The Reconstruction Finance Corporation, according to a recent report, is urgently in need of nearly 20 million square feel of inside storage space for government-owned war tools. The current rate of demand for such space within the next six to eight weeks will be so terrific that it will require every available facility to handle the 20,000 tons of surplus goods which will be released daily from war plants to make room for reconversion equipment.
It appears to us that RFC could alleviate this situation to a large degree by taking full advantage of the knowledge and experience offered by the men in the machine tool industry. Many of them have available storage and showroom facilities for heavy tools which the disposal agency must create in order to market properly the thousands of pieces of machinery and equipment now becoming available. Most important of all, they offer marketing knowledge and technical skill which are prime requisites in selling machine tools. They also offer hundreds of sales outlets which could bring potential buyers of surplus machinery direct to the plants in which they were used.
The only answer we can give to the question, “Why have these facilities not been used?” is that the surplus machine tools seem to be somewhat of a “hot potato” to some who have the direction of surplus property disposition. The Surplus Property Act recommends that regular trade channels be used wherever consistent with efficient and economic distribution. Many trade channels for mechanical goods have already been utilized by disposal agencies and some commodities have been offered to the exclusion of the general public.
Members of the machine tool industry have never asked for, nor do they expect an exclusive arrangement with reference to surplus machine tool disposal. However, to our way of thinking the sale of many thousands of these machine tools can only be handled efficiently and economically by experienced, technically trained salesmen. Show us a machine tool salesman who can succeed in this field without a knowledge of machine tool application. He will be a rarity! A successful machine tool man must not only know the application of the machinery, but he must be fully cognizant of its mechanical characteristics. These qualifications are the antithesis of the hackneyed expression about the best automobile salesman being the guy who knew the least about the mechanical specifications of the car he was selling.
When a plant operator buys a machine tool he very often needs the advice of an experienced machinery man. He buys a tool for its productivity, its efficiency, its accuracy and adaptability to the job he wishes to turn out. This is the kind of information that the average manufacturer must obtain and the only way he can get it is from experienced men. As we have said before, there is no substitute for experience.