CHICAGO (July 14, 2:35 p.m. EDT) — Jerry Paulson never thought he'd temp out his own workers.
For a moment in time, the president and chief executive officer of deduster maker Pelletron Corp. had to make some strange moves in order to survive. One of them included finding temporary jobs for his workers with other companies in order to keep them on the payroll.
“It was an accidental strategy,” he said.
His own lesson was this: Even in the world of dedusting, the law of diversifying applies.
“The last three years have been the most difficult,” Paulson said at NPE 2003, held June 23-27 in Chicago. Paulson started the Lancaster, Pa., firm in 1986. Pelletron holds a patent on its Kinetic Gravity Deduster.
In 2001, the company was having its best year. But by midyear, the activity slowed. Resin producers were not expanding as rapidly. After Sept. 11, everything stopped.
“In 2002, we had our worst year in nine years,” Paulson said. “We had to do some strange things.”
He rented out six of his nine employees; all of them are back at Pelletron today.
“The strategy enabled us to remain strong and prevented us from losing too much,” Paulson said of temping out those workers. “We didn't have a profitable year, but we didn't have a disaster.”
The company made a few other changes, too. Now, rather than rely on the resin producer market, Pelletron is building its market among processors. It also leases equipment and handles toll cleaning. Paulson and staff also have devised a return-on-investment program, where they detail the associated cost savings from dedusting material.
For the show, Pelletron introduced a redesigned P5 Deduster, created specifically for small and midsize manufacturers. The new version has the ability to clean regrind and virgin materials that have been mixed together, officials said.
For 2003, sales are growing. Earlier this year, the firm relocated its office and test lab, moving into two new facilities with a total of 4,000 square feet.
“When you see events and you see markets changing, it's absolutely necessary that you take steps to address the problems,” he said. “You have to be flexible enough to adapt. If you don't adapt, you die. The hard part is recognizing that we need to adapt.”