When I read the Viewpoint in your May 6 issue, I was shocked to realize that a rise in the minimum wage was being actively pushed in a business publication. The idea of dictating the price of labor is something one expects to hear from a defender of command-control economies in failed Marxist governments. Thirty-five years ago, a manager told me that he would invest $50,000 to eliminate one job. With labor costs artificially pushed higher, what capital investment will be justified to eliminate one job today? So an important question re-mains: Is any person or group in Washington smart enough to impose their wisdom on a relatively free economy without distorting it and bringing about unintended consequences? Fundamentally, there is an even more important question. Where in the Constitution of the United States has the right to tamper with wage rates been granted to Congress and the President? The copy of the Constitution that I carry in my pocket includes the 10th Amendment, which states in its entirety: ``The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.'' I will be obligated if someone can point out to me where the Constitution of the United States allows any person or body in the federal government to set wage rates.
It is this continuing drive by career politicians to impose on the real world their concept of what is ``fair'' that stimulates growth of militia movements.
Government shouldn't set minimum wage
I was disappointed in your Viewpoint advocating a rise in the minimum wage. As a business publication, I would have hoped you understood basic business principles. One of these is that hiring employees is a function of a willing buyer and willing seller. If, as you pointed out, some areas require higher wages and signing bonuses, then so be it. That is a function of the marketplace, not a government mandate. You state that raising the minimum wage could help reduce turnover. Again, that is a decision I should make and will make if it benefits my company. I don't need the government telling me what to do. I receive plenty of ``help'' from the government already in running my business. I don't need any more. I'm sorry you don't see that side of this issue.
Richard O. Oxford
Dial Industries Inc.
Formex challenges criticism of service
I have read with interest your Page 15 article in the April 29 issue, ``Equipment supplier Aoki targets North America.'
I feel compelled to answer the statement by Setsuyuki Takeuchi where he responded to criticism that Aoki's North American after-sales service has been poor. Mr. Takeuchi's response seemed to indicate this criticism was directly attributable to a lack of staffing by Formex.
For the record, we never operated with only one service agent since the inception of Formex in 1985. Further, our ability to respond to service was never questioned and in fact was and continues to be one of a number of strong points of our organization. In fact, I would welcome any party to survey the Aoki customers and report on quality and timeliness of service and spare parts availability and to compare this with the reputation of Formex over the 10 years we sold and serviced the line. Nearly a year after our ``disassociation'' with Aoki, we still are being requested (and hired) to service a number of Aoki accounts. I will not issue a comment on why this is being done, but simple reasoning will probably provide the answer to you. Our technicians were more than adequate, and they are recognized as some of the best in the industry. Our commitment to quality and service will not allow us to offer less than the best, and accordingly we are required to take this written exception to Mr. Takeuchi's comments.
Tax Viewpoint needs better word choice
I just dialed in to your new Internet site, and I'm as impressed with it as I am with your paper version of Plastics News, to which I subscribe (I'm employed by an electric utility).
Your Page 16, April 8 Viewpoint, ``Scrap tax abatements,'' made reference to ``corporate welfare.'' The use of that term was shocking to me, since it carries with it some philosophical connotations, such as: whatever private industry has (or perhaps every penny the individual has) is fair game to be taxed away and possibly wasted by the government.
Perhaps the writer has forgotten that the government does not create wealth. Industry creates wealth. Government's inclination to tax away and redistribute profits can be abused, and at times is rightfully challenged. Govern-ment must provide some legitimate services, such as defense, law enforcement and education, but must do so cost effectively. However, government is neither good, nor cost-effective, at some things. Therefore, the size and scope of government (this includes its ability to tax the public) needs to be limited. The fall of communism in [Eastern] Europe supports that idea.
I have to believe that private enterprise comprises most of your subscriber base. Does the writer, whose paycheck comes from the wealth flowing from company profits, intend to bite the hand that feeds him or her?
Does the writer think that it is too easy to turn a profit in a competitive industry? The industry people I know must continually strive for improvements in all disciplines just to earn the right to survive. The plastics processing industry in particular is highly competitive. The industry needs supportive, thoughtful journalistic reporting.
Here's hoping the future choice of words reflects a more realistic, balanced view of how economic freedom, balanced with a sense of corporate responsibility, works in our country. For the sake of everyday people, who need employment to provide for their families, I'm glad we have a governor in Ohio who very well understands the need for responsible economic development.
Robert L. Stager
Plastics industry could use a critic
Clare Goldsberry's Page 16, April 15 Perspective, ``Search for good molder defines the times,'' caught my interest. It is surprising to think that potential customers (in any business) are not aware of the resources available to serve them or how to access those resources. Too bad the plastics industry doesn't have a version of Consumer Reports. Considering how many alliances, societies, organizations, etc., that exist in the plastics world, it's strange such a publication isn't on the newsstands.
As far as a definition of a good molder/supplier, I offer the following (which, incidentally, can be applied to all businesses): One who understands the customers' needs and meets or exceeds expectations on quality, delivery price and services.
Advanced Plastics Corp.
Ask inventors some simple questions
Regarding Clare Goldsberry's Page 18, May 6 Perspective, ``Molders of invention beware:''
As a manufacturer representative and marketing/sales consultant, I occasionally deal with inventors that have great ideas, will sell millions of gadgets and make plenty of money. During the course of the initial meeting, I ask them the following:
Is your product patented?
Do you have a business, marketing or sales plan?
Do you have adequate financing?
Are you committed to give the bank your house as collateral?
If he or she does not meet the initial criteria, I can assist them on a consulting basis. Once I feel the above objectives are satisfactory, I can then proceed to work with molders.
I would never compromise the molding community on speculation.
Chauncey D. Jones
Conceptual Resources Intl.
Purchasing agents' role misrepresented
After reading Clare Golds-berry's May 6, Page 20 Perspec-tive on purchasing agents, I see the need for a second opinion on the roles of a purchasing agent, and how they contribute to an organization's profitability.
As told by Ms. Goldsberry, a purchasing agent's only role in life is to constantly beat up suppliers for a price reduction, period. In her own words, she stated ``A purchasing agent's job is to keep molders honest by going out for bid to five of your competitors on a job you're running.'' This is of course not what today's purchasing professional does for a living. Allow me to educate Ms. Goldsberry on the role of today's buyer, and why nearly every company in the world has a purchasing department.
Purchasing's role is not to seek the best price, but the best overall value, which includes quality, service and price. Included in quality/service/price are things like technical competencies, de-sign and engineering capabilities, lead times, quality-control practices, etc. When we buy things, we spend time researching if all aspects of the value equation are present.
For example, if a molder lacks in quality, but his price is real attractive, we lose money in the long run with returned shipments, customer complaints, etc. On the other hand, if a molder's quality is excellent, but their price does not allow us to compete in the marketplace, we lose money in the fact that our product's margins will not support the expense incurred to produce, package, inventory, freight, and sell the item.
Yes price is a critical piece of the value equation, for both parties. I fully recognize that molders must make money in order to keep producing product. If they come forward with their reductions and split them fairly, they not only allow the product to compete better, but they essentially solidify the ongoing relationship with their customer.
One final comment regarding Ms. Goldsberry's statement on purchasing's role in switching from pricing numbers to partnering relationships: she stated ``one benefit to all this will be fewer unscrupulous purchasing agents asking for money under the table, and molders, hungry for the work, caving in to them.'' There's no doubt in my mind that this type of activity has occurred, but her comments are hardly reflective of the vast majority of professional agents that are hard-working, honest individuals who contribute immensely toward mutually beneficial relationships.
Richard D. Wiltse