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 Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers

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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:12 pm

Edo, your suggestion of diversification into scientific glass is very interesting. Instruments went from glass to metals over the last couple of decades, but it might be possible to win some of that back. http://berkeley.edu/news/magazine/summer_99/feature_glass.html

Blowers and cutters in Waterford train for seven years and mastercraftsmen much longer. The average age of the skilled men is late 40s.

Waterford is machine blown now, which is much more precise and consistent a product, but less "crafted" in character - and less interesting for the 300,000 plus pay-in visitors who were going around the factory each year. Waterford will now if this closes will lose the substantial cruise visitor business former employees had patiently built up over the years on the basis of the Crystal factory.

Part of the production was farmed out the Czech republic in a half arsed way in the early 1990s. They make a cheaper, supposedly "younger" product. The unions struck over it shutuplaura - they fought against it and lost, with a lot of job losses about 12 years ago.

I agree that marketing has been very poor, as has design and product development. Glass makers are highly skilled, and they are and were strongly unionised. They had little confidence in management and this seems to have been borne out.

Is this a case where a worker's co-op could work, given a reasonable start up investment? They claim that the glassmaking has been making money, and that it is mainly Wedgewood, another old craft product, that has been making the big losses.

Every other country seems to be investing into keeping old car lines rolling. Can we afford to let one of our very few indigenous industries go?
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:25 pm

It's been a long time coming. In order to manufacture in Ireland, Waterford Glass like every other Irish based manufacturer, was forced to the high priced end of the market in order to survive. I'd personally like to berate management but the whole story just ain't that simple. Overall, any time I've come in contact with Irish management, it's just been pathetic - very regimented and poor communication skills are among their worst traits. Far too many owners, and budding entrepeneurs, are short term focused and looking to make a quick buck.

There are notable exceptions, of course, and a successful producer/manufacturer that is Irish based has to be ruthless in order to compete and even then its has to be struggle.

Strangely enough, the much demonised wage factor isn't a big problem. On a per unit basis cost, the wage factor (say at €10 per hour) doesn't overly affect my own break-even analysis as I try to begin a start-up business. Having said that, the health and safety issues are daunting and potentialy a lethal minefield. An early law-suit, combined with insurance costs, will be fatal. However, I also believe that health and safety issues can be very positive in creating a quality control environment from the get go.

There are so many impediements for native producers whether it be cows or cowboy boots.

I have an US based friend who helping me with research for a start-up project which involves some manufacturing. Last week I came up with some rough estimates for productions costs and was he then advised to see what affect VAT would have on the final retail price. The maths was depressing. For sake of argument, if my production costs were c. €5 and I doubled that to €10 to make a €5 profit per unit, the final costs would come out to about €30 at the retail level (if the retailer put a 100% mark-up on the product.) While, I the producer made €5, the govt would make nearly €9 on taxes and the retailer c. €12. This is a real disincentive to basing production in Ireland, as well as depressing. Obviously, this affects the number of units I can sell due to price sensitivity issues and makes it probable that a competitor from outside the Irish state will undercut my on price in very short order.

Of course the high cost of property makes the rent costs exhorbitant in this country. I've tried to rent space locally from several individuals who have property lying dormant for years. Yet they expect high-end rental rates from the get go. They'd rather see premises idle (even mushroom houses) rather than negotiate on rents.

I can see why the govt is almost entirely focused on creating patent producing enterprises or service industries. It's about the only way in which Irish created businesses can thrive in our high cost environment.

I also admire any native manufacturer. They have to be exceptional in order to survive. And even though I don't particularly like the Ryan Air product, one has to acknowledge the business model and understand that it almost has to sacrifice all other service-based ideals in order for esstential price based service to thrive.

All this won't help Waterford workers now, but if a white knight does come along, they'd better look to acquire new skills as fast as possible. The 10 year gaurantee means nought if the new owners can't sell profitably, and I just don't see any fundamental change in govt strategy. Ireland, simply put, isn't geared for native business production and it seems the decisions to jettision any such model is irrevocably hampered by our tax system and the recent surge in inflation caused by the property boom.

As a life long Republican, I thought I'd never write these words - but thankfully the border to will prove a solution for my own start-up hurdles. Strange world.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:39 pm

rockyracoon wrote:
It's been a long time coming. In order to manufacture in Ireland, Waterford Glass like every other Irish based manufacturer, was forced to the high priced end of the market in order to survive. I'd personally like to berate management but the whole story just ain't that simple. Overall, any time I've come in contact with Irish management, it's just been pathetic - very regimented and poor communication skills are among their worst traits. Far too many owners, and budding entrepeneurs, are short term focused and looking to make a quick buck.

There are notable exceptions, of course, and a successful producer/manufacturer that is Irish based has to be ruthless in order to compete and even then its has to be struggle.

