Probably nothing can be said to start instantaneously, to continue unchanged for a period of years, and then to disappear overnight. The genesis takes time; it may be an evolution from something older. The lifetime may involve many changes. The death may simply be a bigger change, one sufficient to count as a new birth.
So it is with Crosfield. The fifty years runs from the formation of J.F. Crosfield Ltd. in 1947 until the creation of FujiFilm Electronic Imaging from the ashes of Crosfield Electronics in 1997. The thread really begins before the creation of the company, continues through changes of name, ownership and direction over the half century, and will continue into the future for a while, slowly fading in the memories of those who will transfer to FFEI.
These notes have been compiled from my experience as an employee from 1984 until the end, from the memories of others, and from John Crosfield's book covering the period 1947 to 1975. From 1985 I have detailed diaries for reference.
The company has been through three ages:
Birth, childhood and adolescence;
Disease, decline and death.
The first phase was while JFC himself was in charge, the company was built up from nothing, blossomed, and nearly crashed before it was saved by DeLaRue. So 1947-1974 - 27 years.
The second phase saw the company at its biggest and most profitable; the early years with DeLaRue. It expanded its product range and geographical extent, and acquired other companies in related fields. This lasted 1974-1986 - 12 years, though the seeds of disease were sown well before the end of this period.
The third phase, 1986-1997 - 11 years, is one of continual decline, in profits, in product range, in numbers of employees and number of sites. A change of ownership seemed only to speed the process.
From 1997, first Fujifilm and then FFEI carried on the story of Crosfield. Even twenty years later it was possible to trace back the heritage of some products to Crosfield days, although very much improved and now only a small part of what is a completely different business.
Crosfield Electronics was at its peak a world-class company making electronic equipment for the graphics arts industry, especially for newspaper and magazine publishing. It started in September 1947 with J.F. Crosfield Ltd, which was John Crosfield working in his garage assisted by Dennis Bent. It grew rapidly as the printing industry adopted new technology.
A brief summary of this period, taken from the Crosfield Employee Handbook:
Crosfield was a company dedicated to the application of modern technology to the printing, packaging and graphics arts industries.
In 1947, John Crosfield asked Dennis Bent to join him in development work on two projects he had ideas for; a cheque sorting machine and a register control for gravure printing presses. They worked together in the attic of John Crosfield's house and within a year had a prototype register control machine ready for trials at Amalgamated Press in Southwark. The trials were successful, and worldwide orders started coming in. It was a down payment with the first of these orders which gave the Crosfield team, by then desperately short of money, enough capital to start producing the Autotron register control. Soon, an evolved form of the Autotron was a major product in the Company's range of electronic Press Controls, which cut costs and improved the quality and accuracy of the printing process.
In 1965, the Company established its first Head Office with a staff of 50 at 766 Holloway Road in North London. In that same year, the then Technical Director of Sun Printers turned to Crosfield's inventiveness and enquired about the possibility of automating the preparation of separations. With Sun helping to fund research and development, work went ahead on new ideas. The first step in the evolution of colour scanning was taken in 1959. The first colour scanner, the Scanatron, was developed and installed at Sun, which largely replaced the camera in the graphics arts industry.
Development continued and in 1964 the next major step in scanners was heralded by the launch of the Diascan. This scanner produced two colour separations simultaneously, speeding up the pre-press process considerably.
It was not until 1969 that the big breakthrough came, when Magnascan 450, the world's first enlarging/reducing drum scanner was born. This new machine was capable of producing 2 or 4 colour separations, fully colour corrected and to the required size, in one step. With the new products and a rapid growth of sales, it was necessary for the company to expand. Rather than developing another site in London, Peterborough was chosen for a new manufacturing base. Crosfield took advantage of the city's development programme and its convenient location within reach of London, the industrial Midlands and the east coast ports. Westwood Instruments Peterborough was formed in 1975 to manufacture components and electronic sub-assemblies for the parent company in London. It proved to be more successful than anticipated, doubling in size in the first year. Fifteen months after its establishment, all manufacturing was relocated from London. The name Westwood Instruments was dropped in 1977 following a move of the manufacturing unit to larger premises.
Crosfield Firsts: The first electronic colour-to-colour register control for web-fed presses; The first electronic insetting equipment for registering pre-printed colour work for newspapers; The first enlarging electronic colour separation scanner; The revolutionary first laser engraving system for gravure cylinders.
More detail of this period can be found in the book Recollections of Crosfield Electronics 1947 to 1975 by John F Crosfield CBE DSc MA. A few points from the time-line:
January 1950: First Autotron working at Sun Printers.
c1952: Move to Chalcot Square (previously in JFC's house, then Crogsland Road).
1955: 2 Elthorne Road purchased.
1958: Scanatron introduced.
1959: Separate department set up at Fortress Road to work on banknote sorting machines.
c1961: Name changed from J.F. Crosfield to Crosfield Electronics Ltd (CEL).
1964: JFC wrote: "I managed to buy up a row of houses on Holloway Road to make room for a seven-storey office block. I was dissatisfied with the architect's drawings so I took a drawing board home and designed the floor plans and elevations myself".
1965: 766 Holloway Road opened. Diascan launched.
July 1966: Fortress Road division becomes Crosfield Business Machines (CBM).
1967: Factory at 1 Elthorne Road opens. Diascan 2000 launched.
1969: First Magnascan (450) launched in Milan. More buildings bought in Elthorne Road (Holloway Mills). About 700..800 employees.
1970: CBM moves to 244 High Street, Watford.
1972: Magnascan 460 launched at DRUPA.
