The Gaffney Ledger from Gaffney, South Carolina on February 24, 1992 · Page 4
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The Gaffney Ledger from Gaffney, South Carolina · Page 4

Gaffney, South Carolina
Issue Date:
Monday, February 24, 1992
Page 4
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I Servfng the people of Cherokee County since 1894. I Pag4 Monday, February 24, 1992 The Gaffney Ledger I"""'. """""" . , i I I rt " " wnw wnnnwiirnrrl:3 i rft' r - - v i t III I II Ir-B .--I - l I II I Japan has awakened a sleeping giant again Ernest Cain heads a company called Metal Plate. It serves the steel industry. Metal Plate has locations in Atlanta and in other cities in the Southeast A new plant is opening in Houston. Houston is where I found Ernest Cain the other day. I'd read where Japanese Prime Minister Kuchi Miyazawa said, "U.S. workers were losing their work ethic and the drive to live by The Gaffney Ledger Publisher Louis C. Sossamon Ex. Editor, Assoc Publisher..Cofy Soesamon Editor.M.MMM.MMM.M.MMn.MM.MMM Jdorue Jordan Advertising Director .Robert Martin CoL Ed. H. DeCamp 1865-1952 P.W. Soesamon, Sr 1887-1979 Ml THEIRKIEWJ Bush made progress on Asian business trip It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Conversely. I like to think that, the 26,000 mile journey of President Bush and U.S. business leaders in January was a first, positive step toward a more fair and friendly trading environment with our Asian trading partners. I was a member of the business delegation that accompanied the president on his visit to Australia, Singapore, Korea and Japan. I believe the trip was a success, especially for the opportunities it presented small and independent business owners. Too often, however, after a positive meeting with government officials and business leaders in one of the countries, the next day's news would report that the president and his delega tion were running into stone walls at every turn. Frankly, I began to wonder if the news media attended the same meetings we did! Make no mistake, the talks revealed many opportunities for American businesses in Australia, Singapore, Korea and in the longer term Japan. Australia is looking for companies that will manufacture products using the abundant raw materials found in that country. Singapore, with virtually no unemployment and no raw materials of its own, is anxious to do more business with the U.S. The Koreans are interested in greater prosperity and see more open markets as a means to that end. Japan is another matter. In roundtable discussions and private, one-on-one conversations, I joined my colleagues in citing examples of the barriers placed in the way of American products: a 70 percent tariff on beef, 40 percent on citrus and delays of Up to five years for foreign firms wanting to start a business in Japan. At one meeting I suggested to the Japanese that they cut the beef tariff in half immediately. The result, I said, would be higher beef sales and greater profits for retailers. The suggestion fell on deaf ears! Nevertheless, I think we made some progress in Japan too. We were very frank with the Japanese. They know where we stand, what we want and in the lower profile industries (other than autos) there will be opportunities ahead. To realize success we must press Japan on the demands we presented, get what we can and then go back for more. We can make inroads if we remain firm and follow through on the commitments of business and government Working with the Japanese, we can and must close the gap in the balance of trade. In fact, I suggest that we set a goal: to reduce the trade deficit by 20 percent a year for the next five years. In the meantime there are more immediate opportunities for smaller firms. The presidential journey called to mind the words of a 19th century British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli: "Travel teaches toleration." It certainly does. Protectionism is not the answer. I believe in fair and friendly trade relations. President Bush's trip was a good start toward that goal (James S. Herr is president and chairman of the board of the National Federation of Indepen dent Business. He also is chairman and CEO of Herr Foods Inc., a regional snack food compa nyj 'HvMmgxpegt? its tmwtrt Modern conveniences, modern pains It seems everything is automated these days. Automatic teller machines let us do our banking at any hour, we can buy a newspaper at any time we like and soft drink vending machines serve up the Cokes and some even count change. This all sounds very conve-. nient and most of the time it is. But what inventors didn't include in their patents is a back-up plan to take effect when the machines malfunctions. Unlike a human cashier, to whom we can complain and hopefully reconcile with when an error is made, machines are impervious to our displeasure. Contrary to popular opinion, the Coke machine doesn't feel a thing when we curse it and break our toes kicking it "You scum bag. You beety-eyed thing-a-majig. How dare you take my money and not turn loose of the drink. TO jar your little brains out Now give me my Coke," I rant "Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater!" Finally I hobble off, resolved that the machine has seen the last of my quarters. "I'll teach you to take my money," I scowl over my shoulder. One good thing about arguments with machines is you're sure of getting the last word! I must give drink boxes credit though. If you do manage to get them to yield their hoard, the drink is usually cold. In convenience stores operators must be afraid of being socked with an enormous power bill. I i ' .- .- V ..-' .:- - - -All"" - . .