Good mold makers, bad businesspeople
Your Nov. 3 Perspective column (Mold makers need to get tough) is precisely on the mark. I have been in the mold-building trade for 35 years, with the last 15 owning my own mold-building business.
The reason this condition exists today and the reason why mold shops are worth virtually nothing when you try to sell them is the fact that shop owners are mold makers and not businessmen or salesmen.
They are craftsmen who are sincerely concerned for their job, and are frustrated with long hours, working conditions and the job pressures of never being allowed to make a mistake and meeting impossible delivery dates.
They then make the mistake of jumping from the proverbial frying pan to the fire: They start their own business. Much to their surprise they discover that banks feel this type of business is too risky, so the mold maker has to put up everything he owns to buy or lease the very basic equipment.
In the beginning they maybe have one molder (their total customer base). Now they have a heavy debt burden of machine loans, payroll, taxes, insurance, rent, materials, etc. They now find themselves working seven days a week for several years trying to stay afloat.
There is no time to mount a sales program. In the meantime, with all the pressures of debt the mold maker will do anything to keep his customer, including selling his soul.
I know from repeated personal experience that to get tough with customers will, in most cases, result in the loss of that account.
You must take into account that most molders under $10 million in sales are staffed with incompetent tooling engineers, arrogant purchasing department personnel and a sales staff that hasn't a clue what it takes to build molds. All of these people will cover their incompetent butts at the expense of the mold maker. This is why the mold-building business is the way it is in this country.
These are good men, good craftsmen who are well-intentioned, but not businessmen and not salesmen.
Michael E. Prosek
Core Dynamics Inc.
Where are recycled telephone poles?
I keep having this vision of recycled plastic telephone poles! Is anyone out there working on this?
If the industry can successfully build plastic bridge components, why not plastic telephone poles from recycled plastic? Perhaps you could print this letter to see if it sparks feedback and/or an update on an existing product.
Hunt Valley, Md.