Casters are insignificant only when they work

Maintaining margins on casters is a process that is directly related to how educated the customer is, how aware he is of where his dollar is going. Someone making a carpet dolly is going to look upon a caster as a commodity item. For more sophisticated products, like x-ray machines or other medical equipment, chances are that buyers might be more receptive to quality, he continues.

Some of the better paid people in the factory work in maintenance, and these people most likely understand that true economy in an MRO environment is a true quality caster that is the right one for the job. It gets back to who you’re selling to. Some buyers shop in the basement, others are looking for a quality product. We have customers who put more caster than is necessary into their products and they know it; but they haven’t had a caster problem, and they don’t want one.

Overcoming objections, of course, requires that your salespeople fully understand what those objections truly entail. If a customer has done a thorough cost analysis of what he’s making or maintaining, and his informed conclusion is that a caster comprises an insignificant part of the total cost of the product or process involved, he’ll probably focus primarily on price and delivery issues.

Conversely, when a customer has historically maintained a low regard for a caster – or any other component – because, after all, it’s just a caster, then your salespeople have an opportunity to upgrade that customer’s awareness by developing a cost analysis that shows where the money goes. Whether it’s OEM or MRO, the need is there because, you can hardly go into a plant without seeing casters.

Beyond selling smartly, one way to enhance the probability of your making money on stainless steel casters is to buy smartly, as well. Partner with manufacturers who are willing to develop reasonable stocking requirements, for example. Some suppliers may be willing to maintain stock on their own shelves, and have it available to ship in one to three days. Others might drop ship at no charge to you. Given the competitive nature of the business, there are a number of innovative ways to work together for mutual profit.

Casters are pervasive – they get used just about everywhere. And it’s also equally true that they get abused just about everywhere that they get used. From shopping carts in grocery store parking lots to materials handling carts and dollies in mass merchant mega-stores and poultry slaughtering plants, casters are necessary but overlooked, especially when they do what they’re designed to do.

Caster failure can result in anything from mild irritation to production interruptions to safety hazards. The challenge for distributor salespeople is to ensure that buyers have all the information they need to make an intelligent choice. After all, casters are insignificant only when they work.

Building Design and Construction of the Citadel

Like other portions of the Citadel in L.A., the outlet center evolved from “endless redesigns”. Stripped to its bare bones, the center consists of three simple wood-framed buildings sheathed in stucco. Within, many of the tenant spaces are partially unfinished, allowing mechanical and structural elements to provide visual interest. Outside, exterior wall planes are skewed to distort and create different perspectives. Flat, stucco colonnades add another layer of incident to the space, while bright colors, fountains and landscaping create a festive air.

Although the center’s design schematics were prepared by Sussman/Prejza, Nadel executed its production drawings, making the architect an arbitrator between design architect and contractor. “HCB would tell Nadel that we couldn’t afford this or that and we’d be asked to make changes,” Vazquez said. “For instance, the shops’ exteriors were to have originally featured flat stucco. But we went with a rougher finish because it was less expensive.”

For its part, Trammell Crow knew that the 50-shop outlet center – where manufacturers sell directly to consumers at reduced prices – was close to a sure bet. Having seen the concept flourish on the East Coast, the developer hired a consultant to assess its potential at the Citadel. The results concluded that the Citadel’s site, located between Orange County tourist attractions to the south Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm) and Hollywood/Beverly Hills attractions to the north, offered one of the best locations in the nation.

Besides tourists, the developer could expect to attract local, upscale consumers within a 35-mile radius. These attributes, along with the project’s close proximity to Interstate 5, drew an enthusiastic response from prospective tenants, according to Crow’s Eaves. The present tenant mix, which emphasizes soft goods, is aimed primarily at women.

To mitigate the forbidding nature of the Assyrian wall, Trammell Crow commissioned Sussman/Prejza to create dynamic signage for the center – hence, the overhead sign warning motorists about falling prices. Elsewhere, the top of the derrick features a large billboard heralding the outlet collection.

Viewed from the expressway, the juxtaposition of the wall and the Oil Derrick jars the senses. But behind the wall, the tidy, triangular shopping center plays it a tad safer.

Web Hosting Services for Home Owner

Hosting your public Web servers on a service provider’s site makes sense for a lot of reasons. Access to your data will be faster, traffic will not affect or be affected by your own internal Internet usage, and it may be easier to implement a security policy that does not mix external and internal traffic.

Carrier best hosting can be much more economical than buying, building and caring for your own system. But that doesn’t mean you can afford to take a hands-off approach to your Web servers.

All of the ISPs we examined provide simple cheap web hosting services. The hardware and system software may vary – UUNET, for example, is exclusively using Intel Pentiums running BSD/OS and a modified Apache HTTP server.

