HR 500 Plus Scanner — Rapid Commercialization or Bust at Kodak
(6 pages of text)
The HR 500 Plus Scanner case examines how, in 2000, the Eastman Kodak Company confronts a drastic change in technology (from traditional to digital photography) that is eroding revenue and margins by double digits in its core film, paper, and chemical business. Matt Giorgio, the worldwide product manager for film scanners, is being pushed by upper management to extend the life of film to provide cash for the painful and less profitable transition to digital photography. With limited overall research and development (R&D) and a dictate from the CEO for flawless execution of projects, Giorgio and his team take an aggressive approach to develop, in less than a year, a scanner that can both stave off film market erosion and minimize the program’s impact on corporate R&D. Missing the team’s goal of nine months could cost him his job and leave the company vulnerable to even greater erosion of film, paper, and chemical sales.
The case is intended to shed light on the difficulty companies face when they invest money in developing new products for future revenue and when they must predict the readiness of a new product for market with some certainty to share with investors. Eastman Kodak is in a unique position, trying to manage income from its traditional film business to fund development of digital products as competitors encroach from all sides. The case covers marketing, design, operations, and finance and can be used to show students the requirements from each of these functions to help Eastman Kodak fight against the digital onslaught. The team in the case is not only up against a disruptive technology but a very short window of time. Any problem with project execution that causes a late-to-market launch further pushes Eastman Kodak towards bankruptcy.
Graduate students in MBA, executive MBA, online, and executive education programs in managing new product commercialization, managing technology and innovation, strategic thinking, operations management, and leadership courses are potential audiences for the Kodak HR 500 scanner case. Juniors and seniors in undergraduate business programs can also benefit from the case.
United States, Large, 2000
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