills to design and analyze automated manufacturing processes.

There is also a perception that engineering in manufacturing might not be hi-tech, it may be dangerous and dirty work, and may also be low salary positions. This means that younger workers may not consider the manufacturing industry as a career path.

The industrial sector is experiencing a manufacturing and engineer skills gap and it is up to the stakeholders to understand this critical situation and to look for innovative methods to fill jobs with experienced and knowledgeable engineers. Manufacturing work is increasingly technical, therefore these deficiencies in schooling need to be addressed. How can industry and associations work, in other ways, to bridge the gap?

One opportunity may be the developments in smart manufacturing and the industrial internet of things, connected enterprise strategies, Industry 4.0, robotics, data analytics and product design. These new technologies may logically appeal to the new generation of young people equipped with high tech skills. It points to industry associations and companies to effectively communicate these opportunities within the manufacturing and industrial segment.