The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Day: May 12, 2009

Are Employees Growing More Accepting of Rising Health Care Burden?

The cost of health insurance continues to rise, and as such, so does the share of the cost that employees must bear to continue coverage at many businesses. Yet, according to the 2009 UBA Employer Benefit Perspectives, a survey conducted for United Benefits Advisors, LLC, fewer employees are complaining about the rising burden.
 
Only one in five employers reported employees being upset by reductions in health plan benefits and/or increases in premium cost-sharing. And about 40% felt that though their employees weren't happy with the rising costs and reduced coverage, they understood the reasons behind the decisions.
 
In addition, more than two-thirds of survey respondents felt there was a need to improve education and information on how to make employees ...

Connecting with Customers Especially Important Right Now

It was a pleasure yesterday to take my car to a small repair shop that runs on high levels of customer service. The father-son team that runs the place competes against all sizes; in fact, I would guess most of their competitors are much larger. But I've known many to refer friends to the shop. In fact, I was referred myself, and will no doubt return the next time something threatens to fall off my car.
 
I left with a fixed car, a sense of trust and more money than expected left in my pocket, a rare combination these days on the way out of an auto repair shop. It was a nice reminder of the importance of a positive customer experience each and every time a customer sets foot in your shop.
 
While customer service is important in both boom and bust times, it could be ...

New Sales Opportunities Possible for Plastics Distributors

Editor's Note: Mel Ettenson, editor of Global Plastics Letter (www.globalplasticsletter.com), will be contributing regularly to the MDM Blog on topics of interest to the plastics industry and those connected to it.
 
Bayer MaterialScience AG, a producer of polymers and high-performance plastics, has developed a coating for its Makrolon polycarbonate (PC) sheet material making it suitable for use in automotive glazing. Having just passed a major Taber abrasion test after running through a commercial car wash once a week for three years, its use in automotive sun roofs, followed by side window glazing, is assured. Windshield applications could follow.

This breakthrough technology will offer immense weight savings and thus significant fuel efficiencies since PC ...

ERIKS 1Q Sales Up 10.1% On Acquisitions

Dutch holding company ERIKS group reported sales for the first quarter 2009 were €270 million (US$368.1 million), an increase of 10.1% from the prior year. Organic sales declined 14.3%. Profit fell 56.9% to €6.3 million (US$8.6 million).  
 
The market conditions for ERIKS deteriorated rapidly in the space of a few months due to the worldwide recession. We do not see any improvement yet, CEO J. van der Zouw said. As a result, the company will be eliminating 450 positions. ...

Allied Motion Technologies Records 1Q Loss

Allied Motion Technologies Inc., Denver, CO, reported first quarter sales of $15.3 million, a decline of 34% from the prior year period. The company recorded a loss of $730,000 for the quarter, compared to profit of $924,000 in the first quarter of 2008.
 
Sales declined in all industry sectors except the Medical Market which achieved a 4% increase.
 
Dick Warzala, newly appointed CEO as of May 12, said the manufacturer of motion control products will continue to launch new products while continuing to improve efficiencies in the manufacturing ...

Why General Tool & Supply Sold to Motion Industries

Last week, Motion Industries, Birmingham, AL, a $3.5 billion subsidiary of Genuine Parts Company, announced it had acquired General Tool and Supply, a regional industrial supplies distributor based in Portland, OR. Motion has also acquired General Tool's subsidiary Industrial Tool and Supply, Tucson, AZ.
 
The company's president, Bill Derville, told MDM shortly after the announcement that though selling to Motion was part of an eventual exit strategy for himself and other key stakeholders, it would also bring other benefits to the long-time family-held distributor.
 
One benefit: growth opportunities.
 
Derville says that the move will help take the company to the next level with the ...