Kodak Company’s Strategic Errors Made Since 1990
For a long time, strategic approaches adopted by organizations have remained pivotal in ensuring the success of the entity. Whether in banking where Bear and Stearns had to reckon with poor strategic decisions or in the construction industry where might buildings have come down in a moment, strategy is pivotal.
Sadly, many organizations have found themselves serving as case studies due to strategic errors made during their operations. Kodak is no exception. In the period beginning 1990, Kodak not only found itself in a strategic quagmire but ended up making a blunder that later formed the basis for many other organizations to learn. Many would not have expected such a photo giant to fail to realize that innovation was at its peak, and as such, it had to follow suit and make changes.
Kodak’s strategic error mainly revolved around its failure to see an opportunity to switch to digital photography. Even as its researchers burnt the midnight oil to scour technological barriers and prepare for the decades to come. Despite having invented the digital technology, Kodak failed to note it as a possible disruptive technology that could take its market grip to the edge if only it did not make a wise strategic plan.
This strategic error not only amounted to a sharp decline of its profits and operations but also destroyed its flourishing film-based enterprise. In general, its strategic error lay in the inability of its planners to see the business risks posed by the emergence of digital photography. Kodak simply missed the window of opportunity when it could have altered strategies from its previous film-based enterprise to digital photography, which was no doubt taking a toll on the industry. This simple case illustrates how easily corporate leaders can head in the wrong direction only to realize when it is too late to salvage much.
What alternative strategic moves could Kodak have made since 1990 which might have produced better outcomes for its stakeholders?
As logic dictates, the only way to stay afloat when the ocean tides change is to find floating ways that are in line with the altered ocean tides. The best alternative Kodak had was to make technological changes in its operations and adopt digital photography which was by then the future of the industry.
Although such would have had an enormous financial impact on its operations, it was the only sure way it would have secured its future in the industry. Alternatively, Kodak could have introduced a new line focusing on digital photography alongside its existing film-based photography line. As Richmond put it, the need for a renewed form of strategic thinking was no doubt of extreme importance to organizations, this was the only way Kodak’s leaders could have looked into the deep sense of interdependencies which would connect it to the innovation changes affecting its operations.
Additionally, it cannot be ignored that had Kodak constantly compared itself to its competitors rather than ignore them as underdogs, it could have realized the trends they were adopted and probably asked the question, why? This would have no doubt opened a range of possibilities, some of which would have directly pointed towards the need to evolve alongside the changing technological landscape. Having been a leading technology and probably only comparable to Google today, Kodak had an option to follow up on its technological breakthrough, having made the first digital products back in 1975. This failure to follow its technology turned out to be costly to its operations.