Those who doubt his capacity or appetite for the job can give up wondering how the supposedly shy son of enigmatic Wang Laboratories founder and chairman An, is going to cope with the demands put on him now he has taken over as president of the company. In his own words, once you’ve been in […]
Those who doubt his capacity or appetite for the job can give up wondering how the supposedly shy son of enigmatic Wang Laboratories founder and chairman An, is going to cope with the demands put on him now he has taken over as president of the company. In his own words, once you’ve been in programming for two years you have no worries about getting out of it. Fred Wang is going to enjoy being president. On the first leg of a gruelling European schedule, he expressed Wang’s commitment to customer satisfaction and improved financial controls. President for just under a year – he took on the job last November – he has high hopes for the new fiscal, which started July 1. The company is aiming for a profit in each quarter, 3% to 5% net profit – that’s something in the order of $100m – for the year and a worldwide growth in revenue of 12% to 15% to around $3,250m. This comes after revenues for the year to June 1987 of over $2,830m and a loss of $70.7m. Fred Wang intends to reach his goal with a combination of improved management, new products and what he reckons is the sure-fire Image product line. He’s so sure of this that he believes that image processing will be to Wang in the late 1980s what word processing was in the late 1970s. Image involves image-based information being collated on microfilm and interfaced into the VS computer range, allowing both text and graphics to be called up at any one time. Further applications are planned. Fred Wang highlighted managerial organisation as a major area for improvement. In the last 10 years the company has had an average growth rate of over 30% a year. Scrambling to keep up An achievement he describes as scrambling to keep up with what’s going on rather than a controlled growth strategy. He reckons the management style that was needed to deal with this headlong dash is different from that needed to sustain a slower, more controlled rate of 10% to 20% a year, the company’s current target. To get the right kind of management, specialisation is required and this is reflected in the specialists engaged to tackle main market areas: financial services, central and state government, hotels, legal services, manufacturing and professional services. Wang is beginning to focus on offering the customer a complete solution with both software and consultancy, with software becoming more and more important relative to traditional product manufacture. That doesn’t mean people will be laid off: the plan is to keep at the same number on the manufacturing side even though Wang would like to see more products coming out of its Irish and Scottish plants. Wang will continue to pursue co-existence with IBM. Commenting on the UK end of operations, Wang noted that it represents 30% to 33% of the European business and is aiming for revenue growth of 16% next year. Europe brings in $850m a year, that’s a third of all Wang revenues. Wang is committed to SNA and Open Systems protocols, but Fred Wang said that Unix would not be one of its main driving forces in the future. According to Fred it doesn’t do as much as everyone would have us believe. Answering a Wall Street Journal survey that claimed one third of Wang customers were becoming disillusioned with the company, Wang countered by saying it had had a record accounts receivable outstanding of just 55 days and cash flow is still good. The new president says no one has made a bid for the company and it is not considering a merger. Even in today’s world of a $50,000m-a-year IBM, Wang thinks it can keep up with the big boys. After all, he reckons, against $50,000m, there’s not much difference between a $10,000m firm like DEC or Unisys and a $3,000m one.