Friday, March 27, 2009

Volume 57 - Business 'Double-Speak' in Door Hardware

On October 31, 2007, I wrote a blog, Volume 40, entitled "Business Double-Speak!"

It seems never ending that Business 'Double Speak' grows exponentially whether in business or politics; for example, take the blame game going on with the AIG bonus. Congress can't complain loud enough of such a travesty, Republicans and Democrats alike pound their fists and scream for justice. The President reassures the public that the government shares its outrage. Excuse me, but my days of naivety are long past! The last time 'I looked' it was the Government-Congress that controlled the purse strings. The last time 'I looked' it was the Government-Congress that has the control to correct the situation. Don't feed me the B.S. that you're (Congress or President) one of us and that you're looking for justice. Don't feed me the crap about "too big to fail." Fix the damn problem! Nevertheless, a perfect example of 'Double-Speak,' and certainly more to come on this fiasco.

This issue, however, has to do with 'Double Speak' in our industry, the Door and Hardware Industry where certain people wave 'flags,' write proprietary specifications (actually written by 'spec writers' direct employees of major hardware companies and/or are paid money by manufacturers for using their product in the specification), use terms such as 'import,' 'brand,' 'years of experience,' 'size of corporation' (now starting to sound like GM or AIG), 'world leader' but only associated with Globalization if to their benefit, 'integrity' and a myriad of other 'double speak' terms, depending upon their objective to justify their product over a competitors, thus this arena is one of the greatest examples of Business Double-Speak in the Universe.

One last clarification before we get into this concept of 'Double Speak' within the Door Hardware Industry and that is the Truth about Independence2, LLC and the i.2 series of products, which the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has registered "i.2" under Reg.No. 3,589,201, a legitimate 'Brand' name. The Company stated late in 2003 with the idea of providing the Contract Hardware Distributor Supply Chain with not only a complete line of door hardware, but also with a legitimate concern for the Contract Hardware Distributor's 'bottom line' as well as our own; where a 'hand shake' still is the basis of doing business, not controlled by some foreign ownership or financial portfolio.

Independence2, LLC is a United States based company, State of Ohio LLC, owned and operated by Partners in the business, fully financed by a State of Ohio bank. Our model in 2003 is the same model used today taken from the Nike and Under Armour companies of the Sports Industry. All of our products, at this time, come from fifteen different factories, five countries on three continents. Every factory floor was walked, each with outside paid inspectors per every product/order made.

Now lets separate fact from the 'Double-Speak' BS that exists in this industry about the word 'import' and 'brand.' Let's try on for size the largest door hardware company in the world, Assa Abloy, foreign owned, Netherlands Company based in Stockholm, Sweden, with factories and assembly plants, due to acquisition, around the world. A very good company who defines Globalization. Next, the other largest importer of door hardware, Ingersol Rand, foreign corporation based in Bermuda with many 'brand' names such as Schlage, of which, except for their security cylinder, the entire product line is made in Mexico or their 'owned' plant in mainland China, as well as other international locations. Another fine Global company, Dorma is a family owned business with the sole proprietor today, Karl-Rudolf Mankel, a German Company with holdings in France and the United States with global operations in South America and Asia. Stanley with global operations in Central and South America, Europe and Asia. And so goes the story, company for company even including some that still 'hide' wrapped in the US Flag, but in reality the product is from other continents; verified by intelligence programs that track containers coming into this country, as well as their own 'stock' reports.

With respect to 'Time in Service' or 'Years of Experience,' trite over used phases that make 'longevity' a value even if your business started out selling nails and simply evolved over the years. Our history is littered with companies that have a pedigree of years, size of employees, and market experience as shown in the 'line' forming in Washington DC for 'handouts.' 'To big to fail.' 'Bunk.' Just another AIG or GM.

Concern for the Supply Chain, and even possibly as much concern for the 'customer's bottom line;' let us not forget that in May of 1990 a federal grand jury indicted four manufacturers, Hager, McKinney (Assa Abloy), Stanley and Lawrence Brothers, charging each with one count of illegal price fixing activities in the sale of architectural hinges. Enough said. There are plenty of Federal and State Laws, (Robinson-Patman Act, Ohio's Valentine Act as examples) enacted that, if enforced, would create ripples of anxiety throughout certain boardrooms in this industry.

So, as an Architect, Owner, School board, Developer, especially in this global disastrous economy, we should be looking for quality as well as toward value, rather than listening to 'Double Speak' terms or accusations that only attempt to cloud the real issues. This is and hopefully will remain a Global economy and therefore should provide a great many choices for securing the best possible product at a value proportionate to the application and wishes of the 'Owner' without the convolution of 'Double Speak' for corporate profits or personal gain with little or no concern for the ultimate customer. It seems to me that whenever public monies are involved in a project, there is a fiduciary responsibility with respect to the cost and to the taxpayer. It seems to me that any 'Owner' who can read a 'balance sheet' and 'income statement' should be concerned with every penny of a project, even those areas shrouded in darkness as in Division 8.