Social responsibility of Husky debatable In response to your Feb. 7 Viewpoint, "Husky sets example well worth following," I find it amazing that Husky and, specifically, Mr. Robert Schad were so easily called "socially responsible."
As an example, look at the Ontario spring bear hunt Mr. Schad fought to eliminate. Canadian anti-hunting groups reacted in a knee-jerk fashion. Here are the facts:
No serious scientific data was taken to support their claim of cub kills or abandonment.
The closure forced the bankruptcy or loss of revenue of many guides and outfitters with no government restitution.
Many hunters, both in the United States and Canada, were left with nonrefundable payments to set up hunts that at the last minute were denied.
I'm sure that Husky's rewards will be politically party-specific, following an agenda that many of us who consider ourselves environmentally and socially conscious are actively fighting tooth-and-nail. I wonder how many of Husky's employees are doing the same? Being an "activist" or "socially conscious" means different things to different people and more often than not applies to both sides of an issue equally.
Comparison thwarts foreign competition
As a financial consultant and former banker I have experienced firsthand the powerful advantage of comparing one company's financial performance against its peer groups' benchmark averages. While the peer groups can be defined a number of ways, the most common way us by product types and sales volume levels.
A company then has the ability to rate and compare its performance against similar firms and determine if there is room for improvement in specific cost categories. In which quartile does my labor and benefit cost rank? How do my costs of raw materials stack up against my peers'? Benchmarking is a valuable tool in the manufacturing process and its value is equal in the financial analysis of manufacturing firms.
How do we accomplish this feat? Annually, plastic manufacturers would voluntarily and anonymously submit financial data (expressed as a percentage of sales) to a well-respected trade association. The trade association could engage an independent firm to compile the database and make it available to members (fee-based to offset costs) allowing the member company to obtain a report comparing its data to the selected peer group.
The resulting performance improvement of the American plastics industry, which translates into lower product prices, will raise the bar against foreign competition.
Solutions for Business Inc.