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Mr. Wizard OMC Article


The response from our readers to Mr. Wizard's What's Next for OMC article has been tremendous. We are storing previous feedback on this page, as well as providing a link to today's feedback at the bottom of Mr. Wizard's article.

Reader Comments

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 
To: "''" 
From: David
Subject: OMC
Good analysis of OMC. That's the first time I've read something that really
puts all the pieces of their puzzle together.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 
From: Peter
Subject: Re OMC Debacle
I don't think you are out to lunch at all. I think we should all get down on
our hands and knees and pray that HE might inspire Penske to pick up the
pieces. Penske in turn, could pick up Davey Jones as President, and together
they could cement 'the deal' that's been floating around with Suzuki.
Now, backed by Suzuki's engineering prowess and massive capital reserves,
Jones' acknowledged ability and Penske in the role as Chairman, OMC might
just get back on its feet.
The one criticism I'd make of your excellent OMC assessment is that under
"Assets" you missed probably the best asset in the OMC wreckage - the fact
that every single member of the boating industry in the World WANTS OMC to
make it.
You can't put moral support on the balance sheet, but it is nevertheless, a
tangible commodity - ask any football coach about it !
The industry - the world - needs a healthy, vigorous level of competition
between Mercury & OMC - let alone Yamaha.
I trust you'll be keeping a close watch on developments.

Date: 20 Dec 2000 
From: R
Subject: Re: What's Next for OMC? feature article
Well researched and written.  Very thoughtful business perspective without the
emotion that normally comes into play when talking about boats and motors.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000
From: Jeff
Subject: Re: What's Next for OMC? feature article
Enjoyed the article, Gary.  I really think Suzuki will be a player in
the OMC mess.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 
From: bill
Subject: OMC

I think you are right in a lot of areas, but I think you have
left out possibly one major player. G.M. A few months ago it
was reported that G.M. had bought a large portion of Suzuki
and got a seat on it's board of directors. I think Suzuki will be
a much bigger player and that GM will slip in the back door
and end up with FICHT technology for a song. In the right hands
this patent owned by OMC could revolutionize the gas and 
diesel eng industry with the proper research and development
and deep pockets that G.M has. They could sell off OMC boat
companies, facilities, etc. at a tax loss. Bottom line get
FICHT for nothing. In my opinion that is why Pensky wanted OMC.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000
From: Scott
Subject: OMC

Great article! As a six year veteran who successfully "abanoned ship" 
I really hope that OMC can turn things around. I think Penske and Suzuki 
would be the best bet, but I agree that it would be a tough sell.

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 
From: Earl 
Subject: info

Dear Mr. Wizard,
I have just read the info you wrote on OMC and I was looking to find 
out where I can located additional articles that you have written. I only 
came across you because of a link in my boating international e-mail. Do 
you only comments on the marine industry? I found your information very 
useful and would like to be kept up on your further writings regarding OMC 
and other marine industry issues.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000
From: Jeff (again)

Please let me know when you update again.  I've got some friends that 
are sponsored by OMC and are interested as well.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000
From: R (again)
Subject: Re: What's Next for OMC? feature article
I'm a management consultant and the OMC situation is very interesting; 
I tend to view it "clinically."  And since I don't own a Ficht or Four Winns 
or anything else OMC makes, it's easy to remain detached.

Your analysis rang true.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 
From: Larry 
Subject: Re: What's Next for OMC? feature article
Excellent piece, Gary!  Best information I've seen anywhere.
BARTENDER!  Buy this fellow a round, please!

