The world leader in on-line furnace refractory repairs & maintenance

Feedback Q&A

Questions Submitted via the Feedback Page:

The following are questions that were submitted via our Feedback Question Submission webpage.

Question: Why have no announcements been made on the recent organizational changes that have been made?

Answer:  Derek Scott's comments regarding organizational changes were communicated to employees in a conference call on Friday, October 7th.  Please see your immediate supervisor for more information with regards to how the changes may impact your daily activities. (October 14, 2011)

Question:  Why has it been almost a year since any updates on this forum?

Answer:  The purpose of this webpage is to post answers to questions submitted via the form on the Fosbel Feedback Question webpage and there have been no questions submitted recently.  (June 30, 2011)

Question: Why aren't per deim checks direct deposited into employee accounts? What is the cost of cutting a check? Paper, ink, employee time, postage, all of that cost money.

Answer: While we use an outside service to complete our payroll, including direct deposits into employees' accounts, we use our internal ERP system, SL (Solomon), to generate vendor payments and non-wage payments to employees. The system automatically generates checks while an ACH payment (direct deposit) can only be generated manually outside the SL system. Because of the system constraint, it is more cost effective to generate a check rather than an ACH right now.

We have plans to install the eBanking Module which would allow us to automate the payment process within the system this year. Once eBanking is installed, we will review the extra effort involved in changing the 'per diems' to direct deposit for those who are interested to determine if it is cost effective to implement this year. (Aug 9, 2010)

Question: Why is it that after logging into the Fosbel intranet every move to another page requires me to re-enter password information?

Answer: Currently, there are two ways to access the Fosbel Global Intranet, depending on whether the user is accessing it from inside or outside the Fosbel network:

From within the network:
1. Type into browser address field: http://intranet
2. No credentials will be needed to navigate within the intranet or open any attached files.

From outside the network:
1. Type into browser address field: (or access it via the link on )
2. Credentials will be required upon initial log in to the intranet and to download or open any attached files. After initial login, there is no requirement to log in when moving from page to page within the intranet.

If you are being asked for credentials more often than this, it's likely you either have an unstable internet connection that may be the cause of intermittent connectivity or there may be some problem with your security access and you should contact your IT support person to address the issue.
(Dec 22, 2009)

Question: Why is this forum not updated more frequently?

Answer: This feedback webpage is updated with each new feedback question shortly after the question is posted by the employee. (Dec 14, 2009)

Question: Why doesn't Fosbel set a fluctuant salary, including basic salary and bonus? If one works hard he will earn more money, or he will earn less money. I think this will prompt the employee to work hard and improve his efficiency.

Answer: Fosbel is a global company that celebrates victories or deals with obstacles as a group or team. Fosbel also prides itself on consistent, fair and equitable dealings with its employees and works diligently to remove subjectivity from any assessment of personal performances. As a result Fosbel's policy has been, and will remain, that any bonus plan is based on Company global financial performance. Although employees eligible to participate in the bonus plan have a small component that is performance based, Fosbel understands and believes that all its employees work hard and as a result salaries are reviewed annually with the opportunity for top performers to be rewarded accordingly. (August 6, 2009)

Why is our website not translated into multiple languages? Would this not help drive foreign sales?

Fosbel is currently redesigning its websites and part of the project plan is to have both the Fosbel & Cetek websites translated into different languages. The sites are being created in English first, and are expected to be launched by the end of the year. Once the English language versions are launched, several other language versions will follow. (July 31, 2009)

Question: In response to the latest question regarding the R & D. With the economic conditions we face stronger conditions to try & maintain existing accounts & hope to gain new ones from our competitors. I would think that Fosbel should be actively trying to improve on technology & equipment that has not changed in some years, where our competitors try to show customers they have new & better ways of doing the work Fosbel can do. Without some changes for the premium price that we are constantly reminded about, we could end up falling behind.

Answer: Fosbel has a deserved reputation in the industries it serves for innovation and development. That reputation has been built up over many years and has been generated through a combination of new products, new services and training for our skilled employees. Today, Fosbel continues to develop new technologies - such as MONOWALL in Coke, HPS ceramic welding material in Glass and chemical set coatings in Cetek - in an effort to continually meet our customer's growing needs and expectations. Management is not aware of any development work that any of our competitors have successfully brought to the market that would challenge the perception that Fosbel is not only the market leader in terms of sales volume, but also in terms of innovation and reputation. However we do take the R&D process seriously and have increased both our focus and resources in this area in the last few months. (July 31, 2009)

Question: As a premium supplier of refractory products and services in the steel and glass industries, why don't we have a Research & Development department dedicated to developing and improving our products? This would seem to be a critical role to maintain and improve our position in our core business.

