Capital Associates Inc., a lessor and remarketer of high-tech equipment, has taken a lesson from the Japanese. The company, whose major division is in Redondo Beach, has been doing business with the Japanese for years and recently entered a joint venture with Central Leasing Co. and Nippon Investment & Finance Co. in Tokyo. It saw the price of its stock drop 20% after it posted lower-than-expected earnings.
But Chairman Richard Kazan says that instead of taking the usual cost-cutting step of layoffs, CAI opted for a long-term perspective. "The Japanese have influenced us," he said. "They take a long-term look at everything, and they have respect for their employees."
To cut costs, the company asked employees earning more than $50,000 a year to contribute a percentage back to the company in return for stock options. That move alone has saved CAI 15% of overhead, or $3 million, Kazan said. He added that the move is also taking advantage of Wall Street's reaction to the company's earnings.
"We've learned a great deal from the Japanese," he says.
Lining Up for 4 1/2-Year Wait
If you're tired of waiting in lines, well, stand in line to file your complaint.
The typical American will spend about 4 1/2 years of his or her life waiting in lines--with supermarkets and banks as the primary offenders, reports Robert Brain Associates, a New York sales production firm. Other key sources of line aggravation are post offices, airline counters, department stores and movie theaters.
"We are finding out that 'fast food' and 'express line' are contradictions in terms," said Sandleman, who surveyed 1,000 Americans in eight cities. "The ultimate solution is to do away with lines," Sandleman said, "but since that will never happen, we need to find ways to make time pass more quickly."
Suit Trade-Ins Help Homeless
As the holidays draw near, a downtown discount men's clothier has come up with a way to inject some charity into the annual shopping orgy.
Ian Stewart, a retailer in the garment district's Cooper Building, is giving customers a $50 discount for each used suit that they bring in and a $30 discount for each used sport coat. The used clothing will be donated to the Los Angeles Mission for the homeless, said Malik Khan, buyer-manager of the store.
The response so far has been "phenomenal," and the store has taken in several used brand-name and designer suits, Khan said. "Hopefully, we'll have a very well-dressed Skid Row," he added.