We have had a warm and sunny autumn and we can also state that we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel regarding the Finnish economy. The atmosphere at the subcontracting fair was generally speaking quite positive and they even broke the earlier record in visitor numbers. At the same time, we would like to thank all the people who visited our stand, it was really nice to have a chat with you all.
For most of the subcontractors in the metal industry, business is going well and companies have regained faith in a better future. Recently, the news has been excellent, particularly for the ship building and forestry industries. Unfortunately, the situation is not as good in other industrial sectors, but the situation is, nevertheless, significantly better than last year. It is still difficult to forecast the future and that being said, the companies’ reactions to various signals in the market can be quick. Anyway, we expect our clientele to stay at pretty much the same level as today or even to increase a bit.
Jame-Shaft has had a good economic year, even if the monthly variations in demand have been big. All in all, the accounting period that ended in June was the best ever with a turnover of over 11 million euros. There was a growth of 10 % compared with the previous year. Also, the summer and early autumn of 2016 have met our expectations and, at the moment, our order book is slightly bigger than at the same time last year. It would be fair to say that the demand and our capacity have been well balanced during the early autumn. However, we are all well used to the fact that this might change at any moment!
During the past year, our clientele has grown a little bit and we have many new products in production. The number of black nitrided products has grown too, so the new furnace that was taken into use last spring has proven to be a good investment. The new furnace has fully met our expectations concerning operational certainty and quality. Its accurate control unit and adjustment possibilities result in exactly the same end result each time despite the size of batch or piece. Also a new multi- purpose turning machine has been taken into use. Accordingly, it has taken over the suitable work from the other machines, enabling the work load to be distributed more evenly and increasing capacity. The overall result is that it has improved our certainty of delivery even further. Therefore, several new machine investments are being planned as we speak, but no definite decisions have been made as yet. Nevertheless, it is already obvious that new capacity will be needed for machining smaller pieces, because more work is expected in that category in the near future. We will come back to this and more in our next customer letter in the spring of 2017.
In addition to new machines, we have also focused on cleanliness in the factory, especially around the machines. Now we have specific places for all tools and measuring devices used at all the work stations, as well as monitoring cleanliness on a regular basis. Also importantly, more time is reserved for keeping work stations clean. On the basis of the different work cycle times and fault notifications we have been able to focus our efforts on optimizing machines that need special attention. We have also paid more attention to giving information during production and to make it more visual.
We have introduced a separate corner in the factory for the production team’s own meetings, so the production team can easily have short meetings when necessary.
The biggest investment into the factory at the moment is renewing the air conditioning and heating in the factory. Moreover, all lights in the factory will be replaced by using LED lights. Our aim is to be more environmentally aware and energy efficient by cutting electricity and heating costs, as well as improving air quality in the factory. This will improve our personnel’s welfare and health and will eventually improve productiveness across the whole factory enterprise. The goal is to have an evenly warm, clean air environment at all work stations. This also will generate a slight positive air pressure in the factory, so ventilation will work in a controlled manner at all times. The investment is big, but in the long run, we will save money in the form of reduced operating costs and improved working conditions. Thanks to a more stable and controlled temperature, even making pieces with exact measurements is easier and this will result in a more constant level of product quality.
We wish all our customers a successful autumn. Let’s hope that the positive trend in the market continues and positivity and growth will gain even more of a foothold in the business.