Answer: Although we currently don't have a formalized Research & Development department, we continually develop new products & services to meet the needs of our customers. In all three business units, new services have recently been developed and are generating substantial revenue.

That being said, we recognize that ongoing market-driven innovation is vital to maintaining our market leadership and a more formalized R&D department will be established once the economy has recovered. (April 17, 2009)

Question: Will there be any further reduction in the work force in the coming months?

Answer: As we communicated in December, a reduction in force was announced on a single day so employees would not be in fear of further reductions.? We continue to monitor our business very closely and have implemented a biweekly meeting focused on industry and economic trends and conditions, both positive and negative.? This information has allowed us to closely analyze the business in a timely manner. ??It continues to be our intent to take costs out of the business where it is deemed necessary, however at this time no further global reduction in force is being considered. Our analysis of the economy continues to suggest the second half of 2009 will be an improvement from the first half.? Our focus for 2009 is to improve the caliber and qualifications of our staff allowing us to be poised to maximize business opportunities when economic growth returns. (March 20, 2009)

We are instructed not to rent GPS units with rental cars. Why not supply those that travel with a reasonably priced GPS unit? In most cases they would be used frequently - more often than the company supplied portable breathalizer units. Costs are probably comparable.

Answer: The elimination of GPS service with rental vehicles was one of several cost-saving initiatives offered by fellow employees. In this case it was cited that prior to the introduction of the GPS, computer mapping software was used for directions to go from one location to another and before that maps were used. While the cost of GPS service in rental cars fluctuates, those using the service for days, a week or more, were incurring costs that amounted to hundreds of dollars.

The purchase of GPS units is under review, however, given the uncertain economy, decisions such as this, where alternative measures can be employed, are being delayed until we are able to make sound business decisions based on a much clearer picture of the economy. (January 3, 2009)

There seems to be a lot of people being hired for various office type positions. Can an update for correspondence to the office be made so the proper information is getting to the proper personnel?

Answer: Typically when a new employee is hired, within a month an announcement is circulated worldwide via email and the announcement is posted on the Fosbel intranet. This announcement supplies information regarding the new employee's role, and to whom they will report and how they can be reached. For more information regarding a particular role, please refer to these announcements listed on the intranet.

If this information doesn't address your question, please post another feedback question with more specific details and we will answer accordingly. (December 15, 2008)

Can the employees in South Africa get training to work abroad?

Answer: Training is a strategic focus for Fosbel in 2009. Steps are already underway in several areas of the company to broaden employee capabilities and understanding of our processes and services through training.

The Glass division and certain functions within Coke are deploying people globally as the need arises. We advise you to inform your immediate supervisor or contact a member of the Coke or Glass management team of your desire to work abroad or to be considered for further training. As you know growth and development often take a fair amount of time but we are committed toimproving employee skills while providing an opportunity for employees to work globally. (October 31, 2008)

How can I get access to all the documents in the Fosbel Fosmunicator (SharePoint) site because there are many files that are not unavailable to me?

Answer: On the Fosbel Intranet, access to files is provided based on the employee's business unit affiliation and role in the company. For example, there are general files available to all Fosbel employees and business unit-specific files that are only available to those employees in that business unit. If you feel you should have access to a certain folder, please see your supervisor with your request. If a supervisor needs to request additional access be granted, he/she can email Fosbel IT support at with a full explanation of the request in the email. (October 29, 2008)

What needs to happen for us to be able to fly business class again?

Answer: Travel is one of the top five expenses Fosbel experiences annually. We have had a few requests to consider business class travel for flights in excess of a certain number of miles or duration of flight time. Soon we will collect information to quantify the number of trips this change would entail in a years time along with the additional cost associated with such a change. With this data a report/recommendation will be drafted and given to the management team for their consideration. The management team has agreed to consider this change but cautions that a decision will be made considering all factors and will be made with the best interest of business in mind including the well being of employees. (October 4, 2008)

How is the company looking at the global down turn projections for continued growth, & more importantly the credit crisis within the USA and how it may affect our people & jobs?

Answer: Several people have asked about what effect the "global credit crisis" is having on our business. The honest answer is that to date it has had little effect apart from some softening in the demand for repair services from our glass customers. How it will affect us in the longer term remains to be seen, but as long as steel demand continues to grow and oil refineries have tight margins, the outlook remains positive. (October 1, 2008 )


If you would like to submit a question for review by senior management, use the form on the Feedback Question Submission page.


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