Weathering the Storm
Without question, 2008 has proven to be a year filled with more ups and downs than any in recent, or not-so-recent, history. The global economic downturn, coupled with rising raw material and energy costs, created an environment that forced companies to either rethink the ways in which they run their businesses or face extinction. Accepting the reality that no longer will “doing it the way it’s always been done” assure corporate viability is a must. Too many companies that failed to do this are already gone.
Just as this current economic climate is not something that happened overnight, shaping a company to be a “survivor” in the business world is not an “instant” solution either. Lummus, over the past decade, has continually taken the steps to allow it to weather the storms it faces. Such steps have included strategic acquisitions of companies with similar product lines to expand the revenue and product offerings we can produce, redesigning our products to reduce costs and lead times and “right-sizing” our resources to match the market climate. In the tradition-rich industries we serve, this has not come without some discomfort, yet these necessary actions help to guarantee that the Lummus family of companies will continue to serve our customers for many years to come.
Our customers around the world continue to keep us in our position as the world leader, and for that we are extremely grateful. They are practicing the same concepts as we are in order to maintain profitability and guarantee success. Our sales to them throughout the year reflected the broad array of products and services we offer, and everything from the smallest retrofit to the largest complete outfit show the creative ways in which we all can work together to move forward into a prosperous future.
Brazil’s continued growth in cotton production, primarily in the state of Bahía, drove the construction of three all-new 3/170 gin plants. All three of these facilities feature two stages of drying and split 144-inch wide precleaning, Super-Jet and tandem saw-type lint cleaning and High-Capacity Lift-Box Dor-Les presses.
The Xinjiang province in China featured two installations of module building and module feeding equipment, while a third location added two stages of drying and single 144-inch precleaning equipment. In Africa, Compagnie Ivoirienne de Coton in the Ivory Coast took delivery of a 3/170 outfit with a single stage of split 120-inch wide pre-cleaning, single Sentinel lint cleaning, and High-Capacity Lift-Box Dor-Les press, while Super-Jet lint cleaning was installed in Zimbabwe for Olam International, Ltd.
Across the United States, a wide variety of projects highlighted the diversity of Lummus products. In addition major purchases from Crockett Gin Co., LLC in Maury City, TN, and Buster’s Gin, Ltd. in Ropesville, TX, numerous others around the U.S. featured the installation of new presses, gins, feeders, lint cleaners, precleaning, along with a variety of used and reconditioned machinery. All these upgrade projects allowed for each customer to obtain higher throughput, thus resulting in greater profitability and reduced cost per bale.
New product development and introduction, a hallmark of Lummus, continued in 2008. The success of a conversion package for the Sentinel Lint Cleaner (to improve feeding and remove the traversing blow-down nozzle system) led numerous gins to convert their existing Sentinels to this design. Additionally, the first production model of the Sentinel with this new feeding concept, dubbed the Sentinel II, was installed at Slaton Coop Gin in Slaton, TX. Finally, the proven performance of Lummus’ Series 2000 Rota-Matic Roller Gin and Feeder resulted in the Dos Palos Cooperative Gin, in Dos Palor, CA, installing a 10-stand battery of these in their converted Red Top gin plant.
What does 2009 hold in store? If only we knew. One thing that is certain is the fact that those companies that adapt to the changing business climate will be around to find out.