Grammar tips: et cetera and ellipses

And the list goes on and on ...

When we write, sometimes, we like to indicate things that are missing from our writing.

By special request from one of our call center employees, we are going to review two grammar items that often get confused – etc. and ellipses.

Et cetera (etc.)

First, the often misused and incorrectly punctuated “etc.” Etc. is the abbreviation for “et cetera,” which means “and the rest.” So, in writing, it actually means “and so on” or “and other things” in the same class as the objects that you are listing but are not including in the list. If you are listing specific items, you should not use etc.

Additionally, you should not use “and etc.,” because you would be saying “and and.” And, if you used “such as” or “for example or e.g.” earlier in the sentence, which we discussed in this blog, it is not necessary to use “etc.” That would be redundant because you already indicated that the list is incomplete since you’re just providing a few examples. It also is redundant and unnecessary to say “etc., etc.” And, one final tidbit: “etc.” and “et al.” do not mean the same thing. “Et al.” is to be used with a list of people because it means “et alii” or “and other people.”

No matter where it appears in the sentence, “etc.” requires a period after the “c” and a comma if it ends a list in the middle of the sentence:

  • I love riding all amusement park rides (the Ferris wheel, roller coasters, bumper cars, carousel, etc.).
  • I love riding Ferris wheels, roller coasters, bumper cars, carousels, etc., but my favorite is the roller coasters.

Ellipses (…)

Now, on to ellipses. An ellipses is that pesky set of three periods (…). More often than not, it is used unnecessarily and confuses the reader. It should be used mainly in formal writing to show when a thought is trailing off, a writer is pausing for emphasis or for serious thought, or in quoted material to show that content has been omitted, but not if it changes the meaning of the quote.

One way to avoid using an ellipses incorrectly is to just finish the sentence or thought. Often, an ellipses is inserted to serve a similar purpose as when we say “um” or “uh” when we talk out loud to show that we are thinking or buying time. It’s like an uncomfortable silence or throat clearing. Or, sometimes it’s used when we trail off our thought at the end of the sentence without finishing by implying that we have more to say when we don’t.

An example of proper use:

  • My neighbor told me that the couple down the street is getting a divorce because the wife was unfaithful. With raised eyebrows, I asked her, “You don’t think she’d really …?”

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Jeff Crowl

HGR Industrial Surplus Buyer Jeff Crowl and family
Back row (l to r): Logan Crowl, Jeff Crowl, Jeff’s Girlfriend Renee Marzeski, her daughter Maddy, her son Bill
Front row (l to r): Jeff’s son Ross and daughter Alexa with Renee’s son Dan

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jeff Crowl, HGR buyer)

When did you start with HGR and why?

I started with HGR on April 20, 1998. I signed on with HGR because I really liked what I did at the previous company many of us worked for and wanted to continue on that path.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

My territory right now is most of the eastern part of Pennsylvania and most of the state of New Jersey. In the past, at different times, I also have covered Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, upstate New York, North Carolina, and Ontario, Canada. I have bought deals from sister plants that I dealt with in Texas and California. My days start between 5 and 5:30 a.m. Depending on where I am driving to, I may or may not have time to go into my home office and do some work. Then I’ll drive to wherever I have my inspections scheduled for the day. Once there, I go through and inspect the equipment and then I’ll either head home or to a hotel. Typically I get back home between 4 and 6 p.m., and most nights have two hours or so of email to answer and/or other opportunities to follow up on.

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most about my job is probably all of the different things I see. Every day is different, every drive is different, every inspection is different, and every contact is different. Of all the companies I have visited in the last 20 years, it is amazing to me the different philosophies companies have. One company may be so clean that you could eat off the floor; others you feel like you need a shower when you leave them. One may hold on to unused equipment for many years, and others have policies that if they haven’t used it in three months they should get rid of it. But I just like that every day is different in one way or another.