- '. V " s . Janice Durham Staff Writer Their coolers are set just below room temperature and you get a lukewarm drink. And what about ATMs? Friday afternoons will find most of us at the bank cashing our payroll checks and depositing a few bills for a rainy day. Problem is if it rains over the weekend. When you decide you've waited long enough to take that shopping trip and make a mad dash for the ATM en route to the mall, the blinking thing will tell you you don't have the funds. "Unable to process amount requested," it will flash on the screen. "Ok, how about $10? Will you give me $10," I beg. "Unable to process amount requested," it retorts. Knowing the thing sees me with if s little hidden camera, I decide to get even. I make my ugliest face and hold the pose, hoping to short circuit the thing. And of course there is the classic bout: man vs. automobile. Cars can be so cantankerous and stubborn at times. My brother has made a comedy of "Bessie" and me. He says the auto mechanics in town have a running bet as to who will get to have their hands under Bessie's hood next. Tall remember Bessie, the 1982 Toyota with an attitude (and a new clutch). She doesn't like to get up early in the mornings. "But I don't want to go to work. I'd much rather stay here in the cozy carport," 'she protests as I'm furiously pumping the gas pedal trying to get the engine to turn over. "Now Bessie, you know we've talked about this. Remember where we went last month? Thaf s right We went to the bank and now you're paid for. I hate to be nasty about it honey but mind you, if I have to, 111 glue your little cylinders together with bubble gum, staple your manifold and tie your muffler together with baling twine," I threaten. "Like it or not, you're going to cooperate for at least another year." She coughs once or twice more and then fires up. You just have to know how to talk to her, be firm and command her respect And so the saga continues. SHOE ByJeffMcNally f WATCH OUT FOR." VpS f PEOPLE RLIEP C AR V&UAUf PgoPLE ' 1 WE WOKP "FAMOUS" V , I AS -FAMOUS". I I HW NEVER HEAKP OF. I j, - J JjJV . r W- --Vjp r the sweat of their brow." I wanted to ask Ernest, a dear friend, about his workers. He has 200 employees. "Have any of your peo ple lost their work ethic and the drive to live by the sweat of their brow?" I inquired of Lewis Grtzzard him on the Syndicated Columnist "., telephone. "It's been my view for a long time," he answered, "that a good manager sees to it that his employees work hard, and a bad manager turns them the other way." So good managers are important, then? "Good managers," said Ernie, "and incentives." Ernie explained his company's incentive plan. If you've got a company and don't have an incentive plan, read this carefully. ; "We have a bonus system," he began, "and we put a fair amount of our profits into a bonus pot "At the end of the year the bonus pot reflects how much profit we made. The smaller the profit, the smaller the bonuses and vice versa. "So we hope if s in every employee's mind to do his or her job at the best of his or her ability. That will increase company profits and that will increase their bonuses. That makes managers push and makes those under them respond." "What about absenteeism? I've heard America has a high rate in its work force," was my next question. "We don't have an absenteeism problem," Ernie said. "If an employee calls in sick, that employee must produce a doctor's excuse. Otherwise it's an unexcused absence. "We also excuse workers due to deaths in their immediate families and we mean immediate. "But for every hour a person is off the job with an unexcused absence, that person loses one percent of his or her annual bonus. So you miss one day unexcused, and you lose eight hours, and you lose eight percent of your bonus, v t "You figure if somebody is going to receive a $5,000 annual bonus and missed three full days of work with unexcused absences, that means 24 percent, or $1,200 of the bonus is subtracted at the end of the year. That tends to keep workers on the job." After talking to Cain I drew these conclusions: 1. American workers are probably like most workers anywhere. Give them an incentive to work their butts off and usually they will . 2. Good managers don't have to be Simon What's-His-Names, but they must demand an honest day's work. 3. Under a system like Metal Plate, a bad worker might mean an inferior product, a small product, and a smaller bonus. In that scenario the good workers probably would see to' it the bad worker picked up the slack or would see to it the bad worker went elsewhere to goof off ; V 4. The Japanese awakened a sleeping giant when they attacked Pearl Harbor in 194 L A few more verbal shots like the prime minister took at us, and it could happen again. LETTERS 'Managed equal trade' needed Dear Editor: Million jobs from Japan overlooked by Bush! Japan's insidious pursuit of profit, denying fair play, adds more than $40 billion a year to their $400 billion trade advantage since 1980. They target profit whereas, to our detriment, we embrace "free trade" as if it had more intrinsic worth than does "profit" The resulting cost to our nation has been horrendous in lost enterprise, fewer jobs, reduced production capacity, and finally a lower standard of living. Given Japan's opposition to open markets, today's economic doldrums beg for a change by Bush from unilateral free trade, to managed equal trade. Getting elected in 1992 may be decided by which party and candidate promotes "managed equal trade" as the only way to open Japan's markets, not negotiation that spurs rhetoric but seldom benefit It is far more productive to let the Japanese decide for themselves how to comply to a requirement to balance trade, whether to import more or export less. By making exports and profits dependent on imports, their trade barriers would drop like the Berlin Wall, along with any pretext about differing cultures or product quality. They would profit less until they imported more of our farm products and manufactured goods. Any surplus would be disposed of easily by an efficient Japan, brokered to other world markets. Here we quickly generate both profit and jobs, about 20,000 for each additional billion in exports, nearly a million jobs, without adding to the federal budget or deficit spend ing! Sincerely, Donald J. Aldrick Fair Oaks, Ca. 95628 WHERE TO WRITE Following are the names, addresses and telephone numbers of elected officials who represent Cherokee County: Hon. J. Strom Thurmond SR-218 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C., 20510 Telephone: 202-224-5972 or 765-5494 Hon. Ernest F. Hollings SR-125 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: 202-224-6121 or 585-3702 Hon. John Spratt 118 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C, 20510 Telephone: 202-225-5501 or 327-1114. Hon. Carroll Campbell State House, 1st Floor, West Wing Box 11369 Columbia, S.C., 21921 Telephone: 734-9818 Hon. Harvey S. Peeler RO. Box 1687 Gaffney, S.C., 29342 Telephone: 489-3766, 489-108 or 734-2858 Hon. din R. Phillips RO. Box 206 District 29 Gaffney, S.C., 29342 Telephone: 489-6738 or 734-2956 Hon. Dewitt McCraw 906 College Drive District 30 Gaffney, S.C., 29340 Telephone: 489-2294 or 734-2957 i Hon. John A. Martin Box 298 Winnsboro, S.C.,29180 Telephone: 635-4856 or 734-2789

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