SIDNEY — As US manufacturing growth continues to slow, Electro Controls experienced a slight contraction in sales volume in 2019.
“Sluggish manufacturing growth and price pressures bugged us a bit in 2019, but we remained focused and committed to our core clients and managed to get across the finish line in decent shape. Our sales numbers were down a couple percentage points and we’ve had some decline in margin as well, but we have a great team in place and we are working hard to increase effectiveness and efficiencies in order to produce acceptable results in the face of the slow down.” said Kevin Geise, co-owner and president.
The other co-owners, brothers Chris and Jason Geise, agree that the company has a strong and dedicated work force and they echoed almost the same message: “Electro has typically weathered slowdowns well because the employees buckle down and work together to navigate thru the adversity. We know it is important to stay nimble and flexible and we must be willing to change and adapt quickly with the dynamics of a global, and sometimes, volatile economy. Our team is built for that.”
The owners’ report follows:
Our 2019 sales volume lagged 2018 results by 2.0 percent and we finished lower than budget by a disappointing 6.9 percent. There were multiple factors for the missed budget, but it was largely influenced by our larger OEM clients who fell short of forecasts due to lighter manufacturing activity than expected in 2019. Our largest markets in 2019 were food and beverage, metal forming, compressors, robotics, recreational vehicles, specialty manufacturing and electrical equipment, pumps, and agriculture. Our biggest challenge in 2019 centered around significant price point pressures for our finished goods. Many companies are facing stiff global competition and the global trade uncertainty caused additional stress in already tough markets. 2019 was impacted by another round of trade tariffs with China and those tariffs again affected some of our raw material and component price points. While most of this is pass thru in our industry, the administration costs add up. We finished the year with 105 full time employees, and we have 75,000 square feet of operating space. While we are budgeting limited sales growth for 2020, we expect improved financial results as an outcome of multiple continual improvement initiatives. Our employees do a fantastic job adapting, creating, improving, and finding ways to stay competitive and relevant.
Looking to the midterm, the ownership remains committed to investment in facilities, equipment, and employee development. The company reorganized some of its manufacturing space in the first months of 2019 and installed some new wire harness assembly stations to accommodate growth in the recreational vehicle market. After months of planning, the company transitioned to a new accounting software package this past June in order to streamline certain data entry activities and to reduce overall time requirements for accounting activities in general. The company acquired a new state-of-the-art ultrasonic welder system in December. The welder is used to make very high quality and very low resistive wire joints and connections in wire harnesses. Finally, the company has continued to provide monthly training classes for all employees. The classes are attended well, and cover topics related to business, safety, quality, and production.
We are ready for the future and we continue to pledge to offer best-in-class solutions for automation systems, control panels, wire harnesses, and solar renewables. We are proud to be serving a wide range of clients and industries across North America from Sidney, Ohio, and we are grateful to all our stakeholders including employees, clients, suppliers and our community.