Have a Point-and-Shoot Camera? Probably Have a Flip Phone Too.

With the increase in technology, smartphones seem to be getting better and better. Let’s look at the cameras on smartphones for example. The iPhone 5’s camera is 8-megapixels while the new Samsung Galaxy S4’s camera is 13-megapixels. To make it even more convenient for users, these high quality cameras on smartphones also have access to various photo apps to upload and share pictures. These apps are often linked with Facebook, Twitter, and you know the rest of the list. Now with all that being said, are people still purchasing point-and-shoot cameras? Do people even remember what a point-and-shoot camera is? This huge craze with smartphones with all the features they offer makes it seem like point-and-shoot cameras are ancient. With the popular photo app Instagram announcing that their monthly users have passed 100 million, it’s safe to say that people don’t need point-and-shoot cameras anymore.  Although nobody may be thinking about these cameras anymore, the manufacturers have suffered from the neglect.

Olympus Corp., a Japanese camera maker, has caught on to the trend of smartphone cameras and the various photo apps and has decided to drop out of that market. Olympus has decided to eliminate its compact cameras which sell for less than $200. Their camera business suffered a loss in the last fiscal year through March because the market for compact cameras was so small, or even nearing nonexistence. The situation Olympus Corp. is currently in ties in with a topic covered in class: Quality Function Deployment. The first step of QFD is to identify the customer wants. In the age of smartphones, it’s safe to say that consumers want a phone that has numerous features which include a high definition camera. People want more things in one, which makes it more convenient for them. Why carry a phone and a compact camera when you can just carry one smartphone? Remember those annoying and somewhat unfashionable pouches for compact cameras back in the day? The next thing on the list for QFD is identifying how a company’s good will satisfy the customer wants. If people are wanting smartphones with nice cameras that have access to photo apps, compact cameras are clearly not satisfying these customer wants. As you continue down the list for Quality Function Deployment, the last check mark is evaluating competing products. Now for Olympus Corp., do they evaluate themselves compared to camera makers such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc. and base these evaluations off which company suffered the least, or do they compare themselves to smartphones?

It seems as if Olympus Corp. is comparing themselves to smartphones which resulted in the elimination of their compact cameras. With their biggest business coming from medical equipment, Olympus has chosen to focus on high-end cameras with interchangeable lenses. Of course medical equipment has a whole different Quality Function Deployment, but that’s another topic. Do you think Olympus is making the right decision by withdrawing from the compact camera market? What do they need to do in order to succeed in the medical equipment market? Will compact cameras eventually be wiped out for good?






GM + China = The New Largest Car Manufacturer?

As technology advances, new cars continue to be introduced. Within the car industry, the multiple manufacturers make it a highly competitive market. Some of these manufacturers include: Ford, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Toyota, Volkswagen, General Motors, and many more. Each manufacturer has their personal strengths and weakness as well as targeting various segments of customers. As competition continues to increase, these manufacturers need to develop new strategies in order to obtain a larger share of the market. General Motor’s take on this new strategy is by increasing their capacity in China.

General Motor’s expansion in China will be a three year process. Within these three years, GM plans to open four additional plants, which will also create “approximately 6,000 new manufacturing jobs” (GM). With this expansion, GM and their joint ventures in China continue to increase in quality and quantity. Bob Socia, the president of GM China, stated that ““GM is a car company, but we are also a people company. You can’t build great vehicles without great talent.” GM and their joint ventures currently have 55,000 employees in China, and this number will continue to rise. By expanding in China, GM is able to find local talent “with a focus on design, engineering, R&D, manufacturing, purchasing, and sales and marketing” (GM). This emphasizes GM’s attempt to retain global talent along with learning to improve their operations with the help of China. By locating facilities globally, GM is able to provide better goods and services for their consumers as well as improving their supply chain.

Along with the increase in plants and employees, this partnership with China has pushed General Motors in a new direction. Over the next five years, GM plans to focus on SUV’s and luxury models. Bob Socia believes that

 this new focus along with the expansion in China will result in a positive reaction from consumers. Socia stated that “We expect Cadillac sales to go from 30,000 last year to 100,000 in 2015” (WSJ). Although this may seem very ambitious, the new global strategy of General Motors may end in a positive result. Along with the increase in sales, GM also plans on introducing 17 new and upgraded models in China.

This expansion allows GM to improve on their manufacturing capability through the new plants, employees, and other opportunities within China with their joint ventures. Although these articles don’t include all the parts of the strategic process, they emphasize on GM’s operations process for their new strategy. However, with GM being such a large car manufacturer globally, it’ safe to assume that the other parts of the strategic process which include marketing and finance/accounting are being handled properly as well.

Currently, according to “Spot On Lists”, General Motors is ranked second in the list of the top 10 biggest car manufacturers in the world. The Volkswagen Group is number one on the list. Will GM’s expansion in China allow them to overtake Volkswagen as the largest car manufacturer in the world? Is GM’s new strategy going to result as highly as they forecast? Although the details of their strategy may seem strong on paper, will this plan be executed correctly?