1. Houston Manufacturer Stands Up for Fair Trade
This week the Houston Chronicle reported the story of a Houston manufacturer who filed a complaint against unfair competition from factories in India, Italy and Spain, and he won.
Frank Bernobich is the owner of Boltex Manufacturing Co, a family-owned company that makes finished flanges for the oil and gas, petrochemical, engineering and construction industries.
Flanges are mostly used to connect pipelines and are necessary to Oil and Gas companies. But when the Industry started to decline two-years ago, Bernobich said that “foreign steel makers began to cut prices below cost, and overseas manufacturers started flooding the U.S. with cheap inventory. Boltex's biggest customer switched to a foreign supplier that was 20 percent cheaper”.
According to him, the prices that appeared on the market were not due to better productivity or cheap labor cost, “The prices foreign companies were charging didn't make any sense, Bernobich said, because steel is consistently priced around the globe”, and he knew that lower labor costs couldn't undercut the productivity of his employees using the latest technology. The competition simply found themselves with too much product on their hand and they started to sell for less than it cost to produce.
To him, this was clearly an act of unfair trade and he filed a complaint to the International Trade Commission who ruled in his favor last week.
Congratulations to Boltex for this win, as for the entire story, you can read it in the Houston Chronicle.
2. This Grandfather Taught His Grandkids an Important — and Profitable!— Made in America Lesson
This story starts in 2010 when Doug Coberley hosted his six grandchildren at his property in Kissimmee. One day, one of their four-wheelers broke down and his grandkids asked for money to either fix it or buy a new one.
Coberley is a successful businessman in Florida, so he could have provided the money for a new vehicle, but instead, he chose to teach them a lesson about the value of manufacturing work. He told them that if they wanted the money, they would have to start a company to provide the revenue.
A few years and a lot of time researching and developing products later, PBM Specialties Inc was created. PBM stands for “Papa’s Band of Munchkins”, the name of the band of six grandkids aged from 6 to 12 at the time. Their operation turned into a real company manufacturing innovative products such as custom awards, lamps, and plaques.
In its first year, PBM specialties increased sales by nearly 200%, and were up by another 200% during the first quarter of 2016. A great American success story: Read More.