Case Study: Xerox Corporation

Topics: Management, Xerox, Control Pages: 6 (1658 words) Published: September 29, 2006
Background

Conceptualized in 1946 as a manufacturer and supplier of photographic paper and related office equipment, Xerox is presently one of the biggest and oldest document-management company in the world. Xerox, initially known as Haloid, became significantly prominent in 1959 with the introduction of the world's first plain paper photocopier dubbed as Xerox 914. Utilizing the process of xerography or electrophotography, Xerox 914 became an instant office item pursued by countless organizations around the globe. As a result, Xerox business opportunities and market share greatly expanded throughout the 1960s and made scores of long-suffering investors high-flying millionaires.

Today, it boasts of having the competency to manufacture and market various office related and document-management products such as color and black-and-white printers, copiers, digital production printing presses and several related consulting services and supplies. The up-to-date and highly technological-savvy products are the results of Xerox famous research center named Xerox Palo Alto Research Center or Xerox PARC which is at present located in Palo Alto, California. Currently, Xerox is also the top distributor of cut-sheet paper and a noteworthy contender in the development and supply of office papers in the United States. With a total workforce of more than 50,000 personnel and having operational hubs in many countries, Xerox, since its humble beginning in 1946, is still headquartered in Rochester, New York.

Synopsis/Issue

In the midst of the organization's great ascent to the top of their business circle, Xerox supposed unstoppable run and expansion became relatively lethargic post 1970. Many economic and world-related events had caused for this sluggish outbreak. One of the crucial factors which contribute to the mediocre performance of Xerox during this period was the expiration of Xerox's original patent for the plain paper copier. Xerox, after this event, was saturated and engulfed amongst other rising competitors within their similar industry. Competition gradually escalated and Xerox, during this futile time, had no proper business plan and strategy to face and resolve the matter in hand. The business environment slowly became dynamic and saw Xerox behind in sales and growth compared to other players in the similar industry, specifically those of the Japanese. Additionally, due to the undervalued Japanese Yen, Japanese products became an instant hit as it not only provided value for money products but presented customers with similar alternatives at a breakthrough price.

During this period, although competition was stiff, Xerox managed to strategize and penetrate other geographical regions. Xerox entered Europe, Africa and the Middle East via a 50/50 joint venture with Rank Organization PLC, an established British film industry which later instituted the ever-famous Paramount Cinema chain. The success of the joint venture bestowed Xerox with supreme confidence to form a partnership with Fuji Photo Film Company in Japan. The highly anticipated partnership, named Fuji Xerox, granted the company access to countries in South East Asia. During the same period and through similar agreement, Xerox managed to market its products in the South and Central American countries.

Turnaround Strategy

Under the control of David Kearns, the organization's chairman, Xerox had made the necessary changes to survive and sustain in the current business market. The changes began within the company itself. Kearns identified the factors which needed change and systematically implemented the required change elements to ensure success. He acknowledged the inefficiency and inconsistency of the existing reporting and planning process which was highly bureaucratic. Hence, to ensure change and success for the company, he initiated a strategy called 'Leadership through Quality". This move focuses on the importance of quality and how it can promote...
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