Monday, June 1, 2009

A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life, 14: Expansion at H. B. Fuller

H. B. Fuller Company, Annual Report, 1956

"Our expansion strategy kept the competition baffled. But we encouraged their confusion by intentionally spreading misleading signals about our affairs. They thought we were struggling mightily to keep all the new plants afloat, when I knew we had a lead-pipe cinch. The previous leaders in the adhesives industry operated in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. They had huge plants and big established investments. They could not start a new plant. What would they do with their big old plant? By comparison, we were popping around the country and setting up small plants in lively little markets. We kept our real estate costs down. We did not have large freight charges to pass on to the customer. National Adhesives, the biggest company in the industry, was very focused on making money. They maintained their prices at a high level, even when their share of the market dropped, in order to make more money. That was a blessing for little companies like Fuller."

Image courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

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