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IAPMO Reaffirms Need for Accurate Markings on Cast Iron Pipe and Fittings

The Correct Labeling of Cast Iron Pipe

Name of Maker


September 2000

Tough new language in UPC requires maker's name on pipe and fittings

voting membership agreed, and the proposed change to the UPC language was adopted. The new code language applies to Chapter 2 (Definitions) of the UPC. It states that the "maker" of cast iron products is "the manufacturer of the products and is easily identified as required by this code." Additionally, the marking section of the installation standard for cast iron soil pipe now contains a provision that product markings "shall readily identify the maker to the end user of the product..." "We hope these changes to the code and installation standard put this issue to rest," said Kip Wixson, AB&I vice president. "We are concerned, however, that some resellers will point to some non-descript mark on their pipe or fittings and say that it identifies the manufacturer," continues Wixson. "The standard says the maker must be easily identified. We have always favored that standard." AB&I has always supported strong marking regulations, recognizing that these marks are the only way a consumer can identify the manufacturer in the unlikely event of a problem. "If you can't identify the manufacturer, the distributor or contractor is left holding the bag," says Wixson. Distributors and contractors are cautioned to stay mindful of the problems encountered as a result of the catastrophic failure of ABS pipe in the 1990s. "I always tell people to buy quality products from people they know" says Wixson, "and these UPC changes should help them do just that."

Standards Body

Listing Agency

Continuous Marking


Country of Origin


Product Name

Source: US Department of Commerce

The marking standard, illustrated above, applies to cast iron fittings as well as pipe

In what some see as a significant victory for the Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute (CISPI) and other consumer protection advocates, IAPMO recently adopted new language in its Uniform Plumbing Code to clarify the requirement for markings on cast iron pipe and fittings. The changes were proposed and voted on by IAPMO members at the organization's recent annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. At issue was the requirement that cast iron pipe and fittings, domestic or import, be clearly marked with the name of the maker of that product, not merely the name of the seller or reseller. CISPI's long-held stand is that all cast iron DWV material must be marked with the name of the foundry that actually made that product. Having the name of the manufacturer is the only way for end users and consumers

to identify the maker in the event of a problem. One importer represented at the Conference argued that it was not necessary for the name of the maker to appear on the product, as long as the importer took financial responsibility for any damages that may result from faulty product. Some importers have argued against the marking requirements for many years, largely because they resell products made in several foundries in Communist China that are mysteriously unwilling to put their names on their products sold in America. "Any cast iron soil pipe or fitting should be easily identified and the manufacturer immediately recognized," said Bill Levan, Executive Director of CISPI, whose member foundries have been in compliance with all marking requirements for years. The IAPMO

Headquarters: (510) 632-3467 (800) GOT-IRON Fax (510) 632-8035 LA Service Center: (626) 333-4882 (800) 356-IRON Fax (626) 333-8681

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Kip Wixson


The networked market is coming like a steam train. Is your business laying on the track or climbing aboard?

An interesting email article came to me the other day. Written by a series of geeks from such companies as Adobe, Microsoft Research, and net.Genesis, this article, dubbed "the cluetrain manifesto," sets forth 95 theses to describe business in the "new economy," whatever that means. While much of it is clearly written by twenty-somethings with an incomplete view of the world (and the smug naivete that many of today's techno-kids have perfected into high art), there is a glimmer of truth and savvy in much of what was written. Consider the following ideas, and see if any of them apply to your business and its future: Although some of these "theses" might seem a little oblique and removed from the realities of the plumbing business, we all know that things are changing. Are we changing, too? A powerful global conversation has begun, Companies need to get a sense of humor. a conversation about how we relate to our markets, our people. The Internet A sense of humor does not mean putting a plays a role, but it's not the only factor. The Web and email let us talk to many few jokes on the website. Rather, it more people, but what we have to say is requires big values, a little humility, far more important than what technolstraight talk and a genuine point of view. ogy we use to disseminate our mesCompanies need to come down from their sage. The central point is that our markets are people and they want to be ivory towers and talk to the people with treated as such. Our futures depend on whom they hope to create relationships. our improving ability to treat our Networked markets can change suppliers customers as human beings, to anticipate their changing needs and overnight. meet those needs with a minimum of fuss and muss. Your product broke. Why? We'd like to It's a changing world. People who ask the guy who made it. continue to think in the old way will suffer the consequences. When the Markets do not want to talk to flaks and average Big League shortstop hits 30 hucksters. They want to participate in the home-runs, when golfers are going conversations going on behind the 300+ yards off the tee, and when kids corporate firewall. out of high school are wildly wealthy in two years, things are changing. I'm not Sadly, the part of a company the netsure it's all for the better, and I'm not worked market wants to talk to is usually hidden behind a smokescreen of huckster- sure what we're seeing is altogether real (Amazon has GOT to show a profit ism, of language that rings false, and someday, right?); but, the train is coming often is. and we've got to get on board. As for us in the plumbing business, The market wants access to your corpothe first step is finding the right track. rate information, to your plans and We also have to embrace, not fear, the strategies, your best thinking, your changes to come. Will ecommerce play genuine knowledge. an expanding role in how we sell our goods and service? Today we bank on Smart companies will get out of the way line, buy and sell stocks online, shop and help the inevitable happen sooner. online, even talk to each other online (email - boy, isn't that personal!). When However subliminally at the moment, millions of people perceive companies as (not if) will this trend apply to our businesses? Are we laying the groundlittle more than quaint legal fictions that are actively preventing important conver- work now, or are we waiting to see how things shake out? If the kids who wrote sations from intersecting. the "cluetrain manifesto" are right, those who wait too long will be those who die. The market has better things to do than worry about whether you'll change in time This doesn't mean we rush out and do to get their business. Business is only part something, even if it's wrong, but it does mean we keep our ear to the rails. The of their lives. train is coming.

