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SkipA
08-24-2012, 02:15 PM
@Simon Galley from Ilford:

If I promise to buy more HP5+, will you buy Kodak for us, please?

You don't really want this. You will end up with fewer film choices via this route just as surely as you would if Kodak just goes under. I don't understand why people can't see this. Tri-X and HP5+ are competitive films based on similar technology that fill the same market niche. TMAX 100/400/3200 and Delta 100/400/1600 are competitive films based on similar technology that fill the same market niche. The films are not identical, but they are similar. For how long do you think you'd continue to have the diversity of choices you have now if Ilford or Fuji were to buy Kodak's film business? The answer is, not long. The best selling product of each type would survive, and you'd lose the competing one. Technical merits of one over the other wouldn't even factor into it.

Photo Engineer
08-24-2012, 02:18 PM
Dan, I come to this discussion after a long career in the corporate world, having witnessed from an "in the trenches" location numerous battles "further up the ladder" similar to what's going on now at 343 State Street.

Reality is cruel. Nobody, especially those who are passionate about and work hard doing things like making the films posters here enjoy, ever likes it when reality stomps all over their world and products. I know from personal experience. Nonetheless, despite any claims of "our people are our most important asset," "people first" or similar HR / executive management pronouncements, reality is that numbers, and only numbers, drive all decisions. Kodak's numbers are like "spray painting on the wall." The operation is oversized for today's market. Today's market is more robust than tomorrow's market will probably be. Especially when the inexorable march of digital into cinema progresses further in a few years. Hope won't change reality.

Over the course of commuting 750,000 miles during the above-mentioned corporate career, while never affixing any to my own car, I observed many bumper stickers. The one that stood out said "I feel much better since I gave up hope." My suggestion to everyone fretting about Kodak film's future is: Buy and use what you can while it's still available, don't count on continued availability and support Ilford whenever possible. Reality always prevails.

Sal;

I've traveled as much as you, albeit aboard aircraft, for EK and I've seen their WW operations. I am in touch with today's operations to some extent and can say that you are wrong about the operation being oversized. This implies both people and equipment. Kodak is not oversized in people, and it is suffering from overcapacity and not oversizing in equipment.

The overcapacity can be compensated for by reducing operations to meet the market. If they could not do that, then the film division would not be profitable.

In this sense, your assertions are wrong then.

Also, Kodak requires highly skilled people for each and every operation. It is not like building a car, it is unique. So people are a major asset at EK. People are so critical that I knew of one product that was shut down for 6 months during the illness of the lead engineer. While a backup was being trained, no product was made. Of course, this was an error on the part of someone, but this kind of thing happens, and it illustrates the critical nature of each and every Kodak person.

PE

railwayman3
08-24-2012, 02:37 PM
If so, they are wrong.
Remember: Ilford is the new Kodak. HP5 is the new Tri-X.

No, IIRC, Simon spoke with respect of Kodak's products, research and knowledge. The demise of a competitor is not always a good sign if it comes about solely through an irreversable fall in the overall market.

Again IIRC, PE has similarly written about the achievements of the research team at Konica who produced such products as their 3200 ISO color film.

BrianShaw
08-24-2012, 02:40 PM
People are so critical that I knew of one product that was shut down for 6 months during the illness of the lead engineer. While a backup was being trained, no product was made. Of course, this was an error on the part of someone, but this kind of thing happens, it illustrates the critical nature of each and every Kodak person.

Unfortunately that is a major failing of management. If management cannt or does not do succession planning, even for the "temporary" succession in the event of illness or recoverable injury... then they have failed at managing. That is a tragic story to read. But you are right... unfortunately that kind of thing happens.

Sal Santamaura
08-24-2012, 03:02 PM
...you are wrong about the operation being oversized. This implies both people and equipment. Kodak is not oversized in people, and it is suffering from overcapacity and not oversizing in equipment.

The overcapacity can be compensated for by reducing operations to meet the market. If they could not do that, then the film division would not be profitable...Apologies if I wasn't clear and didn't use the correct terminology. My statement was intended to describe the coating line's having way more capacity than today's market would motivate any company to set up.



...The overcapacity can be compensated for by reducing operations to meet the market. If they could not do that, then the film division would not be profitable...There have been numerous threads/posts here and elsewhere about whether the film division is profitable. I've not been convinced by any of them that, after cutting through accounting artifice, it is or can continue to be. However, the only important question is whether one or more potential buyers can be convinced.


...Also, Kodak requires highly skilled people for each and every operation. It is not like building a car, it is unique. So people are a major asset at EK. People are so critical that I knew of one product that was shut down for 6 months during the illness of the lead engineer. While a backup was being trained, no product was made. Of course, this was an error on the part of someone, but this kind of thing happens, and it illustrates the critical nature of each and every Kodak person...Nothing I've posted here or elsewhere was intended to diminish or denigrate the skill, dedication or criticality of Kodak's technical and manufacturing people, nor do I believe I did that.