Thurs Dec 21st

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: Rob
Subject: Omc
What about Honda. The have they have the cash and it would give 
them a world wide dealer network at the stroke of a pen. I know 
Mercury was really worried that this would happen a few years ago.
I don't go with the Suzuki idea they just don't think large enough.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000
From: XXX

Dear Mr. Wizard,
    Being a seven year employee in the OMC Calhoun facility, I have 
seen the ups and downs of business. This is by far the deepest down 
that I have endured.  Naturally I am not up to date on the emissions
problems and debts, but the product (FICHT in specific) has become 
alot more economical on the manufacturing front.  I am an engine tester 
for OMC on the large motors (30hp-250hp).  I have seen the pass fail ratio 
increase greatly.  The smoothness and runability of the FICHT engines at 
present is far better than at any time in the past.  It is a truely amazing 
product, and would be a technilogical loss if the program is scrapped.  
I don't believe I would have a problem gaining employment elsewhere 
but like my job and my co-workers, It would be a devastating blow to the 
local economy, other plants in the area have also recently had large scale 
lay-offs.  I most assuredly hope that a reasonable solutin or buy-out
can be reached quickly enough to alow this age-old standby to continue 
to survive.  Possibly even with the right combination strive.
Thank you for your time, and allowing me to vent my feelings and opinions.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 
From: Ten
Subject: Comments on OMC
Thank you Wizard for a very good and informative report. It is sad the
condition OMC has gotton into. However, as an employee of OMC, I can 
tell you the problem is not having qualified line employees building the 
products. A lot of the problem with OMC has been in management and 
supervision. Millions of dollars has been wasted and bad decision made 
because of jealosy and coverups by people trying to protect their jobs or 
get an in for promotion. I hope that someone will purchase the company 
who really wants to build the best boating products on the market, not just 
make it big enough to sell the company for a larger profit. There is no 
reason OMC can not be the number one company with the best financial 
status in the industry. Truth and honesty will be essential to the efficient 
operation of this company and its facilities worldwide.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: Ron
Subject: OMC article
Who are you?

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: rude
We have shut down for good. Permanent lay off effective 12-20-00.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: Ad
Subject: OMC Closed
Was notified this morning that OMC sent Waukegan staff home (laid off) and
closed the doors. No further information.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: Jack 
Subject: How to Fix OMC
Mr. Wizard,
First let me say that I have been a fan for some time.  I believe your
article is on track, except that you failed to mention the consumer and it
is the consumer who is demanding four stroke, so technology may or may not
be the answer ^ remember beta.
With that said if I was Ted of fame and someone was offering me
the chance to run a 100 million dollar company, I would implement the
following plan:
A.      Sell what you have that works ^ great boats & Johnson outboards.
B.      Strengthen the relationship with Japanese partner(s) to produce four
stroke outboards to meet immediate needs and provide you with environmental
credits to continue to sell Johnson outboards.
C.      Implement a plan to produce four stroke outboards, either jointly or on
your own depending on your financial backing.  It is here, that Ficht
technology, if it is as good as many believe - may allow you to leap from
your competitors.
Simple yes, but it has been proven over the years that going back to the
basics works when you are in the trenches.
Ted and his staff are available if you have the checkbook to finance the
buyout/takeover.  P.S.  Ted likes to win, so Ted votes for Ted, no dimple.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: Ron
Subject: Site Visit

Enjoyed your site.  There is lots of interesting information that will be
useful as we research various companies and industries.
By the way, you would not happen to be related to Mr. Wizard would you now?
The article on OMC was excellent!

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 13:28:38 -0500
From: F
Subject: OMC files Chapter 11

Employee returned  from OMC training center Atlanta, GA this morning from 
FICHT class. Teacher told students OMC filed chapter 11 and for everyone 
to leave. Did not finish course or take final test.         

