• #11
    Other companies set "aside profits during boom periods" but it is for their Executive bonuses and salaries.
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  • #72
    @drpeeper They are in this Country, their product is manufactured in the USA. A lot of Companies use the term, "Swiss Army Knife" many are junk. Perhaps you did not comprehend the meaning of the article?
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  • #6
    "Fired"........ "layoff"
    You do know the difference between "fired" (in YOUR headline) versus "layoff" (in the story)?
    I will gar-en-tee someone has been fired during the 130 years this company has been in business....
  • #63
    Gotta say, @stepped_in_it, you are probably right. The headline naively conflates the actual 'no layoff' claim with firing. Just as a low level manager with Bechtel, I had to fire close to 20 people in 16 years (my claim to fame there was that they all ended up agreeing with me that I had no choice).
  • #222
    Don't know whether it was my appreciating the difference between a layoff and a firing or the fact that I valued employees clearly understanding when they are fired that I had no choice. In any case, thanks. I am, of course, prouder of the second.
  • #234
    @Raybo @BobFromDist9
    Having to fire someone is no easy task. I've done it (all too) many times.
    All had extreme violations of company policies and ALL deserved to hit the streets.
  • #4
    If it wasn't for greedy A-holes demanding more yachts, jets, mansions etc....this would be a common practice for all American also makes good business sense to reward loyal employees for their years of service and avoid costly turnover rates
  • #25
    Yes, I agree. Our damned greedy politicians and Washington bureaucrats taxing and regulating American companies into submission has gone on for long enough.....

    ....Switzerland has one of the lowest corporate tax rates on the face of the planet...only about one third of the corporate tax rate in the U.S. Switzerland is considered a "tax haven" for business and industry due to it's low taxes across the board. The United States should take a lesson from that. But you might want to check out that personal tax rate:
  • #27
    Well, if we were going to be more like Switzerland...we would be a socialist country...also, some of the biggest corporations in zero in taxes....and even the smaller profitable ones average about 13% in taxes
  • #33
    Well, since they are a neutral country...there is no change of anyone going to, it's hardly the same as military service in the US
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  • #10
    Swiss companies can use their profits that way because they are in a closed system - Victorinox has nearly a zero chance of going out of business or facing competition within Switzerland.
  • #65
    Yeah, socialism can't survive in the real world. Except when it does. The only thing the Swiss are good for is confusing their laws about firearms and their statistics about homicides. We'll just ignore everything else about them and pretend none of it can work (despite the fact that it does) in this country (except the aforementioned gun ownership laws which we'll hopelessly distort to fit our own agendas)
  • #74
    @frigginhell not many people would call Switzerland a socialist state, and I would not either. What they have that almost nobody else has is a stable, stationary population, and market dominance in their specialties (watches, knives, etc) going back hundreds of years.

    The Swiss take care of each other as well as anybody because they spend their whole lives together in the same little country - those are ideal conditions for a democratic republic.
  • #181
    @Ryuo they're a socialist democracy. far more socialist than this country. many of the same things democrats wish to do in this country are already done there and it's successful. whether or not you want to call them socialist is irrelevant. go ahead and call north korea socialist instead because it suits your needs and they're clearly not. doesn't matter to me skippy. the swiss are one of those nasty ol' european socialist countries. the fact they are far more succesful than we are with it doesn't change anything.
  • #256
    @frigginhell there you go comparing the Swiss with the U.S. You need to do a demographics study before thinking it would work here.
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  • #56
    Employees are not always a company's most important asset. In many cases they are low down on the list. It depends on the job being performed and the company in question.

    For example: Fresh-to-the-market entry level McDonald's employees, for example, are most definitely not the most important asset to McDonald's. They can replaced at just about any time. McDonald's most important assets certainly could be described as their brand name/recipes and the franchise owners that invest their own money into building and operating the locations.
  • #155
    Not sure you have ANY concept who in an organization represents a company to its customers.......who actually delivers the customer service and provides the customer experience........and in the case of the golden arches, with who a customer identifies the "McDonald's "brand".

    Guess what? It ain't the franchise owner, or the "recipes".

