I read with interest Lisa Sarkis Neaville's Oct. 30, Page 1 report, ``Molding young minds,'' and the follow-up Nov. 6, Page 10 Perspective column by Don Loepp, ``Creating curricula: Do it right.'' Based on the Plastic Bag Association's experience with sponsored education materials,the points raised in the column are well-founded. For example:
Work with an impartial educational group. PBA conducted two focus groups with teachers to better understand the type of information and the format that would best meet their needs. We then did a pilot test with 150 teachers, asking for additional input and made the changes suggested.
Ongoing feedback. A response form, included with every PBA education kit, asks teachers for their thoughts on the program's content, uses and improvements or potential extensions.
Program balance. The initial focus groups and pilot test have certainly paid off with more than 80 percent of teachers who respond indicating the program is ``balanced'' or ``very balanced.''
Unless an SEM is properly grounded in fact and substantiation, it can do more harm than good. Involving educators in the process can go a long way toward ensuring that a balanced message is delivered.
Plastic Bag Association
Quotes necessary to do a buyer's job
I'm writing in response to Clare Goldsberry's Perspective, Nov. 27, Page 14, where she describes the evils of quoting and says that original equipment manufacturers should ``put their money where their [request for quote] is.'' Ms. Goldsberry suggests that quoting is expensive and molders should ask OEMs to pay for that service.
Give me a break, Clare! After 15 years in purchasing positions for large OEM companies, I can say that if molders (or any supplier) would sell their services effectively, quoting would not be necessary for supplier selection. There are times when RFQs are necessary to do a buyer's job. But, it can be done in such a way that those extra engineering hours would not be wasted by a supplier. I have experienced such partnerships and found them to be successful for both parties.
C'mon, molders! Every week, there is a voice on my phone asking, ``Is there anything I can quote for you?'' The answer is always ``No.'' Stop selling like it's 1958 and the OEMs worth their salt will act accordingly. The days of ``three bids and a cloud of dust'' are over.
And, remember, RFQs are a waste of buyers' time, as well. It is the responsibility of purchasing management to see that buyers have the skills necessary to do the job. You can't effectively buy product at your desk from a salesperson. You must get in the supplier's shop to truly know what their capabilities are.
So, speaking for the OEMs (as Clare rarely does), ``Molders, put your mouth where your money is!''
Paul J. Perry
Ft. Worth, Texas