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 12:58:03 -0500
From: Mike Colombo 
Subject: Outboard Marine
Newspaper (Rome News-Tribune in Rome,Ga) wants to talk to OMC employees, 
especially those in Calhoun, Ga., area. Call 706 290-5259 or email

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 
From: XXXX
Subject: OMC
Please don't use my name, but I work for OMC in Andrews, NC. We were
informed today that OMC has filed for bankruptcy, and as of tomorrow, we
are no longer employed. I have worked there for more than 15 years, and
we will receive NO severence pay , our medical insurance will no longer
be in effect as of Dec. 31, and we will be receiving NO holiday pay.
More info for you, But what an awful way to treat their long-term

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: tom
Subject: OMC Options
Excellent article and analysis. Thank you, Tom

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 16:37:37 -0000
From: Matt DiFebo 
Subject: Cartersville, Ga. newspaper
I am a reporter for The Daily Tribune News in Cartersville, Ga. working
on the story about OMC's situation. If there are any employees of the
Calhoun, Ga. plant that wish to discuss the situation, especially if
they're from Cartersville/Bartow County, please call Matt DiFebo at
770-382-4545. I can also be e-mailed at
Thank you,
Matt DiFebo

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 17:39:38 -0500
From: XXX
Subject: omc closings
Please do not used my name- I have work at at the OMC of Andrews plant 
for fourteen years and how they notify us that they were closings the doors 
was awfully. No formal meeting or nothing is this all we get
for all the years we put in. Just a letter in the mail saying its over.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: T
Subject: OMC
I have been an employee at the OMC Burnsville N.C. facility for 16 years. 
We were told today to gather personal belongings and hit the trail. 
( permanent layoff ) I think our ship has sank. Wish someone with
some sense would have bought us but no such luck

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: G
Subject: Omc
My father works for omc for over 15 years in came in to our shop today 
add told us that he had no job.
Hell of a christmas present. LOVE your page

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 19:18:57 -0500
From: m
Subject: omc

As a dealer,
I think Peter's logic of keeping Davey Jones around stinks. 
His methods of improvement were backwards. Hopefully a 
japanese company will get involved and straighten this mess out.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: Matt
Subject: hmmm

I can appreciate the hard work you put into analyzing the situation 
at OMC, for what seems to be little or no money at all, but I really 
don't understand why you feel you are an authority on the situation.

I don't see you addressing any of the points which I am about to 
bring up yet you seem inlclined to forcast the companies worth. 
This is not only intriqueing but irresponsible.

1.  In the past 12 years OMC has been through how many presidents? 
(i think around 11) and even more vice presidents.  (fundamental problem)

2.  In the past 12 years OMC has hired how many goofy consulting 
groups?  If you have to hire consultants to the magnitude OMC did? 
Man o Man, "The president to the consultants:  Sounds like a great 
Idea, let's do it!  The consultants to the president: Uh,Uh,Uh, We 
actually just propose ideas we don't Make it Happen"

3.  This in my opinion is possibly the total demise of the company.  
From the early 80's to now, the company was completed de-diversified 
(is that a word?), anyway, look at brunswick and look at the old omc.  
Those guys in the 80's sold all the diversification OMC owned.   
My opinion, many of the uppers got rich while OMC became a one 
product company with nothing to rely on for profits when things got 
tough. While brunswick was selling widgets and wodgets and making 
a bundle while the outboards were killing their pocket book OMC 
was left saying uh-oh we don't have neir a one widget nor a one 
wodget to sell.  Meanwhile the fat cats were sitting at home saying, 
I hope I don't burn in hell for liquidating OMC's diversity and putting 
all their goodies in one pile.  To anyone of the current upper 
management that reads this, I don't mean you, those guys are long 
gone and know who they are.  (Although I do think David Jones 
and whoever that fat cat vp they just fired over the summer of 2000 
were total idiots)

4.  An lastly, what about the people.  I personally met some of the 
hardest working, most honest, most ethical people I think I will ever 
meet in my lifetime while at OMC yet no profit could be realized?  Can 
you, are you going to address this?  I know they are there.  I remember 
us as supervisors and engineers busting our ass to get out product 
for the company on saturday evenings to meet the numbers management 
put out, hmmm, something else was wrong.  You had a product that 
definately was as good as the competition, the majority of the people 
busted that ass (about 95% always do) but still no profit.  I just don't 
get it.  Seems like something else is going on???  Hmmm, could 
something else be going on.  Could you just get down to it and say 
somebody raped the company to line their own bank account or someone 
needed a tax write off.  Now that would be news.  But what you put 
up seems irresponsible to me for some reason.  Maybe its not, maybe 
you are doing the best you can.  Not trying to knock you personally 
but come on, hit on some of these facts!  People and their families 
are and will suffer, at least speak up for them in some manner.  At 
least pose the question!  At least address a few of these points.

