Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't over buy!

    "Don't over buy."  were words of wisdom I heard from suppliers years ago. Those words were frequently followed by the phrase, "you can always come back and get more with the profits you've made from these". I always liked that advise.  Implied was a certain amount of stability, and logic applied to the system of distribution
that I was a part of. In fact they were telling me to consider how many widgets I could sell before I made my purchase. It was their goal as well as mine to have a rapid (or at least acceptable) turn over rate of the items I bought and sold. There was some comfort in knowing we shared a common goal.
    Let me give you a real world example. At one time my company purchased portable cut off machines. I purchased my first ten at a cost of $50.00 each. They arrive I'm pleased. We sold five of them the first week
 they were available to our customers. We realized something we hadn't expected those machines ate up the wheels that did the cutting. I was preparing to reorder machines. I needed to order wheels for the machines.
Cool as a company we liked selling items that were consumable. We had found an unexpected one. My second order was for five more machines {purchased from the profit of the sale of the sold five}and a box of 10 wheels. What I receive is ten new  machines and five wheels. I get on the phone!  I explain the problem to the supplier. What he says is this. "What if I continued to pay the shipping and instead of invoicing you $50.00
each I invoiced you $35.00 ? Would you still be able to net these out in ten days?  Sounds good to me. At the end of the conversation I order ten more wheels. What happens next is amazing! in a couple of days I receive ten more machines!  No wheels!  ARGH. I get on the phone!  "Houston we have a problem!" Sam proposes an interesting solution. "Suppose I continue to pay the shipping, invoice them to you at $35.00 and give you 90 days to pay for them, with no interest on the open account. I'm armed with some information he doesn't have. My company had sold All of the original order, but better than that. we had sold all of the second order. My response was quick, "Sam I like buying these at this price. Please listen carefully. If you'll accept all subsequent business at net 90 and hold this price on these machines to me through the year. I'll take ten more machines today! I don't need any wheels." Sam understands me, his lights have come on. he says "you should buy 20. Why don't you need any wheels?"  "Sam my company has become a distributor for 3M I can now sell them to you. Make the order twenty!"  
     There are lessons here. The only reason I'd ever "over buy" is if I could receive a lower price or better terms. Those two conditions could remove some of the risk of stocking an inventory. But good  price isn't the sole determiner of weather of not I'll change my buying numbers. The real determiner here was I knew how many my company had sold.  Sales and projected sales determined my purchases. There's more to the story.
My company shared the savings with our customers and our sales people. There would come a time when the dollar volume of sales of wheels exceeded the dollar volume to my company of machines. We were positioned for that to happen early. There was never any fear that the price of machines would go up tomorrow. Absolutely none of my companies purchases were fear driven. None!  We found that communication with the customer was our most valued asset.
     Years later I wouldn't be selling cutoff machines, the company still did. I sold it.  I found myself selling diamonds, gold and silver.  Based on lessons learned, from a gentleman who frequently said, "Don't over buy."


Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Pickle

In the interest of bringing you something a little new, I have decided to join in other bloggers in a light hearted bit of blog sharing. Each month on the 20th of the month we will all write on the same topic. It should prove interesting to gain the perspective of others from all over the country. Here’s the the list of this months players: Andes Cruz:
Stephanie Nocito Clark:
Kirsten Skiles:
Natsuko Hanks:
Shaun Young:
Brad Severtson:
Wendy Kelly:
Beth Cyr:
Kathleen Krucoff:
Kathryn Cole:
This month’s topic: "Your favorite winter meal/ recipe?
     Those of you that know me from face book will expect me to write something about pie. I could. I try to keep my pie statements on open Facebook pages and not bring that metaphor here. That leaves me in a bit of a pickle. I live in Florida not far from the beach. I could type about my favorite cheeseburger in paradise. I almost did. But O' Mattie's is full of snow birds this time of year I just didn't relish the concept of going there right now. Besides O' Mattie's  serves their cheeseburger with a slice of pickle and unless I remember to say hold the pickle to the waitress I get that juice on my fries. I admire Heines and his 57 varieties of pickles He makes great Ketchup. He can keep his pickles in his pocket.  I can not be fooled into eating cucumbers.
     All of this thinking leads me to discover a common thread. The common thread even has a direct tie in to the world of metal smithing. How cool it that? Not only that but I was out of fresh noncontaminated pickle.
Here's how this goes. I hammer on some copper. All of that hammering on the copper forces the molecules of copper to get tightly packed together, we call that process work hardening. In order to get the molecules to relax I heat up the metal, a process called annealing. That gets the copper all covered in oxides and other stuff., dirt. The process used to clean the metal is called pickling. The stuff I make to pickle in is called, ( You'll never guess) pickle!   I could clean some copper with a solution of vinegar and salt, Same stuff minus eleven herbs and spices that I could to mess up a cucumber. I could clean some copper with Taco Bell taco sauce. Same basic ingredients. My personal opinion it that it takes too long that way.
I annealed some copper pieces.

