Jepson elaborates on quotes in story
I was quoted in an article by Steve Toloken (``More exports to cure mold makers' ills?'' April 14, Page 1) that I believe bears some further explanation. Steve was writing about the Commerce Department initiative to try to help tool and die shops expand exports to help our industry. In the article I was correctly quoted by Steve, but our discussion was much more than the quotes attributed to me.
I explained to Steve that the Manufacturers for Fair Trade and myself as its president and spokesman are fully supportive of the efforts that the Commerce Department has offered, and that we intend to do everything possible by our organization to work with the National Tooling and Machining Association, the Commerce Department and other industry groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Mold Builders Association to expand the export market of injection molds.
I then went on to explain my personal experiences in attempting to open export markets in Mexico and Europe and the difficulties I encountered in my efforts. Further, I was told by a Commerce Department official that he was doubtful that there was an export market for my products because of the high labor content in our products and hence the high comparative costs.
I have received several phone calls since the article was published questioning my statements, and I wanted an opportunity to set the record straight.
Daniel W. Jepson
Jepson Precision Tool Inc.
No sympathy found for big resin makers
After reading the April 14 ``Spring Materials Update,'' I take exception to the position taken by Jeff Lipton of Nova Chemicals Corp. (``PE makers bemoan price protection thorn,'' Page 9) and Peter Sykes of Dow Chemical Co. (``PS producers looking to regain control,'' Page 10).
It is common knowledge among the majority of small to midsize operators that the two firms being quoted have concentrated their efforts toward large users. Today, the small to midsize processor gets some level of price protection because the two firms in question saw their market penetration diminishing and they needed to get back in partnership with this group. Of course it was all ``hush-hush'' so the big users wouldn't find out and ask for even better prices and more protection ... yeah, sure.
Wake up, Nova and Dow, there are no real secrets. You folks started the snowball rolling and now you don't like the direction or the size - too bad. It's not our fault; you taught us all how to play the game.
The other part that is so totally frustrating is that both of these firms, like most in the resin business, have varying degrees of vertical integration. That puts their raw materials operations in record profit levels while the resin plants are crying about how badly they are doing.
So, ultimately, we come down to Business 101. Do these two gentlemen really think that the converters can pass along the price increases they are trying to impose? Maybe they should stop buying raw materials, we should stop buying resins and our customers should stop buying our products.
Hey, there's a plan: Let's shut down the economic machine of the country. No, we can't do that. After all, we have to ensure that these big corporate executives don't see their seven- or eight-digit incomes decline.
I got it - they all could take a realistic salary and then we would see real profits at all levels of the economy without price increases. No, that won't work, it's too practical and logical. Let's just raise prices and see how many converters can be put out of business, which will help grow their large customers who will continue to have great prices and price protection regardless of all the rhetoric. That's it, that's the plan!
And if you don't buy these concepts, ask Mr. Lipton why his ``struggling'' company is buying up resin plants and shutting them down. Could it be to control the supply-demand ratio as justification for prices to be raised? No, they wouldn't do that, would they?
Lon E. Frye