It’s early March and there is not much sign that spring is right around the corner. Fortunately, in talking with our sales force and to customers as well, I think it is going to be a good spring for our industry. In spite of what our elected officials in Washington can’t seem to get done, my sense is our economy is slowly getting better and our customers have learned how to be successful in difficult times.

Last year, our company had a very large and difficult spring. It started early and the weather was so good that our customers had tremendous needs in March and April. We can’t say what the weather will bring, but we know customers have a lot of work to be done and we are trying very hard to anticipate their needs.

This year we are better prepared for spring than we were a year ago. We have added 3 more delivery trucks, 3 more drivers, and 7 more employees in warehousing. We have added warehouse space in 4 locations and have 20% more inventory than we had 12 months ago.

Even with these additions and preparations, it will be extremely challenging when the weather breaks. Past history indicates about 50% of our customers have product ready to go or have already placed orders in anticipation. However, on the first or second nice day in March, the other 50% of our customers will want product pretty much immediately. This means 2500 customers want product within 1 or 2 days and that is very, very difficult. We will get to everybody, but it may take a few more days than everyone wants.

ATS sales reps should be asking you to get product on order so we can better handle your needs. The customers that have orders placed ahead will have precedent over new orders just coming in. The sooner we have orders, the sooner we can make sure we have the right inventory in the right location. I can tell you ATS employees are proud of their ability to service customers’ needs. If we don’t handle your needs promptly it bothers us tremendously. Our employees are going to give 110% this spring; they always do.

We value you as customers and friends and want to take care of your needs. If you can give us a little more lead-time, it will help all of us.