Tag Archives: US

Is ‘Americanization’ actually bad for Nokia?

Over two years have passed since my job with Nokia was eliminated, and with the passing of time I find myself less and less inclined to expend effort covering the company I loved.  Focusing on the MeeGo venture has meant only peripheral acknowledgement of this key sponsor.  But with Stephen Elop’s ‘state of the company’ address coming up on February 11, I felt motivated to look both backwards and ahead to see if I might discern something not well addressed by the blogging community.  If accurate, the conclusion I’ve reached is a bit disturbing.

My premise: that it’s not as much Finnish conservatism that’s been detrimental to the cell phone giant’s success as it is wanton Americanization.  I find the basis of that conclusion in the extreme trimming of supply chain operations, in risk aversion and in mindshare cultivation failures.   Continue reading

An Open Letter to Stephen Elop

Mr. Elop, I’m sure by now you’ve read your fill of these opinion pieces.  Since your hiring by Nokia was announced, analyst after analyst has offered their view on how you can save the company from impending doom.  So I’m not going to regurgitate what’s already been tossed your way.

Instead, I’ll point out where they’re wrong.  Continue reading

Rebuilding a Nokia North America Presence

The surprising selection of Canadian and former Microsoftie Stephen Elop for new Nokia CEO has triggered mass speculation that the company has finally decided to walk the walk on this continent.  The invitation to numerous bloggers from North America to attend Nokia World 2010 in London pretty much seals the deal.

What isn’t clear however lies in the dust of details.  Continue reading

How Nokia can retake the US Market… and more

I’ve recently chastised Nokia for various failures, some broad and some specific, and I also promised to get out of the negativity rut and start proposing solutions.  So brace yourselves; the ride begins and (inspired by Tomi Ahonen) it’s a long one.

First though for the sake of those who don’t know me: I was a product developer, technician and change management guy who Nokia hired in 2005 to support process improvement activities under the auspices of Quality Assurance in the former US Alliance factory. When the factory closed I moved to a brief stint trying to bring the lessons learned into all American factories, and from there to a global role as logistics business analyst and application specialist.  Even though my last position was eliminated and I fell out of Nokia in 2009, the time spent in various roles helped me get a big picture understanding of Nokia’s challenges, particularly in respect to struggles in the US.  I think it helped that I brought in an outsider’s view– prior to Nokia, I had never even used cell phones!  (for you Nokia employees, I had an internal blog called The Long Tail.

With that out of the way, I want to share my perspective on how Nokia could improve its prospects here, for whatever it’s worth.  Few of these ideas are new or original, but they all represent thoughts with which I am in agreement and consolidate some of my scattered-but-related thoughts.  Continue reading

Nokia rediscovers America

In December 2009 a New York times opinion editorial asked if Nokia could recapture its glory days (my own assessment is here).  That describes the time, not really that long ago, when the company’s offerings dominated customer desire.  As we surely all recognize by now, Nokia appears to have hit its general market penetration peak in 2008.  Much of its sales decline since then can certainly be attributed to the global economic decline, but that can’t explain why Apple, Google and Research in Motion have been able to grow and even create share in the same period.  I won’t get too deep into the successes of the latter but instead will focus on challenges and recent moves by Nokia.

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Mexico meltdown

In the late 1980s the Central American nation of Mexico became the darling of large-scale manufacturers, thanks to the advent of maquiladoras (foreign-owned assembly plants).  A few years later, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) completed the logistics picture by removing certain international traffic restrictions.  Despite some drawbacks in Mexico at the time, such as worker educational hurdles, many corporations relocated operations there.  A few returned when those aforementioned hurdles led to productivity issues, but for the most part the trend was to move in and stay.

My former employer, Nokia, expanded its Reynosa Mexico production in 2006, which led to the shutdown of the US Alliance facility.  At that time Reynosa appeared to be Nokia’s future for North American cell phone production.

But lately Mexico’s chronic troubles with drug-related crime have been escalating to the point that some US officials refer to the situation as civil war.  Some go so far as to allege that the US is tacitly supporting the escalation of violence through easy access to weapons and lax oversight:

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Good day sunshine

Regardless of how one may view the administration of former US President Jimmy Carter, one really good thing that came out of it (besides a large supply of comedic material for Dan Aykroyd) was a sensible, proactive energy policy.  Carter signed off on federal incentives to kickstart alternative energy years before it was fashionable, and a growth industry erupted almost overnight in response.

I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time because I got to directly participate.  I was a young plumber at the time, almost ready to take my journeyman’s license exam, when our little outfit became involved with installing passive solar water heating systems.  The basic setup was a roof-mounted panel or two along with a heat exchanger in the garage.  There was even a job or two involving several panels as well as a large storage tank for swimming pools.

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