The calibration service industry is flooded with participants, but very few have a global presence. Most vendors are restricted to their own region. In order to stay competitive in this economic slowdown, manufacturing companies rely on cost-cutting measures in order to stay competitive.
This has led to intense pressure on calibration service providers to reduce costs, even as calibration laboratories worldwide face demand to deliver high-quality services faster, at lower costs with fewer resources. In this scenario, outsourcing calibration emerges as a major factor in sustaining market growth.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (testandmeasurement.frost.com), World Calibration Services Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $2.79 billion in 2007 and estimates this to reach $3.7 billion in 2014.
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Regulatory norms set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), quality programs, accreditation bodies and audits are becoming more stringent for all companies. New and rigid legislations concerning the environmental impact and safety of products will likely be strictly implemented by quality enforcing bodies in the future. This will require companies to maintain their equipment assets in good operating condition; therefore, mandating periodic calibration.
“Outsourcing calibration activities by manufacturing companies has turned out to be one the most prudent methods of saving costs while, at the same time, increasing the reliability of the calibration,” notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager Jessy Cavazos. “The current outsourcing trend is anticipated to intensify the growth of the calibration services market.”
Globally, all organizations strive to improve product quality, profitability and efficiency. Globalization has turned the world into a single marketplace. Intensifying global competition causes manufacturing industries to shift to low-cost centers in Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe. For companies to compete globally, the quality and performance of their products have to comply with international quality standards.
With a global recession here, companies have sought to reduce costs through downsizing and by outsourcing calibration activities. This has allowed them to focus on their core competencies.
“Another important aspect that has driven outsourcing is the internal absence of requisite standards and expertise to calibrate a particular piece of equipment,” remarks Cavazos. “The costs of procuring these resources are likely to be very high in relation to the volume of calibration being performed. Organizations are ready to outsource to vendors offering them calibration support with proper traceability and quality assurance as per certification requirements.”
An uncertain global economy has resulted in many manufacturers resorting to numerous cost-cutting techniques. One of them has been to reduce the budget allotted for calibration activities. This has led to many companies demanding price reductions on calibration contracts.
In addition, the extreme fragmentation of the marketplace is causing serious pricing concerns. In order to gain market share, vendors have started quoting less than sustainable prices to win orders. The price-cutting strategies of some major calibration providers have forced their competitors to reduce their prices in turn. This has resulted in most companies working with very thin operating margins.
Pricing pressures have already started affecting the quality of calibration. In order to complete the process faster and at lower costs, only the bare minimum points are captured during the calibration process. Essentially, the quality of calibration is compromised in the effort to cut costs.
“The extremely fragmented nature of the calibration services market, exacerbated by intense competition, has intensified cost-cutting pressures and forced calibration service providers to operate at very low margins,” explains Cavazos. “On the one hand, therefore, while there is pressure on price and operating margins, on the other, service providers are being required to expand beyond existing geographies while updating technical and manpower know-how.”
The process of automation in calibration services is the most important technological advancement that is revolutionizing service delivery mechanisms and processes. It also offers most calibration service providers the option to minimize delivery costs, meet customers’ expectations of reduced turnaround time and enhanced service quality.
“Apart from the technical aspect of calibration, commercial aspects like calibration charges and turnaround time of independent calibration vendors should be scrutinized by accredited bodies and national metrology institutes,” concludes Cavazos. “This could be a solution to halting the slide in prices as well as maintaining the quality of calibration.”
World Calibration Services Market is part of the Test & Measurement Growth Partnership Services Program, which also includes research in the following markets: World Oscilloscope Markets and World Calibration Management Software Markets. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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World Calibration Services Market - M259