by John Vogel
We hit the ground running as soon as the calendar flipped to 2014, and we haven’t had a chance to look back; its been that busy. So, what better time to reflect and look back at the first half of 2014? In what has been a strong year to date, our team at Chicago Pneumatic has worked extraordinarily hard with the launch of new products, new product lines, a TV episode that featured the RX breakers on the National Geographic’s Showdown of the Unbeatables, topped off with a busy tradeshow season in this ConExpo-Con/Agg year.
It’s important to look ahead and dream, but if 2014 has taught me anything thus far, it’s focusing on the immediate tasks at hand in what felt like a year’s worth of work jam-packed into a couple of months. Although the Rental Show and ConExpo-Con/Agg seem like a mere shadow of yesterday, it’s only the start to what looks like a great rest of the year ahead, and I am looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the last half of the year.
The construction industry, on the decline for the past few years, is again seeing growth with job creation. With the upturn beginning in 2013, all of the construction experts out there are feeling cautiously optimistic as the industry rebuilds and regains traction. One of the great things about trade shows is that we can connect with our customers on a more personal level and really get a sense of where they feel the construction market is headed. The response from our customers was overwhelmingly positive.
In fact, we saw construction spending continue to grow in April, rising to its highest level in five years in the United States. The $953.5 billion spent in April was an increase of 0.2 percent from the revised March number of $951.5 billion. With an 8.6 percent increase in total spend year-over-year, construction is at its highest rate since March 2009. Good news in the construction market has been long overdue and this is undoubtedly the news we have been anxiously awaiting for quite some time. Slowly but surely, the construction market is coming back to life.
Chicago Pneumatic has certainly felt the benefits of the upturn in construction these past two years, with proof in the amount of sales and production of CP equipment. Our distributors have helped make us successful, and we continue to offer high quality products that allow our customers to be profitable.
Our sales have been strong to this point in 2014 and don’t show any signs of slowing down. For one, our RX breaker line not only made its TV debut this year, but also performed in terms of sales. As of mid-May, breakers have already surpassed the total amount sold in all of last year. We are thrilled about the success we have seen so far this year with our breaker lineup, and we have received great feedback on the line of CP breakers from our customers.
Our lineup and product offering have also greatly increased this year and contractors and rental companies now recognize us as a full equipment supplier. In the first half of 2014, CP has added a portable air compressor, pneumatic breakers, ride-on asphalt rollers, and the Red Hawk Road gas-powered breaker.
Speaking of new products, the ride-on asphalt rollers we released this past winter greatly exceeded our wildest expectations, so much so that our production crew had to work extra hard to keep up as the orders continued to come in when the rollers were released. New product lines can take awhile to gain traction, and it is relatively abnormal to see immediate success, but the ride-on rollers were very well-received by our customers and dealers, much to our delight.
This is certainly an exciting year for Chicago Pneumatic as our company continues to expand and offer a more diverse lineup of equipment. But, like anything, it is easy to get caught up in all the sales. Sure, we believe that we have made some good moves this year and are excited about our new product offerings, but there is quite a bit of 2014 left to go.
Yesterday is in the rear view mirror, and we are now moving our focus to today with one eye on the future. It has been a great joy to see our team working as one and seeing the results from their hard work. I have also heard countless stories of the success our customers and dealers are having with CP products. We appreciate everything that our distributors do for us and every product CP engineers is with the customer in mind. Our customers and distributors give us many reasons to stay positive and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for your support and understanding in this rapid period of growth.