What’s your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge is and always will be the hunt for good surplus to buy. We have to keep feeding the showroom so that everyone else in the company can do their thing.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

My most interesting moment at HGR. Wow, I mean it’ll be 20 years this April, so there are so many and also many that I have forgotten. I once accidently kicked a cat and really got scolded by the receptionist and once went to the house of a guy who we bought a deal from and he was not answering calls so I could get the equipment picked up. But I will go with a funny one that happened a few years back. I was in a facility where the contact showed me the equipment they were selling and left me alone and said to show myself out when I was finished. It was a nice cool day out, and as I was walking back to the front of the building there was a side door open and all I had to do was walk through the company lunch room which was being mopped by a lady. As I started to go through, she yelled over to me to be very careful because the floor was being stripped of the finish. Well, of course I saw her walking on the floor and thought for sure that being a nimble middle-aged buyer, I could do it no problem. So I kept walking and much to my surprise floor stripper is much more slick than soap and water. As soon as my feet hit that floor, they went out from under me and were instantly above my head as I landed flatly on my back and smacked my head on the floor. Embarrassed as I lay on the floor, I was trying to get up as quickly as possible so no one would see me. As I tried to prop myself up on an elbow to get up, they just kept slipping out from underneath me as I flopped around like a fish out of water. All I can remember is flopping around and hearing that woman who was stripping the floor laughing hysterically at me. After a few more flops, I was able to get to my feet and “skate” over to the side door to freedom. Bruised, battered, and my pride shaken, I walked to my car covered in the floor gel only to notice my Dell Tablet was smashed. So I then had to make the call to my manager and tell him what happened. Thankfully, he understood and thought the story was quite funny as well.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

My greatest joy when not working would be spending time with my family. I have three kids — a 26-year-old son, Logan; a 23-year-old daughter, Alexa; and a 20-year-old son, Ross. Logan lives in Pittsburgh; Alexa lives in Philadelphia; and Ross has one more semester until he finishes college. So, really anything I can do to see and be with them is all I need.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

I would have to say my father was my greatest influence on me. He passed away in March 1993 from one of the few things I can actually say I hate – cancer. But he was just one of those people who worked hard and never complained and was someone you could always go to and talk to or ask anything of. He was a speech pathologist and last worked as a supervisor of speech and hearing. He was a very honest, moral, and funny person who is greatly missed.

Anything I missed that you want everyone to know?

One other thing I would like to mention is that my girlfriend, Renee, and her three children (Maddy, Bill, and Dan) also live with me. They range from 12 to 22 years of age. We have a busy house on holidays when everyone is home, but they are all great kids and fun to be around.

The gift that keeps on giving

PSA Custom Creations HGR scuba tank bell

Back on Aug. 8, I hosted a blog by Guest Blogger Patrick Andrews, a former U.S. Army engineer diver turned artist who makes his creations from repurposed scuba tanks. Evidently, you liked his work because he shared that he noticed an increase in sales on his etsy site, PSA Custom Creations, shortly after the post ran. To thank HGR, he made us one of his bells with our colors and logo! It got hung in the sales office this week, just in time for the holidays. So, now, if you get a good deal at HGR, you can ring the bell and let us know you’re a happy customer. Thanks, again, Patrick, for the wonderful gift that will keep on giving. And, as you know from that famous movie It’s a Wonderful Life, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”

PSA Custom Creations scuba tank bell made for HGR

What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Jim Ray

HGR Buyer Jim Ray with his family

When did you start with HGR and why? 

I was one of the original 11 employees who opened HGR in May 1998. I resigned my position at another machinery dealer and started working at HGR because the challenge of building a new company from the ground up, although risky, sounded exciting and rewarding.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

My territory consists of the southern 2/3 of Ohio, the southern 3/4 of Indiana, the eastern 2/3 of Kentucky and the southwestern 1/3 of West Virginia. On a daily basis, I visit manufacturing plants in my territory and inspect their surplus equipment. When I say inspect, I mean that I walk around, walk over, crawl under, climb over, and squeeze in between machinery and equipment in order to identify, evaluate and take pictures of it. At least one day per week (usually on Monday) I spend the day in my home office. Office days are typically long days spent calling and emailing vendors to follow up on offers I sent out, negotiate deals, following up on leads, scheduling appointments and communicating logistic needs to the transportations departments along with any other issues that needs to be addressed.

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most about my job is being able to visit a wide variety of manufacturing facilities and seeing how different items are produced. I also enjoy meeting and negotiating with a wide variety of people, as well as managing my territory and staying organized.

