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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Still on the job

I just completed my scan of the industries listed in the Harris Infosource 2007 Pennsylvania Industrial Directory, picking out the larger industries in this area (within about 50 miles of me), the ones that are more likely to have a need for my services. Now I just have to compile that information.

It looks like the dominant industry in this area is plastics manufacturing, at least among companies with more than $10 million* in annual sales. Businesses with more than $25 million in annual sales are fewer and farther between, and tend to be local representatives of national and multi-national food and beverage manufacturers, and at least one CD/DVD manufacturer.

One bad thing: I found my old employer. It's actually listed twice. Once it's listed as a company with 25 employees doing $1 million - $4.9 million dollars in annual sales, manufacturing "prerecorded compact laser discs", with the address of one of the company's warehouses and a shift supervisor listed as "Manager". Another time it's listed as the old name of the DVD division, with 600 employees, $50 million - $99.9 million in annual sales, the correct address and phone number, the names of the people who stopped being President and CFO several years ago listed in those positions, and a URL and HQ address that point to the Warner Music group, which sold the company years ago.

In reality, the company is now owned by the firm listed in the first entry, has about 1500 employees (after the February RIF), and does something in the area of the business listed in the second entry.

I use a thing I call the "rule of the first": If the first thing you can independently verify in a list of things is wrong, odds are good that there are more than a few other errors throughout the rest of the data, especially in the stuff you can't check.** So all the data I just gathered is suspect. Still, it's the best data I've got so far, so I'll keep running with it.

*Why and how did "MM" become standard business-speak for "million"? In Roman numerals "MM" is 2000 (so 2007 is MMVII; so much of my life was lived in the MCM regime that it seems odd to not have the "-100" modifier in front of the second M); in SI (metric) notation "M" stands for 1,000,000 already. But for whatever reason, this is the convention, and anyone trying to make sense of business reports needs to know it.

**If you've ever been involved in an event that made the news, you can bet good money that at least some of the information in the news report will be incorrect. This experience teaches you to take averthing else you see and hear with an extra-large grain of salt.

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