As I contemplate what kind of company Weber Metals is and where we are headed in the future, I can’t help but think back on where we came from and how far we have come. In the very first strategic planning meeting held upon my arrival, I asked the executive staff at that time to characterize Weber for me. One staff member replied,
“We are a company that flies under the radar.”
At the time that was an accurate statement. Weber was relatively small and operated independently, thus the last thing we wanted to do was stand out and be seen as a threat that our competitors needed to beat down.
But in putting together our vision statement, we decided that it was not in our long term interest to fly under the radar. Instead, we decided to strive for a loftier goal and declared that we wanted to be the undisputed leader in the supply chain we support.
From then on we set out to be a leader in the industry and have been tremendously successful in heading in that direction, working to constantly grow the company and earn a competitive return on our assets. We do this by focusing on our employees, our customers, and our reputation.
Emerging from a parent that has many of the same values and views, Weber grew up as a small, close-knit organization. Our parent company OTTO FUCHS exhibits a positive, paternalistic view of their employees. It is by far the largest employer in their small town and is closely linked to the personal lives and lifestyle of its employees. The Fuchs family has recognized that, relished in it, and promoted it. That same culture was transplanted here when OTTO FUCHS bought Weber Metals; we are active in the local community of Paramount and think and talk about ourselves as the Weber Family.
Our interest in the development of our employees stems from a philosophy that a world class company does not hire someone to just do a function, but instead understands that employees come to Weber to develop their careers. Whether a formal program to take someone under your wing or an impromptu discussion to teach better ways to handle the solution, the ability to take time to help an employee develop is an expectation of our management team. We want to see the organization filled with bright talent and we develop that talent so it becomes the future leadership of the company.
We not only strive to develop our employees but also spend a lot of time communicating to them that who they are and what they do is important. I do not like to refer to Weber as a forging company; I like to refer to Weber as an aerospace company. We make the parts that go into airplanes, and when our employees put their families on a plane one of the reasons why that plane is safe is because their fellow employees made it safe.
This confidence in the parts we make is led by the three core beliefs Weber adheres to: safety, quality, and on time delivery. We believe this focus defines one right way of doing something and ensures that if we do things the right way we will be the lowest cost producer in the industry, allowing us to be the kind of supplier with whom customers want to do business. We have moved from a company that flies under the radar to a company that our customers want to develop their business with. We are a preferred supplier, a strategic supplier, and a major supplier.
Weber Metals has grown dramatically over the past 10 years and continues to grow. With the advent of the 60,000-ton press, the largest press in The Americas, Weber will cement our leading position in the aerospace market for forged products. We will not only have more large press capacity and capability than our competition but will also be in a unique position to continue our growth beyond those competitors who are identifiable today as the elite in the industry. While I consider Weber to be one of those leading companies today, I have the expectation that as we move forward we will take a step above the current elite group.
As we look to the future, we are aware of the realities of the market. Many in the industry are now a part of what has become a consolidated supply chain while others remain small and independent. Weber is in a unique position as a member of the OTTO FUCHS Aerospace Group. This allows us to expand our capabilities, leverage best practices, enjoy financial strength, and adopt information systems that will enhance communication, foster collaboration, and support future goals. We stand at the brink of being recognized not only as an elite plant but also as a part of an elite Group.
I am at that point where the beginning of my career is much further away than my retirement date, and I have specific goals I want to accomplish before I hang up my spurs. One is to get the 60,000-ton press installed and operational, and the other is to see Weber Metals, Inc. and the OTTO FUCHS Aerospace Group viewed in the market place as a step above the rest. I believe with my whole heart that we can do it.