What’s your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge is staying on top of my opportunities when I am busy.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

My most interesting or most memorable inspection was during an inspection of a well-known guitar and amplifier manufacturer. Their lobby was full of autographed guitars and life-sized posters. I am a music fan, and several of musician I listen to were represented on the walls. While walking through the plant toward the equipment they had for sale we passed the final test area where several guys who looked like rock stars who were jamming on guitars. One of the areas in which they had equipment for me to look at had about 50 pythons snake skins, all of which were at least 10-feet long, most being longer. Apparently snakeskin guitars are popular, and they actually use real snake skins to make them. That inspection was far from my typical automotive parts manufacture and has always stuck in my mind as being pretty cool.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I enjoy remodeling projects around the house, and playing card and board games with my wife and three kids: Jillian (15), Matthew (13) and David (11). I also like the outdoors and enjoy camping, fishing and hiking. These days when I am not working, I am typically in a gym or at a field watching my kids play either soccer, basketball, volleyball or lacrosse. Thank goodness they all chose sports that I enjoy watching.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

I would say my Dad has been the greatest influence on my life. He grew up as the son of a coal miner in Hazzard, Kentucky. He worked hard to put himself through college to obtain a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He always worked hard to provide for our family and never complained about the travel and stress of his job. He lived a very modest life with my mom in order to put my brothers, sister, and me through college. I still look up to him and hope I will always be able to provide for my family the way he did for ours.

Anything I missed that you want everyone to know?

I am a big soccer fan and have played, coached and watched games my whole life. I enjoy watching The Barclays Premier League (England’s top league) and am a fan of Arsenal Football Club out of London, England. I rarely miss watching a match. At the top of my bucket list is to someday travel to London to watch Arsenal play in person.

On the cusp of greatness

Did you know that Cleveland was ranked by National Geographic as one of the top 21 best places in the world to visit? It was called, “An industrial city that pulsates with creative energy.” And, they noted neighborhoods with great restaurants, including Ohio City, Tremont and East 4th St. Cleveland came in at No. 14 and was one of only two locations in the United States that made the list. The selections were made based on an evaluation of the city, nature and culture. Cleveland ranked third for culture.

Here’s the full list so that you can see our competition:

  1. Harar, Ethiopia
  2. Jujuy Province, Argentina
  3. Tbilisi, Georgia
  4. Sydney, Australia
  5. Oaxaca, Mexico
  6. Vienna, Austria
  7. North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
  8. Malmo, Sweden
  9. Jordan Trail
  10. Dublin, Ireland
  11. Madagascar
  12. Santiago, Chile
  13. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  14. Cleveland, Ohio
  15. Tetouan, Morocco
  16. Seoraksan National Park, South Korea
  17. Albania
  18. San Antonio, Texas
  19. Labrador, Canada
  20. Friesland, Netherlands
  21. Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

We know that Cleveland’s great because of the amazing people and businesses that are located here. Although, I’m proud to call Cleveland home, I’ve made it to Vienna, Dublin, and San Antonio. Have you been to any of the 21 places on the list or have plans to visit soon?

Reminder: HGR’s hosting an auction tomorrow

December 19, 2017 HGR auction

Make sure to get registered and preview the items in time for HGR’s auction tomorrow.

HGR Industrial Surplus is partnering with Cincinnati Industrial Auctioneers to host an in-person and online auction of assets from the former Allison Conveyor Engineering at 120 Mine St., Allison, Penn. This auction includes bridge mills, plasma tables, fabricating and welding equipment, CNC machining, and toolroom and support equipment.

Click here for further details and to register.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Human Resources Department

HGR Human Resources Manager Tina Dick and HGR Human Resources Assistant April Quintiliano
l to r: HGR Human Resources Manager Tina Dick and HGR Human Resources Assistant April Quintiliano

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Tina Dick, HGR’s human resources manager)

What does your department do?

The Human Resource Department handles the staffing needs of HGR. Our department handles all aspects of human resources, recruiting, onboarding, benefits and compensation, payroll, employee engagement and retention, as well as monitoring and ensuring that we are in compliance with state and federal regulations as they apply to the above.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

We are a two-person team. I am the human resources manager, and April is the human resources assistant. As we’ve automated some things, April now assists in Inventory, Sales and the Buy Department, and does a great job!

