Shift to Asia reveals short-sighted goals
I just finished reading another issue of Plastics News, and felt compelled to write you again. When I last wrote in May 2002 I had closed my shop and was bracing for the wrath of creditors. Since then, the shop that took me over 21 years to build was dismantled in a few weeks and sold for pennies on the dollar. I have been looking for a new career for nine months with no luck, and personal bankruptcy is next.
Even with all of this, I feel lucky because of the support of family and friends. I know my business did not fail because of something I did wrong. My business, along with many others, are failing because of lack of leadership in government and business.
When I read stories where business leaders use buzz words like ``globalization,'' and phrases like, ``The molding community must change to embrace a global economy if it is to survive,'' or, ``We're going where our customers tell us to,'' I know these people are only trying to sell what they are doing to realize a short-term profit.
The skills that supported manufacturing here are withering. The desire of the next generation to learn manufacturing is not there, mainly because this type of career is not presented in schools as an option. If manufacturing skills are not important, why does a country like China put so much effort into acquiring these skills for its people?
We are seeing the trickle-down effect that is hurting others types of businesses. Our economy needs manufacturing to survive.
This shift in manufacturing scares the hell out of me. Businesses in this country cannot survive without the products that we can only get from Asian suppliers. I only see bad things as a result of this.
Even with all this happening I feel lucky. Do you feel lucky?
Robert J. Grosse
Grosse Tool Inc.
Sun Prairie, Wis.
As economy grows, we can learn lesson
As a plastics industry forecaster, I was pleased to be interviewed by Steve Toloken in your Jan. 27 story (``Despite 4Q hit, plastics production up in '02,'' Page 4).
However, I disagree with those who lament that we remain in uncertain economic times. My data and numbers indicate the opposite - things are coming around, albeit slowly. The recession has provided some valuable lessons, and those who fail to see them are doomed to repeat them.
With NPE on the horizon, let's be more positive in our thoughts and actions. The good thing to come out of the downturn is that certain people in my profession have found ways to help business people understand and apply data to forge a profitable future. No more useless five-year plans. The need today is to learn how to come up with plans and actions that make a difference in sales, growth and profitability now.
Smart managers and their companies are learning the new business economics of using past data, incorporating their own company parameters, and developing short-term action plans.
Mountaintop Economics & Research