1973: Rowland Dunkley promoted to deputy MD. Jim Salmon engaged as new Technical Director.
1973-03-21: Companies House date for the incorporation of Westwood Instruments Ltd
1973 to 1975: Gradual acquisition of factories in Peterborough, followed by a move to a single, new factory.
Continuing the brief history of Crosfield from the Employee Handbook:
In the early autumn of 1974, Crosfield and Westwood Instruments were acquired by the De La Rue Group - the world's largest security printer. The acquisition substantially strengthened the ability of Crosfield to invest in high technology research, to re-vamp the product range as well as complementing De La Rue's long history of security printing technology.
In 1975, an entirely new design of scanner, the Magnascan 500, was launched. This was a digital electronic machine producing four colour separations simultaneously. The digital design meant that a computer could be built in to control tone and colour calculations, hence automating the set-up process.
It was the high productivity of the Magnascan which produced the bottleneck at the next stage in pre-press reproduction - planning and re-touching. This was the spur for the development of the Magnascan 570 Page Composition System, launched in 1978, and its evolution into the 800 range of page make-up products.
In Spring 1981, Crosfield launched the forerunners of a new generation of modular colour scanners, the Magnascan 530 and 540. The modular concept meant that the basic separate input and output units could easily be upgraded in the field, offering the customer the choice of the latest features without the cost of purchasing a whole new machine.
The development of the Lasergravure product started in the late 1970s, to provide a system for engraving gravure cylinders using the output from scanners and page make-up systems. The technological achievements in developing this product have been recognised by the Queen's Award to Industry. By the late 1980s Crosfield had been awarded a total of 8 Queen's Awards - four for technology and four for export. On the manufacturing front, continued expansion included the setting up of a CNC Machine shop at Milton Keynes in 1981. Expansion and increased productivity led to the shop's first move to a larger site within Milton Keynes by the end of 1986.
Crosfield continued to export in excess of 85% of its products. The three principal markets for its equipment were Europe, USA and Japan.
The acquisition of the former distribution Company in the USA employing over one hundred employees and formerly a part of the Sun Chemical organisation occurred in 1980. Crosfield Inc., East Rutherford, moved in 1986 to a new American HQ building in Glen Rock, New Jersey.
Logescan was acquired from Logetronics in the USA in 1980 to provide the company with a plate making product. Datrax had been brought over to the UK for development and manufacture here and already had many European installations. It was then an integral part of the product family of the Communications Systems Division based at Milton Keynes.
By the beginning of the 80's, the Company had outgrown its Holloway Road Building and a new purpose built headquarters in Hemel Hempstead was opened in July 1984 by the Right Honourable Norman Tebbit MP. By the end of that year, an old De La Rue Systems building in Watford had been refurbished and converted to house the Education and Training, Parts Service and Shipping departments.
1984 commenced with the acquisition of Electro-Optic Developments (EOD) in Basildon. EOD was the Company's main supplier of optical modulators for our Magnascan products. With further investment from Crosfield, EOD was now developing markets in fibre optics and special purpose optical sub-systems and had expanded to take on a second building in Basildon.
Press Controls Division (PCD) was the first business group to separate from the headquarters building in 1985. Almost 50 staff moved into the PCD Building in Maxted Road, Hemel Hempstead, initially comprising Sales, Development and Service and subsequently followed by the final Assembly and Test Department.
In Spring 1986, a series of three acquisitions took place to launch Crosfield into the typesetting page composition market. Hastech Inc., based in the USA, had a particularly good pagination product for most types of newspaper installations. Composition Systems Inc, (CSI) based in Elmhurst, New York State, supplied newspaper front-end equipment for editorial and classified advertisement handling. Both Hastech and CSI products were based on DEC computers as was our range of page make-up equipment.
The European end of the Newspaper Systems Division was located at Maxted House, Hemel Hempstead, providing a Sales, Marketing and Customer Services base for customers in Europe and the rest of the world.
The third acquisition, Muirhead Data Communications provided microprocessors. The business was headquartered in Milton Keynes in a purpose built facility officially opened on 1988-07-16 and housing all aspects of the business from conceptual design to after sales service.
Muirhead provided a range of products providing facsimile transmission and wirephoto recording services on non DEC-based microprocessors.
1986 saw further developments in Europe with the setting up of wholly owned subsidiaries in Spain, Norway and Sweden. There were ten offices throughout Europe providing direct Sales and Service of Crosfield equipment to our customer base.
September 1974: CEL sold to DeLaRue for £6M, two-thirds cash, one-third DLR shares. Crosfield Business Machines incorporated in DLR.
1975: 1300 employees. JFC retires. Rowland Dunkley becomes MD.
1977: Magnascan 520 launched at DRUPA.
c1983: Rowland Dunkley retires and Jim Salmon takes over as MD.
1984-03-19: I start at Crosfield in Archway working in Elthorne Road. Ten days later we move to Hemel Hempstead.
June 1984: Hemel site officially opened by Norman Tebbit.
1984-07-10: I got £33 bonus (0.9% pro-rata for my three months).
1985-07-10: 5.7% bonus paid.
1986-01-17: Visit from Margaret Thatcher. It was during the Westland Helicopter affair and though she was shown on local TV next to Lasergravure all the questions were about Westland.
1986-03-04: "Today" launched.
Day of Jim Salmon's presentation - big profits so bonus is 7% but cash-flow surplus has been spent on acquisition of three new companies, whose performance is expected to result in a lower bonus for the next year or so.
1986-07-10: 7% bonus paid.
