It has been a few months since our last correspondence, and we are pleased to share our continued progress toward our goal of becoming your preferred supplier. We very much appreciate your comments and feedback regarding our progress. Our ability to move forward as your preferred supplier is based on that feedback as we make the improvements necessary to move to world-class performance level.
It is with great pleasure that we welcome Frank Carnell to our team as our new Operations Manager. Frank brings a wealth of operations experience to our group, having worked in the Aluminum Extrusion Industry for a number of years with companies such as Alcoa, SAPA, AEI, and Hydro. He has been with Benada since September, and his insight and expertise have already begun to pay dividends.
Order rates surged at the beginning of the summer and have stayed strong since then. Unfortunately, we had scheduled work to address some long deferred maintenance items and improvement opportunities just as order rates surged and then suffered some set-backs on unrelated equipment issues and die performance. We have produced at the elevated order rates, but the combination of factors made it difficult for us to recover from the early order surge in a timely manner as we struggled to meet our on-time delivery commitments for several months.
From very significant efforts by our people as well as the continued investment in equipment improvements, we have recently caught up on backlog and will return to world class levels of complete and on time delivery performance imminently.
We come out of this difficult period with much improved presses, including containers, billet and extrusion handling, and PLC controls. Improvements to our paint line have also been integrated, including a new state of the art rapid change color booth and upgrades to the conveyors and additional cooling fans, which will result in higher quality and faster turnaround. Our paint line is one of the few operations in our market capable of producing high quality powder coated product in up to 40 foot lengths in multiple color offerings.
In addition to equipment repair and maintenance necessary to improve immediate performance, our attention is equally focused on preventative measures to improve productivity and reduce unplanned down-time. Specifically, significant effort is focused on process, procedures, controls, proper training and reduced turnover of our people. This takes time to be fully effective but we
are committed to operating in a safe, high quality and productive manner and are prepared to do all that is necessary to achieve the highest standard of performance possible.
Shipment and order volumes were strong in October and have remained strong to this point in November for what has historically been a seasonally slower period. We are excited at new business and product opportunities, including standard and high-performance paint and fabrication from many of our customers. We are grateful to have earned the confidence in our ability to service additional profiles and product lines. Product-line specific fabrication equipment is currently on-order, and we expect to be fully functional and ready to ship product by the beginning of next year.
As our team and operations stabilize, we are becoming more focused on our inherent strengths to service customers. As a result, we are moving toward a more purposeful and strategic approach to our product offering. This will ensure we are fully leveraging our strengths to optimize our time and resources to achieve the highest level of customer service and satisfaction, best quality and competitive value in the markets we serve. As we approach 2014, our commercial team will address more specifically how we can work together to best meet your needs next year.
Although Benada has been through some tumultuous times over the past two years, we have emerged a much stronger, thoughtful and purposeful organization. Our team is much more experienced, deeper and stable. Our physical plant is improved and we are making progress advancing the capability and stability of our entire organization.
Although much progress has been made, we know that much remains to be done. However, we look forward to 2014 and beyond with confidence, optimism and renewed enthusiasm, remaining committed to our core philosophy of providing world-class on-time delivery, product quality, operations, and customer service to become the supplier of choice in the market.
We assure you that we will do everything possible to remedy any situation that may arise by listening to your needs and implementing corrective actions as necessary. We welcome your feedback and ask that you engage Brad, Dana, or me with any concerns.
Paul D. Melnuk
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer