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Nov 9th, 2014
The busy season is moving very quickly. The leaves are changing, the weather is turning cooler and the Holiday Season is almost upon us.
In my last What’s New article I reported that we were late on most all of our deliveries and were struggling to catch up. I must say that we are in much better shape as it relates to lead-times now then we were in August. This is the busy season and consequently certain stock items are running short or are out of stock so please allow 2-3 weeks on most orders or have a substitution item in mind when you call.
If you have a rush custom order that you would like to discuss please call and challenge us to respond. I cannot promise an immediate turnaround although we are in pretty good shape to deliver quickly.
In the printing division: Today the lead-time in the printing and coating division is 4-5 weeks on repeat jobs and 5-6 weeks on new jobs.
The long lead-time challenges this year were the result of an exceptional influx of printing volume that was much higher than forecast. We have been planning for growth for high quality printing and this is reflected in our expansion of our printing capacity in Belcamp, Maryland and the opening of the new plant in Vandalia, Ohio.
The Vandalia, Ohio printing plant began operations in June of this year and has operated as planned. The crews have 5 months experience at this point and all is running smoothly.
In Belcamp, Maryland we will be installing a new printing line which should run its first sheets by December 31, 2014. This line gives us new capabilities and will be our 3rd printing line in this plant.
With the addition of the new Ohio plant and the capacity being added in Belcamp we will have nearly doubled our printing capacity this year and increased coating capacity by 30 percent.
In the Can Plants: While the can plants are running at a very high level we are well underway with engineering plans for equipment and process improvements being designed for installation in the spring of 2015. The realignment of can line to provide cost reductions and more efficient material flow takes significant time so we are staging the changes we want to take on after the first of the year.
We will be able to discuss some of the changes as we approach the spring time.
General comments: These are exciting times in the United States for manufacturing. The low- cost nations that have challenged the United States and Western Europe for global competitiveness in manufacturing have seen very high rates of inflation in labor costs and difficulties in maintaining their supply advantages.
Through investments in automation and the development of flexible manufacturing systems, Independent Can and hundreds of other domestic manufacturers have reduced costs and lead times to respond to the needs of retailers both specialty and the mass market retailers. The consumer wants good quality, good value and they want it now. The retailers do not have the luxury of buying from halfway around the world and being able to restock the shelves in the holiday season. Having the right products on the shelves provides the consumer with their desired items and reduces stock outs and end of season closeouts which are extremely costly to the retailers.