On the other hand, considering film market realities and the example you gave, how many entities are likely to be interested in purchasing Kodak's film division? That level of key-person risk seems very high compared to ever-diminishing potential reward.

Hatchetman
08-24-2012, 03:12 PM
The more I think about this the more worried I get. More than likely this will be bought by a buy-out group looking to plaster over the income statement and pawn it off to some other dope at a profit. This means a slash in costs (ie employees, research, unprofitable products). Essentially more of the same I guess.

Roger Cole
08-24-2012, 03:20 PM
Sal;

I've traveled as much as you, albeit aboard aircraft, for EK and I've seen their WW operations. I am in touch with today's operations to some extent and can say that you are wrong about the operation being oversized. This implies both people and equipment. Kodak is not oversized in people, and it is suffering from overcapacity and not oversizing in equipment.

The overcapacity can be compensated for by reducing operations to meet the market. If they could not do that, then the film division would not be profitable.

In this sense, your assertions are wrong then.

Also, Kodak requires highly skilled people for each and every operation. It is not like building a car, it is unique. So people are a major asset at EK. People are so critical that I knew of one product that was shut down for 6 months during the illness of the lead engineer. While a backup was being trained, no product was made. Of course, this was an error on the part of someone, but this kind of thing happens, and it illustrates the critical nature of each and every Kodak person.

PE

What do you mean by over capacity versus over sized? Aren't these the same thing?

I assume you mean that by making fewer runs per year, a run every two years, whatever, they could keep this going profitably? Maybe - but then what do you have for those skilled people to do to justify their salaries the rest of the time? If they can be employed doing other things that take advantage of their skills that might be workable. But I assume that's what Kodak has been doing so far.

Maybe it's workable for a buyer. I agree with the thought that they must at least have a buyer in mind and some talks going on or they wouldn't have released this. This sort of release isn't the way to advertise "hey, this is for sale, anyone interested?"

Sal Santamaura
08-24-2012, 03:21 PM
Thanks for the cynicism, Sal...Those who are frustrated and angry at reality frequently mistake realism for cynicism. :)


Colleen said at the outset that she is a PR person. Let her do her job...What do you mean "Let her do her job?" Who's trying to stop her from doing her job? She's here posting. Isn't that her job?


...We should be gracious and listen...If I hadn't listened I couldn't have replied. What I posted, like all my posts, was polite and gracious.


...None of us are expecting some inside information or anything other than what Kodak's still film division wants us to hear. That does not make Colleen someone we should not listen to and ask questions of...I never suggested not listening or asking questions. I simply advised reading and evaluating very carefully.

A PR firm hired by a corporation is not substantively different than the press secretary employed by a president. A public communication person is told only what management wants "us" to hear and their job is to present it in a way most advantageous to management. The press secretary / PR person is not given adverse information and can plausibly deny knowledge of it. These are critical points to keep in mind when reading/listening. It's far different from when Mirko and Simon post. They're both owners of their respective companies and cognizant of everything taking place within them.


...Regarding your final statement: there's nothing Colleen could say that would satisfy you.Since you didn't quote either of my posts, I don't know whether this refers to the bumper sticker saying or my comment about Kodak getting its PR money's worth. In either case, my satisfaction is of no import. The only thing Kodak seeks through its PR campaign is the satisfaction of potential buyers that film division customers aren't prematurely abandoning Kodak film.

mhanc
08-24-2012, 03:24 PM
There are no bad assets, only bad prices... someone will by the film division. And, if they are good business people they will get it at a good price without legacy liabilities and, then, make a good profit. Maybe these people will be the current engineers and employees, maybe someone else... but if they do their homework and are interested in building a business then this will be a good thing.

To the buyers of the film division: I will always buy Kodak film as long as they are of the same quality and "character" as they are now. (And... if you bring back KR I will shoot one roll per week - promise)

mikendawn
08-24-2012, 03:25 PM
yay! Kodak is going to sell their film, CASH COW, and move into selling cheap crappy printers with inexpensive ink, money-pit...

Interesting... so Kodak is synonymous with "FILM" as Epson is Synonymous to "PRINTERS"...

Photo Engineer
08-24-2012, 03:35 PM
yay! Kodak is going to sell their film, CASH COW, and move into selling cheap crappy printers with inexpensive ink, money-pit...

Interesting... so Kodak is synonymous with "FILM" as Epson is Synonymous to "PRINTERS"...

Wow, are you wrong!

Kodak is not interested in the tiny home printers as a means of revenue, and in fact have considered selling it (or have already sold it), but I have not kept up with that end of EK.

What they are talking about are the big printers for producing books and other items having long runs. These printers are about the size of an automobile and can print hundreds of books in just a few minutes. This includes binding. In other words, POD.

PE

lxdude
08-24-2012, 03:38 PM
Sal, I see no spinning here.

I agree. The announcement produced much confusion and conjecture. Colleen clarified several things.

pbromaghin
08-24-2012, 03:41 PM
Hmmm. Just as the world goes to online digital books.