Bottomline, the court will sell the proprietary stuff to the highest 
bidder, somebody will get a big tax break and a lot of good people 
will worry over Christmas about money.   I suppose I will stick to 
my bottomline with the company I built after my departure from OMC:  
Make damn sure you have more money coming in than going out.  
So far this is working.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: J
I worked for one of the strongest boat brands in the world for the past 
14 years and I have a feeling they will be back as strong as ever. 
The people of FOUR WINNS have alot to be proud of ! It has been
difficult for any of the now, old OMC boat brands to be sucessful, 
trying to hold up such a poorly managed OMC.I am vary proud of all 
the hard work that went into such beauitiful product as the FOUR

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: XXX
Subject: OMC's Troubles

Hi, please do not use my name or e-mail address.

I work for a competitor of OMC and I have been on the frontline of 4-stroke
sales and product development for more than 12 years. In my opinion the
problems of OMC falls on the heads of OMC's top management and their Board
of Directors.

What a shame. This company had over a 60% market share not to long ago and
now they are going under. They put out unverified product to consumers,
screwed their dealer network and employees and made bad decisions about the
future of engine technology, etc... Shame, shame, shame. 

For example, take the middle 1980's boat company buying spree by OMC. How
many millions of $$$ did they spend, and on what: Brand names? And just to
keep the Jap's off those transomes. The problem was, any moron can start a
boat company because it doesn't take much of a capital investment to start
building boats (in the '80's) but it takes a whole lot-O-Money to start
building engines to compete in the outboard engine market (Four-Stroke's
cost even more.) So, OMC subsidised the low margin boat companies with their
high margin (I est. +60% margin) two-stroke outboards. OMC's purchase of
boat companies did not dry up avalible boat transomes. Also, their lack of
innovation in meeting the upcoming EPA and California emision regulations,
and putting all of their eggs in one basket with FICHT was just plain
stupid. As any good mechanic knows, the last thing you do to a 2-stroke is
to "lean it out".

I have gotten to know many frontline OMC employees over the years and they
are some of the best people in the industry. The short term thinking of
OMC's management, Stockholders, and last, but not least, their Board of
Directors is sad. They screwed an old, industry leading company into the
ground. What morons.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000
From: XXXX
Well, what can we say?  It's been bad at OMC CALHOUN, but never this bad.  
I've been at OMC CALHOUN for 12 long years, my first real job!!  And it really sux!!  
My husband and myself works there.  I've seen a lot of changes.  Most of them 
very stupid ones. Like the Lean, DFT, and Yomo.  OMC worked their employees
10/12 hrs a day for 14/20 days straight, a lot of people busted their tails and what 
did we get??  It really XXXXXX me off that "OUR MANAGEMENT" done this to us.  
A lot of people will be hurting from this. A lot of Husbands and Wives doing without.  
I've seen OMC ship bad Quality to just make the numbers, and yes, I work in the 
Quality Dept.  I've worked from the asy lines to the office.  When Mr.. Jones fired
Bill XXXX, I knew then, he wasn't what he said he was.  Bill was wonderful!!  He 
was for the people, I seen him actually work on the asy lines, building like the rest 
of us.  If you could only have seen the look on our faces when Billy XXX announced 
today would be the last day.  It would break your heart. OMC has a lot of good people, 
they will be sadly missed!!!!  We have no insurance, no holiday pay, no job...what 
are we suppose to do now?  All we know is boat motors!!!!


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