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

There are several competencies in human resources where you need to strive for proficiency in order to be successful. Those competencies are: communication, relationship management, ethical practice, business acumen, critical evaluation, leadership, consultation, and cultural effectiveness. Knowledge and practice in each area help you to keep a balance that promotes a cohesive partnership between organization and staff.

What do you like most about your department?

Getting to hand out the birthday cookies, of course!

What challenges has your department faced and how have you overcome them?

Hiring/retention are and always will be the biggest challenge in any HR department. We live in a moving society where people want to get to the next thing, and that’s okay. If we’ve played a role in someone’s success and they’re ready to move on, we’re glad to have been part of the journey. But the goal always will be to look at ways to get better at it. We’ve knocked our turnover rate down almost in half from last year.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

Human Resources was not a formal department three years ago. In that time, we’ve worked with supervisors to provide access to formal training for their role. We’ve developed written processes for each department. We’ve formalized the onboarding process; our new hires come in with a formal orientation and more structured, documented training. We introduced and implemented performance and goal conversations. We created a recruiting system complete with an applicant tracking system where candidates can apply online, and our hiring manager can see their resumes online while pooling candidates for future openings. We work closely with our CEO in the development of a positive company culture. We have helped employees implement plans of employee engagement, e.g., Earn Your Forks and Fly. Many changes, all challenging and all very rewarding!

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

More training tools. We intend to look back at some of the processes we’ve put in place and make them better. You always have to revisit what you started. What can we change? What works? What doesn’t? What is technology bringing our way? How can we be more strategic? Continue to look for ways to keep communication open.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

We have a family, team-oriented environment, even though we have buyers across the country and a call center in Austin. We try to keep that in the forefront and be inclusive of everyone. Every role counts, whether in Euclid, Austin or the various states where our buyers are located.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

There are so many ways that what HGR does affects people. New start-ups, artists, companies overseas that are able to produce product with our equipment. On the other hand, we provide a great service to industries that need to clear floor space or are leaving the industry and want to recoup some of their investment. Our business model is unique.

Who is John Miller, and what’s this about an auction?

auction gavel

 

HGR Buyer John MillerLike the old Donny & Marie song “A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock ‘n Roll,” John Miller, one of HGR’s buyers who is located in St. Louis, Missouri, is a little bit sales, a little bit buyer. He works with both HGR’s Sales Department and Buy Department to bring in leads for brokerage equipment that we can sell through our website and those leads that we can auction. So, his position is unique because the items that he brokers are not rigged out to HGR’s Euclid, Ohio, showroom.

How did John make his way to HGR, and what is his experience? Well, prior to working for HGR, he worked in the industrial auction and machinery sales field. He has a longstanding relationship with HGR on the client side. He sold equipment to HGR’s regional buyers in the past, which is how he developed a relationship with HGR prior to coming on board as an employee.

Prior to John coming on board in February 2016, HGR occasionally participated in auctions with its auctioneer partners, but now there’s a focus on the opportunities and on getting the business. Miller says, “We most often partner with Cincinnati Industrial Auctioneers because they’re the top in the area for what they usually sell and what we usually sell. It’s a complimentary relationship that benefits both of our customers because our combined list of buyers and interested customers compliments each other.” HGR’s role in the auction process is to bring in leads for potential auctions and conduct the marketing for upcoming auctions through its website, email list and social media. Miller says, “We partner on six or seven auctions each year in the U.S. and Canada, and our goal is a couple of auctions per quarter. Nine times out of 10 the auction is being held because a plant closed.”

John’s auction leads often come from HGR’s buyers who are out in the field and may decide the situation is not a buy deal but rather an auction situation, and from HGR’s established relationships and contacts. He notes, “These auctions add to our value proposition for both customers that we buy from and customers that we sell to because we can either get things out of their plant immediately and into our showroom or maximize the value of the items by selling them from the factory floor at auction when moving them is not viable because would reduce the value. Auctions have been on the uptake for valuation recently.”