Afternoon in Jim Salmon's quarterly briefing - this one after the half-year figures, which don't seem too bad. Hell, Dainippon and Scitex seem to be falling behind. LG is hung up on plastic scratching.
1987-07-10: 5.6% bonus paid.
1987-10-29: Maxwell buying DeLaRue shares.
MD's quarterly briefing - Maxwell's 15% and the problems it could cause (cure to keep the share price up), the increase in profitability of Scitex, Hell's getting further from the marketplace by Siemens getting in the way. Looks as if we won't do too badly this year. No mention of LG. Alan Gamson, Malcolm Shaw and Sali Houssan got 10-year badges.
1987-12-05: Phone number change (218311 to 230000).
1988-02-16: We were all given a Crosfield watch to mark the 40th anniversary.
Managing Director's quarterly briefing (given by Lars Janneryd and Brian Jordan). No figures for Crosfield; Hell made £55M loss, Scitex less than last year and Dainippon a much reduced profit. Atex did OK just, SII did better. Speed-up of production process at Peterborough to cut inventory and WIP costs and smoothing through the year. Capital expenditure in some areas to be delayed 6 months. Hell and Scitex both have large-scale redundancy programmes.
Jim Salmon's presentation to explain the DeLaRue full year figures and the amount of the bonus (which is 7.5% of profit before tax and interest). Crosfield turnover ~£200 million, gross group profit ~£60 million (£20 million due to Crosfield?). Little other news.
1988-07-10: 5.6% bonus paid.
1989-06-06: Poor DeLaRue results.
1989-06-12: Pay rise.
Jim Salmon's address at 16:00 (until 17:45 including questions). DeLaRue profits down from £62M to £26M, mainly due to poor results from Crosfield and a whopper of a loss at Printrak. Crosfield down from £21M last year to £5.2M this. Turnover up (~£240M?) but margins squeezed. Studio 9500 not ready, admin expenses unchecked, spares increased, debtors increased. Expect next year better, but no (zero) bonus this year. DeLaRue are worried at such a variable business as Crosfield representing about half their turnover and profit (normally?), so they want to find a partner to take on part of the load. No idea who (they're talking) or what will happen. Malpass retiring (ill health). Hell and Dainippon margins also squeezed, but Scitex with a better position than for a long time. Lasergravure is "using valuable space" and will have to go if the latest work does not show considerable promise.
1989-06-30: Lasergravure print area cleared. R&D building interior being painted grey (it was yellow).
Tue 1989-07-18: Announced that Crosfield (except Press Controls) has been sold for £235M to a 50/50 joint-owned consortium of DuPont and Fujifilm subject to approval at an extraordinary general meeting for shareholders on 1989-08-03, and by European Commission and monopoly people (probably by September 1989). So two weeks and a day to wait to see how the vote goes, and what Maxwell is going to try to do about it.
Wed 1989-07-19: Announcement of DuPont/Fuji deal. Jim Salmon addressed a packed canteen about the proposed DuPont and Fuji deal. Only really interesting fact is that they need more than 50% of shareholders and they can get that with just the 16 largest institutional investors.
Mon 1989-07-24: The news this morning is that Maxwell has bid £260M for Crosfield (or rather Scitex have).
Sun 1989-07-30: Various reports in the press. Sunday Times says at least one institutional investor favours DuPont-Fuji. Times says de Benedetti will side with DuPont. Telegraph says Maxwell. Both say Maxwell has produced US and UK lawyers who say there would be no anti-trust problems with a Scitex-Crosfield merger.
Tue 1989-08-01: Independent says de Benedetti will side with Maxwell.
Thu 1989-08-03: News is that the DuPont-Fuji deal has been approved and assuming all the legal processes go OK, completion should be by 1989-10-02. Shares have dropped to 313p.
Fri 1989-08-04: Hear that de Benedetti was for Maxwell until Wednesday evening, but he changed his mind on Thursday and voted with the DeLaRue board. Voting about 43% to 24%, rest abstaining (or not bothering). It made a half-page on Oracle page 528 yesterday, after the fight made the headlines several times.
Tue 1989-08-22: Further speculation on Norton Opax's bid for DeLaRue (without Crosfield). DeLaRue oppose. Maxwell thinks it's a "sighting" offer. General uncertainty increases.
1989-10-02: New, stingy expenses policy. Press Controls have had official notice of their change to being employed directly by DeLaRue.
1989-10-05: DuPont/Fuji takeover at 12:00.
Thu 1989-10-26: Two new directors on Crosfield Board, one Fuji, one DuPont. The DuPont man is to be Chairman of the Board.
Mon 1989-12-11: MD's review on Friday said that we're £20M+ down in first 6 months (we're on DuPont years now, starting 1st Jan) and it will get worse until 9500 gets out, which must be at DRUPA. Then position should get better, but this year will still see a loss, at best. Low-volume products that do not act as a bridgehead for higher-volume stuff will be dumped. Redundancies cannot be ruled out. Admin costs are too high. Factory costs ditto. If we'd still been with DeLaRue we would have gone by now. FT article suggests that under a clause in the agreement, DeLaRue may have to repay some of the money it took from DuPont-Fuji for Crosfield, as our assets have depreciated within some fixed period. Here we go again?
1990-02-16: Demise of LG.
1990-02-23: Geoff Clinton goes.
1990-03-09: Demise of Scantel.
1990-04-05: David Applin goes.
1990-05-22: QFD training.
1990-05-31: Hell sold by Siemens.
1990-08-30: Redundancies at PCD?
1990-10-23: Review - losses.
