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10/1/2003 | 2 MINUTE READ

Developing a Level Playing Field

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A number of articles were critical of the Little League World Series.


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A number of articles were critical of the Little League World Series. I loved watching it. The twelve-year-old boys were incredibly talented. Sure, there were errors and disappointments when plays weren’t made or a batter struck out. More often than not, however, these kids would pick themselves up, brush themselves off and get right back at it. I also admired the coaching abilities of some of the coaches.

The head coach from Texas was positive. He would tell the players that they were doing well, even when they were down 10-4 against New England. During their last at bat, he encouraged the players. He remained positive, and the kids produced. They tied the game, and it ended up in extra innings, with Texas scoring three more runs in the seventh.

These games were played on a level playing field. Finishers do not have a level playing field. It seems that when China is up to bat, the bases and outfield fence are moved in 10-20 feet. What can finishers do?

One move is to talk to your representatives in the United States Congress. Another is to talk to your state representatives. Making them aware of the situation may bring a change in the rules. What do you do, while the rules are changing (or stalled in committee)? Another option is to work on self-improvement and innovation—finding another way to compete.

One such company is Roy Metal Finishing in Conestee, South Carolina. The company provides all types of zinc plating. The parts plated included fasteners, automotive pieces and other small parts. Much of the type of work Roy does is heading to China. Roy developed a way to keep the playing field more level by improving itself.

John Pazdan, vice president, and Cliff Roy, president, reviewed the practices of Roy’s best customers. What had they done to become and remain successful? John and Cliff implemented these practices (automation, strict quality control and superior customer service) along with new equipment to keep the company competitive.

Automation provided flexibility. Quality control is managed using an extensive computer documentation system for every part and plating process, including real-time documentation that customers can access to find out where parts are in the process sequence. Roy also e-mails certain laboratory results directly to its customers. You can read about Roy Metal Finishing in this month’s article, “Gearing Up for Automotive Finishing.”

What Roy Metal has done is what many in the finishing industry will have to do in order to level the playing field. Finishers cannot wait for the government to do something because of the amount of time involved in passing legislation. Finishers have to do something now. Companies, such as Roy Metal Finishing, can be viewed as the positive coach when in a losing situation. They are a reinforcement to the industry, showing what can be done to even out the playing field until the rules are changed.