Evaluate companies on important issues
I found your May 17th column on the demise of many top plastics processors [``Alas, top processors, we knew thee well,'' Page 6] very interesting. I guess the thing I found most interesting is the fact that you found the subject interesting enough to write about it.
The rise and fall of big business is a fact of life. In every industry you have those large companies who bask in the light of greatness, only to end up on the scrap heap at a later date.
The mere fact that you (Plastics News) spend so much time and effort to rate the various top processors tells me that you are way too into hero worship.
I, personally, do not care who is the biggest, who makes the most money, or who is on top at the moment.
Can you tell me what companies in the plastics industry are the oldest? Can you tell me who in this industry has kept customers the longest?
Would not the answers to those two questions show a certain measure of success?
My company, Midland Mfg. Co. Inc., is not in your top 10, or even your top 100. However, Midland is one of the oldest blow molding companies in the United States. We started blowing bottles and industrial parts in 1960.
Although we are not one of your glamorous heavy hitters, we have been quietly doing business, and keeping customers happy for a long time. We have been here through the good times and the bad. Our customers and our employees are counting on our continued longevity. Staying power - it's what's really important.
Midland Mfg. Co. Inc.
Smaller processors have fewer options
Thank you for your informative column [``Alas, top processors, we knew thee well'']. It seems the column was geared toward large firms and you're right, those operations should keep fighting until they can either restructure or sell their operations.
However, for the smaller company I respectfully disagree with your statement, ``Companies cannot always see the writing on the wall. No one wants to admit that the end is near; it's much better to keep fighting.''
As a former owner of a small injection molder (sales of $6 million) I chose to cease operations in January 1997 rather than keep fighting. The handwriting was on the wall: If I did not close the firm our creditors were going to.
I did not want to face more than 70 employees and tell them we didn't have the cash for their paychecks. Those decisions are not easy. I was closing a family business that was nearly 60 years old, but in the long run, I believe it was the right one.
A smaller company doesn't have the options of a larger one. The smaller enterprise is usually dealing full time with production and customer issues and when their bank and other creditor relationships become strained they may not have the personnel or time to deal with these demanding issues.
If after taking a hard look in the mirror, the owner can't truly convince himself the business will survive, then maybe it's time to stop fighting.
Skutch Co. Ltd.