1991-01-17: Campus move "delayed" to save money.
1991-01-23: Marketing move to Hemtech.
1991-03-06: Connect to Internet from my desk.
1991-03-14: First announcement of cut-backs.
1991-03-21: Pay reviews will be delayed.
1991-03-22: Redundancy terms.
The excrement and ventilation have made contact at last. 20% reduction in staffing costs, to be announced in 30 days. Terms to be announced next week. No voluntary retirement or redundancies (the wrong people go). Staff already down by about 12% in UK (less than half in US) - this is 20% more on that. Sales down by about 40-50% on last year. £4M loss last year. MK and Peterborough told the same. Some projects will be stopped - people will be redeployed if necessary. This can't be all - there must be more to come.
1991-04-17: Redundancies I (including PS).
1991-05-08: Project re-organisation.
MD review. Advertising spending is down 30..60% in recession, £/$ and £/yen ratios are too high. Delays on new projects (9500 V4 2 months, Colourspace 4 months, Mamba 6 months, Jaguar more than a year) have all hit us. For 1991, scanner sales were budgeted for 678 units, forecast is now 474, but lots from stock, so build plan is for 264 - 22/month. Old Studios budget 49 units, forecast 35, build plan 35, but now all in stock, so 0/month. 9500 budget 226 units, forecast 302, build 302, so better. USA market has been declining since 1988. Japan up but stocks up to 85 scanners at one time - a bit less now. In US, have lost a huge market share to Scitex in systems. In US and Japan, major scanner competitor is Dainippon Screen. For January-April, sales £21M, down on target, gross margin -£14.2M, overall -£16M. In 1990 there was an accounting cock-up which results in an extra charge of £6.5M this year, on "overheads".
Wanted 20% cut in staff numbers, hoped for 15%, achieved 12%. "Even 20% would not restore profitability on current sales". Staff losses (from base) were: R&D 8.4% (392), Aurora 26.7% (161), HQ 15.5% (509), manufacturing (Peterborough + Northfield) 19.1% (550), European offices 3.5% (636). Sales not much cut, a few non-performers. Service had some cuts in central area. Manufacturing - major cuts. Aurora - not economic to manufacture one product at isolated site. Admin - cuts at all levels - layers reduced. Finance - "relatively untouched" (to fix their cock-up). R&D - permies down 7.5% (33), contractors down 10.5% (46), transfers (8) - so overall actually nearly 20% of R&D - but 23 new permies required to replace contractors. Permies skills re-focused on software. Very few contractors have accepted permanent positions. Overall saving from salaries £2.4M. Redundancies will cost £2.4M.
Expected 1991 loss is £3M (including the £6.5M 1990 cock-up). Surprise item was £2.7M contingency for the Campus building, which will be our responsibility from August 1991. Also savings of £2.2M from pay freeze and £4.7M from redundancies (inconsistent with above?). Lease on Watford extended to March 1993.
Scitex revenue up 48%, profits up 116%, "Mature and strong product", "Smartscan improving performance", cleaning up while our 9500 was not ready, and our marketing not with it. Dainippon Screen a major scanner competitor, very aggressive pricing, payment holidays up to one year. Automation. Omega-star network. Linotype-Hell have had redundancies, 2-day week working. Strong in Germany and Japan (+28% and +144% resp). Expect an internal-drum scanner in September. Bad in systems.
Decision on what to do with all our surplus space (half of Aurora, Campus, part of Hemel, part of Hemtech) end-July/early-August. Pay freeze will be re-evaluated after 6 months. Our short-term CCD scanner policy is to badge Luxscan, "wish we were further ahead". MD couldn't remember our project name, nor the thrust on format size. Spoke for 97 minutes, including questions.
1991-06-01: New caterers in canteen.
1991-08-08: Forward engineering course.
1991-10-11: Maxtel development to be at Aurora.
Redundancies and reorganisation to occur in marketing; product management side to be more closely integrated with sales support. DTP sector to become almost an "SBU" under Martin Rosen, who now reports directly to Brian Jordan. Admitted loss, if we are lucky, on Campus building is likely to be £14M. We will keep Watford for another year.
1991-11-05: Robert Maxwell dead.
1992-01-24: "Fourth floor" re-join R&D.
Briefing from Brian Jordan, Clive Mayne, Rodger Prowen and Andy Hill on what passed at the management conference. All "company car" grades who didn't get to go were invited to this one. Atrocious presentations, except for AH's which was good. Goals for 1992 - positive cash flow, positive profit after tax. Investment by DFEI in Crosfield ~£600M, of which ~£400M is "loans" on which we pay interest. R&D is approx 9.5% of revenue at about £22M. Overheads: service ~£28M, R&D and admin ~£22M each, smallest, marketing and debtors at ~£7M each. New products "will" produce revenue of ~£88M in 1992. Phoenix was mentioned in passing, once. Theme for 1992 "Quality Partnerships". Scale: revenue DuPont imaging £1.2G, Fuji Imaging and Info ~£5G. Scanner (6x6) installed base ~3k units. Peak scanner sales ~1988/1989 was ~800/year.
Lunchtime awareness on Imprinta feedback - Alan Locke, Clive Mayne, Andrew Gunton. No-one introduced themselves, or said what their reason for being there was. Main threats, Dainippon Screen table-top drum scanner, lots of cheap Postscript output engines, cheap Studio/link software.
Team talk said we'd met our £12M sales target for Imprinta (though the £15.5M quoted includes Fuji and DuPont sales as well), but our own notes show that the target given at last month's team talk was £15M. Targets that adjust themselves to meet the actual achievement.