 I made some dirty copper pieces. I want to clean them in pickle. I could use hydrochloric acid or muratic acid.  That's way too fast and the fumes are not so good to breath. I could pick up the jewelry supply stuff catalog and order some commercial pickle. I did that once, a long long tome ago. At that time I read the container. The stuff is sodium bisulfate. I don't have to order it.  I can just go get some at Home Depot.
All nice and pickled, now. Nothing is ever quite that simple. I usually mix some distilled water and the sodium bisuflate in my crock pot heat it up to about 125 Fahrenheit and chill out for a while. However these things are too large for my crockpot.
I'm not that easily defeated. Sure I don't get to use heat as a catalyst for the chemical reaction, fine with me.
I'll take this time to show you what to look for in Home Depot
That's the stuff..Some of this into some distilled water, instant pickle.  My favorite kind.  Now that I have my work done I can go enjoy my cheeseburger in paradise. Check out what the other bloggers wrote about this month. I'll bet they didn't write about pickle. Enjoy

Thursday, February 17, 2011


She’s a Wordsmith

She’s a wordsmith. Wordsmith?
Yup that’s what she be.
 She’s sittin” at a keyboard
bangin’ those keys.

Kinda like a blacksmith
Under his tree,
‘cept she’s forging words
to feed her family.

This ain’t no clickety clack,
on some railroad track.
She hammers on words,
till the meanings come back.

Sometimes the light might flicker.
In those times she just types quicker.
Her passion can’t be denied,
as she adds a little zing to a classified.

In the ho hum, humdrum
get some got sum,
she’s looking for truth
in all of the flotsam.

Finer words have never been heard
Spoken by the politician as he gave his word.
She just smiles, looks him in the eye
Knowing she’ll get to write his “survived by”

She’s a wordsmith
That’s what she be.
She’s hammerin’ out syllables
settin’ words free.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maker of things

     My father was a maker of things. While in the 8th Air force he was a carpenter. During that time he built barracks, officers clubs,.things for bombers and parachute packers. As a child I watched him remodel and build houses. I was reluctantly  drafted into service on these projects.  He provided the after school and summer vacation entertainment for me. Thinking back on it now it was wonderful. I'd come home from school to find he had half of the house on jacks and was going to replace a portion of the foundation to the house. I got to use a shovel. I later used the same shovel to mix concrete. He would decide things, like the barn needed a new door, roof or an addition and he would solve the problem. I came home once to find he had gutted the kitchen and we were going to build cabinets. I remember turning the chicken house into a farrowing house. I remember standing in the front yard of our house when he began driving stakes into the ground. He had decided that was the new house was going to go. Thinking back it was always a little frightening and fascinating whenever my father grabbed a bunch of stakes and told me to bring the sledge hammer. From my father I learned about possibility thinking.
     My father's day job was selling tools to farmers in the northern half of Iowa. For many years he worked for a company as a commissioned salesman. In later years he owned the company. His desire to see people own the tools they needed grew into his owning his method of earning a living. Owning the tools you need and.owning  the company you work for were important concepts to him.
    Today I'm making stuff of my own choosing. My boys make stuff. It's just what we do.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Progress, completions and concepts

 When last you saw the bottle she was 8" tall 4.5" at foot
Then 8 1/2 tall 3.75 at foot
 Now 9" tall 3 5/8" at foot   getting taller
 Two shots of bubble bowl

Urchin bowl,  flame painted. 
Three concepts I'm playing with for teapot spouts handles and lids....