Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
Two comments here that may be useful.

Expiration dates are conservative, but you do take your chances when you are beyond that date. Also, an active company like Kodak or Ilford properly stores inventory at a set temperature and humidity for optimum keeping. If a plant shuts down, who tends to the proper storage of existing inventory?

If the land that a plant sits on becomes more valuable than the product it produces, then it is more useful to sell the land, especially if the market is collapsing. If repair or upgrading a machine is more expensive than the profit from th product it produces, the machine is run until it can no longer make usable product and then the company shuts down and goes out of business.

An example might be this, which combines the postulates in the paragraph above.

During WWII, the US bombed the Hachioji steel mills flat. After the war, they were rebuilt from the ground up with the most modern equipment. Through the war and after, US Steel in Pittsburgh operated with a plant built in the 19th century. As a result, after being rebuilt, Japan's steel industry was able to out produce US Steel and at a lower price. As production fell, the land became more valuable than the plant production, and today as you drive down 2nd avenue in Pittsburgh you see open fields, a new Mellon research center and some park and ride parking lots. The best steel mills in the US were built elsewhere where the land was less expensive and the plant was built to modern standards.

Kodak is in a similar position, and are selling off buildings or demolishing them to reduce tax burden and make some money. They retain a core of modern production facilities that can be tuned to meet forseeable needs, and they are able to store a reasonable amount of inventory.

Interesting post. Most of the modern steel-building infrastructure in the USA is down south and has been for a while.

Ultimately, Kodak and Ilford have been somewhat fortunate in that in both the UK and USA it's easier to downsize your workforce. There are seriously large costs for doing the same in Germany and several Central European countries.

That isn't to say that the laws in Germany and elsewhere aren't useful (they keep companies from swinging the axe to goose profits in the short-term) - but they seem pretty fatal for operations experiencing a secular decline, such as analog film and paper.

Ilford cut almost half their workforce when they reorganized under the management buyout. If they had not been able to do so, I doubt they would have made it.

I don't know if this was a factor for Forte or not. But 150 people sounds like a lot when say, Ilford, is only around 400-500 people.