Photo Engineer
08-24-2012, 03:42 PM
What do you mean by over capacity versus over sized? Aren't these the same thing?

I assume you mean that by making fewer runs per year, a run every two years, whatever, they could keep this going profitably? Maybe - but then what do you have for those skilled people to do to justify their salaries the rest of the time? If they can be employed doing other things that take advantage of their skills that might be workable. But I assume that's what Kodak has been doing so far.

Maybe it's workable for a buyer. I agree with the thought that they must at least have a buyer in mind and some talks going on or they wouldn't have released this. This sort of release isn't the way to advertise "hey, this is for sale, anyone interested?"

Roger;

Over sized was when Kodak had plants in several places making the same products for a WW market.

Over capacity is when a company makes (or can make) more product than the market can bear. This is a subset of Over Sized.

Kodak is now one plant. It is properly sized for the market, but within that plant, as the market shrinks, it is over capacity for some large part of the product range, for the market out there.

To compensate, Kodak now cannot become smaller, it can only reduce production within its current capacity. It does that by reducing operation hours or days of operation, among other things. It is very difficult to do as the market shrinks, because the capacity in terms of equipment is n ow frozen at a fixed level and there is no capital to redesign the equipment.

This is a very complex dilemma that is the opposite end of the scale from EFKE which drama is playing on in that other thread.

PE

Brian C. Miller
08-24-2012, 04:42 PM
Kodak is not interested in the tiny home printers as a means of revenue, and in fact have considered selling it (or have already sold it), but I have not kept up with that end of EK.

According to one yesterday's articles, Kodak can't just spin off the consumer printer business. They signed licensing agreements that dictate that Kodak can't transfer the licenses it bought. The purchaser would have to purchase seperate licenses for the technology.

Sal Santamaura
08-24-2012, 04:50 PM
…part of the sale...


… NOT part of the sale…


Sal, I see no spinning here. It is talked about "discussions about how a sale would proceed" not "the sale...


I agree...Because two readers can't see it doesn't mean it's not happening, only that it's being effectively executed. :)

Colleen is very good at her job. By the time she got to the large format forum several hours ago


http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?94171-Kodak-announces-plans-to-sell-consumer-film-division&p=924434&viewfull=1#post924434

she'd refined her post so none of my comments here apply. :D

Kevin Kehler
08-24-2012, 04:55 PM
Several points:

1) Ilford, Adox and Efke all need Kodak, as does Fuji to a certain extent. Kodak orders tons of gelatin, raw chemicals and other consumables in order to make film. If Kodak were to disappear, the cost of supplying these materials to the remaining manufacturers increases. In short, everyone's cost is lower because Kodak needs so much, because they are buying the extra from Kodak's need - if Kodak doesn't need any, then the remaining buyers are no longer buying the extra production but are now paying for the primary production. Since this will be less that when Kodak was buying, it will be more per unit purchased (i.e., the price of film will rise based only on the cost of the materials to produce film, not because of less competition in the market which could also raise prices). Similarly, if Kodak no longer needs tons of silver a week, the market price of silver will fall and new silver production will be delayed, which will cause the price in the long run to rise higher than if Kodak had remained in the market.

2) Ron and several others have indicated numerous times that formulas are machine size and place specific - these cannot be replicated without extensive investment by another manufacturer or the same manufacturer at a different location. Even Kodak had difficulties in moving film production to other locations, such as Brazil and China. If Ilford or Fuji bought the recipe for Tri-X or Porta (they could probably reverse engineer the chemicals pretty quickly but not the process), it could not be replicated on another machine without extensive testing; just like Kodak cannot make smaller patches (1/2 orders) as the recipes are calibrate to full sizes (if it took 12 rotations to mix a full batch, it takes how much to mix half a batch? And the answer is not 6). So the reality is that the new buyer has to buy the recipes, machines and keep making product at the same location in order for the film to remain the same - very difficult to see a buyer doing that but you never know.

3) I am glad Kodak is providing some information about what is happening - if you have never worked in a large corporation or government, providing information is never a simple process. I once argued through 4 managers that we should send a letter to our clients about a potential problem - I prepared 8 pages of documentation showing why this was a good idea and how it would be beneficial in the long term, and cleared it with legal and media relations. We all went to the Director who spent less than one minute on the idea before denying it. You don't think there are plenty of employees within Kodak who have wanted to provide a voice on APUG or any other website? The odds are it was shot down long ago.

ic-racer
08-24-2012, 05:26 PM
Can we get the title of this thread changed? I can't seem to find an official statement in this thread or on the internet to verify the title of this thread to be true.

Maybe I'll start a thread:"Its Official, Kodak is keeping its film business."

Roger Cole
08-24-2012, 05:34 PM
"It's official - Kodak is trying to sell it's film business?"

DREW WILEY
08-24-2012, 05:37 PM
Maybe it should be clarified by the statement that Kodak is "attempting" to sell off this division. If
that fails, they might be back to Plan B, if they have an alternative. They also attempted to raise
a lot of capital by selling off patent rights, but that didn't quite do the trick.