Local Employers Levi Strauss & NUMMI
Original post made by Paul Losch on Jul 13, 2009
I do see a connection. Both at their core are "creative" companies, and create value because they attract and foster creativity in their work forces.
Neither is a high tech Silicon Valley type company where creativity is highly sought, but both are among the most creative in their respective markets, both of which date back to the 1800's.
This part of the world is very good at fostering innovation, and sometimes we forget that it is not just IT related.
It is not clear just what will happen with NUMMI, but since it became a joint venture inherited from GM, it is a very profitable and successful auto plant. Whether that is enough for Toyota to fully take it over remains to be seen. Nearly 5,000 people work there.
Much of Levi's production is now off-shore. I am of the opinion that "off-shoring" creativity in a brand like Levi's is a more daungting and risky challenge, and I am glad that Levi's management came to a similar conclusion, and will remain here, and attract the types of creative minds which endow the Bay Area.
on Jul 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm
I happen to know a real insider with Levi's. He said the company was driven into a hole by a focus on PC nonsense, rammed through their HR department. Instead of focusing on emerging market demands, like functional multi-pocketed apparel, they focused on affirmative action promotions, womens' rights, diversity, health care enhancements. He has told me that managers were completely distracted with PC stuff. All this happened in San Francisco. If Levi's had been HQ'd overseas, Levi's would probably be in much better shape. So much for your "creativity" arguments in the Bay Area.
on Jul 13, 2009 at 7:05 pm
Levi's is keeping its lease in SF on a very good deal from desperate landlords and a tax break from SF, the mayor was also desperate to keep them in SF for his own political future.
SF is part of Levi's brand and has only the corporate staff.
SF has lost 100,000 jobs in the last 8 years and is a very difficult place to do business, Palo Alto is becoming a very difficult place to do business also, more companies are moving to MV and MP.
The old corporate headquarters of Agilent on Page Mill/Park is still vacant, I guess Google did the math and passed on it.
on Jul 15, 2009 at 7:29 am
Actually no. NUMMI has only been profitable 1 year (1992).
Bloomberg story: "Nummi, the only large auto-assembly plant on North America's West Coast, has the capacity to make 420,000 cars and pickups each year. It only made money in 1992, the result of California's taxes and labor and pollution rules, as well as the plant's UAW contracts, according to an estimate by Tokyo-based Credit Suisse Group AG analyst Koji Endo."