Olmec was originally set up in 2001 by Ed, myself (Joe) and another friend Bob. The expertise that Ed had learned, from several years in the industry, my business and Bobs laminating skills made a perfect combination.
We entered into the market to compete with a few of the larger names in the industry and to be perfectly honest the quality of tubes that were being built by Ed were unrivalled and seeing the boats being towed off up the road after being quality checked and fitted out by Bob & I, it was exciting to know that in our opinion we were the best.
Unfortunately 3 years down the line and due to irreconcilable differences between the three of us we decided to break up the partnership. Bob & I did not feel too upset at the time, the business was left in a reasonably good financial position, Ed may disagree, but every business has an overdraft, put it this way, we had built up a good client base and a strong branding, website with several large prospected clients, Ed definitely made the right decision to continue and he did as a Ltd company. He had an employee called Will who had been trained up in the tube build process and his work was also excellent.
During my time with Olmec we were placed under severe pressure by rib manufacturers who all wanted 30 and in some cases 60 days credit, which was almost unbearable. I have never seen so many bounced cheques and excuses after excuses (I hasten to add that none were from poor quality). I suppose itís a learning curve for any business as a new venture, but the majority of trade in the industry are all rouges and to be honest both Bob and I were happy not to be apart of it. You all know who you are!
Ed moved to Dartmouth and set up a large factory, very nice but quite a leap none the less. All looked good from the outside, many tubes being produced for leading manufactures and the quality also looked good. I think there were some issues with a bad glue batch, which I remember from having to fit a set of tubes to my own boat, we had to double glue, which I had never done before and it was a pain. Itís obviously not an excuse but it is a valid reason to as to why there are a few upset customers.
Cash flow has a habit of persuading you to make bad business decisions, pay your employee, put food on the table or keep one customer happy. In the olden days that one customer would probably fade away or at worst case scenario you may see a CCJ appear on your desk. If Ed, in hindsight, had realised the potential of rib.net and the roll on effect of doing a bad job then he would have put it right regardless of the cost, he would have been eating toast for a month and his employee would be blamed and not had a salary for a fortnight. I canít imagine for a second that Ed would intentionally send out bad workmanship, after all, I know him better than all of you!
The products that tube builders deal with on a day to day basis is horrendous even the warning labels have disclaimers against any harm caused to the you from prolonged use even with the correct protective clothing, it really is an H&S nightmare for the employer. Seeming tubes together and removing excess glue with a rag soaked in highly toxic M501 with only your tipped fingers. Most of you do not realise that the reason you havnít got yellow glue marks down every seem, is because some poor sod has had to do just this. Just to top it off, your stomach aches with hunger after about 30 mins of inhaling toluene.!!
I can totally understand the problem in the industry, good staff, are hard to come by especially after a few months of handling these substances, itís probably been a nightmare for Ed for several months if not years.
Ed, I congratulate you for continuing, you are now a master of your own destiny with no employees or large overheads, do your self a massive favour, keep it that way and look after the private retube people, they are the hard working and honest type who want the best product at a competitive price and they always pay!! I think your work is still unrivalled..
Ed, Itís a shame that we all worked hard to bring Olmec to the front of branding only to see it fade, I suppose all publicity is good publicity.
Olmec Ďthe people who live in the land of rubber!