There has been an interesting discussion on Pure-Silver list about how much of the expertize in the making of photo film, paper etc.. is lost in these short-sighted downsizing operations. Ilford may make themselves more attractive for a buyer but only at the loss of technical skills. If this is an example of the invisible hand (& intelligence) of free-market capitalism, think I'll vote socialist ;-)
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
I think that these days in the UK there are very few companies which have too many employee's due to the directors here employing consultants who get over paid for providing strategies that are out dated and failed from the states (no offence to our American friends here, it's just the models were tried out on you first). Another problem with downsizing is as Doug said is the loss of technical experience and it's very possible that many Ilford employees kicked in the teeth will not want their old jobs back.
I worked in broadcasting for many years, and I don't think there's any business more infested with insulatants - as we came to call them. BTW, consultants in this case means someone who examines a company and gives advice as to how it should be run - the word has come to mean something entirely different in the computer and some other fields. Their ideas are failures when tried here in the U.S., too Tony, so no offence taken at all. All too often the strategies seem to come from the need to do something to prove their worth as consultants rather that to help the client company. My best ratings success came at stations too cheap to hire consultants - they actually relied on my judgement and the judgement of the other employees. Why how could they do such a thing?
Ilford B&W product are excellent, their RC paper is without any doubt
the best on the market, FB paper are very good, delta 100 is on many aspect better than T-MAX, FP4 and HP5 both stands shoulder to shoulder with plus-x and tri-x. The prices of their products are convenient or at least comparable with those of their competitors.
The B&W is a niche market since the appearance of the one hour color labs and I do not really think digital has affected it too much.
I do not even think that their adventure on colour film is the cause of their
financial problem. Ilford colour film were so close to agfa to let me belive they actually where agfa rebranded and rebranding is not so expensive.
The same might not be said for the inkjet and pc paper branch: their market might be increasing, but I will not be surprised to know that the revenues are not so high, competition is fierce and ilford product are probably used only by people attracted by the well known photographic brand.
Is highly probable that the breakdown of Ilford has its origin in years of bad management and bad financial administration.
Once again the workers have paid the ultimate cost.
My brother in law is intimate with the film coating process and knows the Ilford operation very well. Ilford's capacity is 350 million square yards per year!! It will take a lot of amateur enthusiasts to take up the slack. As was stated above, much coating knowledge will be losta s a result of losing employees. Despite being large sophisticated machines, the coating machines really require a touch which must be learned..Evan Clarke
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My theory is that almost all company failures are due to either bad management or unfair competition, and rarely due to employees. Exceptions include big unions that fight the management all the time like the teamsters in the US.
Once again the workers have paid the ultimate cost.
This is because employees can be purchased, trained or fired at management's discretion. Sounds harsh, doesn't it, but that's how management views them. They are expendable, and there's an inexaustible supply of them. They are parts of a machine. It's the management who runs the machine that makes the most difference. For these people, a company is like a project or adventure. They fail at one, (hopefully) learn something and move on to another. Whether it's a film company, a donut factory or an advertising agency, doesn't make much difference. Such is the cruel world for the so called "employees".
The consumer is an abstract concept. The only thing concrete about him is that he complains a lot. They are otherwise not in the equation at all. It's the "market" that is the big deal, a market to which the company sells. If you think consumers are the same as "market", then you are wrong. Consumers strategically misled at any given time by creative advertisements of a specific product makes a "market" in that time window for that product.
Therefore a company is an investment (to buy equipment, employees, etc), a management (to run the company) and a market (to which the company sells.) So you see it's all about finance and marketing, and a gang of juvenile delinquents having fun playing the game. The people (employees and consumers) are not in it at all.
You or I, the employees or the consumers can cry and curse all you want. Doesn't make a damn bit of difference. If you want to make a difference in any thing, then become a financier, an executive or a marketeer. Do not become an employee. He is nobody.
I wonder if any company that has used consultants has been successful in the long term. From experience their advice always seems to be reduce the size of the workforce; outsource specialist skills to companies / people who do not care about the original business as it is only one of many "clients"; then sell the company to the highest bidder; who then asset strips the company and uses it's name if they bother using it at all simply as a brand name.
In defense of consultants, most consultants delivery what is asked of them. If the goal is to make the bottom line look better for a possible sale, that is what is delivered.
Omron, back in the mid 1980's, hired a consulting firm to help them "globalise" the company, and it resulted in a better focused strategy, new products, more hiring, etc.
Consultants certainly don't have any magic.
who is not a consultant!
Thanks Charlie at least that is one successful result Sounds like we're back to the financiers, executives and marketeers, either way a lot of innocent hard working people have lost their livelihood as usual through no fault of their own For us worrying about losing our supplies it's going to be a lot easier as we have alternatives but they don't!
[size=1]Is highly probable that the breakdown of Ilford has its origin in years of bad management and bad financial administration.
Once again the workers have paid the ultimate cost.[/size]
I (and I expect, a lot of the employees, both past and present) could not agree with you more!
We are still completely shell shocked by what has happened. We had no warning that this was coming. The receivers arrived on the Monday and by Friday half the workforce was gone. Also, the fact that the receivers have been brought in means that redundancy payouts are paid by the government not the company - i.e. a whole lot less than the workers deserved!
We are now for sale in the Financial Times...... so if anyone has a few million to spare, please come and buy us!
Thanks for all your kind words throughout the forum - we appreciate them!