2017 was an excellent year for Hytrol, and we expect similar results in 2018. We plan for modest growth this year, which will allow us to focus more on refining the solutions that will increase our capacity and capabilities. Taking advantage of these opportunities, we will create more efficiencies in our processes and new technology that expands our product line.
Silver Cell Automation
With the large growth we’ve had at Hytrol in 2017, it’s become even more important to us to address potential resource constraints. The labor market in Northeast Arkansas is benefitting from the economic growth throughout the region. Our training programs and very competitive compensation package coupled with an environment of respect and growth makes Hytrol the employer of choice in our area. Even so, we must continue to pursue all options, including advancements in technology.
We created our Silver Cell as a response to increased demand in the parcel business and have deployed automation. This automation includes seven new robots supporting this growth within the business. This automation will become increasingly important throughout Hytrol. While we expect modest growth in 2018, we are still preparing for large growth in years to come. Increasing our capacity while maintaining our culture and a work-life balance for our employees is at the forefront of our efforts.
Technology Center Investments
We’ve invested more this year in our Technology Center to expand the Research & Development space and to modernize our demonstration equipment. The Technology Center executes two main functions for us: it’s an area where we demonstrate Hytrol’s product offerings to our customers and, equally important, where we create the new products our customers are seeking.
With our renewed focus, we have more new products in the pipeline this year than we’ve had in quite some time. We’ll be releasing the first wave of new product at MODEX in April. The second wave of product will be released prior to our Integration Partner Convention in October. Hytrol’s roots are in innovation, and we’re proud to push forward in releasing significant new products—both in quantity and innovation— on an ongoing basis.
Events and Celebrations
We have several events coming up in 2018 that we’ll be hosting and attending. A few of them, like Loberg Day, are annual traditions. I’d like to speak to two big events Hytrol is gearing up for in 2018.
MODEX: We’ll be showcasing our solutions at MODEX 2018, and we’re making it our best show ever. There will be new solutions (we’ll announce these at a future date) and will also be showcasing our parcel solutions. Our presence is intended to make a statement to the industry and end users, and we are working closely with our network to ensure everyone benefits from these efforts. You can find us in booth 3219.
Convention 2018: The Hytrol Integration Partner Convention is slated for October 10-13. This is a week in which we host our integration partners and is filled with learning and networking with Hytrol experts. We know we could not be successful without our integration partners, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone in October.
In 2018, we expect to see the industry take large strides in making technology smarter and more integrated. The material handling industry is more than just cold conveyor—it improves people’s quality of life. It’s how so many children received their gifts last week, how medicines arrive at hospitals and pharmacies, and how food arrives to the local market. We’re proud to do our part to keep lives running, and we will continue to make strides of our own into 2018 and beyond.