Page 1: Introduction
When a new technology comes along that is capable of improving dramatically the products of a whole industry, every firm in that industry has vital strategic decisions to make. It must ask itself:
- How far and how quickly should we amend or abandon our
- How far and how quickly should we embrace the new technology?
- Are we big enough and capable enough to accomplish all the
essential changes on our own?
- How can we come out of this time of change stronger than we went in?
Once taken, these key decisions have to be implemented.
Technological change > Strategic decisions > Strategic implementation
All this makes for exciting times within the industry, for producers and also for consumers, who also have some adjusting to do.
Imaging is one of the world’s growth markets and new technology is making its mark; imaging has ‘gone digital’. It is not a complete transformation. Analogue imaging has not been abandoned and still has millions of satisfied consumers. However, the industry will move on. This is because the new technology:
- is genuinely innovative
- has undeniable advantages in some key aspects
- has been shown to work
- is proving reliable
- is capable of further development
- will become cheaper in the long run.
The pace of change is accelerating. Abandoning former practices and establishing new ways of working is generating not only excitement, but also stresses and tensions. The new technology requires new skills, new attitudes and new approaches from both producers and consumers.
This case study looks at how AGFA, a leading player, is taking full advantage of the digital revolution. The company is using the new technology as:
- an engine for growing its business
- a means of providing its customers with better product possibilities and with greater flexibility and choice.
Agfa is a leading name in the imaging industry. The Agfa-Gevaert Group de-velops, produces and distributes an extensive range of analogue and digital imaging systems. Agfa has divided its operations into three segments.
Segment: Consumer imaging.
Activity/Products: Wide range of products using both digital and analogue technologies for taking, processing and manipulating photographs.
Segment: Graphic systems.
Activity/Products: A wide range of electronic and photographic systems for the graphics industry, including workflow management systems, scanners and laser image setters.
Segment: Technical imaging.
Activity/Products: Medical uses eg X-ray equipment; non-destructive fault-testing eg in aircraft and pipelines; industrial imaging for motion pictures; document management systems and micrographics.
Agfa’s operations involve a high level of innovation. The company’s willingness and ability to work at the leading edge of technology help to make it a leader in its field.