Thursday, January 29, 2009

Body by Fisher

I don't know what happened to the Big 3 Automotive bailout. Last I heard was that a decision had to be made, but then all news of it just fell off the planet. Did they get it, or didn't they?

I have been against the bailout from the beginning. I haven't really made my personal opinion public domain, other than a few comments on eng-tips. The reason I am against the bailout is because times change and this little correction is just what is needed to revitalize the creative spirit of the US. The US, historical, is full of risk-takers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses able to quickly react to market needs. Greed drives mergers, large corporations, and the failure to react to market demand in a timely matter.

I realize times are tough for everyone. I have friends and family in the Midwest and now is not a time to be associated anywhere near the rust belt. Layoffs are pending; plants are closing; no jobs are to found. Take Caterpillar for example. They just announced layoffs for 20,000 people, including plant shut downs. That's 1/5 of their global workforce. I have many college classmates that work for Cat. This stuff is really hitting home for me, but yet I still feel a bailout is not an option.
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/jan2009/econ-j27.shtml
http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1874545,00.html
UPS is even planning layoffs and possible closures of hubs.

And why do I still strongly believe against bailouts? Because as the market closes its doors to the large corporations, smaller ones rise up to fill the need. Small niche companies that realize good business means serving customers to make money, not make money by serving customers. They go hand in hand, but putting the cart before the horse - defining ones corporate priorities, determines success of the business.

In Mechanical Engineering magazine's November issue (I'm a little behind in my reading), there is an article about Fisher Body Co, now known as Fisher Coachworks, LLC.

Here's a small company that started in 1908 by two brothers - Fisher Body Co. That company was later absorbed into General Motors. The technology behind Fisher bodies has since been completely lost in history in terms of being uniquely defined. But 100 years later, the grandson of one of the original brothers licenses the technology for a new lightweight stainless steel called Nitronic 30 and starts building buses with it. These buses get approximately twice the fuel economy as any current bus on the market. So out of darkness comes light by a small start-up company able to do something the large company has been unable to do. And the good news... Fisher Coachworks is looking manufacturing space in the Detroit area, returning jobs back to where they came.