Companies that don't realize their markets are networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity.

Markets are conversations. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors. Conversations among human beings sound human and are conducted in a human voice. This community of discourse is the market. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information from one another than from vendors. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad they tell everyone. In a just few years, the current homogenized "voice" of business - the sound of mission statements and brochures - will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court. Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog and pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.

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Customer Spotlight

L.J. Kruse Company

America was just entering World War I when Louis J. Kruse decided to start a new plumbing business in Berkeley, California. Known primarily for its famous campus of the University of California, Berkeley was only a shadow of its present self, but Louis saw the potential for dramatic growth and believed in himself, so he took the plunge, opening the L.J. Kruse Company in 1916. Just as expected, the years following the opening of the L.J. Kruse Company were witness to dramatic growth in the entire Bay Area, and Berkeley was no exception. Not only did the University grow, but major expansions in the industrial and residential sectors of the construction industry provided plenty of work for the new plumbing company. Soon, the L.J. Kruse Company was a major force in the East Bay plumbing community.

Berkeley, CA


A family business right from the start, the L.J. Kruse Company continued that tradition as the company matured. The founder's son, Edward H. Kruse, took command of the growing plumbing company in 1947 and led it through the next 38 years. Those were fast-growth times for L.J. Kruse, who was well positioned to participate in the dynamic construction years following World War II. In 1985, the reins of the company were handed over to the third generation. David and Andy Kruse, Edward's

sons, now manage the L.J Kruse Company, which has grown to some 65 employees. Like their father and grandfather before them, David and Andy continue the commitment to quality, first begun almost 85 years ago. "Service and job performance are our top priorities," says Andy Kruse. To meet the schedules demanded by their customers, L.J. Kruse often goes the extra mile to get the job done. But that doesn't mean their business is all work, no play. "Even though our business and industry are very intense, you still have to enjoy it and have fun," continues Andy. When asked what's changed in the business over the years, Andy is quick to point out that faster completion schedules and slower pay by general contractors have added some stress. AB&I is proud to name the L.J. Kruse Company to our Customer Spotlight, and wishes them continued success.

AB&I Featured in LA Time Article: A Look Back at Gore Campaign Promises

The Clinton/Gore approach would be different, the audience was told. "Gore's words were hollow ones," writes Jim Mann of the LA Times (August 16, 2000). Interviewing AB&I's Kip Wixson for his take on the Gore promises, Kip said "It sounded good." During those years AB&I was (and still is) battling the dumping of Chinese pipe and fittings below cost in the US market. The Times article goes on to recount how the Clinton/Gore administration not The LA Times has revisited the 1992 only didn't "get tough" with the Chinese, campaign stop by Al Gore to the AB&I but actually granted them permanent Foundry in Oakland. An article meamost favored nation status and welsured the rhetoric of the campaign with comed them into the World Trade the accomplishments of the following Organization. eight years. The focus of the Times During some of the battles over the piece was to pick a single issue and Chinese dumping of DWV materials, campaign pledge and follow it up AB&I tried to contact Gore to remind him nearly a decade later. of his promises during his `92 visit. "We During his stop, Gore emphasized have written him a number of letters," how a Clinton/Gore administration said Wixson in the Times story, "none of would change the way America did which has been answered. I guess it was business with Communist China. "We a one-way conversation." totally disagree," said Gore, "with Bush Mann ends his story with the following and Quayle when they continue to advice. "As you listen to Gore, ask not grant most-favored nation status to one what he is saying. Ask how much he is of the worst communist dictatorships committed to his own promises. Will his left in the world, with a record of human words prove as empty as the China rights violations as long as your arm..." rhetoric of 1992?"

