Volume 40,   Issue 12                      December 2005

TheBusiness

Wrapping Things Up!
by Lyle R. Hill

Itís hard for me to believe that the year 2005 has now reached its end. It seems like just yesterday that I was buying my Honda home generator in preparation for the impending Y2K disaster and now here it is, five years later. It really is amazing Ö no, not that itís five years later Ö that I panicked right along with everybody else and bought a generator! Itís actually a bit embarrassing.

During the course of a year (and this last one was no exception) I regularly get phone calls or e-mails from people who have ideas for articles. Sometimes they even get upset when I donít write about a topic that they have suggested. Actually, some of the ideas and suggestions that are sent my way are good Ö very good in fact. But as Iím sure you can understand, I canít cover all of them (I have this day job that takes up a whole bunch of my time). And while some of them are interesting ideas or great subjects, they donít lend themselves to be developed into a complete article. So if you think I ignored you or didnít seem interested in what you had suggested for a column, please forgive me and try to understand my plight.

However, after having asked for your sympathy and understanding, I am, here and now, going to address some of the items that were sent my way this past year in an attempt to at least wrap a few things up as 2005 comes to a close. 

Blue Collars
Bob Wozny (Midwest Glass) suggested (several times lately) that I do an article on the positive social impact of the Chicago White Sox (labeled as the ultimate blue collar team) winning the world championship this past year. Canít do it, Bob. I like them, too, but itís only a game and the impact is much more economical (for Chicago at least) than social. 

Shameless Self Promotion
Bob Cintolo (Glass & Mirror America) sent me a ten-dollar bill and said I could keep it if I mentioned his name in a column. Shame on you Bob! Do you really think that I (and this column) are for sale? I will not mention you and Iím keeping your $10. 

Serious People
Johnny ďThe MoochĒ Rago (ďlegallyĒ unemployed) recently had this to say: ďHill, you gotta do an article on people who take themselves too seriously. I mean, do these people realize that they are the only ones who take themselves seriously? Do they get it at all?Ē My answer to the Mooch (and anyone else listening in) is this: No, they donít get it and an article from me wouldnít help. They would naturally assume that whatever was being said was meant for someone else!

Old School vs. New School
Mike Turner (a customer) thanked me recently for still being ďold schoolĒ and told me I should do a column about the good old days. I donít like thinking or writing about the good old days because it makes me think about how old I really am. I did talk to him a bit about his concept of old school and what he meant was that in days gone by he thought it was easier to conduct business. Back then a personís word was as good as a contract. The contracts you did sign were a few pages long, not 30 or 40, and there was still a degree of integrity Ö an honorable, fair way of conducting your business affairs. I think I know what he means and, unfortunately, heís more right than wrong, although there are a few good people still out there. The problem is that there are only a few.

Surcharge Fever
Richard Petrie (Architectural Glass Services Inc.) sends me at least one report a month regarding the surcharge disgrace that our industry endures and continues to encourage me to speak out against it. I regularly hear from several others on this matter as well, including one guy who wants to start a class action suit against the manufacturers claiming that the surcharge is a form of price fixing and perhaps even a form of tax evasion. By the way, now that weíre on it Ö is the surcharge taxed? If not, should it be? Itís not a labor charge. Itís a part of the total material price for the product purchased isnít it? Hmmm Ö anybody know a good IRS agent? 

Looking Ahead to 2006
First, if you can, get yourself to Glass Expo Rocky Mountainô in Denver, January 19-20. I love those Colorado guys and have actually asked them (the Colorado Glazing Contractors Association) to put to paper their formula for establishing and maintaining a quality glazing association cause they do it as well as anyone. Iím sure they have their problems like any association does, but as an outsider looking in, Iím pretty impressed. 

Next, if youíll send me information on the surcharge thing I will attack it one more time. But I really do need your help. Send me what youíre paying (and to whom) for the surcharge and Iíll try to put together a chart or something that compares charges and explanations. Iím pretty sure that the legal guys will OK me doing this Ö weíre told that the surcharge isnít part of the actual price Ö cause if it is, it would be taxed Ö so letís just share information Ö OK? 

Lastly, please accept my sincere thanks for the encouragement and support that has been sent my way during this past year. Happy New Year to all of you! 

The Author:
Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago.
lhill@mthindustries.com


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