Chapter 1 - The Future
And organizational structures are changing fast. Where the giant companies are still prospering, they have generally been split into dozens of small project teams, each self-acting and self-managing, cutting through the old specialization, the old business pyramid-style hierarchies, the old army-style management.
Tom Peters gives dozens of examples in his 834-page book Liberation Management. To cite just one: Zurich-based ABB Asea Brown Boveri is now one of Europe's giant companies, with revenues of $33 billion in 1995.28 It now operates as 36 independent businesses with hundreds of autonomous profit centres. Most of these are split into ten-person, multifunction teams. And it has slashed its "head office" staff by 95 percent.
Japan's Toyota has pioneered "just-in-time" production systems, buying thousands of products from small production units - often family firms - delivered exactly when they are needed.
And in other fields - notably retailing - franchising and computerization make it possible for small distribution outlets to link with major international systems-suppliers, from McDonald's to computer and software manufacturers.
Some analysts 29 say that by early in the new century 50 percent of all retailing will be through franchises (mostly self-operating small units linked to giant systems) and direct-marketing networks (mainly individuals linked to world suppliers).
Again the examples are startling:
Franchising in America involves $250 billion in annual sales.
The fastest-growing franchise is Subway Sandwiches, with 7,000 outlets worldwide.
Many of McDonald's 23,000 franchises around the world are run by husband-and-wife teams, but all are linked to the one central system.
More than 20 million Americans are now making money from home-based industries. Over 60 percent of them are women.
By far the biggest is Amway, started by Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel, in the basement of a Michigan home in 1959. By 1996 the