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Answers For The Workplace E-Memo

Why Steady Business May Not Be Enough

Part of the business struggle is finding ways to keep a business growing. Although a company may exist for years without introducing new products or services, a new emerging technology can wipe a company out—or at least give it one nasty profit cut—in relatively short order.

Whirlpool, the company that produces Whirlpool washers and dryers, Kenmore products, and KitchenAid, wanted to watch out for that. They hadn’t introduced a new product line in over 50 years, and although profits have been steady, they’re mainly due to recent deep cuts throughout the company.

So how to ease some of the pressure?

Whirlpool opened an intranet site for company employees to give ideas for new products. With a hefty investment in research and development, Whirlpool has now added GarageWorks to its product line. GarageWorks is a collection of slick looking storage and workbench units for a household garage or machine shop, and is expected to generate $300 million in sales by 2007.

The principle here is that when a market steadies out, a little R&D and a few good ideas can open a whole new market – and a whole new revenue stream – for a company.
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