AB&I Researching Enameled P-Traps

In an effort to solve a rare problem, AB&I is researching the enameling of PTraps that are used in environments with unusual exposure to corrosive and caustic liquids. These Gary Wickham specially-enameled traps will be treated with AB&I's proprietary "Diamond Cote" protective finish. This coating will shield the interior and exterior surfaces from the potentially damaging liquids sometimes found in commercial and industrial applications. "We're targeting the new enameled Ptraps at the floor sink and floor drain markets," says Gary Wickham, director of marketing for AB&I. Currently under development in 2", 3", and 4" sizes, these fittings are expected to be available sometime in 2001. For more information, contact AB&I or see us at the ASPE Trade Show in Nashville, October 30-31.

September 2000

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AB&I Takes Aim at Plastic DWV in New Promotional Campaign

Everybody in the industry knows that plumbers who use cast iron DWV are rugged, self-reliant manly-men, while those who use plastic are, well, let's just say, better suited for lightweight materials. Everybody does know that, right? Well, a new promotional campaign brings that truth to the plumbing supplies market in vibrant, living color. "We decided to have some fun with our marketing," says AB&I director of marketing Gary Wickham. A Canadian foundry, Bibby-Ste-Croix, developed this super-hero-like character, which Wickham saw in a promo piece. He liked it so much he called Bibby to compliment them on their creativity, and they suggested that AB&I use it for marketing and special promotions. "We jumped at the chance to employ this guy in our own marketing," says Wickham. Since the Bibby and AB&I markets don't conflict, there were no competitive considerations. The first place the character will appear is on shirts and marketing materials. "We look forward to seeing this guy on everything we do," added Wickham, who is also working on a series of instore banners and posters to be distributed to AB&I wholesalers for use in showrooms and on countertops. The intent of the promotion is to demonstrate, with humor, the advantages of cast iron DWV over other materials, including plastic. "We don't really think plastic is for wimps," says Wickham, "but iron is better and stronger than lighter-weight materials and we want to make that point with a little humor."

Any similarity to WWF personalities or other trademarked characters is unintentional.

Name the mascot: Arnold Schwartzenplumber? Johnny Weisplumber? Got a better name? Fax it to us at 510/632-8035.

Pocket Catalogs Available

New, revised pocket catalogs featuring the complete line of AB&I no-hub and hub & spigot pipe and fittings are now available. If you would like a copy, contact your field sales representative or the AB&I customer service department at 800/GOT-IRON.

Just for Fun...

Why Engineers and Scientists Can Never Make As Much as Salespeople and Executives

(aka Dilbert's Salary Theorem)

The long-held observation that engineers and scientists can never earn as much money as their business brethren has recently been proven in a major university study. Though the details are complicated, the study's conclusions have been condensed into a simple mathematical equation based on the following two postulates: 1) Knowledge is power, and 2) Time is money. As every engineer learned in school, Power = Work/Time. Now, since Knowledge = Power, and Time = Money, Knowledge = Work/Money. When we solve for Money, we get Money = Work/Knowledge. Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of work done. Conclusion: The less you know the more you make, even if you don't do any work, and Dilbert's Salary Theorem holds true.

Life's Reflections, Part One

The following advice, reflections, and questions have been sent to us for inclusion in the Items newsletter. If you have more, send them along.

Never raise your hands to your kids; it leaves your groin unprotected; x Why did Kamikaze pilots wear helmets? x Why is that when you blow in a dog's face he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a drive he puts his head out the window? x Ever notice that anybody going slower than you on the freeway is an idiot, and everyone going faster than you is a maniac? x Home security tip: Put six locks on your door, but only lock every other one when you go out. That way, no matter how long the burgler spends picking your locks, he's always locking three of them. x Future historians will be able to study at the Carter Library, the Ford Library, the Reagan Library, and the Clinton Adult Book Store.

Don't Forget to Enter our Dow/NASDAQ Contest

If you have not yet sent in your entry for our YearEnd Stockmarket Prediction Contest, do it today. The winner will get $100 cash and bragging rights for the year. Here's the deal. Fax us your name, company and phone number along with your best guess as to what the level of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ Composite Index will be on December 29, 2000. The prediction closest to the actual levels will win the hundred bucks. If you're the closest for both indexes, you'll get $200, seed money for your first internet billion. To enter, fax your prediction to Elizabeth at 510/632-8035 by 5:00pm, October 31, 2000.


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