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Industry Outlook

2014 Skid Steer Attachment Sector Looks Good

By Mike Ebben

Despite uncertainty within some of the market sectors, we at Berlon Industries see a strong 2014 as end users seek durable skid steer attachments with high value. Our business depends a lot on what’s happening in agriculture and construction; both sectors are in transitions.

The construction industry is seeing some growth, but economic uncertainty continues to affect non-residential building construction, according to The American Institute of Architects, which tracks architectural billings. The AIA reports October billings grew slower than the previous three months.

At the same time, the 2014 Dodge Construction Outlook predicts a nine percent increase in the value of all U.S. construction starts in 2014, compared to the five percent increase this year. Single family housing will lead construction sectors, with an expected 24 percent increase in units.

Uncertainty is nothing new in agriculture, but some extra uncertainty exists for farmers, as Congress failed to pass a new farm bill before its Christmas break.

On a positive note, landscapers – who often use skid steer loaders and a variety of attachments, anticipate an increase in business in certain areas, including snow removal and hardscaping, according to a survey by Green Industry Pros magazine.

We expect developments of 2013 and the trends for 2014 to overall positively impact our work in the skid steer attachment industry, as customers seek products with high value. We are seeing better activity in main product offerings and we expect that activity to continue.

Mainstay Berlon products such as the skeleton rock bucket and low profile or extended lip buckets designs are still king and are likely to continue to be best sellers in the skid steer attachment industry in 2014.

Customers will continue to demand products that are durable and flexible — enhancing their operating efficiency and allowing them to gain competitive advantages.

We'll continue to respond to that demand with skid steer attachments that are designed to last and that have multiple uses. We also will continue to respond with new products, as we did this year with our new medium-capacity and high-capacity skid steer snow buckets along with several new bales spear carriages.

When we introduced the Berlon Strong theme this year, we made a commitment to serve the skid steer attachment marketplace with strong products based on strong designs, built and sold by a strong team of people.

All of us are committed to growing and supporting the Berlon Strong brand in 2014.

Mike Ebben is president of Berlon Industries, a skid steer attachment manufacturer based in Wisconsin and selling nationwide through dealers and online vendors.