Jim's talk lasted an hour and a quarter with questions. Gloom, generally. 1991 saw an "operating" profit of nearly £3M, but overall loss of nearly £60M. The difference was lots of interest (paying DuFuji for the money they used to buy us) and some write-offs: £4M of "lost" MTA stuff over the years, £2M of "lost" stock in the factory (prob not unlawfully removed, just accumulated errors in the paperwork) + a big write off (£15M?) for Campus, which will still cost ~£1M/quarter in rent and rates &c. Staff will continue to decline by natural wastage and "attrition" and people will have to move jobs internally. Also big write offs for customers going bust. 1992 doesn't look much better yet. Cost-cutting in phone/fax usage (want 20% cut on £4M), travel (all recs to JDS if over £1k) and cars (all C-grade cars to be from 1 make, all Sierras?). Capital purchases have been cut drastically in 1991 and will not be able to increase much. Not yet on target for 1992. Must have new product and at low-end; these will be bought-in pro tem. No reason given for our failure to have these ready ourselves. Our scanner is now the only one on the market without autoloading option.
It's Bob Younger addressing us - in the chem lab. Our figures have been compared with Scitex, scaled appropriately to same revenue, and they've found our costs are £30M too high. So there's to be 6 weeks study for 7 task teams to find this order of reduction for 1993. Want to decrease new product introduction times by 50%, decrease space in outlying offices by 50%, knock 50% off IHQ admin costs without significant loss of services, 30% off cost of obtaining good sales opportunities, decreasing stock-holding &c and cost of manufacture &c. There will almost certainly be redundancies, preferably voluntary. May be reduction in number of projects. Must all work hard on 'key' projects and not stand around gossiping and rumour-mongering. There will be an August pay review, no amount given, but Bob's guess is that it will be about inflation. The £30M to be made up is almost exactly the same figure as the "interest and goodwill" payment (we presume to DFEI) (~£29M) - without that we'd be only just into loss.
1992-06-24: Jim Forsman announced.
1992-07-13: Jim Salmon retires.
1992-08-06: Redundancy terms posted. Aurora to close?
1992-08-24: Brian Jordan to go. Democratic car parking.
1992-08-28: Voluntaries go (including Bob Oldershaw).
1992-09-02: Project priorities meeting - suddenly secret.
1992-09-14: Various rumours of changes at work.
1992-09-30: Bob Younger and Peter Cottriall leave.
1992-10-09: New structure.
1992-10-14: Redundancies II. Cost of Campus.
1992-11-09: Aurora people moving to Hemel.
Briefing for 1992. Gross profit from sales 36% or £65M (revenue less direct cost of sales) - overheads (inc R&D) £62M - special of £29M(*) = -£26M (net operating loss). Then to -£49M (net loss) (inc £19M interest payment to Fuji and a couple of minor fiddle factors). (* This figure includes Campus, cost of redundancies and bad debts.) Cash flow was -£10M. Next year expect positive cash flow, and some repayment of interest to DFEI.
We were told in a presentation by Tony Halker that we don't know how to sell autoloader - after the big push to get it out, no-one wants to pay +£20k for auto output on a device that has nothing which can store up a batch for overnight output - the input side can't do this. Budgeted to sell £11M-worth, in 3 months we've sold £300k, so that'll be a big hole in this year's performance. Also, we don't know how to sell to today's big market, printers. Eg 9xxx systems are very expensive, but very productive, cost less per separation than cheaper systems. But printers don't want this, they're just starting to invest and want low-risk products, and their use rate is set by press capacity - so they buy low-end systems with possible upgrade. We're now attacking that market. New image setter range, starting with Chelgraph, then Fuji, then Scangraphic (Magnasetter 620), then Autoloader, then Jaguar. Also have packaged "solutions" named after colours. Maybe progress.
1993-03-09: New security badges.
1993-04-01: Pay for coffee.
1993-04-26: Restriction of signing authority.
1993-05-17: PAC gives Phoenix a conditional 'yes'.
1993-10-11: Job grading system.
1993-11-29: Lars Janeryd leaving.
1993-12-15: P&R roll out.
1994-02-11: Internal refurbishment.
1994-03-04: End of canteen breakfast.
1994-03-10: 1% bonus. Chelgraph being absorbed.
1994-04-06: DDI and VM installed.
1994-08-04: Hugh Cusick goes.
1994-08-19: Lots leaving.
Thu 1994-09-01: Back to matrix management.
Quarterly briefings have been replaced by a video, which gives our current position as £8M under budget, and £10M is as far as we can go. Counting on Phoenix and Flash to get us up again.
1994-09-12: Out of workstation market.
1994-09-23: First Celsis 360 shipped.
1994-12-21: Hiro Miyaki is going back to Fuji in Feb and will be replaced by Toshio Takahashi.
The company accounts for 31st December 1994 show an annual turnover of £141M, a loss of £17.7M and £17M debited to reserves. £10M was paid in interest to the parent company and other companies in the group. The directors listed were: B Butt; R P Campkin; P A Culleton; J A Forsman; A Halker; P W Kitchin; B J McBride; H Miyaki.
1995-01-03: Celsis 360 5/week.
1995-01-25: Rodger Prowen to leave.
1995-02-21: Paul Bruce.
1995-05-24: Kevin Grodzky introduces himself.
1995-05-26: Brian McBride to MD.
Team talk (passed around) says desperate cash situation, and a major effort to get £8M out of debtors this month, using sales people and other managers. Severe cost cutting required. Image setter products required right on time, and so on.
