Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Kodak's take on transitions

The CEO who saw Kodak through a transition that sounds remarkably similar to ours shared this video today at the NAA/ASNE conference. It's worth watching to the end.

In the 1990s, Kodak's own scientists said digital imaging was going to quickly overtake traditional photography and printing, but in 2000 Kodak's film business was still growing, so the company didn't respond. By 2003 that business was down 30% and today it's about 10% of what it was.

Today the company's revenues are about back to where they were before the plunge, thanks to a massive restructuring and realignment of its business to digital products. The workforce is dramatically smaller (they shuttered 11 of 14 film factories); some business units (like a massive machine shop) were spun-off as employee-operated firms that now serve the general public; retirements were managed carefully; and it was all done in largely unionized plants without a strike.

The CEO of Proctor & Gamble, also on the panel, said of transitions, "The worst thing that can happen to you is for you to be winning, because you think if you won yesterday, you'll win tomorrow."

The CEO of Owens Corning said, "If you try to do more of the same thing faster and harder, that will mean more resources. We were most creative when we were most constrained."
(All based on rough notes and my subsequent recollection.)

1 comment:

  1. > "Kodak's own scientists said digital imaging was going to quickly overtake traditional photography and printing, but in 2000 Kodak's film business was still growing, so the company didn't respond."

    brings to mind climate change.
    (as did hope is a state of mind)

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