Kodak's Strategy and Role in Tomorrow's Technology Transformations- 29-08-2011
Kodak's strategy and role in tomorrow's technology transformations - by PHILIP CULLIMORE
Kodak may well be recognised globally as a market leader but it is a hard fought position that requires concerted innovation and reinvention according to Philip Cullimore, managing director of consumer and commercial business Kodak EAMER.
Cullimore, whose significant market expertise has been developed through roles at Crosfield Electronics, Purup and Encad, explains: “ These are the fundamental building blocks on which Kodak stands and have been crucial in facilitating the company’s transformation from a company that created value using silver halide film to today’s emphasis on digital image technologies. Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975, and since then has been a leading innovator in digital technology.
“Today’s Kodak is nothing like the company that defined the consumer photography industry for more than 100 years,” said Cullimore. “In 2010, only 25% of our revenue came from traditional film products. The remaining 75% of our revenue came from digital products, and the majority of our sales come from commercial products and services. ”
Kodak is well-positioned in the consumer digital imaging and graphic communications markets, with a portfolio of innovative products and services that offer unique value propositions. The company’s core digital growth businesses – Consumer and Commercial Inkjet, Workflow Software & Services, and Packaging Solutions – together grew more than 20% in the first half of 2011.
Kodak also has market-leading positions in large, established digital industries including Prepress Solutions, Digital Capture & Devices, Document Imaging, and Retail Systems Solutions. During 2011, the company is taking aggressive action to position itself to drive improved earnings and cash flow from these established businesses.
Kodak is now among the top three manufacturers for desktop inkjet providers (in the UK?)and has enjoyed great success with the launch of its pocket video camera. “We are seeing 40% growth rates in a number of segments – a rate many companies would dream about,” he adds.
Kodak’s commitment to research and development has played a vital role, states Cullimore: “Our R&D teams have been working on new technologies while the company has begun to move emphasis from consumer orientated, with a sideline in graphic arts films and plates, to a company that has become a business-to-business operation focussing on commercial printers.”
Kodak has also grown via acquisitions including Horsell, Polychrome, NexPress, Creo, Encad and Scitex Digital Printing have been pivotal to continued growth.
But it is the launch of Kodak’s Prosper technology that has generated real excitement in the Graphic Arts market. The first three press installations in Europe are in place at French bookmaker Sagim, Spanish transactional printer Servinform and UK marketing services provider Howard Hunt. And additional installations are expected to take place before the end of the year. Prosper system printheads have also replaced older inkjet systems at a number of sites in Europe.
He comments: “We believe that our Prosper products, based on Kodak Stream technology is going to be very disruptive and will spread to other applications in the graphic arts in the next two to three years. We are being very deliberate with the launch roll out. There’s a fundamental belief that this technology will transform parts of the commercial printing business. But we need to do it right. That is why we are treating each installation as a separate project and ensuring each customer walks away happy.”
NexPress, too, is making it is own waves. Sales have taken off after a repositioning and, despite the recession, last year was a record one and there is a backlog of sales. This is a result of the combination of enhanced quality, consistency, the absence of click charges plus the ability to produce Dimensional Printing and deep blacks.
Kodak also has a role to play in helping society prosper by driving business growth in a responsible manner that creates value for all stakeholders. As such it reduces its impact on the environment and is committed to values and policies that are consistent with sustainable social, economic and environmental performance. Cullimore comments: “Kodak can help printers on their path to greater sustainability with solutions and services that help increase efficiencies and reduce resource consumption. This includes reduced waste and use of paper, ink, chemistry and energy across the print production chain, along with use of recyclable and reusable parts and the ability to print on a wide range of substrates, including those made of post consumer waste.”
Kodak has also developed methods to deal with the way the buying process has fundamentally changed. As customers research on the web and communicate with their peers and third-party influencers via social media more frequently they are entering the buying chain later. “This is why Kodak uses social media channels like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs to connect to buyers and prospects,” states Cullimore. “This helps us increase brand awareness, visibility, reach and availability as well as enhancing traffic to our web pages. We can also listen to and participate in conversations that customers and prospects are having to help build a community around relevant issues. This puts a voice, face and name to Kodak. We can stay on top of industry trends, news and topics, too, while educating prospects about Kodak products, services and solutions.”
This is an extension of Kodak’s longstanding customer centric approach he explains. “Kodak’s focus is on our customers’ future, to enable the growth, optimization, and transition of their business and as such we are always listening to the market and delivering services and solutions that meet those needs. In these challenging economic times, Kodak helps customers maximize their businesspotential by building strategic relationships to help printers, marketers and publishers embrace change and profit from it through inspired innovative solutions
He concludes: “We are continually adapting as an industry and Kodak is determined to play a pivotal role in that transformation.”