Industry Outlook: Improving Our Customers’ ROI

0810outlook13With all the talk about the "new normal" in today's economy, one can not only appreciate that times are indeed tough, but that much of the news media is still trading in yesterday's headlines.

As Warren Buffett has observed, "The investor of today does not profit from yesterday's growth." Perhaps more than ever before, we are all investors: buyers and sellers engaged in pursuing a better product or service, building a better brand or achieving long-term financial success.

In many ways, the "new normal" has refocused attention on a primary performance metric ubiquitous across all businesses, all industries and all job functions: return on investment (ROI). (It's not unusual for such a "back-to-the-basics" trend to emerge at this stage in the business cycle.)

Studies have shown that thermal imaging—or infrared inspection—has an ROI of 4-to-1. That is, on average, for every $1 spent on infrared electrical inspections, there's a $4 return on investment for materials and labor associated with fixing a problem before it results in some type of equipment or system failure. That's an exceptional payback, but not too long ago, only a relative few owned an infrared camera. Today, we see infrared everywhere.

With a mindset toward improving our customers' ROI, FLIR has led on two main fronts: cost and innovation. At under $1600, our new generation of ultra-affordable thermal imagers offers an exceptional price-to-value ratio.

True to the nature of many innovations—just look at Apple's success—we find that most customers, regardless of industry or application, get excited when new technologies are intuitive and easy to use. That's why we conduct focus groups and one-on-one interviews with end-users each year at InfraMation (, the world's largest infrared camera applications conference.

FLIR's low-cost and ease-of-use advantages deliver breakthrough ROI technology to in-house maintenance, engineering and electrical staff. This 24/7 access to infrared is ideal whether personnel are trying to extend the life of capital equipment; reduce energy loss from the building envelope; inspect HVAC, roofing or electrical systems; or monitor problematic equipment such as pumps and motors. It's also ideal for inspecting another vendor's installation or repair work. In fact, FLIR infrared cameras often pay for themselves with just a few uses.

Familiarity with thermal imaging also allows workers to tap into our rental pool of specialty thermal imagers. For example, FLIR's "optical gas imaging" cameras can detect small gas leaks with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), methane, carbon monoxide, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and any number of other industrial chemicals—i.e., greenhouse gas emissions.

Our thermal imagers can see clearly through flames in high-temperature industrial furnace applications, highlighting the "scaling" or "coking" that greatly reduces efficiency. They also can see clearly through darkness, smoke or fog.

FLIR also offers night-vision-enabled perimeter security—a "thermal fence" if you will—for chemical, nuclear, biological and other sensitive facilities. We can even set up a thermal inspection system to monitor product quality or catch manufacturing defects.

We're on a never-ending mission at FLIR: a mission to make our end-users successful by helping them achieve exceptional ROI through thermal imaging. MT

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