Strangely enough, the much demonised wage factor isn't a big problem. On a per unit basis cost, the wage factor (say at €10 per hour) doesn't overly affect my own break-even analysis as I try to begin a start-up business. Having said that, the health and safety issues are daunting and potentialy a lethal minefield. An early law-suit, combined with insurance costs, will be fatal. However, I also believe that health and safety issues can be very positive in creating a quality control environment from the get go.

There are so many impediements for native producers whether it be cows or cowboy boots.

I have an US based friend who helping me with research for a start-up project which involves some manufacturing. Last week I came up with some rough estimates for productions costs and was he then advised to see what affect VAT would have on the final retail price. The maths was depressing. For sake of argument, if my production costs were c. €5 and I doubled that to €10 to make a €5 profit per unit, the final costs would come out to about €30 at the retail level (if the retailer put a 100% mark-up on the product.) While, I the producer made €5, the govt would make nearly €9 on taxes and the retailer c. €12. This is a real disincentive to basing production in Ireland, as well as depressing. Obviously, this affects the number of units I can sell due to price sensitivity issues and makes it probable that a competitor from outside the Irish state will undercut my on price in very short order.

Of course the high cost of property makes the rent costs exhorbitant in this country. I've tried to rent space locally from several individuals who have property lying dormant for years. Yet they expect high-end rental rates from the get go. They'd rather see premises idle (even mushroom houses) rather than negotiate on rents.

I can see why the govt is almost entirely focused on creating patent producing enterprises or service industries. It's about the only way in which Irish created businesses can thrive in our high cost environment.

I also admire any native manufacturer. They have to be exceptional in order to survive. And even though I don't particularly like the Ryan Air product, one has to acknowledge the business model and understand that it almost has to sacrifice all other service-based ideals in order for esstential price based service to thrive.

All this won't help Waterford workers now, but if a white knight does come along, they'd better look to acquire new skills as fast as possible. The 10 year gaurantee means nought if the new owners can't sell profitably, and I just don't see any fundamental change in govt strategy. Ireland, simply put, isn't geared for native business production and it seems the decisions to jettision any such model is irrevocably hampered by our tax system and the recent surge in inflation caused by the property boom.

As a life long Republican, I thought I'd never write these words - but thankfully the border to will prove a solution for my own start-up hurdles. Strange world.
Most of your cost arguments there don’t really hold water in the sense that the same elements, retailer mark up & VAT will have exactly the same effect on any competitive products, they will vary from international market to market, but be the same within any one market. The only two factors which would be of concern are your unit production cost and your own mark up, but very often by adding say 20% to production/presentation cost you can add up to 50% to the retail value. Here in Ireland we can’t do cheap, so we have to do smart if we’re to survive.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:41 pm

A retail markup is generally 40%, no?
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:44 pm

johnfás wrote:
A retail markup is generally 40%, no?
Varies from trade to trade and even from product range to product range, it can go anywhere from 10% to 100% +.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:47 pm

Yea suppose it does. Clothing is 40% I think because when they do 20% discount (which is the general discount) they have to sell twice as much to stand still. That's why cutting prices before Christmas will destroy a business.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:02 pm

tonys, VAT is an up-front cost to producers and as such has an affect on on their production costs via materials bought locally (if, in fact, they can be located) and a multiplier affect on the final cost of the product through the retail chain to the consumer. This has a huge influence on pricing sensitivity.

If I can keep the final unit cost down by doing buiness in a 13.5% VAT environment, I can be much more unit cost effective than in a 20.5% environment. Simple as.

Therefore, the simple calculations provided present a correct analysis.

My spouse, by happy circumstance, works in the retail environment in which I wish to sell. My spouse also does the buying for the department. Therefore, I know to a percentage what the retail mark-ups are going to be for her particular retail outlet and can surmise similar mark-ups by competitors. Even if I can negotiate a RRP at a lower mark-up, the multiplier affect of the VAT has a significant part to play.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:37 pm

rockyracoon wrote:
tonys, VAT is an up-front cost to producers and as such has an affect on on their production costs via materials bought locally (if, in fact, they can be located) and a multiplier affect on the final cost of the product through the retail chain to the consumer. This has a huge influence on pricing sensitivity.

If I can keep the final unit cost down by doing buiness in a 13.5% VAT environment, I can be much more unit cost effective than in a 20.5% environment. Simple as.

Therefore, the simple calculations provided present a correct analysis.

