You know when you really care about something you really try to make it work, but also, I started to feel the weight that he must've felt for years, or maybe not, he had a very successful run. I respected him, just like I respected my dad, and just like I respected his brother, who after all really hired me, while he was on his boat in Florida. So i was conflicted at best.
The other worry I had, was that the people who were there, if they really ever found out about the position we were in, would jump out of the sinking ship in a minute! I knew that would be bad too. So it was a tightrope, circus act, and by the way, I am deathly afraid of heights. But that is what it was.
So for a time the consultant would come in, without really knowing my intentions, and ask me..... Hey would you be interested in helping out a new owner and transitioning the business? I was sitting there saying to myself, ok, so someone else buys the place, I teach them all I know, and he stabs me in the back in 18 months, and puts his fat son in my seat!! No, No No... but I played along.
I would ask, "really Joe, that is an interesting idea, what do I get for guarantees out of this scenario?"
That's when the mumbling and no eye contact would happen! Yeah SURE, Joe, sign me up!!!
I have no idea where that came from, it was just intuitive, because generally I trust people too much.
So the days would go on, and I saw how nervous the bank was, I mean , this was an unsecured loan, so my owner could have just walked, but he didn't! He agreed to have a bank auditor come in, which I thought was curious but it als raised a flag, that maybe he thought something shaky was going on too.
It probably was, but I still can't put my finger on it! There is more to this as we go along, trust me.
Anyway over that summer, we dropped our biggest customer, because our accounting firm blamed everything on them! WRONG, but we did, what stupidity!! Too ineffecient they said, it was killing our margins they said. Really? Doing over 4 million pounds of the same iten, is inefficient in a manufacturing business right? This wasn't like we were doing 5 different processes, it was 1, count them 1 item!!!! Now, I don't care what school you have been to, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that running your machines continuously for tha,t kind of volume is a production dream! It would be like Henry Ford only making, oh I don't know, his model T, or bring it forward, telling Steve Jobs, all you have to make is Ipads!! Are you kidding me? I was so frustrated, but what I didn't realize is that some of the people who worked there had such an animosity for how they were treated and they thought I was the next one to underpay them and abuse them! It couldn't have been further from the truth but, try convincing someone who has been working there for 20 years plus things will be different.
It was time to circle the wagons, the only problem was there was no supply chain or infantry. It was just me, no money, a young family, a big house I just bought and my wife, who was really great at the time. So I went home to my tiny apartment and circled the kitchen most nights, driving myself crazy!!
I had no idea how to bring this forward, but I was trying and thank god I am an optimist!! Here we go......into the deepest abyss of my career and I didn't blink, out of complete ignorance, believe me, but I was going to make this work if it killed me. New chapter,,,,,,, Wow what an eye opener, coming up!!!