Yet another year is closing on us – and what a year it has been! A roller coaster ride is a fitting analogy with all the turns, ups, and downs.
Just to highlight a few of the adverse factors:
- Covid has continued to be a challenge, with vaccines becoming readily available and rejected by some. Travel and a sort of normal life gradually returned, only to see the new strains of Delta and Omicron develop and cause concerns. This is unfortunately not over…
- Supply chain challenges causing frequent issues with ‘force majeure’ and allocations, not to mention the drastic cost increases in almost all components.
- Transportation issues, ranging from container shortages, Suez Canal blockage, and too few truck drivers.
- Natural disasters, such as the February freeze all the way down to Texas that brought everything to a halt for weeks.
- An unfortunate and devastating fire at a large grease manufacturer in mid-June that shook the US market and beyond.
And a few of the positive things and accomplishments:
- A global industry pickup since early in the year has resulted in a healthy grease demand, contrasting with the sharp downturn last year when Covid struck.
- Significant investments at our three US manufacturing facilities have reduced bottlenecks, increased production efficiency and overall capacity.
- Continued hiring efforts has brought on additional skilled personnel to fill in key positions in operations, maintenance, quality, and technical roles.
- Global and coordinated purchasing across business units has allowed us to mitigate some of the adverse supply chain effects and assisted in securing key raw material.
- High production levels have been reached across our six plants, well in line with prior records in 2018.
- One AXEL concerted efforts across business units and functional areas have helped to compensate some of the highly adverse industry factors, as we work together every day on our most important goal: to satisfy the high manufacturing and quality standards of our regional and international partners.
We have added significant new business in 2021 and we are very grateful to our new and existing customers who have entrusted us with the supply of their greases.
I am most grateful to all my colleagues in Europe and USA for the effort, teamwork, and dedication that they demonstrate daily, as we have managed and continue managing a never-ending list of challenges. We have made huge commitments and investments to improve our facilities and install new equipment, but we would be nothing without the AXEL Team!
I wish you all a peaceful and well-earnt Christmas holiday and the very best for a healthy and successful 2022!
This year we have chosen the perfect Christmas gift. A gift with the power to give children the chance of a brighter future. We support Save the Children and their vital work to ensure that all children survive, develop, and grow up safely. It’s a gift that makes a change right here, right now. Happy holidays!