Monday, April 13, 2009

Ya gotta love Dr Joe Webb. Are the globals too big to fail or too big to succeed?

In my Monday morning, Dr Joe fix, I found a column called The Annuities Trap. Back around 2005, I paid my money to, saying at the time that "Dr Joe is worth the price of admission." Anyway, I think it's behind the pay wall, but here are two snippets.
The culture of the supplies business is different than the capital equipment business. It is rare that a company is equally successful at both. The executive skills needed for success are different, too. An absurd example might be a company selling press wipes desiring to manufacture web offset presses, or a press company wanting to make wipes. The wipes executive is not used to the constant rejection that equipment executives deal with; the equipment executives don't get the satisfaction of going after the big fish and often feel like they are scooping up minnows with a net.

There are other differences: the sales cycles for equipment can sometimes be years; consumable supplies, though they can be less cyclical, are subject to their own characteristics of competition and demand factors. I've wondered what office equipment and digital print technologies companies like Xerox might look like if broken into separate equipment and “click” companies. The strategies might be quite different, and a broader range of strategies might be considered rather than dismissed.

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