5/9/14: Stories and Strategies from Real Life

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Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are about Huawei, Information Systems Resources, Porch.com, Quaker Chemical, and crowdsourcing in the food industry.

From Wharton: Huawei Aims High, Despite Obstacles to Growth

“Huawei is likely one of the least-known of China’s growing fleet of large multinational corporations — but it’s aiming to get much bigger in the coming few years. The global telecommunications equipment maker, which is based in the southern Chinese industrial city of Shenzhen, has gradually expanded its reach — first as a supplier of networking infrastructure to developing markets and most recently as a maker of smartphones — to become the second-biggest telecom equipment maker in the world. The company’s biggest claim to fame may be the uproar that ensued when it attempted to buy server technology firm 3Leaf Systems in the U.S. in 2011. Huawei ultimately abandoned the acquisition after a U.S. government panel moved to block the deal on national security grounds.”

From JC Reindl: Electronic components are recycled and refurbished at Information Systems Resources

“Computers grow obsolete, screens get flatter and cellphones feel out-of-date after a new model’s release. When electronics outlive their usefulness, it may be tempting to simply throw them in the trash. Dearborn-based Information Systems Resources is in the business of recycling those devices to keep them out of landfills.”

From John Ewoldt: Hardware stores create their own Angie’s List

“Both Lowe’s and Home Depot actively tout their contractor installation programs. Each offers subcontractors on 25 to 50 projects such as water heater replacement. Menards has a more informal program where it displays a few dozen contractors’ business cards. And now Lowe’s has gone a step further by partnering with home improvement startup Porch.com to provide consumer access to 1.5 million professionals and 100 million projects around the country in all of its 1,700 stores. ‘It’s a combination of Angie’s List, review sites and Pinterest, ‘ said Matt Ehrlichman, CEO of Porch.com, ‘a LinkedIn for the home.'”

From Chris Hepp: Quaker Chemical’s winning game plan

“Quaker Chemical Corp. doesn’t swing for the fences. No, the Conshohocken-based specialty chemical-maker likes to play small ball – watching costs, stressing customer service, making key acquisitions – to keep its balance sheet with a positive tilt.”

From Chief Executive: Food Makers Explore Crowdsourcing Through Social Media

“Is crowdsourcing the new front line for demand-driven manufacturing? Foodmanufacturing.com editor Holly Henschen reports that food processors are trying to use social media to identify new product formulations and hopefully boost new customers and advertisers.”

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