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Just finished a review of our 2014. As usual it didn't match our plan entirely. The bad first. We lost a good customer because we couldn't keep up with all of our customers increases. Hiring wasn't as good as it was hoped. Bought a used machine billed as in very good condition that proved to be a waste. Operated too conservatively. The good: 2nd highest sales ever. Highest profit % ever. Very nearly the highest $ profit ever. Recovering from the devastation that the recession had done to us.
Considering revising our plan for 2015. We've been tweaking our system trying to take as much waste out as we can. Have gone ahead with some business spending but still quite conservative.
The recession has definitely left it's mark on me as far as risk taking. So has old age.
For those that weathered the recession, how has it impacted your plans going ahead? Given that capital expenditures usually have a 3 year + payout, do you feel confident making major purchases now?
Observation from running logistics for an apparel manufacturer during the recession...
They continued to operate at 11% profit during the whole recession. They even increased production and product line.
But they did not increase amount of staff in office. They just asked everyone to work harder. Which they did--hey, it's a recession.
Recession ended, growth continued, but they still kept their managerial staff in the same numbers--in the name of lean times. The meetings about "times are hard, keep busting butt" kept going, yet the meetings about progress and profit indicated much success, well after the hump (ours up north was also way less hardcore/lengthy then yours down south)
I see how it happened-- but what a somber place to be at that time. People got to a point of relucting to coordinate/information share with others, from sheer over-load. Too bad--there was a point where they were a top rated employer.
2014 was our best year ever no matter how you measure it. However, we were conservative in our capital improvements, even though we have made fairly significant ones in the previous 4 years. We still have enough debt from those that I didn't have the confidence to stick my neck out further, as the bubble seemed almost too good to be true. So now I get to write out a couple good sized checks next week.
So far, I'm glad I held off, as 2015 has had a slow start. A lot of good things in the works, and it may turn out to beat next year. If so, we'll go ahead and spend some money near the end of the year.
So far we have been trying to increase throughput by looking at the actual capacity of the machines, and putting people where they need to be to maximize that. It's been a bit of a challenge to teach some of the old dogs the new tricks, but so far it's paying off. We need to be "there" when things pick up again - we lost quite a few orders last fall because our lead time was just too long.