Digital Magazine

An Armchair Philosopher

News flash: I've become an “armchair philosopher,” although not by choice. While walking down the street on August 12, one minute I was fine, and the next I was laying on my back unable to move. I'll spare you the gruesome details, but thanks to some Good Samaritans who called Chicago's Finest (a.k.a. our Fire Department paramedics), I was carefully stowed into an ambulance and taken to the nearest hospital where I learned I had fractured my pelvis in two places. So here I am…PFFC's resident armchair philosopher.

So what lessons have I learned as I work from my recliner? First of all, I've learned how valuable technology is! While I've been known to rail against the e-mail I receive — alternating between valuable versus volumes of the useless and mundane — I can't imagine how I could have carried on without it.

Thanks to technology, I've participated in Skype calls across the globe (webcams optional, thank goodness) to conduct business without skipping a beat. Live webinars keep me abreast of work matters as well as industry developments. And if my physical therapy interrupts these events, not a problem. All I have to do is click on a recording of the event, and I'm up to steam.

Further, I can't begin to recount the number of press releases and stories we've shared in these pages that boast about remote diagnostic technology (see p24). The armchair philosopher in me hazards a pronouncement that this technology must be one of our industry's most valuable tools when one thinks of the time in lost production it saves, the simplicity of online repair, and the savings accrued from eliminating the need for a supplier's mechanical engineer to travel for onsite repair. That's an advantage — fractured pelvis or not — that painlessly permits timely maintenance as well as emergency (gasp!) repairs.

From my reclining chair, I've also learned from one of PFFC's readers, Tim Canning of GiftWare Systems, a revealing bit of news. He shares:

A board member of a very strong Pepsi-Cola franchise told me that the Franchise Bottlers have been selling out to Major Regional Bottlers over the past 25 years, which has created a few huge bottlers. This has left a few strong local bottlers to stand on their own.

The few small, family-owned bottlers have fared the recession much better than the huge regional bottlers. There is now discussion about how the smaller bottlers are much closer to their markets; they react quicker to change, and therefore, their sales and profits outperform the major bottlers. Her comment…may be…a harbinger of a shift from large major enterprises to smaller local enterprises….

The armchair philosopher asks: There are years when the advantages of big business trump smaller businesses. Is our industry headed back to smaller but nimbler companies that are successful in unique niches? I've got time! What's your philosophy?

My friends call me…

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