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Thread: send a message to Kodak

  1. #1

    send a message to Kodak

    Do you think a letter to Kodak could help?

    I think that Kodak would like to stay in the film business but needs help deciding what to specialize in. IF there is a consensus as to which Kodak products are unique and/or superior we could give them the hint they need. Can we as one (tiny?) group give them that clue?

    For me HC-110 and AZO papers are always on hand. I think Tri-X has a place in the hearts of most photographers too. Running in a distant secon to me are D-76, Dektol, Plus-X, Technical Pan and Verichrome Pan. Beyond these other companies seem to have something similar. As a B&W art photographer, color stuff is not an issue. When I do shoot it I tend toward Fuji anyway.

    If someone out there has a complete checklist of Kodak products we might each make a priority listing of those and thus have our vote counted. It is just an idea.

    Cheers,

  2. #2

    send a message to Kodak

    Kodak will stay in the film business as long as it is profitable. They will manufacture and sell the products that are profitable. They will not be swayed by letters, statements of support or public opinion. If enough people buy the product they'll sell it. Otherwise, forget it.

    If you wish to influence their business decisions you can only do so with your wallet.

  3. #3

    send a message to Kodak

    As much as I would love to have an input into their business, I give up! Kodak will do what it wants, whther it makes sense, or not! Lucky for us there are alternatives.

  4. #4
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    send a message to Kodak

    John,

    I've tried. Out of all the letters I've written, up and down the chain of command (which changes seemingly on a weekly basis, so you have to be quick), I've gotten exactly one reply. That reply was a form letter of the "thank you for your suggestion, now go away and leave us alone" type.

    Kodak under Carp (and several of his predecessors, apparently) just isn't interested in what the customer wants. They really believe that they can "read" the market. You can see it in the relationship between Tri-X and it's "replacement" - Tmax. The accountants at Kodak were positive that they could shove Tmax down our throats and that we would willingly stop using Tri-X. They even put Tmax in readyloads to "sweeten the deal." Yet, Tri-X remains their best selling B&W film. To their credit, they do at least continue to make Tri-X, but they apparently are never going to put their best selling film in readyloads. Considering all the R&D for the readyload system is already done, this looks like accountants being vindictive. But what do I know? I'm just a customer.

    Kodak is strictly driven by the perceived financial desires of the shareholders. It is many things, but "customer driven" it is not.

    Bruce Watson

  5. #5

    send a message to Kodak

    If Kodak is driven by shareholders why don't we all go out and buy a few shares or a share each. As a shareholder Kodak would have to listen to us.

  6. #6
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    send a message to Kodak

    Hi John,

    Why spend your time, money, and energy beating a "dead horse".

    Make the change over to Ilford products and avoid the aggravation. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    I realize that in a few years we'll be talking about writing similar letters to Ilford. However, by that time, there will be other manufacturers to take Ilford's place.

    As long as there is the need., B&W film, paper, and processing chemicals will be out there.

  7. #7

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    send a message to Kodak

    I agree with Gary De Witt's statement. The reason any firm is in business is to make a profit -- to return a profit to its owners and shareholders. When a line of business fails to do that or ceases to do that, the company must make changes or risk going out of business all thogether.

    At this time, Kodak has seen its consumer business move from film to digital and it has to react -- it's too late to be out in front.

    What this means is that the company will concentrate its efforst on consumer digital because that is where the major market is. In the mean time, if film sales continue to be profitable, Kodak will continue to make film.

    But the end, I believe, is on the horizon. Hobbyists like myself have benefitted from the fact that large commercial industries like advertizing, portraiture and the movie industry have purchased large quantities of film over the years. This has made the professional lines that Kodak manufactures very viable. Professional studios have largely moved to digital to remain competitive -- clients expect the quick turnaround and Quark-ready images that digital provides. There is even a growing digitalization of the movie process that will elimiate the need for the miles of stock that Hollywood uses today. As the support that those industries supply erodes, the econmoy of scale that they provide will also erode making it less profitable for Kodak to stay in the film business.

    As others have pointed out, others may fill the gap, but they too, wil have to be profitable to survive. Ilford - whose products I prefer - will have to face the same issues, eventually. The same for Forte, Bergger and the rest. Some may continue to provide products, but a shinking volume in demand would tend to push prices up and reduce the number of choices.

    Finally, in defense of the accountants: I work for a major accounting firm. I am here to tell you that in most cases, the accountants do not run the companies. They provide the information that upper management uses to make decisions. Rare is the CEO or COO in industry who comes from the acoounting department or even the engineering department. (Lee Iacocca was considered to be a bit of an odd man out when he became chairman of Crysler, having been an engineer). The upper management tends to come from the ranks of sales because those are the folks who deliver revenue to the company.

    So, why doesn't Kodak put Tri-X in Readykoads? The accountants would probably say the cost/benefit would be about the same. The sales guys, however, want to sell the new product TMax, more.

    You might be able to influence Kodak as a stockholder, but be prepared to buy a million or so shares in order to be heard.

  8. #8
    Eric Woodbury
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    send a message to Kodak

    I sent a message to Kodak: I buy Ilford films. They are much easier to find in the odd sizes.
    my picture blog
    ejwoodbury.blogspot.com

  9. #9

    send a message to Kodak

    Hogarth has articulated the situation about as clearly as it could be stated. Here is where the pavement hits the infamous pedal:

    If Kodak had one ounce of management proactivity to only see what their competitors were doing (let along what their customers want), they would not be in the mess that they are in. Period.

    Unfortunately, with management asleep at the wheel for the last five + years such that the opportunity train has long since left the station, the only way to extricate them from control of the corporation is to watch it implode under the aggregate weight of competition and no business plan.

    About the only good thing you can say about the status quo as we are watching this circle jerk is that it presents a great opportunity to make some money shorting this stock. Mark my word, Kodak will be forced by their own lack of direction/stupidity to pay a huge premium to acquire someone who is already a digital player to save their skin and it will be their demise.Until someone replaces Carp and his band of brothers, this pony will not get out of the corral.

    It will not, however, have any impact on large format shooters ability to acquire film or most other conventional materials that they currently sell because they desperately need the cash flow.

  10. #10

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    send a message to Kodak

    John said...
    "Running in a distant secon to me are D-76, Dektol, Plus-X, Technical Pan and Verichrome Pan. Beyond these other companies seem to have something similar."
    Frankly, this is the comment that took me most by surprise. Ilford's ID-11 long ago replaced D-76 for me, and the two appear to be virtually interchangeable (except that ID-11 is available in a broader range of quantities for less money). Similar with Dektol-- I actually use LPD, just because it lasts so silly long, but before that I have used Ilford Multigrade and others. I actually prefer FP4 to Plus-X, and I have never used Verichrome Pan. (For that matter, I prefer HP5 to Tri-X as well, but I know so many love ol' Tri-X.)
    Technical Pan, to me, is truly a marvel; in the right context, it is amazing to use and print, and I would be saddened (and ashamed of Kodak) were it to be eliminated. I must confess, however, that I have only used it in rollfilm, because I cannot afford to buy even the smallest amount in 4x5. Further, it is so finicky in terms of development and handling issues, that I find more and more that I will choose NOT to use it, and instead turn to Ilford's Pan-F 50 when I need a fine-grain film. It is the rare circumstance that calls for Tech Pan, in my work.
    So, would I miss some of Kodak's B&W products if they were discontinued? Sure-- certainly Tech Pan, maybe one or two others. Could I live without them? Just as certainly. Do I expect Kodak to discontinue them anytime soon? It would not surprise me at all...

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