In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Carly Fiorina was interviewed about her tenure and what she thinks that H-P needs to do to remain competitive.
In a stunning confirmation of the Thinking Faster blog, Carly Fiorina suggested that "looking day in, day out at how do we get more efficient and effective." In fact, she continued, "H-P..has had a discipline of outsourcing its manufacturing for 30 years. Now we apply that discipline to every part of our business."
There are several things to take away from the interview. First, a large technology firm recognizes that only by becoming even more efficient and effective (read productive) with the assets and resources they have can they continue to compete. Second, the disciplines we've used to improve productivity and efficiency in manufacturing functions (Six Sigma, lean manufacturing, Theory of Constraints) can be applied and will be applied to other "white collar" functions like finance, marketing and sales. Third, if H-P can outsource manufacturing jobs, it can soon begin to outsource certain white collar jobs, in the US and outside the US.
What does that leave? Productivity on the items we can build and create more effectively here than in other, low wage countries and regions, and innovation to create new ideas, since that's what H-P was originally very good at doing. H-P needs to stop thinking of itself as a company that produces things, and start thinking about itself and orienting itself as a firm that creates and manages ideas and innovations. Greater and greater reliance on selling PCs and hardware don't position H-P as a firm that is creating and managing ideas and innovation. Dell will eat H-P's lunch at the low cost end, while Apple will continue to be viewed as the innovator.
Major firms agree, we need to focus on innovation, creativity and productivity to thrive in the coming years. Start Thinking Faster.