Bananas and PCs - What HP learned from Dole
Bill Gates is reputed to have said that "Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana." At least one company appears to be taking that message quite literally.
It sounds almost like a joke, but today an executive of a consulting firm mentioned to me that the head of Hewlett-Packard's PC division took his managers to visit Dole. He figured they could learn something about inventory management, given that PCs have the same shelf life as bananas.
The metaphor only goes so far, however, since bananas are only bundled with other bananas. HP, on the other hand, was considering bundling PCs with printers at no additional cost, hoping to make up for the cost through the future sale of consumables. As a printer manufacturer, HP has as much in common with Gilette's razor blades as it does with Dole's bananas.