1995-06-20: Tony Johnson to leave.
1995-07-21: BPCS imminent.
The big meeting, Brian McBride, Peter Kitchin, Brad Peiper and a little from Kevin Grodzky. We're going to cut out all of our sales force and offices and use DuPont and Fuji instead (except in a few areas where they don't work). We're going to cut out our service arm, and our finance company (Burnhill). Some cuts in R&D, lots in marketing (mostly going to DuFuji). That was all in a big do in the canteen (us first, admin lot second; also other sessions for Peterborough, EOD, and in the offices, press releases, suppliers, &c). Then split into groups, us with Paul Bruce. 1 in 5 of us, especially in project managers and a little in embedded software. A small increase in analogue engineers. Elsewhere big cuts in platform software, increase in mechie and no change in optics. Main thrust is to be real hardware, not software products. More "professional" developments, such as the imagesetters. To be appraisals to see who fits the remaining roles. Voluntaries solicited as well. They claim generous terms. General gloom of course, especially project managers on non-core projects. All to be over in 30 days. This is costing ~£20M, paid by DuFuji, adding to our debt, though at low interest rate.
1995-08-25: Voluntaries told.
1995-08-31: Redundancies III. A major re-structuring is to occur soon.
Crosfield's revenue is now about £3M per month, and we are expecting (require) ~£10M, so we're pretty desperate.
Presentation from exec, the most significant info for me being that C2000 are going to COSA for customer trials with wheels and rotated rulings (+7.5deg), which to me suggests that we are intending to ship whatever we've got by Jan 1996, not to solve the problems then ship. This is probably sensible. Other theme is that we must get cost out very soon after starting shipping. There are also problems on C2000 with spinner life, and manufacturing quality is still very variable. The single field trial machine is very much liked by the customer. The order backlog is 157. Shipment deadline is 1996-01-06. 4000 also has spinner reliability problems, but the optics module is supposed to be OK now. Film handling also improving. RIP has done lots of jobs and not failed yet. 184 unit backlog on these. 8000 shipments are on hold, problems at all 10 customer sites, software and RIP crashes. Shipping due to re-start 1995-11-25 with 15 more units due this year. 8000CTP has speed problems and lots of redesign is required. Shipments due 1995-11-12, but plate handling specs need to be revised. Field trials OK now (6 units at 2 sites).
Seven sales offices have gone (Italy has legal problems and Sweden has been bought out by management). 122 staff redeployed to Fuji and DuPont, less than expected. £18M debt reduced to £4.7M. But a big cock-up on spares supply, with several customers left with duff kit and no spares. DFEI very disappointed in 1995 financial performance, though admit we're trying hard. Expect Q3: £8M revenue, £10M budget, end 1995 budget £16M, expected £14M last year, forecast £10M. Scitex 5% revenue growth, despite acquisitions, so suggesting declining pre-press profits; their MD left last week; £38M restructuring charge. Linotype-Hell no profit this year and another 300 layoffs. Agfa 1000 layoffs. This Hell problem despite 1000+ Topazes sold. Celsis 6250 doing well (60 in Oct) but entry-level 5250 has no orders yet. CelServe (server product) slipped into December. [Revenue to end Q3 = £82M.
This year forecast revenue £100M, budget was £160M, last year £140M. 1996 business plan not yet agreed. Likely features are development of MRS, 4-page CTP, GTO Celix 2000. We will make better use of space (lose the "odd floor or wing" - eg all admin to move to R&D building). Pulsar has been plundered, but is important. Predicted revenue for 1996 is 25, 28, 27, 30 £M in quarters, £110M total, of this £70M on Celix, £20M service, £20M other. Then Kevin Grodzky did a bit on the need to cut costs, as the market is driving prices -10 to -15%/year, while our costs have been going up. Our cash 'cycled' once per year, this needs to be speeded up. Therefore we need to conserve cash, build confidence in the sales channels and evolve a culture based on quality and low cost. Currently 30% pass rate in factory. Next year's break-even revenue is about £115M. Expect loss this year of ~£50M. Aim for zero loss next year.
Anonymous questions after, submitted on paper. All were answered as he asked if anyone had submitted a question which had not been asked, plus questions from the floor. We will not move to Bedford, we might move into one building, very unlikely to merge us Peterborough.
The company accounts for 31st December 1995 show an annual turnover of £103M, a loss of £35M and £35M debited to reserves. £16M was paid in interest. The directors listed were: B Butt; R P Campkin; P A Culleton (part); J A Forsman (part); K Grodzki (part); A Halker (part); P W Kitchin; B J McBride; H Miyaki (part); T Takahashi (part).
Mon 1996-01-29: Brian McBride leaves.
Exec briefing PM, admitting Brian McBride is leaving (he did not speak, Kevin, Brad Peiper, Peter Kitchin and Ray Campkin did). PK says we should look at PLP and tweak where appropriate, not that Moon's process was/is crap. New bonus scheme is to be introduced paying out on revenue above budget, to be introduced formally after board approval mid February. We're celebrating first C2000 shipment and 4000 to go soon, large backlogs for both. We can't ship all the C6xxx ordered, due to 'supply-chain' problems (and the fact that BPCS still isn't going properly - another 90 days).
1996-02-14: Break-ins at Hemel.
1996-02-28: Bernard Butt leaving, to be replaced by a DuPont man.
Mon 1996-03-04: New incentive scheme.
1996-04-16: Mr Takeshima shadowing Peter Kitchin.
