My response did come with the standard confidentiality too, but being that my mother works at a law firm, I know that there are just part of the standard signature, and anything that I thought would actually be confidential I would have censored, but I felt all the info was standard and not something "sensitive". Call me a dare devil... LolI too sent an email to Mr. Gerbershagen. I've received two interesting responses so far.
First, I'll post an excerpted version of my email below. The edited out parts include some details about the fact that my father worked for Kodak Canada for 35+ years, and that he remains close to his surviving colleagues, and loyal to his employer.
Mr. Ralf Gerbershagen
Chief Executive Officer
Dear Mr. Gerbershagen:
Congratulations on your new role with Kodak Alaris.
As I understand it, you have requested suggestions and feedback from your customer base. With this email I hope to help.
I am a lifelong (40+ year) Canadian customer of Kodak, ......
I continue to use Kodak film products for a lot of my photography, and seek out labs who use Kodak materials. I also recommend them whenever I can, including recommending Kodak darkroom materials.
I am conversant with a fair bit of the digital photography world, but it is not my favourite photographic destination.
So as you can no doubt guess, my suggestions and feedback relate to the so called "analogue" Kodak photographic products.
My first and primary suggestion is that you address what I see to be a serious problem with your distribution system.
I have a fair bit of contact with people at the retail level in photographic merchandising and photographic processing in my area - the Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada and the Seattle area of Washington state, USA.
Almost without exception, the people I deal with indicate:
1) they have difficulty obtaining, in a timely manner, Kodak film,darkroom chemistry or, in the case of the labs, Kodak paper or chemistry;and
2) they have little or no access to support people who can provide technical support.
Also, and more generally, I continually encounter people who don't believe that Kodak film or photographic materials still exist.
My sense is that there are a number of retailers in my area who would use and sell more Kodak materials if there was more information about them available to the public, and more merchandise available for retailers or labs.
And I definitely know of a number of people who would shoot more colour film and make their own colour prints if there were again available:
a) cut sheet colour paper for use in small labs/darkrooms;
b) reasonably sized kits for C-41 processing materials;
c) reasonably sized kits for RA-4 processing materials; and
d) reasonably sized kits for E-6 processing materials.
There have been a few statements from Kodak Alaris indicating that film products will remain available as long as they are profitable. That makes sense, but really fails to build confidence in those who use Kodak materials now but don't know whether to switch.
It would be very supportive of your existing customer base if we heard statements from Kodak Alaris that indicated:
A) Kodak Alaris intends to grow their film and analogue photography business;
B) Kodak Alaris will continue to strive to innovate and improve their existing film and analogue photography products;
C) Kodak Alaris will strive to introduce new film and analogue photography products where market conditions permit; and
D) Kodak Alaris will seek to increase the existing customer base for film and analogue photography products by promoting their real advantages to those who have either never used them before, or who would be happy to come back to them.
It would also be very supportive if you would have an active presence on the internet fora that are heavily oriented toward photographic issues. I am a very regular contributor on the Analogue Photographic Users Group forum - APUG.org. Harman/Ilford participate actively there,and seem to gain customers regularly - including people who stop using Kodak and start using Ilford because of that participation. If Kodak Alaris had a presence on that site it would sell a fair bit of film.
I learned about your request for input from an APUG thread.
Finally, I may as well add a personal request. If you could bring back Plus-X in 35mm and 120 sizes I would be very grateful.
I hope this might be of assistance to you. If you need anything further from me, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Here is Mr. Gerbershagen's response to me:
Thank you for reaching out to me. It's nice to meet you via e-mail.
I have cc'd our Paper & Output Systems Business Manager, Richard Condon as well as our Film Capture Business Manager, Thomas Mooney who can provide you with some additional information regarding your comments below.
I appreciate your kind words and look forward to our future. Please stay in touch with me.
I also received a further response from Thomas Mooney, the Film Capture Business Manager. It contained a standard form "confidentiality" warning, so I don't feel I can copy it here, without permission, but he did thank me and indicate that he will be bringing the concerns to the attention of their Canadian sales organization "to improve the situation"
That was a great letter, however you should have said "bring back E6!" Haha