To Our Valued Customers:
As it has been several months since our last correspondence, we wanted to update you on our progress thus far in 2014. We have not been hiding, rather, we have been busy making a lot of progress, and I am pleased to share some of that with you in this letter. On behalf of the Benada team, I wish to express our appreciation for your continued comments and feedback and assure you it is a vital component of our continued effort to be your preferred supplier.
We entered 2014 with a renewed energy and high confidence in our ability to perform at a world-class level as your supplier of choice. We are pleased to report that the first months of the year have reinforced that assertion. Order backlog has remained strong in a historically slower season, and new order rates, as well as shipments, indicate significant year-over-year growth. Necessary major repairs and improvements to equipment, including presses, containers, handling equipment, and paint line systems have resulted in greatly improved efficiency and equipment up-time. We have now turned our attention to sustaining those improvements through preventative maintenance programs and implementation of internal programs designed to maximize process flow, performance, and productivity.
As we continue to invest in equipment, it is also imperative to invest in people. Recent additions to our staff include expertise in die and extrusion management, a crucial component in our industry, and a necessity to ensure adherence to production schedules and ultimately superior on-time delivery performance. We are becoming far more purposeful and professional in hiring, training, and retaining high-quality people. We are also intensifying our focus on providing and maintaining a safe working environment and with new qualified and passionate safety staff in place dedicated to that goal. New safety practices are being implemented with immediate awareness and training provided to all new hires as well as reviews for current employees.
We entered 2014 with a more purposeful and targeted approach to our major markets and customers built around our core competencies. We’ve leveraged our strengths and capabilities to provide our customers the highest level of quality and complete and on-time delivery in our existing markets, as well as offering new products and value added services.
We appreciate the confidence you have shown in us by continuing to provide new opportunities. We have and will continue to approach those opportunities strategically; and as they become new business, scrutinize their implementation to guarantee successful product introduction. We are also confident that our equipment is designed to facilitate that growth potential, from our 40-foot horizontal powder paint line, capable of accommodating both standard and high-performance paint, to our brand-new product specific fabrication equipment. Our fabrication lines are now operational and are producing product for the storm protection market for Florida and the Southeast.
As we approach our busier season, we are taking additional measures, both with our supply sources and internally, to ensure increased capacity to better allow us to maintain service levels and lead times as our customer requirements reach peak levels.
Where We Are
We have experienced some challenging times over the last three years and some of you questioned our resolve to meet those challenges. Today, there is no question about our resolve to transform Benada into the preferred supplier of quality value added aluminum products in our market. I am very pleased with the progress we have made toward this goal, particularly over the past year. We have a strong and stable management team in place, a sense of purpose and unshakable commitment to do our best every day. Undoubtedly, we will face new and different obstacles, but we approach them now with a renewed confidence in our operations, our strategies, our people, and most of all, our customers.
Financially, we have turned the corner with operating profits posted in the last three months. Our senior revolving credit lender also recognizes the progress as evidenced by its recent increase in facility size to support our growth. Of course, FTL Capital as owners continue to actively support the business with its financial investment and management expertise.
We realize the journey is far from complete and much work remains. So too remains the commitment to our core philosophy of providing world-class on-time delivery, excellent product quality, superior operations, and un-surpassed customer service as we strive to be your supplier of choice in the market.
As always, we will listen attentively to your needs and concerns and do whatever is necessary to remedy any issue that may arise. Please feel free to contact Brad, Dana, or me at any time.
Paul D. Melnuk
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer