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Feb 9th, 2015

We are now well into the first quarter and are working very hard to make 2015 a strong and prosperous year for all.

2014 was a challenging year for many reasons. Two major investments completed in 2014:

  • We opened a new plant in Vandalia, Ohio (Dayton Airport). The first operation we installed was a 6 color printing line and a thermal coater. This is all state of the art new equipment designed for the highest quality printing available in the metal decorating business. The plant printed the first sheets in June 2014 and performed exceptionally well for the balance of the year. We are proud of our new employees and the way they have learned the new equipment and serviced our customers’ needs.
  • In Belcamp, Maryland we have installed a new 2 color printing line with a thermal oven behind a trail coater. This line will allow more efficient production of 1 and 2 color designs and free up time on the 4-6 color printing lines.

These two investments will help us with the lead times associated with can production, as a major delay in making cans was getting printed metal to the can plant in a timely manner. The new capacity will help this.

We have all heard a lot about the economy’s strength and the broad recovery which has been good for everyone. Independent Can Company has approximately 70 additional employees than 1 year ago. The new business has allowed for growth and many new employment opportunities. Today we are building depth in manufacturing and training at a very high level while also backfilling the large number of retirements.

A major challenge we had, as a result of the economic strength, in 2014 was that the demand for our services (printing and can making) grew faster than we had forecasted which caused long lead-times in the busiest time of the year.

I can assure all of our customers that we have taken this situation very seriously and this year we will be prepared for the demand. Having had a full year with the added printing capacity we will be able to respond to the demand.

In the plant:

Lithography:

Lead times are very good right now so if you have a need please call and let us know. We are finishing all annual preventative maintenance and qualifying designs on the new equipment so that we are ready during the busy season.

Can plant:

January is a month where we focus on the annual maintenance issues and line reconfiguration to help better service the forecasted needs and expectations.

As mentioned above we hired many new employees in 2014 and consequently we are running many continuous training classes to help the new operators, mechanics and engineers to better understand our business, our culture, quality requirements and to understand our strategic future.

General comments:

We have been blessed to be in a mature industry where there continue to be so many opportunities to grow and expand our product offerings and our customer base. The opportunities have been made possible because of the outstanding employees that we have. The creativity and dedication exhibited across our entire small company is exceptional.

Thank you to all our people.

Manufacturing is growing steadily in the United States for several reasons which represent a long-term strategic shift requiring a diligent effort by all companies that make products that have been imported in recent years:

  • The labor costs in the low-cost countries have been increasing at a rapid rate, making products less competitive globally.
  • Even with the huge population in Asia there is a shortage of labor to make packaging products.
  • Logistic issues are becoming a big problem. Not only have the costs increased to transport goods but the Long Shoreman at the USA ports are not happy with their wages and working conditions which has caused significant delays offloading ships and work stoppages have been threatened.
  • Manufacturers in the US are better able to assure and demonstrate Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) verses many of the so called low-cost countries

Independent Can Company has invested continuously in automation to lower the processing costs and to improve quality at a very rapid rate, meeting the expected growth or return of work to domestic production.

As a manufacturer we do need more young people that want to be engineers and those that want to learn trades such as: machinist, mechanics, electricians, printing press operators, coater operators, can line operators, ETC.

Our country needs more skills training and more young people that want to work with their hands and minds to make things. With the technology today, manufacturing requires skills that pay well, are secure and are transferable and applicable to many industries.

We want to thank all of our customers for their loyalty. We are working very hard to be your best most reliable supplier of packaging.

Our Mission statement is:

To Be The Best – Not The Biggest

This past year we did not live up to the spirit of our mission statement due to an overwhelming demand that we did not control well. This year we have put into place many controls and systems to help us better line load and increase throughput to meet our promised dates.

As we all know, words are cheap and that the proof is in the execution so we ask that you challenge us.

Thank you,

Rick Huether

President and CEO

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