- MARKET SECTORS
- Dan Holohan: Heating Help
- Morris Beschloss: The Beschloss Perspective
- Hank Darlington: Showrooms
- Jim Wheeler: HVAC
- Rick Johnson: Distribution Management
- Dick Friedman: Tech Tips
- Mike Miazga: In Closing
- Safety Columnists
- ASA President’s Letter
- Josh Brown: Generation Y Insights
- PVF OUTLOOK
- PB OUTLOOK
Despite the amplification of obstacles strewn in the tortuous path of America’s hundreds of thousands of independent businesses by federal and state fiats, most of such “small” companies continue to inch forward.
Although the governing leadership in California, Illinois and New York, all staunch advocates of “progressism,” keep piling additional taxes on stressed individuals and corporate entities, these champions of unique American entrepreneurialism are utilizing creative measures to circumvent increased governmental attempts to strangulate their productivity, revenue generation and profitability.
Most remarkable in these early months of 2013 is that such privately owned and managed businesses are constantly developing measures to neutralize the magnified burdens of health-care costs, unnecessary financial paperwork and strangulating regulations that are endangering the forward progress, if not survival, of a national sector that employs 70% of America’s potential jobs pool.
Recent dialogue with scores of manufacturers, distributors, mechanical contractors and retailers detects a note of optimism as the year unfolds. But almost universally there appears to be a note of defiance against government interference and no indication of appreciation for initiatives stemming from Washington or the capitals of some of the nation’s largest states.
It’s no surprise the only praise for positive government action comes from the Southeast, Texas, Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and even New Jersey where indiscriminate taxation has been conspicuous by its absence.
The techniques generally employed by the embattled independent businesses include a constant search for the latest technology to increase productivity on the shop floor and back offices. The maintenance of “just-in-time inventories,” whether finished products or components, and the utilization of temporary or part-time employees has become increasingly manifest.
Gratuitous comments I have gleaned from my ongoing conversations since the beginning of the year indicate a staunch belief that the ability to produce more with less full-time employees is mandatory for the maintenance of an ongoing business enterprise.
There also seems to be a general agreement that modestly priced available credit is easier to come by. Additionally, we’re hearing a more frequent concern for unavailability of skilled and semi-skilled employees, such as engineers and even tradesmen such as mechanics, machine operators and construction specialists. Employee-wanted ads seem to be generally ineffective in seeking out experienced personnel to fill production gaps.
In my main area of expertise, the energy-dominant pipe, valves and fittings sector, the potential appears unlimited, with only the dark clouds of the current federal government’s “climatological” bias barring the way to unlimited growth. This is ready now for unprecedented expansion in power generation, refining activities and pipelines badly needed to overcome the negligence of the past two decades. This implementation of the past two decades’ oversight would be a nationwide bonanza if not hamstrung by an obstreperous Washington officialdom.
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