Finding a silver lining in the clouds of a destructive storm is not always easy. Rapidly rising fuel costs have been a devastating force for many manufacturers of industrial equipment. The immediate impact has been an increase in the cost of transportation and freight as well as some raw materials. Some machinery manufacturers may also suffer from fuel costs associated with sales, specification, installation, and support activities. Viewed from this perspective alone, the rising price of fuel is a bad news story for an industry that has experienced growth in both demand and competition over the last few years.
However, the rising price of fuel has set in motion a series of more profound changes in priorities for both consumers and industry. This shift may bring opportunities for incremental business and innovations in what companies offer to the market.
Those companies that take comfort from recent easing of fuel prices and whose management actions go no further than attempts to mitigate the immediate cost impact of fuel price increases are likely to be at a serious disadvantage in the market in the coming months and years.