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PCB007-Sep2022

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8 PCB007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2022 Nolan's Notes by Nolan Johnson, I-CONNECT007 New Era Manufacturing In a 2010 New York Times article titled "Fail- ing Like a Buggy Whip Maker? Better Check Your Simile," writer Randall Stross confronts the buggy whip analogy and unintentionally offers some perspective on our industry. Stross tells of Daniel M.G. Raff, an associate professor at the Wharton School of the Uni- versity of Pennsylvania, who once said the buggy whip analogy is "an obscurity sitting on an anachronism." He says the buggy whip mar- ket was a fringe player in the overall carriage business to begin with as the bulk of the busi- ness centered on iron and wood fabrication. So, where do we get this buggy whip trope? Turns out it originated with eodore Levitt, a Harvard professor writing for the Harvard Business Review in 1960. In his article titled "Marketing Myopia," Levitt posits that buggy whip manufacturers should have seen them- selves as being in the personal transportation business rather than the buggy whip busi- ness, and that this change in thinking would have allowed them to survive. Stross says that Levitt blamed the buggy whip i n d u s - try for having a lack of imagination. In an interview with omas A. Kinney, an assistant professor at Bluefield College and researcher on the carriage industry, Stross learned there were 13,000 businesses in the carriage sector in 1890. Kinney told him, "e peo- ple who made the most successful transition were not the carriage makers, or the accesso- ries makers (such as buggy whips) but the car- riage parts makers." Need an example? Timken Company, a manufacturer of roller bearings, originally made carriage bearings, hopped over to the car trade, and thrived in the auto- motive era. While the carriage makers tried—with lim- ited success—to transition into automobile manufacturing, the buggy whips simply "had no automotive analog," Stross wrote. He concluded, "When it came to adapting to the automotive era, businesses like axle and

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