Others use large SGI machines or Digital Alphas. One vendor uses Sun SPARCs running Microsoft Commerce server. For basic Web services, it doesn’t really matter which OS and HTTPD server you are using. But if you want additional services, such as Electronic Commerce, Real Audio and database access, it does matter.

Vendors use a variety of billing strategies, making broad cost comparisons difficult.

Charges may be based on host computer type, number of customers per blog host, the amount of raw disk storage used, number of page hits and number of megabytes transferred.

In the typical configuration, you’ll be sharing a physical server with multiple companies. Usually, you will have your own IP address and domain name (except PSINet, which still does not allow for customer domain names–a major drawback to its services). For a higher fee, you can restrict the number of sites co-located on your server, or have exclusive ownership. Providing your own server doesn’t significantly reduce the price, and in fact may actually increase it.

What type of services do you get? All of the providers we talked to have at least one T3 connection to the Internet in facilities that house the Web server farm. Hosts are kept in a clean data center environment and managed on a 24×7 basis. Many of the Web providers do nightly incremental backups of all hosts, executing total backups once a week. At least one provider was vague on this point. You cannot be lax about backups. Get a service level agreement that specifies daily backups and indicates the maximum amount of time your server would be down in the event of an outage.

All the vendors reviewed had a stated plan for server fallback, mostly using hot spare hosts. What, then, if the whole site goes out? It’s not inconceivable. Only BBN, IBM and HLC offered redundant hosting facilities. Most claimed this would more than double the customer’s cost. HLC, however, offers the service for a mere 25 percent extra.

Beyond cost, redundant hosting has other flaws – Domain Name System (DNS) updates. It may take many hours for local DNS caches to clear themselves and allow your fallback server to be resolved to a new IP address. In that time, the original server may be back up again.

What is the downside of offsite hosting? It’s, well, offsite. Once you get your Web pages online you will soon find out that you need to make the site more interactive with HTML forms, e-mail via forms and other CGI applications. Many of the vendors listed allow you to create your own CGI applications and place them on the server, but you can’t install any program that has access to ROOT – a good security measure. Some providers don’t allow CGI applications that they haven’t written or certified.

Colorful mountaintop home to become a park, museum

Visitors to the secluded haven dubbed Hilltop must hang on tight as they bump along a narrow country lane that winds high into the clouds.

Past fields of wildflowers and a rusting 1938 Dodge, the road finally ends amid a pair of towering Peruvian cactus plants that guard an ancient granite house at the end of Castle Court Drive — where the view overlooks much of East County.

Despite its scenic wonders, few people have ventured up here since the 1992 death of Mildred Whitaker. She and her late husband, Hale, settled the hillside 50 years ago.

The few visitors situation will soon change. In what authorities call a rare example of civic generosity, the well-known Lakeside woman with a passion for Siamese cats and the color red has bequeathed her personal Garden of Eden to the public.

“She always thought that the place was just a few steps from heaven and that the best thing that could happen to it would be to share it with others,” said Lester Johnson, the lawyer handling Whitaker’s will.

County officials have agreed to accept the estate and are considering how best to preserve the house and surrounding seven acres for a park and museum, in accordance with her last wishes. The public can get an early look at the grounds, however, every Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the gates are open, although the house will remain closed for the time being.

The couple nicknamed their home Hilltop and poured their love into its creation.

Hale, a county heavy-equipment operator for 47 years, and Mildred, a longtime Red Cross volunteer and San Diego Unified Port District employee, camped out in a lean-to for several years during the early 1940s while laboriously carving their house from Granite Fresno boulders just down the slope.

They did much of the work themselves. Hale used a sledgehammer to split the rock. His wife dipped shingles in sticky creosote to protect them from winter torrents and blazing summer sun.

Over the years, Mildred — described as a strong-willed woman who befriended birds, rabbits and even skunks — planted dozens of fruit trees and cactus plants and marveled at the panoramic views of faraway landmarks such as El Capitan and the Cuyamaca Mountains.

“The good Lord made it beautiful; we try to keep it that way,” she once said.

Rick and Mary Stewart, park volunteers looking after the property, agree, saying the solitude is downright inspiring, providing a perfect spot for meditation and relaxation.

“It’s beautiful up here,” said Rick Stewart. “I’m just amazed at the initiative they had to build all this.”

A painter, pianist and member of many community groups, Mildred had outlived her husband by 12 years. She had no surviving relatives except for an elderly cousin. Few people knew her real age, a secret she took to her grave.

“She never disclosed it,” said Johnson, adding only that she was in her 80s when she died.

Much of the sanctuary remains frozen in time, much the way it was back when Hale first bulldozed the private road leading up the hill.

Weathered chicken coops still sit out in back; a massive water tank rests on a knoll. The 1,500-square-foot house is jammed with original appliances, fixtures and furniture from the 1940s