A Good Buy
A Subtle Message
Internet & Technology
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Have you ever needed something and by accident a friend tells you that it is on sale at a store near you?
Recently, I found myself in need of a digital caliper. It's a device that allows you to measure accurately inside and outside diameters and also hole depths.
The old ones did the same thing without the digital display. If you've ever tried to measure something accurately with a scale, you'll know what I mean when I say that it's hard to do and not reliable at all.
The new ones have a digital display on them and I guess I just assumed they were still expensive, but today I bought one on sale for $13.99 plus tax! Amazing!
It's imported of course. The package says so. How can they make it for the price? Realistically, we know it's a lost leader put in flyer to get you to the store, but this one is really useful.
Just the box it comes in is impressive. It's plastic and produced from a high quality mould. The box even has a fake wood grain to it that was part of the male-female mould design.
Inside the box to store it is a dense Styrofoam pocket that keeps it snug and damage free too.
It has a clear digital display that is very easy to read. You can zero it out anyplace and move it along with the knurled knob. There is a set screw for holding a position.
You can turn it on and off easily and switch from inch to metric, if you want, which is really handy. It's good for 6 inches, which is fine for many small projects.
It's battery operated by what looks like a hearing aid disk type and they give you an extra one, just for good measure
How do they do it?
Here is a device that consists of a lot of subparts, manufactured, shipped, stored, marketed and sold at $13.99?
If anything scares me it is the ability for the far east to make and sell tools. Good for them, but shame on us for not being able to compete.
Today I was talking to a friend about the loss of tool makers. Is there any politician in high places in Canada or the US who has grown up from a tool maker background? It seems that the most common background for eventual promotion in politics or business is from Law School or the MBA program. This is ok, but it is out of balance.
Since we seem to run our enterprises on time frames tuned to the stock market and election cycles, we can miss long term trends altogether.
Could it be that the attitude is born of confusion or a gross miss read by our national leaders. Do we still see the work that has gone to the far east as work that no North American will do, therefore, it is ok? After all assembly work is boring.
So the confusion could be a mistaken idea about tool making versus raw assembly. Not only is the caliper a precision device, but it is a device that is used by tool makers and skilled trades men and women.
I had to catch myself in the same odd frame of mind. I was thinking of the caliper being so inexpensive and thinking the makers of it could never make much money with it from North America. I too forgot that they are tool makers and they have their own internal market for this device, which is much bigger than the market here.
The company whose ad is shown below is in Bruce County. They are tool makers and they use calipers like and better than the one described. Good for them. We should be glad that they are here and doing very well.
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Saturday, February 06, 2010