International -- Readers Report
A Vote of Confidence in Nissan's Ghosn (int'l edition)
I agree with the measures Carlos Ghosn is taking to fix Nissan ("Remaking Nissan," Cover Story, Nov. 15). I am confident his bold restructuring plan will be implemented with success even if there are quite a few stumbling blocks ahead. We all know that the so-called Japanese systems (such as the keiretsu, lifetime employment, market-share oriented strategy, convoy mentality regulated by administrative guidance, etc.) proved efficient in the 1980s, but after the bubble burst, these are no longer workable.
Many business executives share these views. However, due to the nature of their backgrounds--that is, having climbed the corporate ladder through the traditional system--they are hesitant to take bold steps. With this in my mind, I believe that Carlos Ghosn is the one to execute the plan, taking advantage of his own particular background.
Nishinomiya, JapanReturn to top
East Is East, Central Is Central (int'l edition)
Ten years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the thoughtless use of cold war political geography should be abandoned ("Europe ten years later..." Special Report, Nov. 8). Any atlas will tell you that Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary are geographically in Central Europe (as they were long before Hitler and Stalin managed to split the Continent); today they are democratic countries, politically in NATO and soon to join the European Union. Why do you keep referring to them as Eastern Europe? You would never maintain that Kansas is in the east of the U.S. The long nightmare is over. Why not give us a chance to be named for what we always were--namely, Central Europeans?
Ulm, GermanyReturn to top
There Will Be Plenty of Markdowns after E-Xmas (int'l edition)
Several of us at the International Institute for Management Development have been working in the field of supply chain management--better called demand chain management--for several years ("What's with all the warehouses?" Business Week e.biz, Cutting Edge, Nov. 1). One clear thing we have learned is that adding warehouses is precisely the wrong thing to do. The emphasis needs to be on keeping total chain inventories to minimal levels through cooperative efforts. The fact that these firms now believe they need to add warehouses is evidence that they are not cooperating well. That is, the players in the chain see each other as adversaries rather than as partners. They will all pay the price--some more than others--but they will all be impacted negatively.
Moreover, all those e-commerce companies setting out to do wonderful things this Christmas will not succeed. Five companies cannot each capture a 30% market share. If these companies build up their inventories to support their plans, we can be sure of some major after-Christmas sales. The impact on all players in the chain will not be pleasant.
Thomas E. Vollmann
Professor of Manufacturing
International Institute for
Lausanne, SwitzerlandReturn to top
London's Cellular Service Is Nothing to Write Home About (int'l edition)
You carried an interesting article about the wonderful new services being promised or rolled out by mobile-phone companies ("But will it call my mother?" Technology Buying Guide, Nov. 15). Internet on our mobiles? Many of us would settle for an acceptable speech service.
Vodafone, the largest mobile-phone company in the world, claims 100% coverage in London. Yet within one mile of my home in north London, there are six different black spots in Vodafone's network. My visit to Singapore last week saw a better level of service, but there still were problems at peak periods. This week in Beijing, the service has been excellent.
Perhaps developing countries realize the need to provide good service before adding more gimmicks and tricks that probably will not work.
LondonReturn to top