The Global Grind
If you’ve hit a golf ball, had a heart tune-up or you just smell reasonably well, chances are you’ve had intimate contact with Glebar Co.’s handiwork. New Jersey-based Glebar designs, configures and manufactures modular grinding machines purchased and used by companies to produce a wide range of products, from deodorant rollers to drumsticks, billiard balls to golf balls to sophisticated medical devices and a whole lot more.
Founded in 1952, Glebar machines have been turning out products all around the world for some time, though it has seen a significant bump in international sales over the past few years—foreign business, which made up 30 percent of total sales in 2010, accounted for 46 percent in 2014.
CEO Adam Cook says the numbers, while encouraging, don’t indicate the company is really doing anything new besides producing the most advanced, customizable machines that make for maximum margin enhancement—multiple machines can be operated by a single employee—and follow that up with constant, quick support.
“You have to be able to service your customers, it’s absolutely key,” Cook says. “If you buy a car but can’t get brake pads, you’re in trouble; if you can’t bring it in for repairs, you’re in trouble.”
To that end, Glebar has had local inventory and service in Japan through a corporate partner for more than 35 years. And the company is now in the process of launching Glebar Europe, which will not only provide stock on the shelf but service from European-based technicians.
“We’re always looking to be better, to be more accurate, more mindful of costs, always pushing the limit,” Cook says. “Because of that, in certain product markets, we are absolutely dominant.”
Two of those products are golf balls, the great majority of which are ground on Glebar machines, and medical guide wires used to perform medical procedures such as heart repairs. And yes, Cook has heard his share of complaints, duffers.
“I must admit even I wonder how our machines can create such accurate guide wires but we can’t seem to make a golf ball that will go straight,” Cook says.
SAY WHAT: CHINA AND CURRENCY MANIPULATION
“We fear these recent currency interventions could lead to a pattern of competitive devaluation within the Asia-Pacific that could hurt U.S. workers and exports for years to come. Therefore, it is extremely important that [the Trans-Pacific Partnership] addresses currency issues in meaningful and concrete ways.” Letter from seven U.S. senators to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
“It appears that China is involved in direct currency manipulation that is putting our manufacturers and businesses here in America at a competitive disadvantage. If they’re going to be a world power and play on the world economic stage, I would expect and demand that they play on a level playing field.” Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning, New York)
“The critical reason that Congress should take a pass on this much-too-late effort to address currency manipulation is that it would likely abort our chance for a really beneficial free-trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations. … If there were a good time to do this, it was many years ago. Today it would amount to a cure worse than the disease.” Jerry Jasinowski, economist, author and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers.