What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday there was exciting progress being made in the K & E Sheet Metal office. I walked away from the meetings with a pep in my step and a coy smile on my face. Ray and I had discussed pricing strategies and how we wanted to move ahead for the next five months and beyond. Everything seemed so clear.

Until today…

Literally, less than twenty four hours later we have annoyingly stumbled back the starting line. These are those managerial episodes when you want to just slam your head as hard as you can into the nearest brick wall. We work everyday to make sure the business stays afloat and present customers with the best prices we can. Nothing about how I run this company revolves around greed. I want to fabricate a great product and service, invest in the growth of the business and provide a quality working environment for my employees.  

When those efforts are treated as though we sit in our ivory towers, diving in and out of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, that’s when my frustrations begin to boil. I immediately feel bad in these situations, like I am the one doing wrong. But then I realize my true intentions and know that I am being fair. We have to charge a certain amount to run this company. That is the truth. The numbers do not lie.

I often think people fail to realize how difficult and expensive it can be to build a manufacturing job shop…….Then again, on second thought, why would they know or even care? Sometimes I write or say things that in my mind sound so normal, but in the ether or on the page they come off as insanely ignorant. My apologies…

We are a tiny shop in comparison to the industrial duct fabrication juggernauts scattered throughout the United States. However, that doesn’t mean we are going to be super cheap. We are in the growth process of this business and to get the job done efficiently and for a reasonable price, we needed to invest in some costly machinery for which we are still paying off debts. Our overhead will always be an issue when trying to push prices down for our customers. Just the nature of the manufacturing beast.  

Cash is tight and we need to be nimble with the decisions we make regarding pricing. Move the number too high and the phone stops ringing. Move the number too low, the phone could potentially ring off the hook, but are we making enough to pay our bills? Do we have enough left over to invest in the next piece of equipment or fabricator? Would we be able to bring in enough volume to make the lower price work?

The answers to these and many other questions will come from hard work on my part to make the fabrication shop as systematically fast as it can be. Albeit on a shoestring budget. The challenge is to create the innovation inside an Amazon fulfillment center with the pennies from my couch cushions.

The frustration of the process creates a shoulder pain I’ve never felt before. The intensity of it brings back memories of working 14 hour days, 7 days a week fabricating duct work and fittings late night, where the company started, in my parents garage.  My back never hurt this much then, as it does after a few days of managerial stress.

Whining complete. I accept my cheese gracefully….The challenges are what make running and growing the business fun!

Truly, I will always love going to work and doing my job. No matter what the stresses are, I could not be luckier. 

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