Last year was good in the Finnish metal industry but the sales started to decline towards the end of 2019. The availability of components improved and thanks to this our customers were able to increase their production. Correspondingly, Jame-Shaft increased production volumes and autumn 2019 was the best autumn period in the company’s history. In spite of the increased sales, our delivery capacity remained at very good level. Thanks to new machines and increased personnel we were able to meet the growing demand and even expand our customer base. The same positive trend continued in the first quarter of 2020, until COVID-19 started to paralyze all activities.
Fortunately, at the moment the situation is starting to stabilize. It looks like Jame-Shaft reached the bottom in May. The order backlog for June is clearly higher than invoicing in May which was over 40% below normal level. In practice this means that we have been forced to resort to temporary layoffs for the personnel accordingly. Some of them can return to work in June, but for some, the layoff period will still continue. In addition, we have taken a lot of other actions to reduce costs. Despite this, the result of fiscal year (1.7.2019-30.6.2020) will be less than budgeted, but thanks to a good autumn 2019 the turnover will stay on the same level as the previous fiscal year. Hopefully the positive trend will continue and we will return to normal circumstances in the autumn.
Despite the COVID-19 situation we have continued our development activities according the plan. Layout changes in the production area and the installations for new machines were completed mainly last year. This year we have concentrated on finalizing the layout and the production areas. We have also cleaned and renovated several smaller areas.
At the moment we are working in the warehouse area where we are changing the location of shelves, repairing and painting the floor and making some improvements in the packing stations. Our target is to finalize this biggest investment and layout change in company history before July. We hope that in the autumn you will be able to travel and visit us again and see the changes with your own eyes.
COVID-19 has not directly affected or limited our own activities. Our staff has avoided infections. As a precaution individuals have been quarantined due to travelling or suspected infection of a close relative or a friend. We have increased the communication to personnel, but in smaller groups only.
We have reserved a special project space in the factory for follow-up of the current projects where everybody can see in a visual way the project organization, actions and current status. The daily changing situation has demanded from everybody a lot of new orientation and flexibility but the co-operation with customers and personnel has worked very well. Many thanks to everybody.
In addition please note that we will not close our factory at any stage during the summer holidays. Thanks to low demand in May and June we will have as many people as possible take summer holidays already before the traditional holiday season. In July we have the lowest number of personnel on site, but all the functions will work as normal. Because of limited availability of material in July we kindly ask you to place your orders for delivery times in July as soon as possible.
We wish all our customers a successful and productive rest of the year 2020. Hopefully the recession caused by COVID-19 will be soon over and in the autumn we are back to normal. Thanks to the development activities and investments, Jame-shaft is ready to serve you in all kinds of circumstances.
Best regards, stay healthy!