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The Coming Millenium: 12 Business Inter-Views (Part 2)
By Jack Deal
This is the second of a series of interviews with business owners/management on the future of their industry.
Other article by Jack Deal:
1. Restaurant Chain. We will expand in the next year by carefully studying
the demographics for new franchise areas. We are continuing to promote from
within -- this creates employee loyalty. We are constantly recruiting from
our rank and file. We will continue to do more of our ordering and
internal communications on-line. We are developing a new marketing
campaign with some self-deprecating humor. Our only concern is if the
economy goes sour.
2. Tile and Marble Distributor. We are steadily growing largely due to the
backlash against synthetics and plastics. Imports are dominating the
market and will continue to do so. Italians are making less product but
selling machinery all over the world... if a country has clay they can make
3. Precision CNC Machine Shop. We are dying. China can make the same
products that sell for 20% of what we have to charge. Their turnaround
time is 2 weeks to deliver to Silicon Valley. Our only markets may be high
turnaround markets, such as health products. To the manufacturers, price
has become more important than quality.
4. Locksmith. Autos have been changing faster than any other industry.
It has been predicted that by the year 2004 no manufacturer will continue
to make mechanical ignitions. The home industry will be much slower in
going this route since it is harder to steal a house. We are also making a
lot of keys by computer code. We are having to go to class to learn these
5. Offset Printer. We still do a lot of manuals and newsletters and expect
to continue with that For longer runs copy centers -- which are everywhere
now -- are not cost effective. All the experts have been telling me I'll be
gone in a few years. We just keep finding niches and going after those
markets. Many of the young executives and managers are surprised at the
quality offset can deliver.
6. Crafts Distributor. Certain products, like custom art glass, are doing
well on the
Internet. Many of our customers want to touch and see the works and that
means we have to have a store. One just cannot touch something on the
Internet. Also many of our customers want to have a face-to-face contact
with us as well.... that is just not possible on-line.
7. Printing and Graphics Company. For the last ten years the industry has
been flat. Flat sales have translated into discounted work so prices on
printing have been going down, at least in our market. The digital press
will bring about major changes because it eliminates the camera. We are
frankly confused and uncertain as to our strategy. We need to invest to
stay current and competitive but it is hard to justify the expense when the
return is so uncertain.
8. Veterinary Hospital. Animals are living longer so we're seeing more pet
geriatrics like arthritis treatment. Owners don't want to see their pets
suffer so we are doing more pain control. We are also seeing more people
bonding very strongly with their pets.... you can make your own conclusions
about that. Some pets become family.
9. Rock and Landscape Supply Company. The prospect of drought helps the
rock business. The sculptured natural look of rock is making it more
desirable for residences. Some of the landscape designers can get a really
nice natural look from rock that makes a house 'fit' in better to its
10. Fresh Foods Manufacturer. We are looking at getting out of catering
altogether and maybe some of the retail as well. Our strategy is to keep
the quality high and market to businesses and corporations.
11. Moving and Storage Company. People will always move. One of the
changes we have seen is that we have to 'see' the job first. A type of
consolidation is going on in our industry and that will continue. The
smaller companies will be less likely to compete. They already cannot
compete in the storage market. It's either buy up or sell -- out: those
that stay the same will not make it. The long haul driver will still be
hard to find.....it's crazy out there on the roads. Improved truck
ergonomics have reduced some of the physical stress. Because of GPS and
increased communication, we are able make these drivers more accountable.
12. Emergency Medical Response Center. People are living longer so we
anticipate a steady, growing market. Our clients are in that 'funny' zone
between independence and a skilled care facility, so we don't have the
unlimited market some people think we have. What we primarily sell is
peace of mind for relatives that cannot be present to care for their loved
one. With us, they worry less.
The Coming Millenium: 12 Business Inter-Views (Part 1)
Sensory Reduction and the Quest for Human Potential
Superior Management -- The Only Competitive Advantage?
10 Business Trends for 2000
Corporate Culture - A Case Study
The Knowledge/Ideas Paradox