When the power goes out in your home, it's rarely more than an inconvenience. When a business loses power, however, the results can be downright devastating.
From hurricanes that leave thousands of homes and businesses without electricity for extended periods, to rolling blackouts that jeopardize operations and safety systems at industrial facilities and oil drilling installations, power outages can be very costly. Serious hardship for large corporations, power outages can be disastrous for small businesses.
"Whether it's a large business in the oil industry or a small construction company, going a week without power could wipe out an entire year of profits, or even cause them to go out of business," says Will Perry, President of Houston-based Worldwide Power Products (WPP), a power-generation equipment provider that Forbes Magazine ranked 86th on its 2011 list of America's Most Promising Companies. "Restoring power quickly is essential for businesses striving to recover from disaster of any kind, whether it's natural or financial."
Regardless of the why they lose power, when it happens businesses need to restore the flow of energy as quickly as possible. The Internet is making it possible for companies like WPP to help other businesses get back up and running faster than ever before.
From drilling and construction companies to data centers that store and process information for other companies, many types of businesses rely on independent generation to provide both primary and backup power sources such as Caterpillar generators. Before the advent of the Internet, replacing a broken-down generator was an arduous, time-consuming process that could leave a business inoperable for weeks - or even months. By maintaining an inventory of power generation equipment, as well as relationships with vendors and manufacturers around the world, WPP has reduced that time frame significantly, in some cases fulfilling orders in hours.
Through a few clicks on the company's website, businesses around the world can now have speedy access to power generation equipment, including new and used engines, and diesel generators for the industrial, marine and petroleum industries. Multiple industries have embraced this new means of fulfilling their power needs, driving WPP's growth from revenues of $6 million in 2010 to an estimated $25 million in 2011.
The companies that have benefited from this new method of securing their power needs include:
* An American drilling company that needed to replace its broken-down, 15-year-old Caterpillar petroleum engine. Each day the rig did not function cost the company $15,000. Through a Google search for the make and model they needed, the company's engineer found WPP. WPP not only had a rebuilt engine that exactly matched the make and model of the non-functioning one, they also had a newer model. WPP prepared, shipped, modified and installed the unit in just three days.
* A construction company in Colombia needed two generator sets for a remote construction facility. While WPP had the engines needed, the full generator sets to meet the company's requirements were not in stock. Using WPP's in-house engineering and project management team, they were able to custom-build and ship generator set packages within a month.
* Data centers are a rapidly growing industry that requires consistent, dependable power without interruption, making backup generators essential. Since entering the market in 2008, WPP has supplied several backup generators to data centers in the booming Research Triangle region of the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, offering highly reliable, affordable, new or used units. Because these units are in stock and ready to ship, data center developers have been able to avoid project delays once caused by the need to wait for units to be manufactured, a lag that used to last 20 weeks or more.
"When companies in the petroleum industry need diesel engines that can meet the demands and harsh conditions found in the offshore and land drilling environment, they can go looking online and get speedy, reliable results," says Mark Lum, vice president and co-owner of WPP. "By physically inventorying our stock, we are able to help companies stay powered, keep operating and continue making money."
To learn more about Worldwide Power Products, visit www.wpowerproducts.com.