Kodak CEO Jim Continenza Discusses State of Kodak's Business Transformation
Can you describe Kodak’s current supply chain challenges?
“Like everyone else, we have had difficulty obtaining parts which are needed to complete some manufacturing processes. Shipping has been another challenge: companies have been hoarding inventory when they can. But we have focused on finding ways to overcome those challenges and continue delivering for our customers.”
As a company that was in desperate need of a turnaround, what did you see in Kodak, and how successful do you feel?
“I think Kodak is one of the greatest companies in the world, and the people working here deserved better. I took this job to turn the company around, and we have made significant strides in the past three years. Fixing our balance sheet, focusing on our core strengths, and establishing a customer-first approach, have all put us in a good position to succeed. And we did it all despite significant challenges from the pandemic and inflation. But we still have work to do to return to profitability.”
Looking back, what is an example of a low point for Kodak?
“Before I started in my current role, we tried a direction that’s different than what we’re doing today. We tried to become a consumer-products company and got away from the fact we’re really a B2B business – we’re an advanced materials and chemicals company. So, when I joined as CEO we were very far away from doing the things we do best – and our financials reflected that. But the people were still here, and I have focused on leveraging our core competencies. To have the skillset here was a blessing. When I started here, I viewed Kodak as a start-up with a highly skilled group.”
What do you see as evidence that Kodak has turned the corner?
“We’ll know we have turned the corner when we are generating cash. We are getting closer. In recent quarters, we have increased revenue in all our businesses and most recently we have increased gross profit quarter-over-quarter. But the ultimate goal is to grow and deliver cash generation on a consistent basis.”
There’s a lot of labor struggle in the printing segment today – what is one approach you can share with small business owners that can help them manage?
“Labor-wise, you have to care, and you have to “see” people. We hired 800 people in the last year, and as a company, we’re trying to bridge the culture gap between long-time and recent employees. If you want to get the best out of your employees, you have to empower people.”