    If that were the case, McDonald's would be out of business, as they have been constantly changing owners and recipes.(in some cases, the food tastes worse than it did in the 1970's).

    One negative customer experience, from a "front-line" employee, causes FAR more damage and loss of business that what the McDonalds's logo is going to change to next month, or what the french fries taste like this week as opposed to last.

    There have only been hundreds of studies of the McDonald's business model.
    ALL have pointed to what makes them successful: The incredibly efficient throughput and safe, respectful, efficient, clean business establishments.

    And WHO makes those business "life or death" attributes work, or not work?
    A. The FRONT-LINE employees.

    It is always amazing to discover just how many folks, even business owners, who've had absolutely no business training, management training, or business education.
    You can spot them; they're the ones that tell you "I run my business the way it has been ran forever"......or "this is just how we do this business". Of course, if you're making a profit AND are can keep the doors open, while potential millions of profit go to your competitors.

    Every astute businessperson will tell you: "Your front-line people make or break EVERY business transaction. PERIOD."

    You can have the most scrumptious burgers in town, and the franchise owner can be the nicest, fairest person..........but if the staff screws up your order, takes too long, the place is filthy, the bathrooms are atrocious, or anyone is rude, you can KISS THAT CUSTOMER and THAT BUSINESS GOODBYE.

    Back to Community Business College for you, friend.
  • #159
    I really agree with most of your posts. As @ denizen_Kate exclaimed in an earlier post on another thread you bury your credibility with the perpetual snarkyness at the end of almost every one of your posts. Its a complete waste of time to make the long posts you do to make a point and then disrespect the poster you reply to with insults. I give you a down vote until you tighten up. That last post would have been stellar without the condescending remark.
  • #199

    "For example: Fresh-to-the-market entry level McDonald's employees, for example, are most definitely not the most important asset to McDonald's. They can replaced at just about any time."

    Only in a high unemployment economy. If we had unemployment that was below 5%*REAL* McDs would be in trouble. Better yet, below 4% real.

    In spite of which, I will say your response shows you know little about production jobs. Even what appears to be the lowest skilled jobs are vastly more profitable when performed by people who know what they are doing and have experience.

    You may not realize it, but the difference between 1 minute do the customer and 1minute 30 seconds is a big difference in profits for a company that depends on high volume periods for it's real profits.
  • #200

    "Not sure you have ANY concept who in an organization represents a company to its customers"

    Damn! You said it before I did. Damn!

    Whoever voted you down on that didn't know what he was doing.

    BTW, that applies to factories and every business. Not necessarily front line, but the people who deliver the job regardless of what it is.
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  • #24
    My understanding is that Nucor steel does something similar. When times are hard the decrease hours evenly for all employees so as to not fire or lay off any. At least thats what the CEO once said on an interveiw. Ant the stock pays a dvidend.
  • #160
    I think you'll find that once a business goes public, the chances that the employees get a fair shake diminish. As soon as you have parasitic shareholders on board, suddenly they think they are running your business. Remember, the old shareholder mantra is "I don't care if it is right, or if it is legal, as long as it makes me rich."

    Most of the most-loved (by employees) companies are actually Privately-Held companies........the CEO has far more latitude to acknowledge, reward, and promote employees, and in the most successful companies, usually know what is going on in their people's lives.

    It is not hard to develop real loyalty in your organization. The things employees want most are:(listed by priority)
    1) recognition for their contributions
    2) raises/promotions
    3) path of upward mobility
    4) more responsibility

    Even if you are a middle manager and you are constrained from rewarding your people because there is a "wage freeze" or similar internal directive that has been put in place because of a failed business strategy or decisions made at the top of the organization, you can still keep your employees invested:

    -ALWAYS recognize extra effort, and treat f-ups as an opportunity to retrain
    -ask who wants to be cross-trained
    -ask who wants to take on more responsibilities
    -ask who has ideas that can make work faster, easier, or save money for the company
    -ask what the problems are that make work harder or less-efficient

