The YVI team in North America is anchored with 150+ years of valve technical and sales experience to give it the foundation to emerge in the market as a premier manufacturer of industrial valves. The deep respect for its employee’s talents, skills, and contributions, coupled with its dedication to making decisions in line with its fundamental values, have allowed YVI to earn the trust of customers worldwide.
Valve World Americas had the opportunity to speak with Harvey Li, President of YDF Valve International, Inc. and Managing Director for Jiangsu YDF Valve China, Stuart Spears, Executive Vice President, and Joe Bracale, Vice President of Business Development, about what it was like to expand into the Western Hemisphere market, the knowledge base they bring to the table, and their commitment to premier quality and premier performance.
By Sara Mathov and Sarah Bradley
The Making of a Premier Valve Manufacturer
Jiangsu YDF Valve Co., Ltd. has a long history as a family owned and operated business. When the company was established in 1978, as Yancheng Power Station Valve Company, the company was initially a government owned entity. At the age of 16, Harvey’s father, Mr. Changyue Li, began his career working on the company’s factory floor as a line worker and years later became the plant manager. Mr. Li purchased the company in 1998, renaming it Jiangsu YDF Valve, as a privately owned venture. As the owner, Mr. Li continued to improve the manufacturing process of valves. “YDF has been a family-run business for many years. I joined the team in 2009 and I am thrilled to reflect on how much we have grown over the years,” said Harvey. After Harvey joined the team, YDF set up a new sales team and acquired their first foundry in 2009. Through additional investments since 2009, YDF built another foundry and two more factories with laboratories to perform all NDE inspections and testing inhouse.
As the second generation, Harvey has dedicated his time to building his knowledge and understanding of the valve industry as the company continued their business with their original customers. Beginning in 2009, YDF facilities were approved by major end users in the Western Hemisphere. This ultimately led Harvey to move to the US to grow North American sales through distribution partners, with a primary focus on premier manufacturing and exceeding end user expectations through premier performance.
By 2020, Harvey had established YDF Valve International Inc. (YVI) as a US entity, and began expanding his team. YVI hired a very experienced sales and technical leadership team to promote YVI products to end users and distributors alike. “Harvey and I met to discuss what North American End Users expect from a manufacturer of premier cast gate, globe and check valves,” said Spears. This led YVI to open offices in Canada and the United Kingdom, expanding their global outreach. Despite the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, YVI believed in their vision.
Reliability and Predictability through Integrated Manufacturing
YVI prides itself on maintaining manufacturing standards which incorporate the latest API, ISO, and IOGP standards to ensure customers receive products with higher reliability and predictability. As an integrated valve manufacturer, Jiangsu YDF, the exclusive manufacturer of YVI valves, controls the manufacturing process from raw material inspection through casting production to finished product. “One of our greatest advantages is being extremely flexible and nimble when it comes to meeting a customer’s specific needs. Our decision-making process can be measured most times in hours, not days or months like so many others,” explained Bracale. “We also use Jiangsu YDF’s integrated manufacturing process as a means to deliver our premium quality products on time with strict adherence to our internal manufacturing standard and industry standards, while providing superior lead times,” Bracale continued. “We want to be recognized, in the industry, as the manufacturer that provides highly predictable quality products at a competitive price and delivered on time. When we say Premier Quality, Premier Performance, it is more than just a slogan, it is part of our DNA,” Bracale added.
Being a reliable company means providing consistent results. “We have our own foundries, which is a critical component in our process,” explains Harvey. “Our foundry engineers work closely with factory engineers, and the YVI QA/QC team monitors and inspects their work to assure full compliance to our manufacturing specifications,” says Harvey. “Our ability to provide a highly predictable quality valve comes from our ‘inspect for what you expect’ mind set. “We want to assure quality, so we have YVI quality personnel at the foundries and factory to inspect and verify that all YVI products meet the YVI manufacturing standards” explained Bracale. We put our reputation behind every product we make and are proud to make this commitment,” adds Harvey.
YVI does not want
to be known as just another commodity provider. Instead, the company strives to make its mark on the Western market and commit to a range of products it can sustain. Currently the YVI product offerings range from bolted and pressure seal bonnet gate, globe, and check valves, to floating ball valves, trunnion mounted ball valves, for high and low temperature or pressure applications. Standard product range includes: 2” to 60” 150# to 2500# cast carbon steel and stainless-steel bolted bonnet and pressure seal bonnet gate valves per API600, B16.34, and API603; API 623 body guided globe valves; API 594 check valves, as well as API6D full opening check valves. The company also manufactures cast API608 floating and trunnion mounted ball valves in 150# to 1500# pressure classes from 2” through 48” size range also in various materials of construction. By listening to its customers, YVI can deliver this range of premier quality products and remain commercially viable.
By prioritizing quality across its product offering, YVI has built trust amongst its current customers and a good reputation for potential customers. “The key for us is to be recognized as a trusted supplier who responds quickly to customer opportunities, with reliable leadtimes, and doing our best to ensure that our customers realize that YVI is committed to delivering true value to their company,” said Spears. “We want to be their preferred brand, not just an approved brand.”
YVI is proving itself to be a trustworthy partner. We strive to assist our end user customers, and our distribution partners, to accomplish their goals for specifying and installing products that provide a lower total cost of ownership,” said Spears. YVI understands that providing value goes beyond providing YVI products. A core part of our value proposition is to work with our customers and distribution partners to offer solutions to their most demanding and critical applications. “This is why we did not stop after opening our office in Houston and quickly expanded into Canada, and then into the UK and Europe,” Bracale explained. “We want to be where are customers are to become part of their network of trusted solution providers,” Spears added.
Maintaining a diverse and loyal customer base is a result of YVI’s simple marketing philosophy: start with what you do well and build a strong reputation for quality and performance while doing it. With international offices and global outreach, YVI’s customer base covers refining, petrochemical, chemical, LNG, power generation, carbon capture, renewable fuels, and other green alternatives.
Social and Environmental Responsibility
Central to YVI’s core beliefs is its commitment to social and environmental responsibilities. “We believe our business is not simply about products and services, but more specifically about people and relationships,” explained Harvey. YVI’s commitment to people is demonstrated through providing a safe, and rewarding work environment promoting inclusion, recognition, and respect for all. “We have invested in our people by providing advance levels of training through our internal College”, stated Harvey. “This has been valuable for retention of quality personnel,” Harvey stated.
YVI also maintains strict compliance with global trade regulations, including US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and UK Anti-Bribery. “As a US registered company, we hold ourselves to the highest level of ethics,” stated Bracale. “You cannot be a trusted partner and not abide by these laws,” he added. “Our customers know us for our transparency and ethics in doing business, and we hold this standard for all of our employees,” Bracale concluded.
“Innovation comes from necessity as our customers move into new areas,” said Spears. “Green alternatives and carbon capture is becoming more and more of a focus, and we feel it is important that we stay connected to our customers and listen as they transition towards alternative energies,” added Spears. “Linking relationships with key end users and distribution partners with our experienced team allows YVI to help fill the knowledge gap,” he concluded.
“Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) fugitive emissions reduction is another important regulation for our customers,” stated Harvey, “and we are happy to say that we manufacture YVI products that are compliant to the strictest laws around the globe. We are even willing to back our performance with a five-year low fugitive emission guarantee because we trust the products we make,” Harvey concluded.