Time after time I read about people who just don’t understand manufacturing. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were Joe the Barber. But it is both CEOs and major media reporters who make woeful assumptions about what we do.
Henry Blodget, writing in the Silicon Alley Insider, discusses a bad move by Google. Now Page, Brin and Schmidt are many times smarter than I, but from the evidence so far, it appears that they don’t know manufacturing.
Discussing the Motorola deal that brought Google the capability to manufacture handsets (yes, the same sort of thing RIM and Nokia are struggling with right now). Writes Blodget, “But in the intervening year it has become clear that Google has no intention of spinning off that mediocre global manufacturing business. Rather, Google now appears to want to go head to head with Apple (and, now, Microsoft) in making integrated smartphones and tablets.”
Brilliant? Blodget (and I) think not. “That sounds exciting in theory, but in practice it’s likely to be a nightmare. Like other hardware manufacturers (RIM, Palm, Nokia), Motorola is struggling. And Google does not bring much to Motorola that Motorola did not already have. Google, meanwhile, knows nothing about running a global hardware manufacturing business, so the likelihood that Google is going to be able to wave a magic wand and transform Motorola into Apple seems unlikely, to say the least.”
I agree. Google would have to bring in a senior member of the executive team to run manufacturing. And Page, et. al., would have to listen to that person. But, no, sounds as if Google is going to attempt the same old tired “fixes” that have “fixed” (in the dog sense) so many companies.
Says Blodget, “In the meantime, here’s what Google’s CFO had to say about Motorola at Google’s shareholder meeting yesterday. Per analyst Doug Anmuth of JP Morgan, Google CFO Patrick Pichette said Google is preparing to ‘reset and retool’ Motorola. We hope you know what that’s likely code for: Firings. Probably a lot of them.”
If we only had more senior leaders in the country who could speak knowledgeably about manufacturing.