    Investing your employees in your company doesn't always mean FINANCIALLY-investing them. Successful companies toss out the old "negative-reinforcement " culture, i.e., the culture that says "we are watching out for your fuckups" and if employees perform well or there are no problems then "they are just doing what we pay them for"....... and replace it with a new culture that says "no one comes to work to screw up, so we will not punish errors, but learn from them" culture.
    Yes, there will always be companies where the boss "manages" his company by being a **"pebble-kicker"... eventually, smart workers will move off to where they are treated as part of the organization, not a drill motor that gets replaced when it burns out.
    ***Pebble-Kicker: a manager or owner that walks around the jobsite or shop or office with a scowl, looking for anything he/she can criticize, or complain about, or for opportunities to override lower management's plans and scheduled work events with barked-out directives. On an outside worksite, this is the guy wih his hands in his pockets, angry look, kicking a stray pebble here and there to look intimidating.
    (The term comes from the 1950's construction industry.)
    Walking around looking angry and intimidating people to work because of "importance" is a common type of "management style"........that only induces folks to work hard when you are there...and to find ways to recover their dignity and self-resect when you aren't there.
  • #204

    "It is not hard to develop real loyalty in your organization. The things employees want most are:(listed by priority)
    1) recognition for their contributions
    2) raises/promotions
    3) path of upward mobility
    4) more responsibility"

    Number 4, in terms of control of what the worker does, is actually number one according to a management report I read years ago. Workers like to have a say in how their job is done. Being the people who actually know more about the job than anyone else, that makes sense.

    And micro-managers screw it all up, on all points.
  • #219
    @Unfit2serve I won't dispute that private companies can treat employees better, but some publicly traded companies have high worker satisfaction levels. Three that come to
    mind is the above mentioned Nucor Steel, PAYEX, and Starbucks.
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  • #19
    Sounds like a great company but I'm not sure it's business model would work in other companies. I think I have always owned a couple of there knifes and never had one fail on me.
  • #161
    Yep, they last forever. The only thing is you can easily break a blade if you accidentally put side-load on it, because of the blade's heat-treatment and resultant brittleness.
    Still have mine from Boy Scout days. If you keep them oiled with light machine oil, they should last almost forever.
  • #174
    @Unfit2serve if that's the only knife you've ever owned from this company and it seems to be as you've never made reference to the mainstay of the company's fine artwork and craftsmanship of quality working knives that America relies upon for existence I will agree with you.
    ... A Boy Scout with a little knife....

    I use knives and guns on a regular basis. I like quality instruments that perform.
  • #126
    Their basic profit margin would have to be fairly high for this strategy to work. If it is then it is very smart because the costs of new employees after the slowdown is avoided and it is quite high.
    Given their primary products, knives, they just built for inventory.
    I question the accuracy of the headline. I do not believe it.
    There is a massive difference between laying staff off and firing someone.
    Think of an employee who is caught stealing. No sane employer tolerates known thieves. Or an employee that instead of doing his job sneaks off and works someplace else.
    Does anyone believe that in 130 years not one employee ever did something vile?
    I do not.
    Lisa has to learn to use accurate words in headlines.
  • #172
    Certainly they've had someone quit, die, retire, or move on to another company.
    Remember, HP said for years "we don't lay off" and they didn't, technically; they just made it almost impossible for an unwanted employee to continue, and those folks eventually quit when they accepted they were no longer needed or had any chance at redemption or success.

    In Japan, they used to call that practice "windowseating" an employee. You got moved to an office way, way, way away from everyone else, usually in a deserted part of the high-rise with a large window looking out at the congestion and smog. No one talks to get no have no intecation whatsoever with the company or other employees, and eventually, pride kicks isn and you quit, or open the window and ....jump.

    A lighter form of using public ostracization as a punishment used to be utilized here in American private schools, as late as the 1950's...a form of social punishment that emigrated from Britain that was called being placed into "Coventry". No one was allowed to talk with a student in coventry, outside of classroom activities, and even in class the student in hot water was not allowed to raide a hand to answer questions.
    The name "coventry" comes from the historical events that happened in Coventry, England.