Management briefing, by Kevin only. Dire. For the main products, these are budgeted production; actual production; excess of manufacturing cost over budget:
Excess cost (£k)
Celsis 5000 & 6000
Showed that the new design setters are still not manufacturable. Production system is chaotic. 40% accuracy of inventories, lots of lost production because of missing parts though other parts are stacked up in the canteen - 6 months average inventory. To cap it all, at the end, 10-year awards for 3 people were ready - for 3 people who had them last quarter! It does not bode well.
Management briefing. Basically, we've taken £17M more off DFEI in the first 6 months; in these 6 months shipments were limited by lack of production; for the next 6 months we'll be limited by a lack of orders. Our kit is too expensive and has got a bad name for late delivery and poor reliability. Figures Q2 71% of budgeted output, that's 303 units against 425 budget. "Defects per install" were Celix 2000 1.33; 4000 2.25; 8000 0.10; Celsis 5000/6000 0.26 - these going down and on track. Inventory down £19.9M to £18.3M. Receivables down from 95 to 72 days. Better allocation of costs has INCREASED product costs as follows: Celix 2000 +£1100; 4000 +£600; 8000 +£1k; CTP +£3.1k; 5000/60000 +£2.2k.
Toshi gave a more philosophical presentation, about how we must move to lower cost, higher volume, higher reliability and higher quality; need staff development, change of methods, more 'industrial' R&D and less 'academic'. First time I'd heard him speak. Figures: budget v outlook for whole year: sales revenue £112M v £85M; gross profit £39M v £20M, PBIT £5M v -£14M: cash -£1M v -£23M. Toshi quotes "form over substance" (one of our faults) and "blame culture". Kevin screwed up a written question "can you guarantee no redundancies in 1996 and 1997?".
The DuPont person who visited last week was Chad Halliday, number 2 in DuPont and Kevin says he was impressed by us, esp the spirit of the company in adversity.
Comms meeting. £7M odd loss for first half-year. Chief of purchasing in Peterborough given the boot and Clive Mayne is to sort out the problems. More big throw-outs of R&D lumber between now and August, to squash us into 2 labs rather than 3. Overheads to be 85% of budget only it seems.
1996-07-25: Hell being sold again.
1996-09-11: Paul Bruce leaving.
Thu 1996-10-03: End of matrix.
Crosfield is to disappear on 1997-02-28. A new company, Fujifilm Electronic Imaging (FFEI) will appear and staff will transfer on same conditions. More than 200 redundancies expected between Hemel, Peterborough, MK and Basildon. Name Crosfield will continue on some other company to keep financial and service obligations. DuPont will go. Today starts the 3-month consultation on redundancies. Voluntaries will be accepted first. More news expected this afternoon, after co-chairmen's briefing and later a second departmental manager meeting.
A big presentation from Kevin Grodzky and Toshi Takahashi. Sales so far to the end of November are £68.6M against budget £101.3M, much worse on inventory, better on debtors. Generally the slide continues. Market prices are still dropping and market confidence is low.
Expect ~250 redundancies. Voluntaries start today, until 1997-01-06. Hunter Kane for staff starting next week. Compulsories will be "fair", based on (a) skills, work quality, safety standards; (b) teamwork, flexibility, initiative; (c) work output, meeting objectives; (d) attendance and discipline. If that lot doesn't suffice, length of service will count. Everyone will be notified by 1997-01-15, then 2 weeks opportunity to consider alternative roles. An appeals process will be available The aim is to have everything confirmed by 1997-01-24.
Pension transfer to FFEI will be one for one years of service. Moves to protect balance from stock fluctuation while the present situation lasts.
Lots of homilies about short lifecycle, competitive products, low cost, high quality and reliability. Current problems are low reliability, low channel confidence, lack of market focus, high cost and complex designs. We need efficient organisation, secure finance, motivation, skills, flexibility and small company attitude. Focus Flexibility Efficiency Improvement. All functions will remain. All departments objectives will be reviewed and refocused where necessary. Departmental briefings begin today.
Then Toshi talked about Fujifilm and FFEI. Fujifilm is international, £11G assets, 30k employees (11k at HQ, 1.2k in Holland, 1k in USA, ...) they spend £1M/day on R&D. 71 subsidiaries, 32 in Japan, 39 in 'abroad', 40% sales outside Japan. Sales £6G; profit £404M. Core is imaging and information. Image recording. That covers reproduction, processing, storage. Graphics systems growing, even against the competition of the last few years. Graphics arts films market share ~25%, pre-sensitised plates ~30%. This despite Scitex and Linotype-Hell struggling to survive. Combined marketing of consumables and equipment. Need to integrate Crosfield with Fuji chemistry.
New company FFEI with capital £50M (100% Fuji) starts on 1997-03-01. Will need the same list: high quality, reliability, low cost and short development. The revenue forecast for 1997 is £30-35M, distribution in Europe and Japan. USA and Far East distribution starting now. Eventually 93 countries via Fujifilm consumables network.
Take Takashima gave a rather strange presentation, after a delay to get the electronic projector sorted out. There was a lot about forward engineering and parallelism, that wasn't at all new, or well stated. There was emphasis on modular design, putting new technology in incrementally to speed time to market. Only towards the end did he get onto the new organisation. Basically R&D is in 3 bits: (a) Development (b) New Technology (c) Software. (a) is incremental new products, develop new processes, use new components and technologies to achieve aims, support for factory and field, new CAD and CAE services. (b) major new product developments, DFM &c, reliability improvements, efficient processes. This bit is scanners and AMR (multi-beam recorder). (c) major new programmes, technology, forecasting, new process, DFM &c, a separate function. All these under Takashima with Malcolm Shaw, David Ashby and David Arnold in charge. QA and customer service are now directly under CEO. Achieve quality for customers. Separate from R&D and manufacturing, specified to be independent. Their structure to be simplified and flattened. The cuts, it came out in questions, will leave R&D + QA at about 65% of its current level. Take also had a picture of a frog in a pan of heating water. This purported to show that people will sit in a pickle if it creeps up on them, that they'd run a mile from if it happened suddenly.