Here is a link to HGR’s next online and in-person auction of the assets from the former Allison Conveyor Engineering at 120 Mine St., Allison, Penn. This auction on Dec. 19 includes bridge mills, plasma tables, fabricating and welding equipment, CNC machining, and toolroom and support equipment.

If you need further information about the auction process or have an auction lead, please contact John Miller at 636-222-0098 or Jmiller@hgrinc.com.

 

 

HGR to close early on Friday, Dec. 15

holiday office party with Santa hats

Please excuse our early closure on Friday, Dec. 15. We are open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please come to make your purchases or look around prior to 3 p.m. since we will be closing at that time so that our employees can be rewarded for their hard work and enjoy our annual holiday party with Santa Claus and a pretty rowdy White Elephant gift exchange!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

The Crew at HGR Industrial Surplus

5 tips for navigating HGR Industrial Surplus’ website

Screen capture of HGR Industrial Surplus website at hgrinc.com

Jared Donnelly HGR Industrial Surplus inside sales rep(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jared Donnelly, one of HGR’s inside sales reps)

This time of year, finding the exactly perfect thing you’re looking for is a challenge that we all face as we descend upon retailers trying to cross things and people off of our shopping lists. For manufacturing and industry, this holds true, as well, as buyers search to try to fill gaps in their arsenal of machinery, or look for one specific part to take their production to the next level.

Searching for industrial surplus is, undoubtedly, easier now than ever with dealers nationwide, networking, and, of course, the Internet. Just like anything else, however, you need to know not only what you’re looking for but the best way to look for it. Let’s take a look at some helpful tips to guide you through searching for just what you need on hgrinc.com.

 

  1. Could you be a bit more vague? Typically, it is important to be specific in your search. However, on hgrinc.com, it will actually make it easier to find what you’re looking for if you search broadly and generically. Instead of searching for the make, model, or specific type of bandsaw, just search “bandsaw.” Sometimes, we get equipment in without any sort of real information. Maybe the manufacturer’s plate came off or was removed. Maybe the previous owner painted over or removed any branding. We may well have the bandsaw that you’re looking for. Searching broadly will generate a result for any and all bandsaws in our inventory. From there, find one you like, jot down the inventory number, and give us a call.
  2. A Machine by Any Other Name. How many different names can you think of for things you use every day? Industrial surplus is no different. You may refer to an item as a recycler; someone else may call it a shredder; and still someone else may have a different name for it altogether. IF your first search doesn’t yield the result you’re looking for, try searching for it by an alternative name. Again, it is important to search broadly, then drill down from there to find exactly what you’re looking for.
  3. How Much Does It Cost? If you know you’re searching for an item that might only cost $25, sifting through a list of items ranging from $5 to $25,000 doesn’t make much sense. As with most online shopping sites, hgrinc.com gives you an option to sort by price. For instance, if you’re looking for a transformer and you search “transformer” on the website, you’re going to get a wide array of items and prices. If you know that the one you want is a small unit that shouldn’t cost much, sort by price, low to high, and once you hit a price that’s higher than it ought to be for your item, you know you’ve reached the end of your search.
  4. Ricky, Don’t Lose That Number. Once you find an item, jot down the inventory number for it and remember what it is. This is going to make it much easier to repeat your search without having to try to recall the exact term you used, which one it was, or what page it was on. Instead, you’ll go to the website, type in the 11-digit inventory number, and your item, assuming it is still available, will be right there. Plus, when you call in to talk to a salesperson, the first thing he or she will ask is, ”Do you have an inventory number for me?”
  5. Frequent Flyer. The website updates in real time and on a daily basis. So keep refreshing, keep looking, and remember to sort by new arrivals. as well. As soon as something is inventoried and photographed, it goes on the website, oftentimes before it even hits the showroom floor. Keeping an eye on this gives you an advantage over in-store shoppers who might not have seen the item on the website or on the floor. As soon as an item is sold, it is removed from the website; so, if you can’t find it anymore, it’s no longer available.

