Chapter 1 - The Future

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The Future

63


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almost every day as different industries converge. And new giants such as Microsoft, Acer, Sun and Oracle have emerged. But the earlier vast air-conditioned computer rooms lie empty or transformed.
  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

 

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