Regarding Peter Lantos' Sept. 4, Page 13 Perspective, I find the usage of ratio of sales dollars to number of employees a growing indicator of business productivity, and unfortunately, a poor one. For example, the Plactory in Santa Cruz, Calif., is in the business of recycling discarded plastics into new products. Our cost of materials is close to zero. Since our materials are rather inconsistent, we do not require top-of-the-line equipment and thus purchase old machinery at a fraction of the new cost.
What we do is put our money into labor!
All our machines need operators, and good ones who can adjust the machines and recognize the problems inherent to the materials we use. The net result is that we have a profitable business that happens to be a little helpful to the environment and the coming resource-depletion problem.
To use this system of evaluating productivity creates a mindset that says only those with the newest equipment and the fewest employees are successful and thus, ultimately, the only ones who can get financing through banks or investors. In the long run, this is harmful to the creation of jobs and the conservation of resources.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Article excludes daughter-run firms
I recently read Clare Goldsberry's Oct. 9, Page 6 Perspective article, ``Dads' shoes can be hard to fill.'' While some of the observations concerning the transfer of authority from father to child were valid, I couldn't help but notice a distinctly male-biased viewpoint. The article was filled with statements such as ``a sizable number [of fathers] look to their sons to take over the family business'' and ``sons feel their efforts go unnoticed.''
Although Ms. Goldsberry does mention in a single sentence near the end of the piece that ``it is often different for daughters,'' the article is specifically geared toward ``the sons walking in the footsteps of their fathers.'' It appears, then, there are no women in similar circumstances.
As a woman, and the recently appointed general manager of a family-run corrugated plastic tubing company, I feel it necessary to point out that daughters, as well as sons, find themselves walking in their father's, or even their mother's, footsteps.
Ms. Goldsberry, by suggesting through omission that daughters are not called on to assume command in these or similar situations is doing a disservice to women in general, as well as perpetuating the stereotype that only men can take the reigns of an organization when the father retires.
I suggest that Ms. Goldsberry consider doing a little follow-up work to explore the frequency of daughters filling their parent's shoes in organizations, with the intent of addressing a more realistic perspective in the arena of modern business.
Catherine D. Boettner
Cleveland Tubing Inc.