Honda by the numbers

Honda superbike world championship

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Ned Hill, A One-Handed Economist and professor of public administration and city & regional planning at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Ned HillAffairs, powered by The MPI Group)

Honda has always been known for its precise management style; in fact, you could say they literally do everything by the numbers:  The 3 Joys, the 3 Fundamental Beliefs, the 5 Management Policies, and the 5 Components of Racing Spirit, to mention just a few. Let’s see how Honda’s obsession with metrics is reflected in an effective mission statement and how superior performance is the result.

Honda’s official name is Honda Motor Car Company, which honors its roots and largest product group. But that moniker doesn’t really describe the company; Honda is a global manufacturing organization that produces and sells far more than automobiles:

  • The company’s motorcycles and scooters are globally competitive, with more than a quarter billion sold since 1948.
  • Honda Jet in North Carolina delivered its first plane in late 2015 using an engine developed with GE Aviation.
  • The power-equipment group produces general-purpose engines, generators, boat engines, lawnmowers, and yard equipment. This division also is moving into household natural-gas-powered cogeneration, and the company as a whole is a leader in fuel cells.
  • Honda also is developing a presence in industrial and mobility robotics.

All in all, it’s worth asking, as we consider mission and values: Is there something that ties this company together, or is it just another industrial conglomerate linked by shared financials?  More philosophically: How does Honda identify value propositions for customers and owners across its broad platform of products? What is the firm’s corporate connective tissue and source of competitive advantage?

I’d suggest that two competencies unite Honda:

  • The first competency is technical and product-oriented: Common to all of Honda’s products and divisions are engines and propulsion systems.  These are present in each of its product lines and serve as technical sources of competitive advantage.
  • The second competency and source of competitive advantage is the company’s culture.

The Seven Tests of Mission Relevance and Effectiveness

For any company, seven statements provide guiderails to its current operations and a path to its future:

  1. Statement of purpose explaining why a company exists.
  2. Statement of the company’s competitive advantage and core competencies.
  3. Value proposition for customers.
  4. Value proposition for owners.
  5. Vision statement that frames the company’s future direction.
  6. Values and ethics statement that defines the company’s culture, describes the organization as a place to work, and is directed at employees.
  7. Strategy proposition, founded upon the value propositions, which ties together the vision of the future with sources of competitive advantage and the values of the workplace.

I’ll rate each component of Honda’s culture-setting statements with a ranking from 1 (low) to 5 (high) of the company’s white coveralls (all associates wear them, for anti-utilitarian (dirt shows easily, emphasizing a clean work environment) and egalitarian (everybody looks equal) purposes).

Let’s go through them step by step.

Test One: The Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should explain the reason why a company exists. To find Honda’s statement of purpose, we have to draw from three of its cultural documents.

First of all, the foundation of Honda’s culture is its statement of philosophy:

“Driven by its dreams and reflecting its values, Honda will continue taking on challenges to share joys and excitement with customers and communities around the world to strive to become a company society wants to exist.”

Honda’s overarching philosophy recognizes that its survival depends on customers who value its products and communities that value its locations and associated jobs. The philosophy is not tactical, was not developed by marketing, and is timeless. As such, it is partially a statement of purpose.

The company’s mission statement is global, reflecting the realities of the company’s footprint, and focuses on providing value to its customers:

“Maintaining a global viewpoint, we are dedicated to supplying products of the highest quality, yet at a reasonable price for worldwide customer satisfaction.”

APPLAUSE!  This mission statement is a value proposition for customers.

Last, the outward-facing messages of Honda’s philosophy and mission are implemented by The Three Joys. The Three Joys of buying, selling, and creating are corporate norms; all are part of the company’s value proposition to its customers.

  1. The joy of buying is “achieved through providing products and services that exceed the needs and expectations of each customer.”
  2. The joy of selling is the reward from selling and servicing products and from developing “relationships with a customer based on mutual trust.” In Honda’s vision, selling links the company’s employees, dealers, and distributors together with their shared customers.
  3. The joy of creating occurs when Honda’s associates and suppliers are involved in the design, development, engineering and manufacturing of Honda products that “exceed expectations [of the customer].” Then “we experience pride in a job well done.”

APPLAUSE again! The Three Joys provide a set of norms that implement Honda’s mission statement and recognize that the corporation’s future is rooted in business practices. No social workers or frustrated marketers were involved in the mission’s creation.

