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A parting shot.

This is to be the final installment of CEO Journal, and, as a parting shot, I insist on repeating something that I've mentioned in this column (and its predecessor) dozens of times over the past 14 years:

The metalcasting business is a gold mine.

And as I have said and written countless times, if managed properly, your metalcasting firm can be a gold mine, too, consistently generating double digit pretax profits month after month after month. Moreover, most of what you'll need to turn your business into just such a gold mine (other than intestinal fortitude, of course) has been given to you gratis in this column over the years. It's not a secret, and it's not impossible. If I can do it, and I have--several times--so can you.

Often, I meet CEOs who admit that while it may be possible to turn a metalcasting operation around and achieve exceptional profitability for a short time, superior levels of profit performance simply can't be sustained. For example, the parting shot of the last CEO I replaced was, "your P&L will look great for six months, but you'll be back in the toilet inside of a year." That was 18 months ago, and we've now had 14 straight months of superior profitability.

Done right, turnarounds can indeed be sustained. In fact, turnarounds that I started five years ago are still going strong, as are all of the projects I've taken on since.

More than anything else, "turnaround management," is simply good management applied with vigor and boldness. There is no slash and burn in good management, but neither is there a lot of "foundry" in good management. Managing the metalcasting business--and generating superior profitability on a sustainable basis--has very little to do with making castings. As I've always said, good management is about making money, not about making castings. That guy I replaced 18 months ago simply didn't get it, and he didn't want to get it. Unfortunately, there are still far too many like him in our industry.

When it's all said and done, that's been the point of CEO Journal all along. This old dog of an industry only needs to learn new tricks, and it can be reborn. Don't let all the doomsayers fool you or the conventional wisdom con you, this industry isn't dead yet--not even close. And hard as it is for me to believe, I've been trying to teach this industry of ours those new tricks for every bit of 22 years, more than half of those through my writings in MODERN CASTING. While it still irks me that some refuse to learn, I am very proud of the fact that many have learned and are making tons of money as a result.

So thanks, MODERN CASTING, for giving me the opportunity to write. And thanks to all of TDC's clients for providing the grist for this writer's creativity mill. While I have assisted more than 150 metalcasting companies over the past 22 years and wish to thank every last one of them, I am especially thankful to a relative handful of metalcasting owners, managers and others who have provided the lion's share of my inspiration for this column over the years. So, to that handful in Beaver Dam, Benton, DePere, Ludington, St. Mary's, Waterloo, Waukesha and Wrightsville--thank you very much.

Editor's Note: MODERN CASTING thanks Dan Marcus for the dozens of columns he's written for the magazine. His knowledge of the industry and the candor with which he spoke about it gave our readers plenty to think about, but his most valuable message was always his assertion that metalcasters can make money and prosper.

Dan Marcus, TDC Consulting Inc., Amherst, Wisconsin
COPYRIGHT 2007 American Foundry Society, Inc.
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Title Annotation:CEO JOURNAL
Author:Marcus, Dan
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Apr 1, 2007
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