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Lee Iacocca, car executive, 1924-2019
July 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Kenneth Gooding 14 HOURS AGO
'80s  automotive_industry  CEOs  Chrysler  Detroit  Ford  obituaries 
july 2019 by jerryking
Every Company Wants to Become a Tech Company–Even if It Kills Them
March 8, 2019 | WSJ | By John D. Stoll.

Wall Street loves a good reinvention story. The tough part is finding a happy ending.

All the plots seem to go something like this: Every company wants to convince us it’s becoming a tech company–even if it kills them..... an increasing number of companies are at least dabbling in new tech ventures to improve operations......The boom in vendors offering affordable ways to crunch data or utilize cloud computing, for instance, unlocks new strategies for companies across a wide variety of industries........Planet Fitness Inc. is one of the interested companies. The gym boasts 12 million members but CEO Chris Rondeau admits the company knows relatively little about them.

“Besides checking in the front door, we don’t know what members do,”.....The company is spending millions to retool certain treadmills and cardio equipment to better collect data as people exercise, commissioning a new smartphone app, and wants to tie into its customers’ wearable technology....many other CEOs aren’t convinced they have the luxury (of time to take things slowly). Even if it is hard to figure out what to do with all the data gathered and tools employed in the course of regular business, paralysis is not an option. Like a shark, they feel they need to keep swimming or die....... Nokia Corp., the Finnish company, started as a pulp mill in the 19th century and then branched off into various industries, including a successful venture into rubber boot making, ditched its failed mobile handset unit in 2013 to focus on a networks business that was thriving under the radar. Today, it’s locked in a high-stakes race to deploy 5G technology......In 2000, Major League Baseball owners committed $120 million to fund MLB Advanced Media. It aimed to infuse technology into the game and resulted in initiatives like online ticket sales and expanded radio coverage. The gem of that initiative, however, was a streaming television network launched in 2002...... it has attracted outside clients, such as ESPN, the WWE Network, Playstation Vue and HBO. The Walt Disney Co. acquired control recently for nearly $3 billion.... Dunnhumby Ltd., the data and analytics consultancy owned by European grocery chain Tesco PLC. Tesco bought Dunnhumby after it created the chain’s loyalty-card program. Dunnhumby ballooned into a storehouse of information and amassed clients and partners...Searching for the next BAMTech or Dunnhumby is now a religion at many companies......Walmart Inc., which has already heavily invested in e-commerce, wants to take its technology, marry it with everything the world’s largest retailer knows about us and use it to get into the advertising business......“Everyone’s thinking ‘we’ve got a ton of this stuff (data), how do we use it,’” Executives are trying to answer that question by hiring outside firms to analyze trends or setting up in-house units for experimentation.

Walmart is dumping digital-marketing agency Triad, a unit of WPP PLC, and will try its hand at selling advertising space. Armed with a trove of shopper data and connected to a chain of suppliers wanting to place ads in stores and on websites, Walmart hopes to challenge Amazon.com Inc. on this new front......At Ford Motor Co. , CEOJim Hackett envisions a day when automobiles roam streets collecting data from the occupants and the cars’ behavior like rolling smartphones. This is part of that “mobility as a service” vision car makers peddle.......“Corporations tend to reward action over thinking,”“But the truth is…you’ll find the companies that didn’t do the deep thinking and acted quickly have to redo things.
BAMTech  digital_savvy  Dunnhumby  experimentation  Ford  in-house  Jim_Hackett  massive_data_sets  MLB  Planet_Fitness  reinvention  Wal-Mart  mobility_as_a_service  technology  under_the_radar 
march 2019 by jerryking
Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. iPhone?
Jan. 11, 2019 | WSJ | By John D. Stoll.

The iPhone is arguably the most valuable product in the world, representing the backbone of Apple Inc.’s AAPL -0.98% half-trillion-dollar hardware business and undergirding its software-peddling App store. It remains the envy of consumer-product companies world-wide.

If history is any indication, though, America’s favorite handheld device will someday take up residence with the digital camera, the calculator, the pager, Sony’s Walkman and the Palm Pilot in a museum. Although it’s hard to imagine the iPhone dying, change can sneak up rapidly on contraptions that are deeply entrenched in American culture......“Over time, every franchise dies,” said Nick Santhanam, McKinsey’s Americas practice leader in Silicon Valley. “You can innovate on an amazing mousetrap, but if people eventually don’t want a mousetrap, you’re screwed.” Kodak, Polaroid and Sears are all examples from the recent past of companies that held too tightly to an old idea.....Apple, for the better part of the 2000s, was the master of the next big thing: the iPod, the MacBook Air, the iPad, the iPhone. Apple wasn’t always first, but its products were easier to use, thinner, cooler.

