Guess the "Turnaround Company": Activity Corner; V2 Issue 3

Guess the ‘Turnaround Company’

There could well be a million ways that a company's profitability graph can take a down swing and it can fall in the red. The introduction of new competitors could change the commercial landscape. Fresh business processes mayhave bypassed standard industry operating procedures. Acquired units might have failed to integrate effectively. Executives could have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. No matter the reason, the turnaround is a catch-all phrase that captures what usually happens next, a term that mostly signals that there is light at the end of the tunnel. A decent chance that corporate leaders can right past wrongs and brighten dim-looking futures.

Guess which ‘turnaround’ organisations are featured in the clues below:

  1. This Car Company's growth became stagnant and it moved into a low-market situation in 1982 after its Chairman’s departure. The turnaround centred on a four-year planning and production program for their "European-like" Taurus mid-market line of cars, which eventually won "car-of-the-year" accolades.

  2. Restructuring the company by laying off workers and eliminating management jobs, the CEO redirected the productive thrust from electrical manufacturing to high technology, eliminating or selling businesses such as house wares, developing such others as plastics, medical imaging and financial services, and seeking "integrated diversity" by acquiring companies, notably RCA in 1985 for $6.28 billion in cash.

  3. Since the 1880s, this organisation has been a name synonymous with photography. But in the 1980s this corporation faced unprecedented challenges from competitors. For the first time, they failed to meet their profit goals and faced a do-or-die situation. Team Zebra succeeded not through new technologies, but through a new commitment to their inner resources that unleashed creativity, risk-taking, teamwork, and excellence. It pulled off "the turnaround of the decade" and reminds us that the power to succeed lies within our people and the way in which they're inspired, motivated, and included.

  4. Exclusively patented copying machine fell monumentally behind world competition by early 1980. However due to it’s strong leadership and a successfully executed program of product and service quality, it became "the first major American company targeted by the Japanese to regain market share from them." A strategy that contributed to their resurrection was introducing quality based on customer satisfaction and an unusual manufacturing and marketing concept.  The company slashed assembly costs by almost 50% while doubling output and improving performance using innovative production techniques and greater receptivity to new ideas.

  5. The basic plank of the turnaround of this Indian public service transportation enterprise was its shift towards market orientation and customer focus.  Some of the strategies adoptedto control costs were retrenchment, improving efficiencies, outsourcing and technology upgradations, non-politicizing of the decision making process which turned around this organisation from loss to profitability.

  6. This Indian beverages company used debt restructuring to reduce interest costs and injected funds where possible to replace high cost debt.  It also acquired a firm with global retailing operations that were complementary to its domestic operations and therefore succeeded in steering the organisation towards profitability.

  7. Acquiring the commercial vehicles unit of a bankrupt Korean firm, and enhancing its product portfolio this Indian company’s net profit zoomed to 163% when it was able to profitably use Korea as a base for exports to the Asian markets.

  8. This Indian auto components maker acquired a loss making European re-manufactured engines firm and turned it around with better cost controls.  Its main aim was to get hold of order books and then shift production to India to bring about cost economies.


  1. Ford Motor Company
  2. General Electric Corporation
  3. Kodak
  4. Xerox
  5. Indian Railways
  6. Tata Tea (acquired Tetley)
  7. Tata Motors (acquired Daewoo commercial vehicles unit)
  8. Continental Engines (acquired ATK Vege Motors, Europe)