Undercover Peavey

Last Sunday an episode of Undercover Boss featured Peavey Electronics. I love manufacturing plants and Peavey has been around forever. I actually looked forward to seeing this show.

I would like to unsee it. That was a sad show from a number of viewpoints.

It is very telling that the COO felt the need to get into disguise so he can see what his own plant is doing ON TV. I would like to point out that the opportunity to go in to the plant and speak to real people exists every day. And by that I mean EVERY DAY! You have to have an audience?

It was a little creepy to watch Hartley Peavey sit in a big fancy bus and bark commands, viewing people in the plant like bizarre oddities and completely missing the real obstacles (like communication!) Don’t look at real solutions, that would be too painful. Pick three people and douse them with a large (for them) token (for you) sum of money. Nothing changes, but three people appear to benefit in the short term. Very short, as they started dumping employees four months later. Nice. Even worse, the Peavey Facebook page from 2/15/15 says all promises are being fulfilled. Not were fulfilled. Are being. Weasel words. This show was taped months ago.

They also skip over the massive off-shoring as a “business decision.” That it may be, but it turns out that there are many more factors that should be considered to make a considered decision. These limited decisions have impacted many of our communities, our country, and our competitiveness in the world. We are just now figuring that out; blindly sending manufacturing to China is no longer cutting-edge. Thinking it through is.

The bean counter (my apologies. The Harvard MBA) making these “business decisions” certainly did not take into account (or even seem to realize) the way a working factory works. Manufacturing has a problem, people from different departments jump in and work it out. That is one of the things I love best about factories.

The decision makers also didn’t see the problem-solving relationships that develop with local vendors, nor how the local vendors sharing information helped other companies grow and improve. In my audio history research it is amazing how much creativity is stimulated by the free flow of people actually working together – and making friends, hanging out. Let’s be honest – our industry has achieved a lot of things inspired by listening to good music on a good system, or live events. So many of the people in our industry are musicians I now would find it unusual to find one of us with no musical background.

In a news report from the Clarion-Ledger  on October 7 2014 when  layoffs were announced, Mr. Peavey said several telling things.

““I’ve told a succession of people here that one of the problems we have here is we can’t find skilled people,” Peavey said.” Really? You had 8 working plants and employed 3000 people at one time. What happened to all of those people?

Peavey received a grant in 2010 from the Mississippi Development Authority to help protect jobs from overseas competition. Protect jobs. In the article Mr. Peavey said those funds helped pay for new air conditioners for Plant 3, where Peavey makes graphite fabric guitars.

The 2014 report also said that Peavey will have 270 people still employed after the layoff.

For more of Hartley Peavey’s views on economics see his open letter posted at Meridean Tea Party website.

From the unsophisticated cabinet shop to the hand-soldered circuit boards, the poor manufacturing processes to the decision to offshore even more product, this company seems to still be living in the past. Audio History!

Warning: if you watch this show there is a scene at the LA showroom where they experience feedback during a showcase for a band. What happens next will make your stomach drop. The feedback continues while someone claims it is a bad mic and the COO gets offended. No one either cares or knows how to fix the situation. Unreal.

Undercover Boss – Peavey Electronics

This is fun, too: Peavey Facebook Page

And Peavey COO official response at Peavey.com 


2 Responsesto “Undercover Peavey”

  1. f says:

    Theresa Hoynes, LMT

  2. Timmy Spillane says:

    Once, many years ago, I had a huge amount of respect for Peavey and their products. Just think…a company that, despite the industry’s propensity to move all manufacturing to China points East, decided to stay in the US and other Western locations. It actually made sense, keeping their base of operations and manufacturing in the countries that they were selling their goods in…providing jobs to the people to whom the company is trying to sell its products to is just good business! Or so I thought…Peavey’s decision to close its plants and move the bulk of its manufacturing to China proves that the only thing they care about is their bottom line. It’s a true shame, since Peavey once seemed to be one of the few companies that still considered itself an integral part of the music scene, from the “lowly” local bands and players (like me) to the heights of the well known professional acts that toured internationally! No, instead of maintaining their hard earned spot in the hearts of musicians, sound reinforcement techs and other professionals who used Peavey equipment to make the world a better place through aural magic, they decided to sell their souls to the Chinese for the promise of a slightly higher profit margin. Makes me sick!

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