As this year winds down and we set our sights on 2018, I realize that I’m suffering from a condition that I haven’t experienced in a long time. It’s one that admittedly can have a pretty dramatic downside, but right now it feels damn good. I’m talking about EO – or extreme optimism – and let me put aside my wood-knocking superstitious side for long enough to tell why I believe 2018 will be a great year for Algood.
Really there are three reasons for this bright outlook.
1. The Economy is Very Healthy
Most economic indicators in Canada and the U.S. are strong and trending positively. Interest rates are still quite low and very stable. Not surprisingly then business investment in machinery and equipment is up significantly and unemployment rates are falling. GDP in both countries is growing. Markets are at all time highs as investors express their confidence. All of this is confirmed by what I see and hear when traveling to meet with our customers. It’s clear that businesses are investing significantly in new equipment and new technology – and that investment will have a positive ripple effect throughout 2018.
2. The North American Caster Industry is Strong
Here’s a statistic that ought make you sit up and take notice. According to the Reshoring Institute, through the first three quarters of 2017, approximately 180,000 jobs have been transitioned to the U.S from locations outside of North America. There are many strong economic factors driving that trend. My interactions with customers indicate that a major dynamic is that offshore production is subject to long lead times, making it harder to meet deadlines and tying up capital that could be used to improve local productivity. Customers are becoming increasingly demanding and simply won’t tolerate waiting months for product that may or may not match specs. In addition, a number of market segments experiencing significant growth are ones that use casters in their final products.
3. Algood is in a Very Good Place
As consolidation continues in the caster industry and caster products increasingly become a commodity, Algood’s craftsmanship and expertise become more valuable. It takes true CasterSmiths to really understand a customer’s needs and then design and create the product to meet business goals. Having a fully integrated manufacturing facility means that we can develop customized solutions while being nimble enough to meet deadlines and budgets. In addition, by putting the customer at the centre of everything we do, we are positioned to leverage our design and engineering capability, innovating and developing new products. In 2017, we introduced almost a dozen new products or configurations and that trend will continue into 2018. We will be investing in our own operation next year with increased automation, product development and a powerful new website.
So, there are my reasons for extreme optimism. I look forward to continuing to meet the needs of every one of our customers by offering unparalleled service combined with the wisdom and knowledge that comes with almost 50 years of success.
On behalf of the Guttmann families and all the staff at Algood, I wish all of our distributor partners, customers, suppliers, colleagues and friends a Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year which brings you much health and happiness.