Milling Machine

Wells-Index

From mlive:   http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2018/04/vigorous_growth_spurs_manufact.html

“Wells-Index is the only U.S.-based manufacturer producing manual and CNC milling machines in the country. The 80-year-old company is relocating from downtown Muskegon to a larger facility in Muskegon Heights.”

Milling machines are one of the basic metal shaping tools. “

“Milling is the machining process of using rotary cutters to remove material[1] from a workpiece by advancing (or feeding) the cutter into the workpiece at a certain direction[2]. The cutter may also be held at an angle relative to the axis of the tool.”

There are two major manufacturers of the knee type milling machine….Bridgeport and Wells-Index. Business such as Wells-Index are not large nor employ hundreds of people….however they are the foundation of the manufacturing economy.

Even more so is the Model 847 milling machine which uses primary metals to create machined parts.

These are fascinating businesses and would make excellent case studies on the past 80 years and future years.

http://www.wells-index.com/

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Sharp Microwave

Time to Change

Over the years, the GE products we have purchased have performed well. A GE refrigerator performed nicely for over 25 years and was in excellent condition when donated to a charity.

However, the last two GE microwaves, have been poor performers. Both the same model….1.4 cu. ft and 1150 watts. The last one purchased 5/14 and the turntable motor just replaced a few months ago.

Time to change….this time a Sharp Carousel with the same specifications. The price a few dollars more….however a better rating 4.5/5 versus the GE model 2/5. Both the GE and Sharp are made overseas….unfortunately GE microwave ovens do not meet the quality standards of the past. GE appliances are now owned by Haier.

Low Point

Sun Airlines

Ultra low cost=ultra low service?:   https://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2018/04/16/sun-country-stranded-mexico/

One can almost wonder what Sun Country was thinking by leaving customers stranded. 

In the long run….doing the right thing is a far better strategy than any short-term gains.

“The right thing for Sun Country to do here would have been either to charter a plane to get passengers home, or to offer to refund people the fare they pay on the airline they book. But unfortunately with their new ultra low-cost carrier business model, I suspect customer service is taking a hit as well.”

Of course the ultimate decider will be the future customer who must decide if an ultra low fare is worth ultra low customer service. (A possible business school case study?)

Wood Chests

H Gerstner & Sons

Solid wood tool chests….H. Gerstner has been in business for the past 111 years. It is the only wood tool chest manufacturer in the US.

Located in Dayton, Ohio  “Gerstner Tool Chests and other wood products represent both the quality of fine woodworking craftsmanship and the proud tradition of true American heritage.”

While tool chests are the brand name product, the company also has adapted the chests to other uses.

Businesses such as Gerstner have the longevity because they are able to adapt and make a quality product.  

https://www.gerstnerusa.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._Gerstner_%26_Sons

American Optical

Sunglasses

50 Years Later

The sunglasses are from American Optical. While in the Air Force, these were available to those on flight status. 

“The Original Pilot Sunglass® (Flight Goggle 58) has been a favorite of U.S. military pilots for more than 50 years.”

“Engineered to rigid military specifications and issued to millions of U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen since 1958.”

I can’t recall how I got my first pair (the pair on the right). Over the years, the lenses  were altered….thus they were not usable.

Finally after, many years a new pair was purchased. The new ones are identical….though the original did have the “12KGF” (12 Karat Gold Frame) mark. All-in-all, a quality product made in Southbridge, MA.

https://aoeyewear.com/

Strong Town

Muskegon 2018

Strong Town:

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/3/30/announcing-the-winner-of-our-2018-strongest-town-contest

From mlive:   http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2018/04/muskegon_wins_national_strong.html#incart_river_index

It’s nice that Muskegon is the winner of the Strongest Town award….it has always dealt with challenges and continues to do so.

While the city has a population of 38,000, the county is at 173,000….not necessarily a growth environment compared to the Research Triangle .

What it does have is a mix of manufacturing/tourism….excellent community college and a 4-yr college (Baker)….a continuing developing waterfront….a renowned art museum and most of all access to fresh water.

While winters can be tiresome….the Great Lakes does have a decided advantage (fresh water) in the national and worlds economy.

Empty Wagon

Harris-Teeter

A fundamental principle of retail….a business can’t sell from an empty wagon…shelf displays must be stocked when the doors are open.  “But this is more than just an old adage; it is a proven business principle that a strong inventory stimulates the buyer experience and is necessary in order to make a sale”.

Entering a remodeled Harris-Teeter store ( H-T being on the higher end of the local grocery stores) one Saturday (a major shopping day)….there were major gaps in the product offerings. In the past, the displays would have been stocked and ready for business.

Empty shelves result in lost sales….this is fundamental business management. Surprising that H-T missed this lesson….at least that Saturday morning.