3/8 Insights: Plant, Roads, Ports

As you’re aware, supply from Chile for WindsorONE production is influenced by three main factors: plant condition, road conditions, port conditions.

ForAction (FA) Plant Update: In short, we should be manufacturing again beginning of next week.  Following is detail as reported by Kevin:

“Power to the mill: The power company believes that the power will be restored to FA by Wednesday.  We will bring the mill up in sections and deal with issues as they surface.  There is a good chance that the mill will be “powered up” by Monday (March 15).

Water to the mill: OK

Boiler: The replacement fire brick and cement (high temperature adhesive) are scheduled to be in Concepcion on Wednesday.  The contractor will complete the job on Thursday (1 day) leaving Friday and the weekend for it to dry completely.  They will pressure test the boiler tubes with air at the same time.  If there are no other unforeseen issues, the boiler should be ready to go by Monday (March 15) as well.

Miscellaneous jobs such as final alignment on the FJ that moved, re-alignment of one of the molders that shifted, fallen units re-stacked, kiln doors that had fallen off placed back on their track, re-piping of the Boiler water softener, etc, should be completed by early next week as well.”

Continuing the updates…

Road Conditions: We’re spending time finding workarounds for getting trucks to port; current possibility is approx 4 times further than then normal route, but we need to verify that several roads are passable by loaded truck.  Lengthy, yes; yet still good news if workable.

Region VIII Ports: No updates today from on-the-ground team in Chile regarding Coronel, nor San Vicente.  Many of you have e-mailed as to the stats of the Port of Talcahuano, and yes, it appears to have sustained substantial damage. 

Domestic Sourcing: Previously posted fiber purchases begin arriving this week, which we will process and evaluate as soon as possible.

Lastly, I’m hoping towards the end of this week we’ll be able to determine exactly if or when holes in supply might affect your purchases of WindsorONE.  While still a combination of our ability to ship from ForAction (roads and ports unknown, plant status known), and what we’ll be able to procure domestically, we’re hoping to provide a more concrete report.

In Solidarity,


3/6 Insights: Coronel Port to Open?

Yesterday, Kevin, Ruben, and Marcelo were able to make it to the Coronel port.  Here’s a picture they sent, condition appears good:

We were also able to speak to a former employee and friend that now works at the Coronel port (he was there yesterday).  He shared that it looks like they’ll be back online Monday, and able to ship!  Great news of course, let’s hope it happens.  Our friend is also going to check on the status of the containers we have at the port, and let us know their condition.

No new updates on road status.

In Solidarity,


3/4 Thursday Evening Insights – Post #6

Reporting smaller amount of info tonight.  Team in Chile spent time working in mill today, so we’ll be catching up with them over the weekend.  Expect more news ready for Monday morning reading.

Our network of people helping us understand the state of Chile includes two of our USA Manufacturing Team key members (Kevin and Ruben), the Foraction management team, supplier-partners of our log supply, business operation partners (legal, accounting, security, etc), and an extensive network of friends and family living in Chile, from a close friend of my Father’s.  We have great “on the ground” intel, and feel good about what we’re learning.

No luck in the Team getting to ports today; no new news.  Same for road status.

Continue to get more positive news about power, water, etc being restored; military seems to be helping in this regard.  LOTS of damage throughout the country though, will take a long time to get Chile back to where she was.

Colleagues in industry all feel this will take 45 days or so before material really starts flowing again.  Not the end of the world.

Success in getting a little bit more domestic material for USA Operations, which we’ll start running next week in trials.

I know it’s been a busy week for ALL of us.  I’ve heard from many of you, but if you’ve been slammed yourself and haven’t had a chance to ask any questions you might have for me, don’t hesitate to call or e-mail over the weekend… I’ll be at office playing catch up myself!

In Solidarity,


3/3 Wednesday Evening Insights – Post #5

Mixture of more goods and bads to report…

Spoke at length today with USA manufacturing team, working towards possible domestic raw material strategies.  We’ve made some progress, and have a handful of trucks of material for each plant in CA and VA.  We’ll work through these loads, see how they run through the mills.  Possible that one source may have a consistent supply of a decent volume for us.  Not a whole lot out there however; domestic suppliers have been even with demand for some time.  We’re also working to procure some loads internationally. 

Marcelo (GM of Foraction) came home today to find his water and power back on; he resides in Concepcion.  The unrest has settled as the military has come in to “manage” things.  Power and water being restored in areas, and trucks are slowly making their way in with supplies for grocery stores, fuel for gas stations, etc.  Great news.

Looks like power will be back at Foraction plant next week, and we’ll be ready to produce.  We’re going to run at full capacity, and keep building up blocks and blanks for the USA plants… hoping that when ports open up, we’ll be able to grab as much vessel container space as possible for shipment to the states.