Honda’s philosophy — combined with its mission statement and operationalized by the Three Joys — satisfies the first and third of the seven statements of purpose and value propositions. Give them four pairs of Honda white coveralls for my first criterion on the purpose of the company.

Test Two: The Statement of Competitive Advantage

My second criterion is a statement of competitive advantage, and you cannot find an explicit statement. Perhaps making such a statement is too bold and boastful for the company. Instead, the company’s source of competitive advantage is evident in its product lines and dependence on applied research. Honda’s competitive advantage rests in its research expertise in engine and propulsion systems and the development of products around its research.

An example comes from one of the company’s newest product lines, Honda Aircraft Company. This business unit is the outcome of a 30-year effort to create a disruptive light passenger jet, and it demonstrates the connection between the company’s guiding philosophy and its product development. Michimasa Fujino, an engineer who was part of the original research team in the mid-1980s, is now the president and CEO of the business unit. He helped the investment survive technical and economic setbacks by tying the project to the company’s efforts to rekindle innovation, or to dream. The division exists because of the initiative and skill of Fujino, and it survives because of the strategic support of the company, especially through the Great Recession and the crash of the private aircraft market. “A company has to have longevity,” he says of his strategic mandate. “We look at 20 years or even 50 years of Honda’s growth in the long term. In order to have that kind of longevity, we have to invest [in] our future.”

Honda earns five coveralls for meeting the second criterion through its actions and investments, not through its words.

Test Three: The Value Proposition for Customers

Couple the mission statement with the Three Joys and a clear value proposition is made to customers:  Providing products and services that exceed the needs and expectations of each customer at reasonable prices that generate worldwide customer satisfaction.

Five white coveralls on Honda’s ability to present a value proposition to its customers, which is the third test.

Test Four: The Value Proposition for Owners

There is no explicit statement about the value proposition that Honda offers to its owners. This is left to its direct communications with shareholders. However, the awarding of coveralls comes later because Honda hints at that value proposition in its statements.

What is the company’s vision for its future? It is not a specific list of products, technologies or investments. Instead, it is timeless guidance for management and investors in its five Management Policies, which are a mix of Eastern and Western value statements:

  1. Proceed always with ambition and youthfulness.
  2. Respect sound theory, develop fresh ideas, and make the most effective use of time.
  3. Enjoy work and encourage open communications.
  4. Strive constantly for a harmonious flow of work.
  5. Be mindful of the value of research and endeavor.

The management policies are a mixture of guidance on how to perform today’s job by supporting open communications and promoting a harmonious flow of work, and of paying attention to tomorrow’s job. Tomorrow’s job is to be approached with “ambition and youthfulness” and based on research, development, and risk-taking: “Respect sound theory, develop fresh ideas” and “Be mindful of the value of research and endeavor.” The emphasis on tomorrow’s job is reinforced by the joy of creating.

While the Management Policies’ language is not familiar to a North American, its intent is pitch-perfect. It addresses the accomplishment of today’s job in the third and fourth precepts—encouraging a harmonious workplace based on open communications. This is part of a values and ethics promise to Honda’s employees.

The other management policies are about tomorrow’s job: Be ambitious and develop new ideas that rest on research and risk-taking. Honda expects itself to be an innovation company.  I award three coveralls on the fourth criterion of making a value proposition to ownership because Honda only hints that it is a company built for the long run; it is not solely focused on next quarter’s return.

Test Five: The Vision Statement

The fifth test is explicitly about the future orientation of a company. In Honda’s case, the foundation comes from three of the Management Policies and the tactics come from a set of principles closely associated what the company’s founder, Mr. Soichiro Honda, called The Racing Spirit.

The Racing Spirit is directly connected to Mr. Honda’s early experience in motorcycle racing. He observed that passion is part of every competitive racing team, and he wanted that same passion to be at the heart of his company. There are five components to the Racing Spirit:

  1. Seek the challenge: Seeking competition improves the performance of both individuals and the company.
  2. Be ready on time: All races have a starting time—be ready before the gun goes off.
  3. Teamwork: Races are won by teams, not just the driver. Honda defines this as togetherness: the driver, staff, and machine are all vitally important.
  4. Quick response: Be ready to solve unpredictable problems at all times.
  5. Winner takes all: The only goal is winning.

