The By 1968 Coring realized market conditions were changing, technology was shifting to a commodity based market. Corning did not know if they wanted to be in this market. Some of the internal technical leaders were willing to turn away from this market claiming Corning developed high margin and highly technical products. Mean while sales and marketing were pushing hard to win new work in these fields disregarding the fact that Corning was not designed to compete in a fast moving commodity market.
So, although sales were down Corning still relied on making their profits with out competition pressures. They relied on patents, technical know how and substantial capital investment joint. Corning started to see problems when its sales force started to focus on volume of sales without a concern for gross margins. The Sales group booked as many orders as they could to meet sales goals. Sales were giving away the store, claimed manufacturing. Marketing was just as bad.
They projected a market for a product, had manufacturing make samples and spend on capital investment, only to come back later and say the market is not ten million, but, one million. Marketing claimed manufacturing was to slow to react to market conditions. Marketing clamed Product Development wasted time, up to seventy percent of product roll out was spent on process development. What happened was the trust that is necessary for departments to be able to work closely together went away.
Through all of this lack of leadership, the company still held monthly meetings. Represented at these meetings in many cases were managers how did not know what was going on. If they were not meeting their goals, they were able to slip them out. People at the meetings agreed to disagree. Rogers did understand what his company’s problems were, and planed to take the steps needed to get back on track. He new he needed to calibrate his top executives on the system needed for new product development, operating margin, communication and morale.