FedEx Whites-Out the Kinko’s Name – BusinessWeek

Dave 0

When I worked at Kinko’s in Orange County as an IT guy, it was a great experience. I worked for Brad Foster, who was the best ‘people manager’ I’ve ever had. He did a great job of handling the crap that came down from corporate, and keeping the employees focused on their work, rather than the politics of corporate.

When I first started there, I met A LOT of people who worked at there for many years, and who had great stories and experiences of the "pre-corporatization" of Kinko’s. But, as with most companies, the higher-ups took over and thought they would ‘fix things’. Among other things, they killed the team member profit sharing and took away a lot of the local control. Management also cancelled the training classes for new employees. The first and last items ARE the reason that customer service has tanked.

The first issue, getting rid of the profit sharing, was a big incentive for employees to do a great job. They knew that the better the service and the better the sales, the better their paychecks would be. And in turn, the company did better. According to the article from BusinessWeek, during the first three years after FedEx took over, profits dropped over 50%. Duh! No incentive for employees, no reason to do a good job for a company who actually takes cash OUT of your pocket…

The second issue, dumping the training classes for web-based learning pretty much killed any chance that Kinko’s would succeed. My understanding is that all new employees would go to a one or two week training class where they learned to use every piece of equipment in the place, as well as how to help customers. Trust me – this is no small task. There are several different kinds of binding machines, several copiers and printers that have numerous functions, sign and banner machines, and a litany of other specialized machines that people came to Kinko’s for to get their project done. So, with the death of the training program, stores were left to train "on the job" and depending on who trained you, and how much time you had, meant you might learn everything half-way, or that you might not learn much of anything. Which in turn, like the article says, leaves customers frustrated and having to show the employee how to use the machines.

I’m sad to see a great company that was started with great ideas get turned into another example of why our economy is tanking; another example of why our country is in trouble; another example of who greed has destroyed not only a business, but has damaged the lives of a lot of employees.

I loved Paul Orfalea’s book "Copy This" – as a ‘serial entrepreneur’, it gives me hope that small ideas can become something great… that is, unless greed gets hold of it…

"FedEx Whites-Out the Kinko’s Name – BusinessWeek"