    A visual representation of American "coventry" being applied to a bad student can be seen if you watch the very old movie "Captain's Courageous."
  • #257
    In Japan, they used to call that practice "windowseating" an employee. You got moved to an office way, way, way away from everyone else, usually in a deserted part of the high-rise with a large window looking out at the congestion and smog. No one talks to get no have no intecation whatsoever with the company or other employees, and eventually, pride kicks isn and you quit, or open the window and ....jump.

    That would be very ineffective in the U.S. I work with many that would love that. So long as they receive their paycheck.
  • #258
    @Nemesis3X Many civil service jobs work like that except they are not hidden. Just sit at their desks looking at Porn and getting bonuses.
  • #58
    It sounds like a good idea. In the US, however, picture the reaction of unions eying a bunch of inert capital sitting off to the side.
  • #141
    This whole conversation is ridiculous. The Ignorant Editor does not know the difference between firing and a lay-off. Is anyone stupid enough to think this model would work in the US? If so, think again. Switzerland is small, non-fighting country. Most of its' citizens behave like ladies and gentlemen. Sure, they have murders and robberies, just not many of them. I lived in Lucerne for about six months. I found it to be delightful. Everyone was courteous, not just to me, but with each other. You saw no "street people" and no bag ladies. I did not see any real poverty and I travelled around to the country and other towns and villages. Can you even imagine a US like that? I am sure they have fired people. There ARE dishonest people even in Switzerland.
  • #101
    This is a very small company (1700 employees) in a tiny insular country. What they do in no way translates to a large company in a large industrialized country.
  • #66
    When The Greatest Generation returned from World War II, the expectation was that if you worked faithfully and loyally for a company for 50 years, the company would show loyalty to you in return. You were rewarded for your loyalty with a retirement party, a gold watch, and a pension. That was before the 1% got so damn greedy.
  • #73
    There were a couple of other issues. The Interstate Highway system had yet to destroy the railroads. The destructive ideas in the New Deal had yet to reach their full potential.
    The drugged out professors who indoctrinated later generations were still in school. And the boomers had yet to wear their ignorance as sign of freedom.
  • #165
    Well...except the fact that the top 5% has seen their wealth astronomically rise, while the 95% wages are LESS, after inflation than they were back in 1975..........those facts undermine your failed narrative. I hope the obscene theft of wealth by the top 5% and our American wealth gap continues to widen; it will bring a return of the unions that will sweep across America like wildfire. After that occurs we'll be able to emulate the current business and economic success of Germany, where the workforce is 80% unionized, workers are correctly treated as the #1 asset of companies, and the min wage is $16-$17 per hour. And their economy has nowhere to go but up.
  • #170
    @Unfit2serve Someone else agrees me and disagrees with you, but that is not the issue.
    After WWII, we had heavy industry in this nation as well as a building boom. This was due in part the result of pent up demand from the rationing that went on during the war.
    Today how many steel mills are left? TV's were American made as were automobiles, what have we got today? Heck we even had a space program, today we piggy back on the Russians, if they allow us. Due to regulations, all of these industries have moved elsewhere. Back then $17 an hour would put you well into the middle class. Today flipping hamburgers and stocking shelves are careers. Both parties are too blame, but I guarantee that yours has more than its share on its shoulders.
    Even if all were unionized at 30 an hour, the 50's are an era that is "Gone with the Wind. Even the Utopia you attribute to Germany, is not what it was 20 yrs ago. There are far fewer German tourists than in the 90's or even the early 2000's.
    Yep, unionized pan handlers, and squeegee folks, the wave of the future
  • #52
    So, they don't fire their employees but instead arrange other companies to temporarily take in their employees until the economy gets better. Let me ask, what happens when other companies won't take in their employees during that time of recession? They're also a small company that hires a handful of people. If it's working for them, that's fantastic, but it isn't going to work with bigger companies.
  • #169
    Actually, almost every moderately-sized company will get asked these same-type questions by potential clients, who cannot afford interruptions in product supply or service delivery:

    -Do you have a crisis contingency plan?
    -What happens if your workforce all gets sick?
    -What happens if an earthquake or tornado levels your plant?
    -Do you have partners on board with you, with excess available capacity, that will take on your people or your equipment should you lose the facilities?

