2017 is flying by. As we enter September we are now in the busiest time of the year for decorative tins both promotional and gift and I can assure you that we have been preparing for this busy season since January of this year.
What’s going on?
- Decorative tins: This is a very seasonal business.Lithography is working very long hours to make sure that we are able to meet the expectations of our customers.
- 3 of our manufacturing plants produce decorative tins (Belcamp, MD, Vandalia, OH and Ft Madison, IA) and they are all working long hours and weekends to fulfill the orders that are on the books
- It appears that the retail markets are working later this year then we have experienced in the past consequently we are required to produce orders with shorter lead times.
- The good news is that we have added more lines in all 3 plants for flexibility and on two lines; we have doubled our through put (units per hour). These investments are a direct result of the acquisition of the Ball Corp plant in Baltimore, MD.
- Industrial tins: This is a very level business throughout the year.
- 2017 has been a good year as the economy has been strong and the products that we supply to these markets are absolutely tied to how strong business is in America, Canada and Mexico.
- The acquisition of the Ball Corp Plant in Baltimore has also added significant capacity and new capabilities for our open top Hermetic tins.
- 2 Piece Drawn tins: This is very level business throughout the year.
- This has been an outstanding year for 2 piece seamless tins. Combining the capabilities in our “new” Baltimore and our Belcamp plants has permitted significant efficiency and growth opportunities.
The biggest challenge today:
As we all have heard on the news and read in the papers manufacturing is coming back strong in the United States. Manufacturing in the USA can be competitive globally:
- Quality: Through our Quality Assurance program we are working through Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), documentation and specification design to provide the finest cans available globally.
- Environmentally responsible: The tins we make are all made with first class steel which is infinitely recyclable.
- Safe Food Quality (SQF): We are committed to achieving the SQF II certification in all of our plants that produce tins for food. Vandalia, OH will be first and then Belcamp, MD.
- Training: The Manufacturing sector in the USA is so strong that finding good mechanics, electricians, machinists ETC. is a real struggle. We are working on training for nearly every skilled position to develop the next generation of can makers.
- Real time electronic systems: In my What’s New posted in May 2017, I mentioned that we are installing a computer system that will ultimately provide real time data from order entry through accounts payable. The update is as follows:
- We have now installed the system in two manufacturing plants with a 3rd going live November 1, 2017.
- The entire system will be fully installed by May 2018.
- With the complexity of business today and the need for real time information we believe this is an investment that will allow our customers the transparency and flow of information required: Bar coding, bin locations, inventory release at the dock when shipped, traceability, etc.I want to thank all of our customers for their loyalty and support as without customers we do not have a business. We now have nearly 400 employees that are fully committed to manufacturing the finest specialty can made in the world.As the President and CEO of our family business I would like to say we are perfect in everything we do although this would not be true. I can say we are working very hard to professionalize all aspects of the company and are installing the skills training and automated systems to provide the resources and data we need to meet and or exceed our customer’s expectations. We are a sales and customer driven company- who happens to be a manufacturer.
Thank you again for your support.
President and CEO