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Historical Articles

January, 1952 issue of Plating



President, Grunwald Plating Company, Chicago, Ill.

BUSINESS PROMOTION for the job shop plater presents a problem not always easy to solve.

We opened our plating plant in 1933 with 1,000 square feet of floor space, and 10 employees, and since that time have expanded steadily so that our facilities today cover 40,000 square feet and are worked by 150 men. We offer full-automatic equipment for polishing and buffing of all metals, including stainless steel and aluminum. Plating is done for both rust-proofing and purely ornamental finishing. The parts plated with copper, cadmium, brass, silver, zinc or otherwise finished are dried by the centrifugal process or in infrared-drying ovens.

In our business we have nothing to sell to-the general public. Thus, the common media of advertising which are so effective in most industries are not for us.
We like to feel that our business has grown because of the things our customers say about us. And the fact is—word-of-mouth advertising of this desirable kind has brought us many of our new accounts.

There are, however, at least two other sales-promotion methods which we use profitably and which are available to all platers no matter where they are situated: classified telephone directories and sales training.

We used a small display ad in the Chicago classified right from the start. We were counting pennies in 1933, but we wanted big circulation, too. Two years later, we splurged. We took a full-page ad in the directory, something one could do then. Our competitors thought we had taken a drastic plunge. As a matter of fact, we thought so, ourselves.

Today, under the heading, “Platers”, we have a half-inch ad which mentions some aspects of our service, but also refers to our quarter-page advertisement which appears on the first full page of the “Platers” section of the book.

There is a Grunwald display ad of 2.5 inches along with bold-face listing under “Rust-Proofing”. Under “Metal Finishers”, we have a similar bold-face listing.
It goes without saying that we would not use this number and variety of insertions if it did not profit us to do so. We have traced leads to each one—some of these leads producing some very fine business indeed. The most helpful of the listings we have found to be under “Plating”. That’s where our biggest ad is placed, and we get our share of orders from big corporations because they go by the size of the ad.

This should continue to be helpful in securing rearmament orders in the months ahead. Many of our present customers are large firms turning more and more to defense work, and our past relations with them and the directory advertising are a good combination in securing sub-contracts. We know for a fact that the directory has helped Grunwald get attention in Chicago’s big television-manufacturing industry.

We have no interest in building the business of the telephone-directory people, but we do find that a quarter-page ad is not merely two times as valuable as an eighth of a page. It is worth considerably more than that to us. Undoubtedly, still larger space would be better yet, but advertisers are restricted to a quarter-page in the Chicago directory. We would take a full page ad under “Platers” if that were possible, and we wouldn’t say so if we didn’t think it would pay in volume of business.

Hundreds of companies in the plating industry neglect almost completely the proper use of the telephone directory. In sales promotion, techniques are different when it’s a service instead of a product being sold. For example, we experimented during the last war and bought some local radio time. But we couldn’t advertise “specials” like a hardware dealer. Results would have been different if we had had tools to sell.

Another aspect of sales promotion to which we have given much thought is the selection and training of salesmen. They must have some familiarity with the principles of chemistry and metallurgy, and this background of theoretical knowledge is important to their success in following up requests for estimates and in making calls. There’s no substitute for knowing the-~ language of the trade. We don’t want them to become confused when an informed buyer asks a simple question about, say, the adhesion of one particular metal to another.

Obviously, the man who combines both technical knowledge and salesmanship represents the ideal, but it is a hard combination to find. If he has been a salesman, he has to be taught plating before he is sent out; if he has been a plater, he must be taught salesmanship.


Washington Orders

Copies of NPA orders and publication~ may be obtained from National Production Authority, Washington 25, D. C., or from any of its local offices.

Chemicals—NPA Regulation 2, Direction 3, was amended on December 3 to limit the use of ratings for acquisition of chemicals to those with program identifications A, B, C, and E plus one digit and Z-1.

Copper—An amendment of November 29 of CMP Regulation 1 and Directions widens the scope of the definition of controlled materials. It also increases the quantities of such materials for which manufacturers of Class B products can self-certify their orders for second~quarter, 1952, delivery (from 500 to 3,000 lb of copper and copper-base alloy). Other changes pertain to the acceptance of carry-over orders, return of unused balances of controlled materials, prohibition of manufacture of products containing CMP materials without an authorized production schedule, lead time for placing orders, and minimum mill quantities.

NPA Form 148 has been gotten up to assist persons in placing authorized-controlled-materials orders. It should be used only on repeated failure to place an order.

The copper-scrap supply, normally 5460 million pounds per month, was estimated at only 38 million pounds for December, 1951.

The estimated 1952 production of refined copper from domestic ore is 1,005,000 short tons, compared to 933,000 short tons in 1951.

Hoarding—NPA Notice 1 was amended on November ~ to prohibit hoarding of a number of materials, including alcohol, copper chemicals, artificial-graphite electrodes, army and numbered cotton duck, and steel shipping containers.

Hydrofluoric acid—Estimated requirements in 1952 for the 100 per cent product - are 105 million pounds, against a production of 95 million pounds.

Lead—Labor shortages at lead mines in the Pacific Northwest have reduced domestic production appreciably. An additional import of 8,500 tons per month is envisaged from Canada as a result of the rise in the ceiling price of imported lead from 17 to 19 cents per lb. November allocations of 28,000 tons was less than half the estimated requirement of 60,000 tons.

Rubber—Restrictions on consumption of “total new rubber” will be largely eliminated after January 1.
Sodium phosphates—The NPA believes that the supply will be adequate in 1952. Expansion of facilities now contemplated will increase the capacity by some 60 per cent in 1953.

Tin—On November 15 there were 11,340 tons of tin in the RFC stock pile, and only 7,500 tons were of grade A. The only other source available for industrial use is the Texas City smelter, which produces 1600-1700 tons per month. Worldwide production during the first eight months of 1951, however, exceeded consumption by 18,400 long tons.

Zinc—Order M-9 was amended on November 23. This Amendment 1, which goes into effect on January 1, redefines slab zinc to include anodes resulting from the first pouring or casting by a producer. The small-order exemption from the allocation-authorization requirement ~ reduced from 20 to 10 tons total receipt per month. Delivery is prohibited to known violators of order M-15 or other applicable orders. Records must henceforth be preserved for 3 instead of 2 years. Public health and safety, civilian defense, dislocation and unemployment of labor are given special consideration when requests for adjustment or exception are reviewed.

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