Last year was finally a time of strong growth for the metal industry. The change was rapid, which resulted in competition for resources, especially in work force and raw material. The only thing hindering an even greater growth was insufficient capacity, not a lack of demand. The reason for insufficient capacity lies in the fact that workshops have not been investing in new machinery over the past ten years or so. This has particularly shown-up as a decreased service level for customers. At the same time, new machine investments have been made and new staff employed. However, it takes some time before the new resources can be fully exploited and service levels restored.
The biggest challenges today are how to stay cost-effective and how to ensure that an adequate amount of raw material can be acquired, when it is needed. At times, it has been difficult to get some rarer materials, such as chromed bars. Hollow bars, for which the delivery times have been the longest, are the most critical material for our production. Also, the general increase in raw material prices has affected hollow bars the most. To say the least, it hasn’t been easy to get round bars either. The first deliveries for these take place in September. Worryingly, uncertainty in the steel market has grown because of trade restrictions and the continuous global debate in the international market.
Jame-Shaft had a very busy year in 2017. The annual turnover increased by 40%, which is truly an excellent figure. However, it didn’t go without problems, it also reflected on our service level, particularly in the spring. For the time being, the situation is normal, and we can better react to the ever-growing demand thanks to our new machines. We are still anticipating a greater demand, but we expect the growth rate to increase by a moderate 10 % only. The turnover forecast for the year 2018 is expected to be around 17M€.
The new investments we made during year 2017 are shown in the picture. The two latest investments, that is, a big multipurpose turning machine and a horizontal machining center are still at the running-in stage. In addition to these, we also have ordered a second hand cylindrical grinding machine, which is undergoing a refit. Importantly, a new turning machine will be delivered to us after the summer holidays. We have also recruited new staff. Today we employ 83 people; which is more than ever before.
We have also developed our systems in the company. Thanks to new people, we have improved our ability to analyze and develop work practices and processes in the factory. Today, we have much better tools and instruments for monitoring machine specific loads. We can now better manage our work orders and schedules. This shows to customers as an improved certainty of delivery. Furthermore, we can already tell you that we can maintain the same service level in the summer too as we are open all summer. Most of the summer holidays take place in July, but despite that all production stages in the factory are all fully operational at all times. Some delays might occur mostly due to longer delivery times for raw material, so we encourage you to place your orders in good time.
We wish all our customers a successful year in 2018. Let’s hope the positive trend in the market continues and the whole supply chain can enjoy a steady growth for years to come!