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SilverGlow
08-30-2012, 01:49 PM
Silverglow - Indeed, the quality of the CEO has a lot to do with the sucess of the company. When
choosing what manufacturers to represent, an interview with the CEO is often paramount to the
choices. A good one is not a jerk. He will want to hear issues from potential distributors like me, will
have a good handle on the quality control chain, and above all, will LISTEN to his own experienced staff. Those kinds are in a distinct minority. A CEO who thinks he is God and terrorizes his own people is an almost certain sign of a company about to get into deep trouble. Unfortunately, these types gravitate toward publicly traded companies and their golden-parachute contracts. That's why, whenever possible, I deal will privately-held manufacturers! And some very big sucessful corporations are privately held. Analogies like Steve Jobs are rather unrealistic in most mfg scenarios. Better to have level heads who have worked their way up thru the system and know the
ropes. Cutting-edge electronics tech is a little different game, and a damn risky bar fight for Kodak
to get into unless they carefully sustained their existing income base. They obviously didn't.

Steve Jobs was a jerk, and despite this fact, his company is the most valuable in the world, and Apple makes the best personal computers, laptops, tablets, and cell phones in the world. Apple is a manufacturing company, by the way, and a highly successful one at that. But Apple is the exception and not the rule.

This is not to say that Jobs had to be a jerk, or any CEO for that matter, to be successful.

I think what killed Kodak (really short answer) was top management's lack of passion, lack of hunger, and being out of touch.

DREW WILEY
08-30-2012, 03:00 PM
Agreed. Jobs was a pioneer in a whole new industry and maybe a bit of headstrong ego was essential
to that role. I'm certainly no expert on the history of Kodak, but given my own experience would probably not be out of line summarizing the big picture to the effect that ... Kodak mgt made a huge
logistical mistake going off in all kinds of directions without properly securing their existing chicken coop and its eggs. Cumulative debt from just too many misadventures at once caught up to them.
They left the home fort unguarded. They became a jack of all trades and master of none, at least
from a profit perspective. For most recognizable big brand names, it's a huge risk to try to shift your
market emphasis. To this day, I'm not sure who Kodak is. I don't think they know either.

Prof_Pixel
08-30-2012, 03:58 PM
Agreed. Jobs was a pioneer in a whole new industry and maybe a bit of headstrong ego was essential
to that role.

Having a 'headstrong ego' can be a plus or a minus - you don't hear about companies who's leader had a 'headstrong ego' and was way off track Such an ego has probably destroyed as many companies as it has saved.


Kodak mgt made a huge logistical mistake going off in all kinds of directions without properly securing their existing chicken coop and its eggs. Cumulative debt from just too many misadventures at once caught up to them.

Well into the '90s Kodak had HUGH cash reserves that they squandered on things like the APS system


For most recognizable big brand names, it's a huge risk to try to shift your
market emphasis. To this day, I'm not sure who Kodak is. I don't think they know either.

I certainly would agree with that.

pbromaghin
08-30-2012, 04:57 PM
A CEO who thinks he is God and terrorizes his own people is an almost certain sign of a company about to get into deep trouble.

I worked at a company like that back in the 80s. They invented the world's first full-page-view word processor. Incredibly fast growth and then the founder/tyrant made a bull-headed mistake and the whole thing started crashing. Eventually, fantasy sales projections were made up to satisfy wall street. These were then fed into the MRP system and so parts were ordered for goods that had no chance of ever leaving the factory. I bailed out just before the emergency turned in to a catastrophe.

Felinik
08-30-2012, 05:00 PM
Steve Jobs was a jerk, and despite this fact, his company is the most valuable in the world, and Apple makes the best personal computers, laptops, tablets, and cell phones in the world. Apple is a manufacturing company, by the way, and a highly successful one at that. But Apple is the exception and not the rule.

This is not to say that Jobs had to be a jerk, or any CEO for that matter, to be successful.

I think what killed Kodak (really short answer) was top management's lack of passion, lack of hunger, and being out of touch.

Let's see about Apple when they've been around for another 100 years...

Felinik
08-30-2012, 05:05 PM
For most recognizable big brand names, it's a huge risk to try to shift your
market emphasis. To this day, I'm not sure who Kodak is. I don't think they know either.

Positioning is a dangerous game, and if you do wrong, it can take a lot of time to repair, if ever possible. This is what I get a feeling that Kodak is finally understanding, from being "kodak, the company giving the world photography", passing through a long period of "Kodak, hmmm what are they doing today? printers? scanners? batteries? pens? flashlights?", they need to focus on something and stay focused and claim that position to become one of the major players in peoples minds in this field. If they do not succeed, it's most probably over once and forever.

DREW WILEY
08-30-2012, 05:32 PM
For decades everyone knew exactly what Kodak stood for. Maybe the general public box Brownie
crowd never knew about the extensive industrial scope of products, but cumulatively, there was a
core focus to the whole enterprise, along with a well defined market. This might have needed some
tailoring and gradual shift as newer technologies emerged; but it's not the kind of thing any smart
manager would gamble with while testing newer options. I witnessed several big corporation go down
that wrong path, esp in the 90's when the mantra was to diversify, diversify, diversify in order to have a bigger perceived footprint to potential stock investors. The problem was, some of these
companies diversified into arenas they really didn't understand, and thereby sacrified key finances
that should have gone to upgrading or underpinning their existing base.

lxdude
08-30-2012, 09:56 PM
All that stuff from Perez about how great their ink-jet printers would do for profits. Right. Going up against Canon, Epson, HP and Lexmark.
Now Lexmark has announced they are getting out of the ink-jet business and will try to sell the division and its patents.

DREW WILEY
08-31-2012, 06:24 PM
Exactly! There is still a need for high-end commercial images with good detail and Dick Tracy Secret
Decoder Ring cameras aren't going to fill that need, and current MF digital options are undoubtedly
going to go obsolete, probably before sheet film will. Someone will come up with a real electronic
option for color film itself. In the meantime, I'm going to grow old enjoying my darkroom. There's no
digital option for that! Hands-on for me!