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Randy Moe
20-Mar-2015, 10:50
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/business/at-kodak-clinging-to-a-future-beyond-film.html?referrer&_r=1

Randy Moe
20-Mar-2015, 11:04
Good video with text.

winterclock
20-Mar-2015, 19:06
Jeff Clark is good at cutting costs and implementing layoffs. Is that really what Kodak needs now? And how hands on will he be living 2000 miles away from the company he is head of? Kodak has over 4000 patents that were not given up in the restructuring, it will take someone creative to sort through them and that can't be done from the other end of the country.

Randy Moe
20-Mar-2015, 19:11
I agree, he sounds like the Hangman.

Kodak, fell and will not get up.

winterclock
20-Mar-2015, 19:25
I can't really give up on them, but it will take someone hands on with drive and vision to pull them out of the coma. There are major opportunities in film technologies that they have the equipment and talent but not the leadership to take advantage of. Modern corporate style management seems to devalue the talents and experience of the workers on the floor in the name of "cost control". You can see where that approach got Kodak; they invented digital cameras but management dropped the ball. They could be pioneering thin film OLEDS, photovoltaics, single layer carbon filaments and so many other technologies it boggles the mind. And they have the talent and the equipment at hand.

toyotadesigner
22-Mar-2015, 23:42
Very informative article. Thanks a lot for the link.

HMG
24-Mar-2015, 11:19
A PBS Newshour segment last night showed how many of the Kodak buildings are now used for food production and other manufacturing. The article Randy referenced made note that much of the stock is owned by private equity firms - they aren't patient and they aren't interested in growing the business.

Personally, I think the best that could happen - from a consumer perspective - is that film production equipment, intellectual capital, patents and trademarks are sold to a startup that can keep it alive. Second would to a Chinese or Eastern European firm where the cost of production is in line with the diminishing demand.

toyotadesigner
24-Mar-2015, 11:23
Start ups can't afford the price for the patents. Manufacturing in Europe is very expensive. China? Don't they have Lucky film, who have a license from Kodak anyway?

HMG
24-Mar-2015, 11:53
I suspect a startup could get the financing for patents strictly related to current film products if coupled with the production facilities. If the patents have value beyond film, it wouldn't even have to "own' the patent, just a long term licence for use in film production. A larger obstacle might be cash flow if there is inventory tied up long term in master rolls.

Manufacturing is (I think) much cheaper in eastern europe than western europe. I firm I worked for before retiring located outsourcing facilities in Poland and Hungary for that reason. I was impressed with the skill levels of professionals and managers (I did not have any exposure to production staff). I probably should add India to the list.

I don't know what licences Lucky has, but from what I read the Chinese firms are not producing film of Kodak's technology or quality.

What would likely be missing is the innovation we've seen up through the 90s. But I could live (happily) with the products today.

Mark Sampson
24-Mar-2015, 18:57
I worked as a photographer for Kodak (and its successor ITT) for 25 years. I shot assignments in the building where the giant roll of acetate shown in the video is made; in fact I made a duplicate of the image shown, about 10 years back. I'm glad to see my old employer (and my home town) surviving, but trust me, the machines (that are whole multi-story buildings) used to make film ain't going anywhere. Plus the fact that making film is an extremely skilled engineering and production process... that won't translate to anyone else's factory in Poland, Hungary, or the third world, and depends on the institutional memory (ie the people) of the organization that made it. It's a lot more complicated than spaghetti sauce. Like it or not, at this point, Kodak film will live or die in Rochester. As far as innovation goes... one of the buildings shown imploding in the video was Kodak Bldg. 69, which was the film research lab. So don't expect a lot in that direction...

Sal Santamaura
24-Mar-2015, 20:18
...at this point, Kodak film will live or die in Rochester...You mean real Kodak film. If/when Hollywood stops subsidizing Bldg. 38, Alaris might source product elsewhere and put the "Kodak" name on it. But it won't bear any resemblance to what we know today.

fishbulb
24-Mar-2015, 21:41
"private equity firms - they aren't patient and they aren't interested in growing the business."

That's a gross generalization really. PE strategies vary far and wide, like anything else. All you can do is hope the ones that bought out Kodak are the good ones who want to do a 'turnaround'. The fact that Kodak is still around at all, and they didn't just sell off all these assets, indicates that they are at least going to try and turn it around. For a while anyway.

HMG
25-Mar-2015, 10:31
"private equity firms - they aren't patient and they aren't interested in growing the business."

That's a gross generalization really. PE strategies vary far and wide, like anything else. All you can do is hope the ones that bought out Kodak are the good ones who want to do a 'turnaround'. The fact that Kodak is still around at all, and they didn't just sell off all these assets, indicates that they are at least going to try and turn it around. For a while anyway.

It's a generalization - I grant you - but not so sure it's a gross generalization. The typical investment for a PE firm is 5 years, but that's skewed by their investments in growing (vs. declining) industries. I hope I'm wrong about the PE firms that own most of Kodak.

As to selling off assets, that's whats been happening in the few years, most notably the document imaging business and patents. Believe me, I wish Kodak every success. And at this point in time I don't know what other options they had.

Drew Wiley
25-Mar-2015, 11:02
They're coating more than just camera and movie film. There are certain industrial film applications still on the rise. And they're still coating paper too, though probably somewhere else. I personally have very little faith in the motives of "vulture capitalism", but every now and then there is an exception, esp if someone is investing in a piece of hard industry and not just a brand label, which is clearly the case here. Way too soon to be writing an obituary. But with much of the old
Kodak business park being committed to food processing, they could volume-coat pizza dough, I presume.