My spouse, by happy circumstance, works in the retail environment in which I wish to sell. My spouse also does the buying for the department. Therefore, I know to a percentage what the retail mark-ups are going to be for her particular retail outlet and can surmise similar mark-ups by competitors. Even if I can negotiate a RRP at a lower mark-up, the multiplier affect of the VAT has a significant part to play.
VAT has no effect on your costs as it's 100% reclaimable, it does have an effect on retail price but no more for your product than any other product and so is not a competitive factor. In other words if for example you manufacture in the republic, but sell into the north then on the shelves your product will only include the VAT rate applicable in the north.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:33 pm

tonys wrote:
rockyracoon wrote:
tonys, VAT is an up-front cost to producers and as such has an affect on on their production costs via materials bought locally (if, in fact, they can be located) and a multiplier affect on the final cost of the product through the retail chain to the consumer. This has a huge influence on pricing sensitivity.

If I can keep the final unit cost down by doing buiness in a 13.5% VAT environment, I can be much more unit cost effective than in a 20.5% environment. Simple as.

Therefore, the simple calculations provided present a correct analysis.

My spouse, by happy circumstance, works in the retail environment in which I wish to sell. My spouse also does the buying for the department. Therefore, I know to a percentage what the retail mark-ups are going to be for her particular retail outlet and can surmise similar mark-ups by competitors. Even if I can negotiate a RRP at a lower mark-up, the multiplier affect of the VAT has a significant part to play.
VAT has no effect on your costs as it's 100% reclaimable, it does have an effect on retail price but no more for your product than any other product and so is not a competitive factor. In other words if for example you manufacture in the republic, but sell into the north then on the shelves your product will only include the VAT rate applicable in the north.

Thanks for the info tonys. I'll check the reclaimable bit out. It seems that I'll be able to sell more units, cost wise, in cheaper VAT terrirotities full stop.

On another note, just received an e-mail from my mate who said I'd be crazy to manufacture nearly anywhere in the EU. It's nearly always cheaper to get one's dies made at home and send them to the Far-East for production, so I'll be checking this option out next week. Good agent etc.

In the end, I'll probably not be producing nor selling my product in Ireland. Not what I envisioned nor wanted. Go figure.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:42 pm

Someone I know tried manufacturing and exporting for the last twenty years, went bust twice, started again. The product is very high quality and is good value.

Last year he started to outsource production to China and it he said it was the first year he has slept properly at night. I can see the difference in the product, but it isn't enough to bother most customers.

You pay VAT on what you sell and then write if off against any VAT you have charged.

VAT arrangements across borders are variable, but need to be checked. Local authorities pay VAT but can't reclaim it as they themselves don't pay VAT. It makes outsourced goods and services costly to them - then the VAT is passed to central government.

It is a cost on people who don't pay VAT - i.e. most customers - a purchase tax. It pushes the price up for them at the point of sale. As the market will only tolerate a certain price, it tends to squeeze profitability.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:06 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Someone I know tried manufacturing and exporting for the last twenty years, went bust twice, started again. The product is very high quality and is good value.

Last year he started to outsource production to China and it he said it was the first year he has slept properly at night. I can see the difference in the product, but it isn't enough to bother most customers.

You pay VAT on what you sell and then write if off against any VAT you have been (EDIT) charged.

VAT arrangements across borders are variable, but need to be checked. Local authorities pay VAT but can't reclaim it as they themselves don't pay VAT. It makes outsourced goods and services costly to them - then the VAT is passed to central government.

It is a cost on people who don't pay VAT - i.e. most customers - a purchase tax. It pushes the price up for them at the point of sale. As the market will only tolerate a certain price, it tends to squeeze profitability.

Thanks very much CF. I'm taking some classes, beginning this coming week, on Irish tax law etc. Went to Dundalk tax office a good while back and they threw me some pamplets and told me to get a good accountant. I know I need a good accountant but I want to earn of few beans before I pay for the service.

I know without having any real insider knowledge that any production and assembly process would have to be efficient. One nearly has to have the dosh to start in automated mode these days. Even in automated mode, I was warned that turning a pofit would be difficult.

Still, it's quite depressing to have to go overseas for the production process. I've always wanted to produce something with a utility value. Boring fecker that I am, these processes interest me - especially the entire quality control philosophy. I just don't see how one can control quality from afar, plus there would be real value in hiring people in the locality as jobs on the ground are pretty thin at the moment.

I will try and do some custom (made or order etc.) production locally but it will be small spud stuff. Oh well, if I can make enough from my product(s) in years to come maybe I can set up production and assembly on my own premises. gl
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:12 pm

Took the words out of my mouth rockyracoon - An SME is best off if you own own your own premises and in rural Ireland that can still be much more cost efficient than renting. It is a good idea to keep your eye on having room for expansion though, unless you have the sort of set up that can go into the back of a van and move down the road easily.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:21 pm

Did look in to buying a site in my locality. The site, which is pure bog to my mind, was going for the asking price of €100k for less than an acre a couple of weeks ago. Rents may be expensive, but the idea of what constitutes land values is still outrageous. Not value for money! Then there's the problems with planning permission etc. Just not viable at the moment. Thanks and gl
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:59 pm

rockyracoon wrote:
Did look in to buying a site in my locality. The site, which is pure bog to my mind, was going for the asking price of €100k for less than an acre a couple of weeks ago. Rents may be expensive, but the idea of what constitutes land values is still outrageous. Not value for money! Then there's the problems with planning permission etc. Just not viable at the moment. Thanks and gl

Good luck to you in your venture rockyracoon. I'm sure you'll find a good place, one way or another.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:01 pm

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/mhsnsncwcwcw/


80 Swissco workers in Little Island, County Cork are demonstrating outside the plant today in the attempt to get redundancy that they say was agreed by the Labour Court paid.

