This year’s most popular topic of conversation has of course been COVID-19. This small nasty virus has been in the news headlines every day. It has affected all activities and everybody on the earth, although North-Korea claims to be free from it. In spring it caused total chaos everywhere, but now we have learned better how to live with it and we haven’t had to totally shut down the economy – at least not yet. Hopefully it will not happen and we can continue with today’s recommendations and everybody will follow the recommendations carefully and will not cause infection risk to themselves or to others.
Jame-Shaft drew up guidelines for actions and instructions to deal with COVID-19 already in early spring. None of our personnel has become ill and our own activities have been working without any disruptive factors. The main concern has been the increased number of absences because our workers have been in COVID-19 tests and waiting for the test results. According to our guidelines no risk is acceptable and this means that there is a very low threshold for absences. The indirect effects, on the other hand, have been large. Most of our customers have been suffering from decreasing sales figures and because of lack of components some were even forced to close their factories for some weeks. Changes have been significant, in the worst weeks our sales were only a little bit over one half of the budgeted sales. Luckily the situation improved fairly quickly in the summer.
Despite COVID-19 we made a record annual turnover in our fiscal year ending 30.6.2020, 17.7 million euros. We managed to react fast and adjust our costs in spring, for example with lay-offs, so that our result remained on a satisfactory level. We had some challenging weeks in the rapidly changing situation to adjust the capacity level to the new product mix when the orders from some customers ended almost totally and others continued at the normal production level.
For the current fiscal year, starting 1.7.2020, we have made a budget for 17.0 million euros. The first quarter has now gone and we managed to stay on budgeted level. We are expecting that in November and December our sales will be much lower than in the first quarter. Based on today’s information, however, we expect that in the beginning of the year 2021 we will return again to a much better level. At the moment it looks as though in the first weeks of January our order book will be full. This will be challenging for deliveries, because there are fewer working days in the weeks around the year end. We do not have plans to stop the production and we will continue quite normally on all working days during the Christmas season. If at all possible, please order deliveries for January as early as possible so we can start manufacturing them well in advance of Christmas. This helps our production planning, secures availability of materials and smoothens out the peak in capacity needed.
Despite the challenging circumstances we have continued developing our functions and premises all the time. The big investments in machines with the working station around them are now completed according to plan and they are fully in production. During the summer we continued to improve facilities and workstations in the plant to make the working environment even better.
In the autumn the largest construction work has been building a new info-area between the factory and the office. The total size of the space is 110m2 which can be divided to two separate areas with a partition wall. This area can be used for normal info meetings and training of own personnel and for serving bigger visitor groups in factory visits or education. We hope that the COVID-19 situation will improve as soon as possible and you are able to visit us to see all the investments and developments we have made during this year.
Due to the uncertainty of the situation we will not make any big machine investments in the next months. But the planning of the next investments continues all the time and when the capacity demand again increases we have the readiness to start implementing them on a fast schedule.. Plans are made for both machining and the internal logistics. We hope that already in the beginning of next year we will have more information about this.
If your own company allows and you are willing to have a face-to-face meeting and visit us, please ask us how it could be organized. We must of course follow the official restrictions and recommendations, but with some special arrangements we can organize a safe visit and a tour in the factory.
We wish all of you a successful year end. Hopefully the vaccine for COVID-19 will be ready soon and the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic will end. After that we can start the path to economic recovery and build up the new ‘normal’.