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.

Respectfully,

Craig

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…

Respectfully,

Craig