Professor Cheryl J. Johnson
2 Feb, 2013
Eastman Kodak and Fujifilm
1. Describe the history and core business of each company.
Kodak was considered the Google of its day. It was founded in 1880 and known for its pioneering technology and innovative marketing. “You press the button, we do the rest,” was its slogan in 1888. By 1976 Kodak accounted for 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in America. Until the 1990s it was regularly rated one of the world's five most valuable brands (The Last Kodak Moment, 2012). The business was built based on four principles; mass production at low cost, international distribution, extensive advertising, and a focus on the customer. Kodak is no longer in the camera business. They have reorganized into three segments: Digital Printing and Enterprise, Graphics, Entertainment, and Commercial Films, and Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging. This move follows a decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2012 (The Last Kodak Moment?, 2012).
Fujifilm, established in 1934, was a Japanese multinational photography and imaging company with headquarters in Japan. They dominated the Japanese market. They became established in the U.S. in 1965. Sponsoring the Olympics in 1984 gave them the publicity needed for their cheaper camera and lead to them gaining a considerable market share in the United States. Over the decades Fuji diversified into new markets and has built a strong presence around the globe. They have expanded their production and other bases overseas, increasing the pace of its globalization (Fujifilm).
2. Compare and contrast the approach to management that each company has pursued in order to embrace innovation.
It is difficult to assign a management style to Kodak Eastman. Based on research, it would seem that they favoured a bureaucratic style of management in the literal sense. Its literal meaning is to rule from the desk and that seems to be what Kodak Eastman did. They did not stray from their main offices into the rest of the world, so it was difficult to get a feel for what the people were saying about their product or to have a handle on the changes that would affect them. However, even when advised that the move to digital was imminent, management still refused to take action. “Larry Matteson, a former Kodak executive who now teaches at the University of Rochester's Simon School of Business, recalls writing a report in 1979 detailing, fairly accurately, how different parts of the market would switch from film to digital, starting with government reconnaissance, then professional photography and finally the mass market”, all by the late 2000’s (The Last Kodak Moment, 2012).
Fuji took a different approach. They decided to get as much money as they could from the film business, prepared for the switch to digital, and developed new business lines. Their approach to management seems to be a combination of Operations, Information Systems, and Contingency Management. The information system functioned well to alert Fuji of the changes to come. Although, Kodak was also notified and chose not to act on the information. Fuji also used operations management tools like forecasting, quality control, productivity measurements, etc. This is how they managed and dispersed current inventory and made way for new innovations (Williams, 2013).
3. Determine what other management differences have impacted the relative success of Kodak and Fujifilm. Provide specific examples to support your response.
Kodak management was resistant to change. They felt that their initial goals and plans had worked so well that there was no need for change. They developed a false sense of security and did not see Fujifilm as a threat, therefore; they made no moves to try to counteract the threat. It was also easy for management to be detached because corporate offices were so far...