It is said that until very recently MK was actively recruiting, even encouraging people to relocate, on the strength of the build plan. It is also said that there was a punch-up at the announcement of 50% losses.
A Seybold report on Hell suggests that, now the Heidelberg take-over has got regulatory approval, the name 'Hell' will disappear - ironic that it's the same time as ours will go.
The company accounts for 31st December 1996 show an annual turnover of £79M, a loss of £67M and £67M debited to reserves. £10M was paid in interest. The directors were: B Butt (part); R P Campkin; K Grodzky; P W Kitchin (part); B J McBride (part) and T Takahashi. The accounts note that in late 2006, in two tranches, about 220M new £1 shares were issued fully paid-up at par to DFEI.
FujiFilm Electronic Imaging took over the remains of Crosfield on 1997-03-01. A shell Crosfield continued to meet liabilities to customers with kit not taken over by FFEI. In Companies House records,
The Crosfield accounts for 31st December 1997 show an annual turnover of £20M, a loss of £2.7M and £2.7M debited to reserves. £822k was paid in interest. The directors were: R A Attanasio (part); R P Campkin (part); K Grodzky (part); W Weichert (part); T Takahashi. The accounts note: "On 1 March 1997 a significant part of the business and certain assets (stocks and fixed assets) were acquired by FUJIFILM Electronic Imaging Limited (a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co Ltd) for a consideration of £10.5M, being the net asset value of the assets transferred. In view of this disposal, remaining assets have been restated to their net realisable values and the company has commenced the winding down of its operations".
Crosfield Electronics Ltd was dissolved on 2004-11-03.
Figures from accounts filed at Companies House and noted from MD briefings:
There were many companies associated with Crosfield over the years. What follows is the result of a little delving at Companies House.
The final Crosfield Electronics Ltd appears to be the original Westwood Instruments Ltd:
J F Crosfield Ltd (?)
Crosfield Electronics Ltd
Westwood Instruments Ltd
Crosfield Electronics (USA) Ltd
Crosfield Electronics Ltd
There was an independent company Burnhill Equipment Finance Limited (1878012) which provided finance to buyers of Crosfield equipment. It was formed on 1985-01-16 as Silverwhite Limited, name changed 1985-08-19 to Burnhill Equipment Finance Limited. As of 2016-03-14 it was still active as a subsidiary of the General Electric Company. Unlike most of the companies that were registered at Three Cherry Trees Lane this one was was registered at Hemtech House (until 1995-12-22).
Du Pont & Fujifilm Electronic Imaging Limited (2306310) (DFEI) was formed on 1988-10-18 as Intercede 637 Limited, name changed 1989-03-10 to Du Pont Fuji Film Electronic Imaging Limited, name changed 1989-09-05 to Du Pont Fujifilm Electronic Imaging Systems Limited, name changed 1989-09-21 to Du Pont & Fujifilm Electronic Imaging Limited, dissolved 2005-05-04.
In 1995 DFEI had 1273 employees, 1005 of them in the UK. The 1995 accounts show around £200M total owed to the ultimate shareholders in one form or another, loans at LIBOR + 3/8%, in 1995 some of that was converted to equity.
Dissolved and previous names search for related companies at Companies House:
CROSFIELD BUSINESS MACHINES LIMITED
CROSFIELD COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED
Dormant by 1993
CROSFIELD COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS LIMITED
Incorp 1960-08-18 as ADDISON CHEMICAL LIMITED
Reamed 1976-10-01 to MUIRHEAD DATA COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED
Renamed 1986-07-01 to CROSFIELD MUIRHEAD LIMITED
Renamed 1987-08-12 to CROSFIELD COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS LIMITED
Dormant by 1990
CROSFIELD (DC) LIMITED
Incorp 1982-07-13 as HACKREMCO (NO.79) LIMITED
Renamed 1982-09-02 as DICOMED (U.K.) LIMITED
Renamed 1988-02-19 as CROSFIELD DICOMED LIMITED
Renamed 1998-10-16 as CROSFIELD (DC) LIMITED
Dormant by 1995
CROSFIELD GRAPHIC EQUIPMENT LIMITED
CROSFIELD INVESTMENTS LIMITED
CROSFIELD PENSION FUND INVESTMENTS LIMITED
CROSFIELD SALES (U.K.) LIMITED
Dormant by 1995
HCR REALISATIONS LIMITED
Incorp 1986-04-07 as HEAVYCHARGE LIMITED
Renamed 1986-07-23 to MARK ONE HOLOGRAPHICS LIMITED
Renamed 1990-01-30 to CROSFIELD PRESS CONTROLS LIMITED
Renamed 1991-03-08 to HARLAND CROSFIELD LIMITED
Renamed 1992-11-27 to HCR REALISATIONS LIMITED
Receiver from 1995
ZOOM PORTRAITS LIMITED
Incorp 1999-09-10 as CROSFIELD PRESSTECH LIMITED
Renamed 2004-01026 to ZOOM PORTRAITS LIMITED
ELECTRO-OPTICS DEVELOPMENT LIMITED
CHELGRAPH PRODUCTS LIMITED