State of the Nation
by E. W. Phares II
It is a great pleasure to report that we have finished the first six months of 2011 and our sales are ahead of plan by approximately $1 million but still somewhat behind last year. Our pretax income for the first half is nicely ahead of plan but also behind 2010.
Sales in Canada are well ahead of plan, however, continue behind last year due to the loss of a major account, Cenovus, due to competitive pricing. A considerable amount of new sales development, especially in the Western segment of Canada, has helped in improving our sales vs. plan, and our operating profit is running nicely ahead of forecast.
Sales at Penetone continue quite light due to dramatic cutbacks with the military and also extended time for approval of our new stickies product for the pulp and paper industry. We do anticipate improvement in the pulp and paper area during the last six months as well as a pickup in the pipeline cleaning segment.
Petron has had an outstanding first half with sales nicely ahead of plan and well ahead of last year. Operating income also continues extremely strong and all indications are that we can have a record year if business continues to improve. Sales are strong in all locations domestically and offshore with the singular exception of the cement industry. Our marketing areas are growing at a minimum of 8-10% over last year.
There is considerable concern in the U.S. as well as the European economy re the continuing discussions on increasing the debt limit in the U.S. It is having a negative impact on our government sales, especially to the military. We anticipate that this will be clarified and resolved very shortly and with hopeful anticipation of an increase in Penetone sales.
In spite of weak economy, we are bullish overall about 2011.
Thanks again to all of you for all of your continued hard work and commitment to our company.
West Penetone forms joint venture
By Jean Richard
In an effort to offer leading edge support and products to the food processing segment, West Penetone (Canada) has formed a joint venture with Clean International, a major cleaning contractor for food processing plants (The company supplies labor to do in-plant cleaning and sanitation).
The new joint venture will be called CLEAN CHEMICALS INC. The mission of this new venture will be not only to supply cleaning and sanitizing chemicals but also to work more closely with the customer base to ensure that the most cost effective procedures and controls are in place, have regular training sessions with plant personal and monitor chemical consumption on a monthly basis. In addition, we will be conducting research on all new technologies and equipment regarding food sanitation.
As a result of our decision to form this new company, Olymel, one of the largest food processing conglomerates in Canada, has agreed to convert 6 additional plants to the new entity. Conversion of the 6 plants started in May and will continue to January 2012 representing approximately $750K in annual new business.
To date, a new chemist has been hired by Clean Chemicals with a starting date of August 1st.
We are confident (hopeful) that this new approach to servicing the food processing market will allow us to further penetrate the significant market that food processing represents.
Synergies –a new beginning
By Mike Bradford
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit our Office in Edmonton, Alberta. This is a land where the Mosquito’s are the size of Crows, but also where you can get one of the finest candy bars called “Coffee Crisp”. Anyway, our mission of Synergy has begun between the Great Northwestern Territories of Canada and the Southwest United States. The common thread is found in the Pipeline Industry, The Drilling Industry and Degasification applications, and by that I mean Hydrogen Sulfide Removal, not one cutting the cheese.
After visiting with several customers who are using our products on drilling rigs across Canada and getting schooled on the product applications, we have initiated a Marketing Plan and strategy to launch these products in the vast area of Texas known as “the Ship Channel”, but we will not forget to include the Sooner State of Oklahoma, and the land of Cajun Louisiana. A joint effort is now in place teaming together the group in Edmonton and in the US.
We believe the opportunity is significant and, consequently, a very strong sales push is under way. We anticipate that over the next several months we will be communicating about a successful endeavor. Our confidence level is extremely high and this is based on the very successful history and experience already garnered in Canada.
Additionally, and in exchange, we are discovering some Pipeline Cleaning opportunities up North where the Penetone Team is in a position to support their sales efforts. The Pipeline Cleaning product line in the US is proven and complete and with the strong experience and reputation in the US, our friends in Canada should benefit as well.
The bottom line is that we are capitalizing on the Synergies within the Companies, which will result in increased revenue for all.
So, as I sign off and get on a Plane back to the Buckeye State of Ohio, I will enjoy the view of the beautiful bright yellow fields on Canola below, recline my seat back and snack on a just opened Coffee Crisp.
Life is good!!
Evolution and growth
By Bob Colombo
John was down on one knee hunched over the bottom drawer of a four-drawer file cabinet. He was rifling through a fat packet of files, occasionally pulling one out and sliding it across the floor towards my feet where I sat near his desk. I, in turn, rifled through each file as they slid across the floor. There was a common denominator to each one: Distributor Meeting. This was back in ‘93 and I had only been working for Petron a few months. My job title at the time was Sales Manager/North America Mining and organizing distributor meetings was part of the deal.