With the success of the iPhone since it arrived on the scene, the next big thing has been harder to find. Apple has had no breakthrough on TV, a modest success with its watch, a stumble in music and a lot of speculation concerning its intentions for autonomous cars or creating original programming. Can Apple’s greatest strength could be its biggest weakness?.....Whatever shape it takes, Apple’s evolution will be closely watched if only because reinvention is so hard to pull off. A decade ago, Nokia’s dominance in handheld devices evaporated after executives failed to create a compelling operating system to make their pricey smartphones more user-friendly. Finnish executives have told me on several occasions that Nokia knew it needed to rapidly change, but lacked the urgency and resources to do it....The Model T almost entirely underpinned Ford Motor Co.’s rise a century ago, when the Detroit auto maker owned roughly half of the U.S. car market. ....Both Ford and Microsoft adapted and survived. Iconic vehicles like Ford’s Mustang coupe or F-150 pickup prove companies can live a productive life after the initial hit product fades. Microsoft’s transition to cloud computing with its Azure product, meanwhile, has vaulted the company back near the top of the race for the title of world’s most valuable company.
Apple  change  CPG  decline  Ford  iPhone  Microsoft  Nokia  reinvention  Tim_Cook  inventions  rapid_change  next_play  Polaroid  digital_cameras 
january 2019 by jerryking
Arjay Miller, Who Led a Resurgence at Ford, Dies at 101 - The New York Times
By SAM ROBERTSNOV. 8, 2017
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Stanford  deanships  business_schools  obituaries  Ford  leaders 
november 2017 by jerryking
Ford CEO: Decision-Making ‘Shot Clock’ Needed to Accelerate Plans - WSJ
By Christina Rogers
Updated June 30, 2017

Ford Motor Co.’s new Chief Executive Jim Hackett is enforcing a “shot clock” on lingering decisions at the auto maker to put plans into action faster and regain competitive footing in vital segments of the car business.

Mr. Hackett, speaking to analysts this week, rolled out the shot-clock idea—which is borrowed from a rule employed in basketball to quicken the pace of the game—as part of his agenda for the first 100 days in a job he took over in May. He spoke Thursday with Wall Street analysts, the first such meeting for Ford’s new chief as he confronts an underperforming stock price.

The company has been widely criticized for appearing indecisive on important technology bets, including self-driving cars or electric vehicles.

In addition to setting firmer deadlines on decisions, Mr. Hackett said he plans to focus on costs, according to analysts’ reports recounting the event. He wants to move faster to target weaknesses in the business, such as slumping U.S. sedan sales.......Ford is now investing in autonomous-vehicle research, including taking financial stakes in startups, and is spending more than $4 billion to improve its electric-car lineup.
operational_tempo  decision_making  Jim_Hackett  Ford  automotive_industry  electric_cars  autonomous_vehicles  accelerated_lifecycles  clock_speed  indecision  shot_clock 
june 2017 by jerryking
Three Hard Lessons the Internet Is Teaching Traditional Stores
April 23, 2017 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.
Legacy retailers have to put their mountains of purchasing data to work to create the kind of personalization and automation shoppers are getting online
(1) Data Is King
When I asked Target, Walgreens and grocery chain Giant Food about loyalty programs and the fate of customers’ purchasing data—which is the in-store equivalent of your web browsing history—they all declined to comment. ...Data has been a vital part of Amazon’s retail revolution, just as it was with Netflix ’s media revolution and Google and Facebook ’s advertising revolution. For brick-and-mortar retailers, purchasing data doesn’t just help them compete with online adversaries; it has also become an alternate revenue source when profit margins are razor-thin. ....Physical retailers must catch up to online retailers in collecting rich data without making it feel so intrusive. Why, exactly, does my grocery store need my phone number?

(2) Personalization + Automation = Profits
Personalization and Automation = Profits
There’s a debate in the auto industry: Can Tesla get good at making cars faster than Ford, General Motors and Toyota can get good at making self-driving electric vehicles? The same applies to retail: Can physical retailers build intimate digital relationships with their customers—and use that data to update their stores—faster than online-first retailers can learn how to lease property, handle inventory and manage retail workers? [the great game ]

Online retailers know what’s popular, and how customers who like one item tend to like certain others. So Amazon’s physical bookstores can put out fewer books with more prominently displayed covers. Bonobos doesn’t even sell clothes in its stores, which it calls “guideshops.” Instead, customers go there to try clothes on, and their selections are delivered through the company’s existing e-commerce system.

Amazon’s upcoming Go convenience stores, selling groceries and meal kits, don’t require cashiers. That’s the sort of automation that could position Amazon to reap margins—or slash prices—to a degree unprecedented for retailers in traditionally low-margin categories like food and packaged goods.

While online retailers are accustomed to updating inventory and prices by the hour, physical retailers simply don’t have the data or the systems to keep up, and tend to buy and stock on cycles as long as a year, says George Faigen, a retail consultant at Oliver Wyman. Some legacy retailers are getting around this by teaming up with online players.

Target stocks men’s shaving supplies from not one but two online upstarts, Harry’s and Bevel. Target has said that, as a result, more customers are coming in to buy razors, increasing the sales of every brand on that aisle—even good old Gillette. Retailers have long relied on manufacturers to drive customers to stores by marketing their goods and even managing in-store displays. The difference is this: In the past, new brands had to persuade store buyers to dole out precious shelf space; now the brands can prove themselves online first.