    If you can't answer "Yes", and provide documented evidence that you DO indeed have these arrangements in place to address emergencies....then you don'y get the business from the major players, the big clients. I can tell you that Tesla, GM, Lam Research, Jabil, Solectron, HP, Apple, KLA Tencor, Loral Aerospace, Cisco, etc....all the big sought-after business clients that small and moderate-sized manufacturers are all vying for all require these plans to be in place, and most will actually audit a potential supplier to make sure it isn't just a "paper" pretend contingency plan. If you have a welder or an assembler that has a certain process "down", or a customer service rep that "knows a customer's hot buttons", or has the great business relationship established with that client's buyer, those folks are golden....and they can do the job at your compnay, or at Company XYZ, if a disater strikes. Moving a special piece of equipment can be part of the critical need, but the actual human beings that have that special expertise is what your client will be far more interested in. Who manages those critical folks, or who owns the building the front-line workers temporarily move to or set up shop in doesn't usually matter.
  • #68
    Why post something when you have no idea whether or not its true? Its quite obvious that you posted that without even checking to see if its true. This is why i could never be a conservative, honesty matters to me!

    Its not an American company!
  • #39
    No corporation pays taxes. The cost of taxes is figured in to the cost of the product they sell. Liberals advocating increased corporate taxes only advocate the taking of more money from the poor and middle class they claim to be champions of. Once again, in the liberal mind, emotion trumps reality and logic.
  • #80
    @JMWinPR I would too. Here's my theory.....the liberal who down voted thinks that since corporations make lots of money, they should be taxed more. They know that corporations pass costs(taxes) onto the consumer, thereby lessening the amount of money the consumer has to spend, but their emotions don't let them consider that. When reminded of that fact, it brings reality into their emotional thought process and they don't like that. It's much easier to let emotions rule your thought process. You don't have to think as much.
  • #104
    So, what we ought to do is simply tax wealthy individuals at a higher rate, as well as the shareholders who enjoy the profit.

    We could keep the tax rates lower and simply mandate a living wage, but conservatives really hate the idea of workers making a fair wage, so it's not like we have much of a choice here, other than to keep allowing the wealthy to be a bunch of welfare queens.
  • #112
    @ohnosocialism "mandate a living wage." Yeah, that way the "living wage" workers will be poor. Employers pass costs(taxes, wages) onto the consumer. Raise wages of entry level workers to a "living wage" and you only increase costs to the consumer.
    "Tax shareholders at a higher rate. Once again, the millions of middle class 401k owners and pension recipients will bear the brunt of your socialist mediocrity policies. Thanks for proving my post correct.
  • #124
    Employers wouldn't pass on those costs if it was made illegal to do so.

    A business that employs people who have to get assistance from the government because their pay is too low, are the reason we have the welfare state people like you hate so much. If businesses pay their employees properly, they will necessarily pay fewer taxes.

    The problem is that people like you think workers should be paid as little as businesses can get away with, which would be zero if you had your way.
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  • #12
    A moral company. But like someone said they can be Satan himself since it is their choice since it is their company. However it is good they don't choose to be.
  • #5
    Amen. Considering this is a foreign company I guess they can do anything they want. To be more specific is this only in manufacturing plants in Switzerland or at the handful of locations in the USA that manufacture other products they are associated with like luggage here in St Louis? Once again Politix is creating a false sense of reality. Good work a holes.
  • #31
    @DontBlameMe2 Man, even bitter about this? Find something happy to focus on in your life and things will be better for you all around. Good luck.
  • #167
    It makes you wonder how miserable someone must be to go to a political debate website, just to throw a temper tantrum and attack the staff and moderators.
    Of poor me, this article deflates my skewed and perverse worldview, and exposes the fallaccies in my thinking. Dang!!!!!!!

    Control issues much? Yeah, it really sucks when you keep handing out your oh so carefully-designed life-scripts to everyone around you, your loved ones, your friends, coworkers, employees..........and they just keep telling you where to get off, to shutTF up, while continuing to do what they know is right and what they want to do.
    It SUCKS not being able to control people. Damn-don't these "libtards" know I know everything?
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