Friday, September 19, 2008

Global competition puts U.S. manufacturers, employees, at odds

Todays cost of operating a manufacturing business in the U.S.-including employee compensation and benefits-is a topic that is flying around a lot and I’m sure next week when I attend two different trade shows I will be questioned about. Everyone is looking for the magic answer. At the same time, we are all trying to balance rising fuel, food, utility, education, housing and other living costs with incomes that have not kept pace.

The over all perception is that we not only are we working twice as hard just to try and break even, but we have had to cut back on things. There are larger differences between the haves and the have nots, between the suites and the blue collar, between the owners and the workers.Manufacturers/employers are struggling to balance the rising cost of employee benefits, material costs, and energy costs with slimmer profit margins caused by downward price pressures from global competitors paying lower wages and lower-or nonexistent-compensation, safety and environmental protection costs, and healthcare insurance costs.My fear is that global competition and over-bearing government regulation have depressed the wages of the lower and middle wage earners. It has also wiping out the ability of private companies to pay livable wages (whatever that is) fund pensions, provide fully paid health benefits and make an honest profit ... basically putting labor and business owners very much at odds with one another.The welfare of employees and employers is intertwined. A business' prosperity is dependent on the prosperity of consumers and taxpayers-and vice versa. After all The Economy really is just about people, isn't it?Is it possible for business owners and labor to join forces to fight the real culprits, such as poorly negotiated trade agreements that grossly favor developing nations over ours? On which other issues can both labor and business owners agree?

Larson note: I sit back in my ivory tower sometimes wondering who our govenment is working for, us or some other country? I look at the bailouts wondering are we saving the workers or upper management (friends) who made the decisions to allow loans with no down payment? What about the small business owner who is the back bone of the economy who is getting clobbered. I look around, lestening to people who are making real cut backs in lifestyle. I see how the various govenemnts (Fed, state, county and local) only seek to perpetuate themselves though higher taxes taking spending money out of peoples hands and into a bluging buracratecy of waist. Free business to make the right choices and together in partnership with those that do the work life can and will get good.

Why have inquires to my company gone up 125% since last June? Easy, because we specialize for the most part in small (under 5 million a year) companies and because we can produce quality leads and customers for Good Companies who need a little help to be Great!

We sometimes don’t produce the way some people and companies hope we can and will for them. At the same time we have “fired” our relationships with companies we deem as not good companies (by our definition). In all our dealings it is win/win or nothing. So too should it be for management and workers, win/win all the time, every time!

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

No comments: