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Metal Casting Technologies : December 2007
METAL Casting Technologies December 2007 65 Brown the figure Mr. Jones has submitted in order that Mr. Brown's price will be accepted as that of the lowest bidder. Then there is the Customer's Purchasing Agent who deliberately keeps the Foundry Salesman waiting, maybe for an hour, to get him into a nervous condition that has been weakened against the beating down of his price. This is surely an unworthy principle to follow and should be considered as unfair business practice. And lastly, we have the owners of the Customer Company. They must have set a high value on honesty, not because "it is the best policy," but because they themselves verily believed in honesty as the desirable quality in men. This is illustrated by the following anecdote that underscores the relationship between a foundry and its customer. When the customer ultimately decided to make their own castings, they advised the foundry (their supplier) that they had been so well served that they felt that substantial notice be given to them (the foundry) and consequently informed them that "in five years' time they (the customer) would make their own castings." In five years! Such was the courtesy in the olden days -- such was the honesty! INDUSTRY COMPETITION We are all aware of the competition that exists between iron or steel or bronze castings and forged-and-welded structures for the metal business. It is felt that if the foundries were to continue to profitably operate under this competition of forging-and-welding, the first thing that is required is that they make their castings honestly good. By this is meant good all the way through, so that not only could they stand the test of machining all over, but also that of fracture through any cross-section. The production of such quality castings means increased costs at the beginning, but eventually either the cost will be reduced to the current norm, or evidence will have been furnished to the Customer that the improved quality and ultimate dependability justifies the price asked. Castings frequently fail in service because they are not as internally sound as they might be, rather than for the reason that the class of metal from which they are made is intrinsically weaker than a competitive material. Not until we have made our castings honestly good all the way through to the very best of our ability and as cheaply as could be with fairness to all workman, executive, shareholders, and customer, alike -- could we, or should we, admit the superiority of any other form of metal structure. Obviously all the foregoing requires the cooperation of the manufacturer or producer, the third party inspector, and the customer or user; they must all believe that honesty means fair dealing for everyone and that, in the final analysis, it is the only sure ground for industrial progress. What is the chief reward of honesty, then? Surely a good conscience brings forth its train of healthful sleep and happy awakening until, like "Old Honest" in John Bunyan's immortal Pilgrim's Progress, when he reached the end of life's journey, said, "'As for my Honesty, it shall go with me.'... Now the River at that time overflowed the banks in some places, but Old Honest in his lifetime had spoken to one Good Conscience to meet him there, that which he also did and lent him his hand and so helped him over." Honesty, as a merit, can help us, as in Alfred Lord Tennyson's Crossing the Bar, "...as we hope to see our Pilot face to face when we have crossed the bar!" Then, there is an old Eastern story of a Wise Man in the City of Baghdad: In the City of Baghdad lived Hakeem, the Wise One, and many people went to him for counsel which he gave freely to all, asking nothing in return. There came to him a young man, who had spent much but had gotten little in return, and said, "Tell me, Wise One, what shall I do to receive the most for what I spend?" Hakeem answered, "A thing that is bought or sold has no real value at all, unless it contains that which cannot be bought or sold. Look for the Priceless Ingredient." "But what is the Priceless Ingredient?" asked the young man. Spoke then the Wise One, "My son, the Priceless Ingredient of every product in the market is the Honor and Integrity of the manufacturer who makes it. Consider his name before you buy." In our foundry industry, let us see to it that each of us individually, as well as collectively, raise this standard of honesty high, and ever higher, so that we may at long last have done something, however small, to increasingly justify the statement that there is truly indeed "Honesty in the Foundry Business."