Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Time stops for no man and no company; why companies lose their way

 Time stops for no man and no company. With the news that Eastman Kodak recently filed for bankruptcy protection, it shows that time moves on no matter what.

Eastman Kodak was founded in 1880, and became one of the biggest companies in the world, at its peak employing more than 145,ooo employees worldwide. As of  2012 the company only employed 17,000 employees.

The strangest thing of all is that the company actually invented the digital camera in 1975, but did nothing with their invention. One has to ask what the company’s CEO’s have been doing for the last 30 years?

The number of companies that have succumbed to the changes that time brings is long. There are some famous names in the list, including in the UK, names such as Woolworths. Why Woolworths never became a supermarket chain I will never know. Did its managers really believe that it could go on selling sweets for the next hundred years?

There is also a list of companies who are presently struggling to find a strategy that represents an attempt to adapt to modern times. HMV is one example. It’s core sales base of DVD’s and CD’s has been eclipsed by the likes of Amazon and the supermarkets who sell the same products more cheaply. But HMV does not seem to have fought back, its website exists but does not convince, and it has made half hearted attempts to show films through one or two cinemas and enter the field of live music. One has to ask how long it will last.

 IBM is the example of a company who has successfully adapted to the ravages of time. IBM was one of the biggest computer manufacturers in the world, but now is mainly an advisor and consultant to major companies, although it is still a manufacturer of computer servers.

 Apple is another company who has successfully adapted to the modern age, by combining manufacturing of modern age products, as well as those of the digital age by creating the itunes store. It was once a niche computer manufacturer. It is now the largest company in the world by market capitalization and sits on a cash pile estimated to be in excess of $80 billion.

There is no doubt that many of the Chief Executives of the largest companies in the world are very well paid these days. But very few of them seem to have a vision of where their companies are going. More worryingly, many of them do not seem to even have a strategy to face the next ten or twenty years. They are sitting on their hands while fighting fires, and without a proper strategy they will be burnt with their companies.

                                    Image from

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please add appropriate comments