At the time we had two meetings a year, one in Milwaukee for just the guys and one somewhere else that included wives and significant others. As the years passed, the meetings became more intense as we collectively grew in number; more employees, more distributors, more subjects to cover, and I can’t leave out, much higher costs. Sometime before Y2K, two meetings a year became too much to organize and a decision was made to have just one meeting a year; the New Berlin meeting was axed.
The format for the meetings remained consistent. Distributors would tell us what worked and what didn’t while Petron would cover the launch of new products and announce what products or programs were getting dropped. Over time we put a laser on an issue that we soon realized was critical: how do we strengthen our OEM relationships. It wasn’t long before OEM participation became the third rail in our meeting format.
In 2001 my work load had grown to an unmanageable level and we hired Gerry Enroth to take over the North American portion of my duties. I was spending more and more time overseas as demand for commodities, and by default, mining, was exploding. I would hand the Distributor Meeting baton to Gerry as he was better positioned to host the events. My last Distributor Meeting was in 2001 and will be burned into my mind forever. We had returned to Grandville Island in Vancouver, British Colombia and our meeting was to start at 8am sharp on Tuesday morning. The date was September 11, 2001. I was up early but didn’t turn on the TV since I was busy with last minute issues, but when I stepped into the elevator and eventually the lobby of the hotel, it was obvious that something cataclysmic had/was happening. Somehow, we managed to work our way through two days of abbreviated material, but the TV became our life-line to all that was happening. Air traffic was grounded, borders were closed (and we were in Canada) and airports were virtually in lockdown. I can’t imagine anyone who can’t recall the events of that week with vivid clarity.
Going forward, Gerry made sure the transition of his hosting the Distributor Meeting was a seamless, smooth event. For the next ten years we continued to see the meetings grow in every sense of the word and as we matured as a company, we decided to extend the timeline to once every two years. Gerry closed out his tenure as host in Savannah, Georgia in 2009 and Dave Brealey took the baton to start his stint as host. We just attended his first Distributor Meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and it was just terrific.
As I look back at my eighteen years of participation in this event, I can best quantify our growth this way: We had more foreign representation this year than we had total representation in ‘93; an indictment of solid growth over the years. This event continues to be in very good hands. To those of you who have participated in our meetings over the years, your contributions are greatly appreciated. It’s an event that is necessary within the Petron business model and is always attended with great anticipation.
By Antoine Alonzo
A couple of months ago we decided to change the phone systems in our Montreal and Edmonton locations for a VoIP phone system. Many were asking me: What’s a VoIP phone system?
Basically VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. This is a type of phone system that uses an internet connection, rather than a traditional phone line, to transmit voice traffic. It takes analog audio signals, like the kind you hear when you talk on the phone, and turns them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.
The IP Telephony technology doesn’t just replace previous ones but enables much greater functionality, increased productivity, enhanced customer service and lower costs than prior technologies.
We have now seamless extension dialling between our locations on our private network. All our offices are “tied together” to act as one large office no matter where they are located. This also provides the advantage of eliminating long distance charges between our locations.
Soon we will have the opportunity to use what we call a “soft phone” which is software that can be installed on a laptop or even on a computer at home that functions like the office telephone. All we need is a high speed internet connection hook-up and you are ready to go.
That soft phone, located anywhere in the world, will be a phone on our office phone system with all the individual settings that the person has on his phone at the office. If someone calls the office, the call automatically rings the soft phone. You can be located anywhere in the world and the person you call or calls you won’t know where you are.
You will be able to easily and economically connect traveling employees or employees in remote locations. Imagine you’re traveling and staying at a hotel with a high speed Internet connection. You have a “soft phone” on your laptop computer. You can use a headset on your laptop or a handset that plugs into a USB port on your computer. The handset acts just like the handset on your phone at the office. You can now receive and make calls through your soft phone just like you’re at your office. Callers will ring through to your soft phone.
Another interesting feature is the capability to receive your office voicemail directly on your email. Using Webmail when you’re not connected to the office network or using a smart phone like a Blackberry or a IPhone, you will able to listen to all the message that have been left by callers on your office voicemail.
This is only a brief overview, there are many more benefits and possibilities to IP Telephony. You don’t need to make a total swap out of your current phone system. It is possible to gradually introduce an IP Telephone System into the organization and interface it to legacy systems.
We are still exploring the strategic business applications and implications of IP Telephony. This will expand the possibilities of conducting our business in ways that we never thought possible.
April - June 2011
Congratulations to the following empoloyees
- Gerry Enroth - 10 years - Petron
- Pierre Stewart - 25 years - West Penetone
- Antoine Alonzo - 3 years - West Penetone
- Barbara LaFond - 3 years - Petron
- Bruce Muretta - 25 years - Penetone
We warmly welcome the following new additions to our company
- Katia EL-Bahar - Receptionist - West Penetone
- Chuck Strait - Sales Engineer - Petron