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Matt Nuccio. "Europe Versus the U.S.A."

Toy & Family Entertainment, Oct. 2011

I’m currently sitting on a plane heading back from a successful business trip to Europe. It was a quick trip full of trains, planes and automobiles. Although I am exhausted I thought I’d take a moment to jot down my impressions while they are still fresh in my mind.

Overall I must say I am impressed by the way the Europeans run their toy businesses. They are well organized "clean and mean" machines. We can certainly learn from their business methodology. While the Europeans import a fair share of their goods from the Orient, they have not completely given up their domestic operations. That’s what works for them. They are great planners and take the time to map out product programs and take the time to really study the market, right control their sales and product inventories. They are very structured. Everything is neat and focused. Toy companies there are concerned about the ecological environment and the welfare of their staff. These protocols give European toy makers the appearance of being much more business like, professional and socially conscious in contrast to the entrepreneurial thing that we got going on here.

On the other hand, there is something to be said about the American toy industries way of conducting business. Our “less structured” companies react quicker to new themes, trends and fashions. We also react to the "Get it done now" and "We need it on our desk tomorrow" school of thought. Americans can spin around fast and that is a powerful virtue when it comes to rushing new product to market, but it can also be the cause of nervous tics and hair loss amongst American toy company staffs.

When I thought about this on my flight home I realized that there were two schools of thought involved and they both had advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion the Europeans have it over us on these points, Structure, Ecology and Social Awareness. We have it over them on Speed, Recognizing trends and exploiting them. That’s three to three. A tie! But then I thought the ideal would be to meld both types of business models together. After all, both continents have been learning from each other for over three hundred years.

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