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106 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2022 "Frank worked with us on the finances, and it seems the asking price is fair," Maggie said. "e owner, Ned Price, is a piece of work," Patty said, then warned, "Be careful." ree days later, the Benson Electronics (BE) team of Maggie, John, Frank, and Chuck visited Ivy Electronics. ey first met with two service technicians from the companies that manufactured the equipment in the two as- sembly lines. e service techs planned to evaluate the state of the equipment for BE. e first issue the BE team noticed was the overall filthiness of the shop floor. Frank used the restroom and commented that it was so disgusting that it felt violating. Aer the initial meeting with the service technicians, the BE team continued by visiting with Ned Price, owner of Ivy Electron- ics, in his office. He was waiting for them, along with another staff member. "Welcome to Ivy Electronics," Ned began. "Here is my lead technician, Phil Consol." e BE team introduced themselves. "We were hoping we could look around the shop, and chat with some of the staff," Maggie cheerfully requested. "Talking to the staff would be a waste of time," Ned responded with an obvious amount of disgust. "Most of them are dumb losers. Phil, here, is the best of the lot, and he's noth- ing to write home about." Phil remained stoic. e BE team was stunned. Ned seemed like an unpleasant person at a minimum. "Well, we will want to chat with a few of them anyway," John said, firmly. "Suit yourself," said Ned. "But they really are all losers. You can start your conversations with Phil here." e BE team found a small conference room to chat with Phil. Aer repeating introductions, Maggie said, "Phil, tell us about Ivy Electronics and your role here." Phil seemed reluctant to open up, and John sensed this first. "Phil, we are likely going to buy the compa- ny," John said, reassuringly. "Anything you say is between us and won't be disclosed to Ned." e relief on Phil's face was palpable. "I'm the lead technician," Phil began. "I set up new jobs and manage the operators. I also do some on-the-job training on how to run the machines." "Is there any formal training?" Chuck asked. "No," Phil responded. "Mr. Price says train- ing is expensive and takes time away from the operators running the machines." Frank then spoke up, "I've noticed that the facility is really filthy. e restrooms stink and they are almost unusable. What is the story on that?" "Mr. Price says it is too expensive to hire cleaning staff, so any cleaning is done by myself and the operators during breaks," Phil respond- ed. "If we don't bring in toilet paper and soap, there is none. I also believe the bad odor may be because the sewage system needs repair." "Phil, the pay here is quite low. Why do the people stay?" Frank asked. "Most of them don't have high school de- grees, and with Mr. Price constantly berating them, I believe they don't feel capable of being hired elsewhere," Phil answered. "How is the assembly equipment?" John asked. "at is our biggest challenge," Phil told the group. "Mr. Price doesn't want to pay for ser- vice, so we spend a lot of time keeping the equipment limping along." Figure 1: The bathrooms at Ivy Electronics were almost unusable.

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