Running a Company in Hard Times

I wanted to comment on Butch Welsch’s article [“My Two Cents: Make Your Business Stronger During the Tough Times”] in the Oct. 13 issue ofThe NEWS. Coming from an entrepreneur family who owns two different businesses, your article really hit home. There is nothing harder than sitting across from someone who has put forth great effort for the good of a family-owned business, and have to let them go. It is a very humbling experience.

There are many people and companies that do not have the foresight to understand that “in these times we need to worry more about the fundamental survivability of our business than we do the model number of an expansion valve we need to install.” This crosses into many, if not all, different business ventures. Great article!

Dustin M. Lowry
Emerson Climate Technologies
St. Louis, Mo.

Taking Inventory of Inventory

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to John R. Hall’s editorial “Taking Care of Business: Sorting the Sock Drawer, Er, Inventory,” Oct. 20.]

This is a great editorial! This is the kind of idea that employers need to hear right now - think outside the norm and think about how to retain their employees. They might even find they have fun, get to know one another better, and will learn from one another.

There is nothing like the serendipitous moment of talking about an old piece of equipment and the problems associated with fixing it or seeing a piece of equipment and suddenly seeing a solution to a problem.

I have found that sorting through old inventory sparks conversations that in “normal times” there is no time for. Lots of learning happens this way. Billed hours are not the only way for a business to succeed. Downtimes can be invaluable.

Thanks for the opportunity for conversation around the shop!

Linda Taylor
PayneSpencer LLC
Kent, Wash.

Direct Mailing and Seeding

I just finished reading Terry Nicholson’s article [“Money Talks: Campaign Season Mail Slows Ad Deliveries,” Oct. 6] about direct mail delays and delivery options. He is right with most everything he pointed out, with one minor exception. When mailing Standard class (formerly called Bulk Rate), mailers will get postage discounts based on the quantity within any given ZIP Code, usually starting around 200 pieces minimum, and they must be presorted and delivered in specific bundles.

When you add your name to the list (seed) if your ZIP Code is NOT part of the rest of the mailing, your lonely seeded piece could arrive even later than the rest of your Standard mail. So, it’s not really the best way to know exactly when your mailings have hit. Might be the only way to know for sure they’ve been delivered, but we’ve often had responses come in before I’ve received my seed mailer.

Mike Trainor
Manager, Marketing
Honeywell Utility Solutions
Olathe, Kan.

Keeping Readers Informed

By far this is the most informative issue [Oct. 20] thatThe NEWShas published. And I want to say thank you for keeping us [the readers] involved and informed.

Christopher Williams, P.E.
California Comfort H.V.A.C. Inc.
Riverside, Calif.

Send correspondence via e-mail to

Publication date:12/01/2008