Kevin, Ruben and Marcelo attempted to get to the Coronel port themselves today, however the traffic was far too jamming.  There’s a curfew in place that only allows activity from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. – not much time to get things done.  They’re going to try again for the ports tomorrow.

Road repair and ports coming online are still the unknowns, and really the “big two” that affect Windsor Mill.  Will keep reporting with info on progress that we receive.

We’ve heard from many of you in regard to projections and placing future orders.  This information is helping, thank you for the extra effort on your part… it will provide better insight for all of us.

Stressing again two important points:

1)  We will accept no orders from new customers until we’re 110% confident our raw material supply is consistent and plentiful.  We are committed to our current customer base;

2)   From the “About” section: “The purpose of this Blog is to be completely transparent about the recent catastrophe in Chile, and how it may or may not affect WindsorONE supply lines, so that our customers are able to make informed decisions regarding their own supply of quality trim boards for their respective Lumberyards.”

If there are going to be holes in our supply… you’ll hear it from us first.

In Solidarity,


3/2 Tuesday Evening Insights – Post #4

We’re getting reports of lots of positives… and at the same time, more negatives than one would wish to hear. 

On the positive side, our main supplier of logs is sharing that they could be ready to begin harvest and shipments of logs again as early as next week (and actually starting tomorrow in some areas); good news for us.

On the negative, we’re hearing that many manufacturers of blocks, blanks, and other forms of raw material/products may not be online for 45-plus days: please note this is not confirmed.  This certainly speaks to the effect that many feel the catastrophe might have on our industry.

On the unknown, still not enough information on roads, ports, and other infrastructure; we’re working with our supplier-partners non-stop to get better insight into how this all might affect our ability to ship to the states.

As a result of both the negatives and the unknowns, we believe a best possible, proactive approach is to work with our current customers to prepare your next 60-90 days in projections and/or purchases, under your normal purchasing patterns.

We’re hoping that this will help give both organizations as much insight as possible, to:

1) Provide our customers with as accurate as possible information in regards to orders going forward, and

2) Help Windsor Mill manage its raw material flow, and possible procurement outside of our own Chilean plants.

Should you have an interest in this joint-venture approach, please work directly with your Sales Director (Sean, Tony, or Carl) and Executive Account Manager (Jan) to coordinate.

Conference call set for tomorrow morning with USA manufacturing teams to discuss domestic raw material procurement strategy and opportunities.  Will report back on that later.

As always, I’m available to speak to anyone directly via my contact info here: About.



3/2 Tuesday Mid-Day Insights – Post #3

We have heard in full from our Foraction management team; all have reported in safely.  Still some of the manufacturing team that we have not heard from, but no one has reported in being hurt.  Lots of our employees’ homes have been severely damaged, so here state-side we’re looking to fill some containers with tools, building supplies, basic living supplies like dishes, etc, to help; question remains “how” we’ll get the containers down South.

US Embassy has opened up a center for food/water at the University of Concepcion, main parking lot.  This should help Ruben, Kevin and Marcelo, as they reported being low on supplies.

Our Foraction plant is again secure, with guards, and thankfully we did avoid looting.  Last night the team actually took shifts guarding Marcelo’s house as well (our Foraction General Manager)!  They all reported back safely, early this morning.  It appears that military presence, and a new curfew, have brought some confidence and stability to the area (Concepcion).  While yet unconfirmed, we’re also hearing that supply trucks are now able to enter the city, and supply supermarkets, gas stations, etc, potentially allowing people to regain control of their lives.

The team was able to get to the Coronel Port; however, there was fencing up, and security explained that “people” would be in tomorrow to evaluate.  Kevin, Ruben and Marcelo will return to the Coronel port Thursday; and will get to San Vicente port tomorrow.  They are back to the Foraction plant today.

Interesting news, on the positive side: we are being told by a shipping partner that a vessel with some of our containers will be leaving from port in the next couple of days.  This is certainly promising; however, those containers were already AT the port, so we’re still concerned of course about road infrastructure repair.

Our domestic purchases of raw material continue today for USA manufacturing operations.

Lastly, we’re working through exactly how to manage inquiries from our current customers looking to place future orders, in order to help assure a continuous flow of WindsorONE stock.  We’re hoping that many of you will be able to coordinate with us to prepare and estimate your needed supply for the near future; you’ll hear back from us on that first thing tomorrow, if not by the end of the day.



3/1 Monday Evening Insight – Post #2

We seem to have decent intel about our operations, given that two of our key USA Manufacturing team members, Kevin and Ruben, are on the ground in Chile working with Marcelo, our Foraction plant General Manager.  We’re getting semi-regular updates from them via Blackberry Instant Messenger (sorry iPhone users).