(3) Legacy Tech Won’t Cut It

Perhaps the biggest challenge for existing retailers, says Euromonitor’s Ms. Grant, is finding the money to transition to this hybrid online-offline model. While Target has announced it will spend $7 billion over the next three years to revamp its stores, investors fled the stock in February after Target reported 2017 profits might be 25% less than expected.

When Warby Parker, the online eyeglasses retailer, set out to launch stores across the U.S., the company looked for in-store sales software that could integrate with its existing e-commerce systems. It couldn’t find a system up to the task, so it built one from scratch.

These kinds of systems allow salespeople to know what customers have bought both online and off, and what they might be nudged toward on that day. “We call it the ‘point of everything’ system,” says David Gilboa, co-founder and co-chief executive.

Having this much customer knowledge available instantly is critical, but it’s precisely what existing retailers struggle with, Mr. Faigen says.

Even Amazon is experiencing brick-and-mortar difficulties. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Go stores would be delayed because of kinks in the point-of-sale software system.

Andy Katz-Mayfield, co-founder and co-chief executive of Harry’s, is skeptical that traditional retailers like Wal-Mart can make the leap, even if they invest heavily in technology.

The problem, he says, is that selling online isn’t just about taking orders through a website. Companies that succeed are good at selling direct to consumers—building technology from the ground up, integrating teams skilled at navigating online marketing’s ever-shifting terrain and managing the experience through fulfillment and delivery, Mr. Katz-Mayfield says.

That e-commerce startups are so confident about their own future doesn’t mean they are right about the fate of traditional retailers, however.

A report from Merrill Lynch argues Wal-Mart is embarking on a period of 20% to 30% growth for its e-commerce business. A spokesman for the company said that in addition to acquisitions, the company is focused on growing its e-commerce business organically.

It isn’t hard to picture today’s e-commerce companies becoming brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s harder to bet on traditional retailers becoming as tech savvy as their e-competition.[the great game]
lessons_learned  bricks-and-mortar  retailers  curation  personalization  e-commerce  shopping_malls  automation  privacy  Warby_Parker  Amazon_Go  data  data_driven  think_threes  Bonobos  Amazon  legacy_tech  omnichannel  Harry’s  Bevel  loyalty_management  low-margin  legacy_players  digital_first  Tesla  Ford  GM  Toyota  automobile  electric_cars  point-of-sale  physical_world  contra-Amazon  brands  shelf_space  the_great_game  cyberphysical  cashierless  Christopher_Mims  in-store  digital_savvy 
april 2017 by jerryking
Managing in chaos October 2, 2006
September 19 2006 | Fortune |By Geoffrey Colvin, Fortune senior editor-at-large
Geoff_Colvin  Ford  chaos  digital_economy 
june 2012 by jerryking
Tire Recalls Show Flaws in the System - WSJ.com
November 1, 2007 | WSJ | By TIMOTHY AEPPEL

Poor Communication Means Potentially Dangerous Products Often Remain With Consumers And on Store Shelves....Notifying consumers is a problem in many kinds of recalls, in part because of the sheer volume of recall announcements. An average of 28 recalls are announced each week, says Dirk Gibson, an associate professor of communications at the University of New Mexico who studies recalls. Six separate arms of the government have the authority to do recalls, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Coast Guard and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
product_recalls  Communicating_&_Connecting  automobile  automotive_industry  RFID  Goodyear  Wal-Mart  Ford 
june 2012 by jerryking
Six Things All CEOs Can Learn From Mulally | ChiefExecutive.net | Chief Executive Magazine
Six Things All CEOs Can Learn From Mulally

June 27 2011 by JP Donlon

1. Display courage in the face of adversity.
2. Focus is everything.
3. Simplify.
4. Use the Outsider Advantage.
5. Reward transparency and collaboration.
6. Stay inventive during tough times.
Alan_Mulally  simplicity  Ford  Boeing  leadership  tips  courage  innovation  transparency  collaboration  CEOs  hard_times  adversity  focus  outsiders 
november 2011 by jerryking
In praise of power seeker
Oct. 19, 2010 | G& M | Harvey Schachter. 7 qualities
build power: ambition, energy, focus, self-knowledge, confidence,
empathy, & capacity to tolerate conflict. Unlisted is intelligence
(overrated).Power must start somewhere,“People err in choosing where to
start accruing their power base.The common mistake is to locate it in
the dept. dealing with an org.’s core activity/skill/product – the unit
that is the most powerful at the moment,” The problem is that’s where
one encounters the most talented competition, well-established career
paths & processes. Further, what’s vital to an org. today might not
be in future. To move up, seek unexploited niches where one can develop
leverage with less resistance & build a power base in activities
that will be important in future. e.g., Robert McNamara & the whiz
kids at Ford built their power base in finance, acctg. & control
functions, rather than eng. allowing McNamara to become the 1st non-Ford
president. Wherever you start – stand out!
ambition  conflict_toleration  core_businesses  empathy  focus  Ford  Harvey_Schachter  influence  leadership  movingonup  Niccolò_Machiavelli  overrated  Pablo_Picasso  personal_energy  power  Robert_McNamara  SecDef  self-confidence  self-knowledge  unexploited_resources  whiz_kids 
october 2010 by jerryking

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