16/02/2009 - 15:27:49
Quote :
More than 80 former workers of Swissco, which closed suddenly in December, have today protested at the company building in Little Island, Co Cork, demanding redundancy money.

The ready-meals company announced in September that it was to close with the loss of 154 jobs because of unprofitability.

There was hope when an independent auditor said the company could trade its way out of trouble — but that changed in December when the High Court was told the company had no chance of survival.

Employees were called in and told the company was to close immediately.

The employees received statutory redundancy, but a Labour Court ruling said the company was also to provide redundancy payments.

Swissco is part of International Cuisine Limited, which is owned by Singapore Foods.

After a meeting of employees in the Gresham Metropole Hotel last week, it was decided that they would protest outside the gates of the company today.

A letter has also been sent to Singapore Foods by the employees, outlining their grievances.

Cork TD Billy Kelleher has confirmed that he is still negotiating with the company to provide redundancy payments that he says workers are entitled to under the Labour Court agreement.

The protest today coincided with the viewing of the plant’s machinery that will be put up for auction on Wednesday.

City councillor Mick Barry said this situation was outrageous. “Not a single screw should be allowed to leave that plant until such time as the just demands of the workforce for redundancy payments have been met.

“The Waterford Glass workers have shown how to checkmate asset strippers, and their example is one that should be looked at very carefully here.”
(Breaking News today)
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:52 am

Good discussion on Waterford as a whole over on David McWilliams site: this is about the nitty gritty of being a "have not" region.


Quote :
As far as FF are concerned Waterford Port should close and they do everything in their power to try and close it. The port can take the ships but what are we going to do send the paperwork by semaphore or pigeon to somewhere that has broadband? The bullshit that has gone on about that port is unbelievable.

We spent FIVE years trying to get broadband and were told there was no demand and it was too far and the water was too wet. All kinds of bullshit excuses to prevent anything happening. Then we witnessed then the building of the giant palace for the Port of Waterford. To do what exactly? Look at the empty docks?

There is a train line there but only ONE train per week goes. There are 10 ships a week. One train is shag all use. Coca Cola wanted to run a train to Ballina but Iarnrod Eireann told them to get lost. Coke even offered to buy the train for them. Useless shower of wasters refused.

Waterford could take traffic from Dublin saving the ships time and fuel. Nobody really gives a flying monkeys about it and no amount of shouting will help. We did that and got nowhere. Dublin Port is mired in FF politics and is vastly underused and inefficent. We can get two ships in and out of Waterford in the time it takes them to get one in and out of Dublin.

Waterfords cranes are designed to move boxes from the ship straight onto trains or trucks in one movement. This is the only port in Ireland that can do this. Pity there are no trains to put the boxes on. The motorway is coming but its too bloody late now!

Hit the tide at the wrong time in Dublin and you are goosed. Sitting there like a pot plant waiting for the tide to lift you up. And if you miss your berth you are screwed too. There are acres of land in Dublin Port under utilised and in this day and age who the hell has a 9-5 port like most of Dublin is?

HELLO anyone at home?

Give me strength. These losers have been told time and time and time again for YEARS and they only start bleeting when Dell pulls out. My dog could have told them that. But no.

All that matters in Ireland politically is FF staying in power. And this is faciltiated by Beverley Flynn who knows damn well if she walks the Government might fall. So they have to keep her sweet. All politics in Ireland is held to ransom by some munter from Mayo. A munter on the take.


More trains to Waterford Port? The Docklands Authority and CIE were allowed to flog off a vital fragment of land that compromised the development of the Dublin-Waterford Port rail route.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:19 pm

Quote :
27/02/2009 - 16:17:40 Breaking News
Receivers acting for Waterford Wedgwood today announced the sale of its Irish and UK businesses to a US equity fund.

Irish reciever David Carson of Deloitte said: "We are pleased to announce that we have signed a contract with KPS Capital Partners LP, a New York-based private equity limited partnership."

The deal will see a new company being set up by KPS "to acquire certain Irish and UK assets of Waterford Wedgwood and the assets of several of its Irish and UK subsidiaries."

A statement said the completion of the sale was subject to customary conditions and is expected in March.

The companies went into receivership and administration respectively on January 5.

Hopefully more than an asset stripping exercise.
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