The future orientation of the company begins with seeking the Racing Spirit’s challenge, followed by the Management Policies of ambition, respecting sound theory and fresh ideas, coupled with respect for research. All of this is powered by the dreams that are mentioned in the company’s overarching philosophy.  Five overalls for the fifth criterion.

Test Six: The Values and Ethics Statement

The sixth test focuses on the company’s workplace values and business ethics. Honda’s Fundamental Beliefs add to the company’s Management Policies that relate to its workforce. The Beliefs are a trinity of statements about the company’s relationships with its employees. Honda states that these three norms sum to respect for individuals:

  • Initiative to act is encouraged, along with taking responsibility for the results of those actions.
  • Equality is defined as recognizing and respecting individual differences and rights to opportunity.
  • Trust is action-based: “helping out where others are deficient, accepting help where we are deficient, sharing our knowledge, and making a sincere effort to fulfill our responsibilities.”

Honda values initiative, ambition, equality, and trust in a harmonious workplace built around open communications. Five coveralls awarded for meeting the sixth criterion on values and ethics.

Test Seven: The Strategy Proposition

A cornerstone of Honda’s corporate culture is a commitment to continuous improvement and lean operations. Yet, this is not directly reflected in the company’s philosophical statements.  The Management Policy supports a “harmonious flow of work,” making effective use of time, along with a fundamental belief in each associate taking responsibility for their actions. These are all elements of lean production.

How well does Honda do in building a useful strategy proposition that is supported by a strong set of management values? Honda’s Philosophy, The Three Joys, the Fundamental Beliefs and The Racing Spirit are guiding principles that are closely associated with Mr. Honda. They are critical components of what could be called the company’s origin story or foundation myth and have been used when the company appeared to have lost its way. Mr. Honda built his company around an enduring strategy proposition—the racing spirit. It is only fitting to drape this criterion with four and a half pairs of Honda’s enduring white coveralls. After all, there is always room for improvement.

OK, But Why the White Coveralls?

Why the white coveralls? They are part of the company’s culture and derive from its fundamental beliefs about equality. Honda does not have reserved parking, its employees are called associates, and all workers — even its CEO, research and development associates, and its accountants — wear white coveralls with covered buttons. This was a shock to U.S. workers when Honda Americas Manufacturing started production.

Honda offers three explanations for the tradition:

  • White jumpsuits make physical statements about the work environment, modern manufacturing, and the quality of the finished product. White uniforms stain and easily show dirt. They serve as a check on Honda’s belief that “good products come from clean workplaces.”
  • They are symbols about the manufacturing work environment at Honda. The covered buttons prevent scratches on the finish of the products — and highlight the importance of detail in quality.
  • Finally, the uniform is a statement about equality and team. Honda states that the white outfit symbolizes the equality of all at Honda in pursuit of the company’s goals.

When Honda opened its U.S. manufacturing operations in Marysville, Ohio, in the 1980s, the jumpsuit and lack of managerial perks made one other statement to potential workers: Honda was not the same as a U.S.-headquartered car company. At the time, this was a very good thing — though others have since learned from Honda’s example.

Enter HGR’s December 2017 “guess what it is” Facebook contest

December 2017 HGR guess what it is Facebook Contest

Head to our Facebook page to guess what piece of equipment or machinery is pictured. To participate you MUST meet the following three criteria: like our Facebook page, share the post, and add your guess in the comments section. Those who guess correctly and meet these criteria will be entered into a random drawing to receive a free HGR T-shirt or other cool items.

Click here to enter your guess on our Facebook page by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017. A winner will be drawn and announced the following week.

HGR is hosting an auction on Dec. 19

December 19, 2017 auction

HGR Industrial Surplus is partnering with Cincinnati Industrial Auctioneers to host an in-person and online auction of assets from the former Allison Conveyor Engineering at 120 Mine St., Allison, Penn. This auction includes bridge mills, plasma tables, fabricating and welding equipment, CNC machining, and toolroom and support equipment.

Click here for further details and to register.