Thursday, May 7, 2009

Data Point: Dr Joe Webb Sees Light at the End of the Tunnel

Dr Joe Webb does the heavy lifting of focusing on the best data points for the printing industry as a whole. On May 5, he posted this at WhatTheyThink Economics & Research Center
When Will Things Get Better? Perhaps Soon, According to Our Indicators
By Dr. Joe Webb on May 5, 2009

Back in January, I outlined the reasons for selecting our “recovery indicators.” They include four indicators from the Institute for Supply Management (oldtimers will remember them as the National Association of Purchasing Managers), the NASDAQ index, and proprietor's income from the Bureau of Economic Analysis' reports of personal income and GDP."
Here's the chart. For the analysis, click here.

If my instinct is right, and Dr Joe's research is right, and today's blablab at Bloomberg is right, will the globals have enough feet on the ground when it turns? I'm not worried about small business, they can turn on a dime. But which globals can focus fast enough? In the general economy it's going to be Walmart, Tesco, Costco, Staples, Google, Amazon, Apple. In the print sector, I don't yet see it. My bet is the franchises, most notably AlphaGraphics, Consolidated Graphics and independent MPS. Also many others in the 95% of on the ground independent OPM/PSPs.

That's why growth is going to come from the bottom and the globals will be playing catch up to catch up. The biggest problem is that they fired or furloughed instead of repurposed the potential feet on the ground.

Reduce, reuse, recycle
That's the slogan that every kindergarten student is now learning. The globals stopped at reduce (the headcount) and still think that "recycle" is the meme du jour. Recycle is last year. This year is reduce and reuse.

Imagine if instead of "furloughs" the manufacturing unit had been asked to work in cost reduction teams for two weeks. Set up a wiki with a place for anonymous suggestions from the ground about ways to improve efficiency. No need for "lean six sigma black belts". Just ask the people doing the work how to do the work better and more efficiently. It worked pretty well for Toyota.

Better and more efficiently could have been framed as "We have to reduce our SAG by 50%. The closer we get, the less people we will have to furlough." Then take what was learned in this two week experiment, scale it to every division in every global blabla structure.

Solving the "sales" problem.
If individual Board Members spent a week mentoring an open, no holds barred conversation with the best salespeople on the street, they could cut the advertising budget by 75% and learn something about viral marketing.

Take advantage of the temporary hiatus in being too busy being busy to STOP and THINK and LISTEN.

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