Though there has been no confirmation of numbers by Fujifilm Australia, around 20 sales reps and other staff were made redundant last week.
While this amounts to around 10 percent of its photo industry workforce, Fujifilm Australia has made scant acknowledgement of the staff cutbacks. Some of the former employees have given 20 and even 30 years’ service to the company. (See Fujifilm press release below, received following – and probably owing to – publication of this story).
One retailer close to some of the employees whose employment with Fujifilm has been terminated, said that the departures have been accompanied by generous packages and for the most part have been amicable.
It’s further understood that 11 of the employees had sales representative roles. Employees in NSW, QLD, Victoria , WA and SA are involved. The others have mid-management roles with the staff reductions, to use the corporate jargon,’flattening the pyramid’. One source said that Fujifilm was in the process of a major restructuring.
While industry insiders have provided Photo Counter with the names of some of the longer-serving employees, we have chosen not to publish them without confirmation from the company or the individuals involved.
Fujifilm recently embarked on a series of roadshow-like trade events around the country which some retailers Photo Counter spoke to now speculate may be an alternative to direct sales representation.
It’s understood at least some of the staff who have been made redundant will have the opportunity to be acknowledged by their industry colleagues at forthcoming PMA Christmas Parties.
Photo Counter approached Fujifilm via both managing director Dave Marshall and its contracted PR consultant, but the company ignored specific requests for further details, instead issuing the following press release:
ADDITION: Fujifilm press release
Fujifilm Australia announced today that it is taking steps to introduce a new strategic business model that will accommodate the organisation’s future growth plans.
Fujifilm Australia managing director, Dave Marshall, said social networking, mobility solutions and interactive customer incentive plans will be introduced to reinvent the evolution of Fujifilm’s next business model.
‘By creating clever internet systems that incorporate such initiatives as sophisticated reordering websites, centralised systems, Facebook applications and virtual photo books, Fujifilm aims to provide innovative platforms that will offer new business opportunities for all of its customers,’ Mr Marshall said.
‘Fujifilm Australia has already proved very successful in developing and delivering cutting edge network solutions for its customers within the consumer imaging segment.
‘Advanced plans are now underway within Fujifilm Australia to extend its network connectivity capabilities to the Graphic Systems and Medical Imaging Divisions.
‘New business models that maximise this trend to ensure customers are at the forefront of new technology is a key focus for our business moving forward.
‘In order to reinvent our processes and technology, this represents an opportunity to create a range of new specialist positions within Fujifilm Australia to drive a seamless transition for both consumers and customers.
‘Unfortunately, as part of this process, it has also meant some changes to positions that have become redundant in the back office administration area due to technological advancements.
‘There has also been a small number of positions that have been rationalised at the front end of the business to accommodate the specialist roles that are being created as part of the transition.
‘Our goal is to strengthen Fujifilm’s position and ensure it is suitably equipped to balance current market demands with future business investment.
‘Advancements in technology coupled with changes in consumer behaviour, has resulted in a significant transformation in the way businesses such as Fujifilm need to operate.’
Mr Marshall said Fujifilm Australia will continue to invest in new ideas and new platforms to drive the next area of growth and build a robust position for the future.
COMMENT: The elimination of around 10 percent of the workforce of one of the dominant companies in Australian photo retailing should not go unrecorded – which appeared to be Fujifilm’s initial corporate communications strategy.