As they did yesterday, all three made their way back down to the Foraction plant.  Foraction is operational, received minimal damage, and will be back online rather quickly once power is restored to the area.  However, we are concerned about road conditions to and from the plants, and how this will affect both log delivery to Foraction, and subsequent delivery of blocks from Foraction to the ports.

Reports regarding damage to the ports are somewhat vague here in the states, so tomorrow our team was looking to travel and assess the damage for themselves.  Unfortunately, the “looters” have started to arrive, and it looks like Kevin, Ruben and Marcelo will be on security detail through tonight, and possibly for the next day or so.  Marcelo has contacted our security company to see what help we can count on from them; we should have more in that regard tomorrow.

Reporting some positive news for the day, we are located close to one of our partner-suppliers, Arauco, just South of one of their main plants.  Arauco will certainly be very helpful in getting roads repaired, as well as bringing the Coronel port (which they own) back online.

Additionally, we did begin to purchase domestic loads today, in order to prepare for any gaps in our Chilean supply, which is likely to occur at some level.  We do have inventory at the USA plants, and in the pipeline on the water; however, not having an understanding right now exactly when the roads and ports will be operational again, we’re making preparations.  If you’d like more specifics on the purchases, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly (contact info on About page).

Lastly, until we’re confident our consistent supply of raw material is again secure, Windsor Mill will be unable to accept orders from new customers, in order to assure the best possible support for our existing WindsorONE Dealer Base.

More info will be posted when we have it… stay tuned.



2/28 Sunday Afternoon Insight – Post #1

Dear Valued Customers & Partners:

Your support and concern for Chile’s Windsor Mill employees from phone calls and e-mails have been appreciated, thank you.

The catastrophe in Chile will certainly have an impact on Windsor Mill, and on a much larger scale the entire industry.  Two of our key US manufacturing team members, Kevin and Ruben, have both been in Chile since last week for a machine install.  We have received text messages from them, and they report that they are safe, however are North of our operations, unable to get to our facilities.

We have not heard from others on the Chilean manufacturing teams, and are unaware as to their safety, and accessibility of our main plant, Foraction.  Foraction is about two hours South of Concepcion, and we believe the condition of that plant to be fine; however, we do not know the conditions of the roads, and other infrastructure, and the ability to reach ports.  Certainly we’ll continue to update you in this regard.

Update: 7:00 p.m. PST  – we just heard from Kevin, and he and Ruben are both with our General Manager of Foraction, Marcelo.  They’re staying at Marcelo’s house, have food & water, but no power.  Our CFO, Doug Sherer, sent the following to me, after getting a longer message from Kevin:

“Marcelo, Kevin and Ruben traveled from Concepcion to the Foraction plant today, usually a two hour drive.  It was an all day event.  Good news – the plant has minor damage and most inventories are in good shape with the exception of a couple of fallen units.  The plant has no power or security; however, they are hopeful this situation will change later this week.  Although not all of the Foraction team has been contacted, no one has been reported hurt.  Thank God!  Marcelo indicated that waste wood will be provided to employees for cooking and heating.  Road conditions are a challenge with some in worse shape than others.  Receiving logs will require immediate management analysis.  As you can imagine, the ports are closed and the road into the Coronel port has been damaged.  The status of the ports will be updated later this week.”

Here are a few messages we received on Saturday:

Executive from Chile’s largest fiber producer in e-mail discussion with me:

“We are well here in Santiago. Concepcion and Arauco out of reach. Am waiting for news from two helicopters I have sent to Arauco area. A lot of damage there. All of our mills down. Assesing damage.”

From our legal counsel:

“Thanks for your friendly message.  For my family and I all is well, except some little material damages.  All the country is starting the tasks to rebuilt the huge destruction in an important part of the territory.  Thanks for your prayers.”

Colleague in Santiago:

“We don’t have electricity so we have not seen the news. Only information through the radio. In general really nobody knows what is going on.  Death toll seems low for now for two reasons. Information is not good. Second Chile has a very good construction code. We know from birth that we will experience earthquakes.  You probably know more than me. I have not been able to communicate with any of my friends south of Santiago.”

Windsor Mill has begun the following actions, in order to work towards continued raw material supply if infrastructure damages hinder Chilean shipments:

  • Contacting our NZ suppliers, looking for Radiata opportunities;
  • Working with USA suppliers of domestics species;
  • Working with suppliers in Canada.

We are hoping to hear from our plant operations tomorrow, and I will certainly post again as soon as I have more information.  Please feel free to comment on this post, and/or ask questions via the comment section.

Thank you all for your support…