MFG 2.0

Do You Know What Side Your Bread Is Buttered On -- Or Are You The Sandwich?

Those of you who follow the media as a business (probably none of you -- I hardly pay attention myself, and it's my bread and butter) have probably heard that our parent company, Penton Media, was acquired late last year by another large business-to-business (B2B) heavyweight named Prism.

The upside of this is all sorts of workaday synergies, plus the ability to say that I now work for the largest independent B2B publisher in the U.S. We serve a combined 6 million business professionals every month, all under a brand that has been around covering American manufacturing since the Industrial Revolution first started gathering steam.

(Side note: I wonder what founder of Foundry magazine John Penton would have thought about blogs/podcasts etc. back in 1890s. Or more to the point, what would he have thought of a FANUC robotic assembly line?)

In fact, the only downside we've experienced in this welding together of joint infrastructure has to do with my field -- IT -- and the integration of two sets of formerly full-serve tech solutions for each of the massive companies that were joined in corporate union.

I wouldn't like to be the person in charge of this marriage ceremony, for like any serious commitment, there have been some hitches here and there between different sets of recalcitrant software packages that have made life interesting for both employees and management.

(And by "interesting" I mean in the sense of the old Confucian curse, "May you live in interesting times.")

How about you -- going through some of these cursed "interesting times" yourself? Ever had to manage a corporate expansion, integration or takeover? Any horror stories or advice?

Or have you been on the "bread and butter" side of the feeding equation? What's your experience with being bought, perhaps having to adjust fundamental work processes to fit a new plan?

If it hasn't happened yet, just wait -- in my estimation, give it about five years and we'll all be working for branches of GE anyways...

TAGS: Innovation
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