HP Inc. 3D Printing Division is a Safe Zone But 3,000 Other Layoffs to Progress Much Faster than Anticipated


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uselogoYears ago, if you worked for one of the big companies like HP, you held an enviable position career-wise and were perceived to have accomplished not only landing a great job, but also security—along with the requisite house, two cars, and a nice green lawn with perfect shrubs.

As we all know, the days of retiring at a predictable 65 with your party and a gold watch seem to be a thing of the past—and while the idea of retirement in itself seems to be something many of us eschew as we live longer, are more engaged in fitness, and starting businesses left and right at any age, it’s certainly better to be able to choose what you want to do, rather than being part of a mass pink-slip horror. Unfortunately, this is part of living in today’s corporate world, and while HP employees may have had a heads up—along everyone else—regarding layoffs of up to 3,000 more workers–they may be surprised to know that the timeline has now been moved up. Rather than allowing for the several thousand to make an exodus over the next three years, word is that jobs are being cut much fast than previously anticipated, and instead of only 1,200 jobs being moved out this year, all 3,000 will be.

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Dion Weisler

This is just part of an ongoing stream of employees who have lost their jobs recently, with 400 employees already out the door in the first quarter due to a restructuring program announced early last fall.

“I believe there may be even more opportunity to reduce costs and streamline processes and we will share details when finalized,” said Dion Weisler, president and chief executive of HP Inc.

Even more interesting is that just as many have wondered if 3D printing is going to be a saving grace for the company, it may also serve as just that for many employees working in that new capacity for the company, with those positions being viewed as more essential. As jobs are being cut to lower expenses in what are considered currently to be ‘non-revenue-generating’ areas, it is indeed thought that with investors looking toward HP Inc.’s ventures into new technology such as 3D printing, perhaps those areas will be spared.

Catherine Lesjak, CFO, has explained current restructuring plans as being able to save the company $300 million in cutting personnel not related to areas of strategic growth, which are indeed specifically pointed out to include 3D printing.

With a dour PC market, HP has made it clear that they do see their new foray as the most promising direction to go in for potential future successes, sparking vague rumors last year that they might purchase companies like Stratasys, whose financials have been less than stellar lately, and fraught with the instability of their subsidiary, MakerBot—also a big fan recently of the mass employee layoff, meant to restore economic equilibrium.

Even as HP Inc. was able to meet Wall Street’s expectations, perhaps surprisingly to many, in the first quarter—their financial outlook is still not particularly enticing. The PC end was down in sales by 13%, notebook units were down 8%, and desktop sales down by 13%. The company has stated that it does project that these declines will begin to balance out more positively in the near future.

“We are actually in a very nice position,” said CFO Lesjak. “That may be different than some of our competitors out there, where we’re hearing that there’s still a fair amount of channel inventory.”

The challenges do seem continue to pile up however as their biggest income producer, supplies and ink sales, was down by a significant 17% and 14%, respectively. It’s not surprising that these areas are experiencing a decline, as with the PC market, as consumers are quite simply doing things differently today, from the virtual elimination of photo printing to most deciding to buy smartphones and tablets instead of shiny new PCs. While HP execs project that this will stabilize, that’s questionable too, looking at a pretty long decline overall in recent years,

3dp_hp3dprinting_printerSo, while many 3D printing titans have their own challenges, HP still sees the technology as being a major plus in their future, pinning their hopes on technology which has not been released yet, in the form of their multi jet fusion technology. According to Weisler, the company currently possesses has ‘ground-breaking disruptive technology.’

“We look forward to unveiling it at the appropriate time,” he said.

HP’s corporate business, now called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, will report its results on March 3, and as the time draws closer and closer to the release of HP Inc.’s new 3D printing technology, competition only grows fiercer in the marketplace with releases of new products on every level being released nearly daily, it would seem. While many are skeptical about what HP will bring forth, their interest and investment in 3D printing certainly brings even further validity to the technology itself. Do you think 3D Printing will be HP’s saviour? Discuss in the HP Lays off Many, But Not 3D Printing Staff forum over at 3DPB.com.

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