Bennett Pump + Hines Corp.

I happened to watch a segment on TV last week where an economist presented an interesting idea. He said as fuel costs increase….the cost of manufactured products from overseas also increases. His theory is that efficient/innovative manufacturers can now compete and that in turn this will strengthen our manufacturing base.

My hometown in Michigan was a classic manufacturing town. There was CWC Foundry, Continental Motor, Bennett Pump, Shaw-Walker, Norge, Browne-Morse, Clarke Floor Machine, Fitzjohn, Sealed Power. Of course these companies no longer exist in their original form. However….by developing unique markets and recognizing the special capabilities of some of these older companies….Larry Hines has assembled several of these firms into the Hines Corp. I met Larry back in the early 80’s….so his efforts in Western Michigan got my attention.

Hines Corp. owns and operates: Bennett Pump-fuel pumps, Johnston Boiler-fire tube boilers, Pacific Floor Care (from Clarke Floor Machines) and Michigan Spring among others.

The point of the story:Effective leadership combined with savy business acumen can provide new life for unique….specialized….innovative businesses….even those 100 years old!

CoolGem – Different

A friend passed this along. Excellent!

Marketing is more than the sum of its parts.

Company: 72 Degrees Heating and Air Conditioning (highly descriptive)
Advertising: direct mail…”Invest $69 in a precision tune-up for your
air conditioner and I will guarantee you a 100% profit or will return
your $69 with no hard feelings” – compelling (only direct mail I’ve ever
responded to).
First telephone contact: “72 Degrees…how can I make you smile today?”
(I already was)
Second telephone contact: This is Bill, your 72 Degrees technician. I
plan to arrive at your home at 9:30 this morning.” ( he did — on the
First in-person contact: sparkling clean red service truck, sparkling
clean uniform, sparkling clean manners.
Tune-up _ 90 minutes for one of two units; recommended we not tune up                                   second unit since they were both relatively new.
Sales pitch: Explained service contract features and benefits with no
attempt at hard sell. (we deferred until both units were five years old.)

Result: Put all the pluses together for an unbeatable synergistic experience.

Lesson Learned: Be Different! to Be Better!


Sweet Roll

Old Chinese Proverb: A man without a simile should not open a store!

I believe in the free enterprise system. That’s why we have a strong economy and a high standard of living. What it all boils down to is someone selling a product or service and receiving something in return. I find it difficult to fault business. Now I do believe that some businesses are better than others. Some should not be in business. Ethics are critical in business. Businesses provide income to people who in turn buy products/services. So in one form or another we sell to each other all the time. So where am I headed with this?

I was very desirous of a sweet roll last week. I was near a local bakery. I went in. No life in the store.  No background music to create a buying environment. Bakery person seated. No greeting. No smile. Minimal information. No motivation to suggest perhaps a loaf of the Italian bread special. I did buy my sweet roll….however the end result….no selling….just an order taker.

Lesson Learned: Little things….put together makes a business better. No selling will lead to failure.