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May 9th, 2015

As we enter the summer months and the heat builds we should all be thinking about the fall busy season as it comes closer.

The first half of 2015 has been a little flat on sales and market activity. We hear that there are lots of projects being thought about although there appears to be caution in the minds of retailers. I am not an economist although the employment numbers are up nicely and it appears that those companies reporting results are doing well.

Come on people let’s get out there and get the economy going!

What is Independent Can doing to get things going?

  • We have 44 more employees than 1 year ago.
  • Operators- more training for more skilled line attendants
  • Engineers- More engineers to allow faster execution of projects
  • Training depth for future growth opportunities
  • Pressmen and Coatermen- with a new plant in Vandalia, we need skilled staff
  • Relocated can line and presses to Vandalia
  • Logistically advantageous for customer
  • Spreads work out to free up capacity for busy season
  • Free space up in Belcamp for new projects
  • Training, Training and more Training
  • The can industry has not built depth of skills for many years; we need to develop the can makers of the future.
  • Lean Processes
  • We are beginning to roll out the lean processes that will help us drive out waste at all levels of manufacturing.
  • Deep Cleaning
  • Everything in its place
  • Safer work environment, less waste, faster changeovers, better quality and more consistent on-time delivery

Update on Ft. Madison, Iowa:

There was a severe weather event in the Ft. Madison area the night of Saturday 6/20 which left a hole in our roof over which we store primarily packaging materials and some finished goods. With the help of our dedicated team and the original contractor for the facility, the roof was repaired by Sunday evening. Monday was dedicated to cleanup both outside and inside the building, and we were back in production on Tuesday. While we have identified some product to be scrapped the amount of product is both minimal and manageable. Thankfully none of our employees were impacted, and the Ft. Madison area itself was spared more widespread damage. Thanks to all of our dedicated employees who, in a trying time, have exhibited the teamwork necessary for us to quickly manage the efforts of the storm!

From this What’s New article I hope that everyone will feel the energy and passion we have for what we are doing here at Independent Can. We are investing in people, the latest technology and equipment, (printing, coating and slitters recently) and facilities.

In the article that I posted in the first quarter of this year I pointed out the challenges that we had in 2014 and what we were doing to help overcome these same challenges so that we do not repeat them in the future.

  • The overwhelming Challenge in 2014

  • Lithography in 2014 by May 15th had a lead time of 8-10 weeks
  • This caused every process in the can plant to be struggling to meet any promised delivery dates into the fall of 2014
  • Where we are today:
  • Today, we are between 4 and 5 week printing backlog
  • We installed a computer based line loading program that is helping to manage the entire printing process.
  • Vandalia, Ohio-The printing plant has now been printing and coating for 1 year. The added capacity and capability is outstanding.
  • Belcamp, MD- The addition of the 2 color printing line has opened up significant capacity on the 4 and 6 color lines reducing the lead time significantly.
  • We are delivering to our can plant on time and as requested. This will allow an orderly can assembly process.

As a country we have many challenges as it relates to manufacturing although the benefits of Made in America are overwhelming:

  • Challenges:
  • Strong dollar- makes export goods more expensive overseas
  • Strong dollar- Makes goods from overseas cheaper
  • We need more skills development in our school systems
  • There is good pay for mechanics, electricians, pressmen and coatermen, engineers, managers, etc.
  • What are we doing to overcome these challenges?
  • Installing equipment that will make us more effective
  • Training skills at all levels
  • Hiring co-ops for Engineering, Quality, etc.
  • Hiring Management trainees

There is no question that the future is brighter than the past and all it takes is:

  • A commitment to change
  • A creative, involved, and dedicated employment base
  • A training process that will develop excellence and the skills needed in the future

I want to thank all of our customers, all of our dedicated employees and our suppliers for helping to make us what we are today and you have my commitment to working as hard and smart as it takes to build a strong manufacturing business, with a focus on making the best decorative and industrial tin that is truly possible, at a fair price.

Our Mission statement says it best as our focus is:

To Be The Best – Not The Biggest

Thank you,

 Rick Huether

President and CEO

#company

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