CLEVELAND — Glitches in implementing a complex management information system have contributed to lower sales at Lamson & Sessions Co. and the decision by one local securities analyst to downgrade his rating of the company's stock.
``They will have a weak third quarter,'' said Saul H. Ludwig, an analyst at McDonald & Co. Investments in Cleveland.
While Lamson & Sessions has acknowledged problems with its information system in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and in a quarterly report to shareholders, James J. Abel, executive vice president, secretary, treasurer and chief financial officer of the company, did not return three telephone messages left with his office by Crain's Cleveland Business, a sister publication of Plastics News.
Ludwig said the maker of plastic conduit and pipe for the construction market is going through an ``arduous period'' as it deals with late product deliveries and inaccurate billings that irritated customers. He said Lamson has replaced three of its four division heads, and some key support staff.
Customers have defected to competitors, but Ludwig said Lamson should be able to win many of them back. He also added that Lamson's outlook will brighten once the new division heads make the necessary changes and the information management system begins to work as planned.
Ludwig said he did not fault Lamson's move to modernize its information system, though he noted that the company did not realize what a painful process the change could be.
``The company had greater problems than anticipated and these problems also cost the company money,'' Ludwig said.
He estimated that Lamson invested about $13 million in the new information technology.