Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Applause for Massy

 Despite its July 2014 name change, the mighty conglomerate formerly known as Neal & Massy is not claiming to have been born again. 

 The business powerhouse that has just presented its brands to the world in the new name of Massy is undergoing a transition in both name and nature. Moving with times that favour shorter and more uncomplicated nomenclature, the corporation has acknowledged a popular short-form reference to “Massy”. However, Henry Neal, half of the two-man team who founded the company 90 years ago, has not been forgotten, with the old “N&M” signature being retained in the new logo. 

 So the corporate leadership today known as Massy has not lightly discarded the proven value of its tried and true brands, such as the Hi  Lo chain of groceries. Instead, the conglomerate is attempting to streamline its varied operations in order to be economically leaner while at the same time providing broader service to its present and future clientele.

Promoting a Massy “ecosystem”, the corporation appears to be giving intriguing new meaning to one-stop shopping, by which customers are offered various related and supporting services made available to them through literally buying into the Massy group. 

This initiative has already aroused some controversy, as change always tends to do, moreso since Massy is a significant contributor to the national and regional economy in terms of employment and revenue generation. While it may be generally true that what isn’t broken need not be fixed, it is even truer that, in this fast-changing world, the business that does not fix in advance may find itself broken by unexpected and unpredictable developments.

The name change is only cosmetic, with the real changes having to do with the institutional structures and corporate culture that are intended to make the corporation better able to withstand and transcend the financial vagaries of a commodity-based national economy.

 Presumably, a business as diversified, entrenched and deeply invested as Neal & Massy would not have embarked on this adventure without requisite research, consultation and other planning. Corporation president Gervase Warner and his board  can therefore be described as visionaries in taking the group forward, though only time will tell how wise or otherwise their decisions are. Indeed, to introduce such far-reaching changes even as the debacles of CL Financial and the lesser Hindu Credit Union remain fresh in the public mind bespeaks a noteworthy confidence on the part of the directors of the Massy Group.

 If nothing else, therefore, Massy must be seen as defying an entrenched Trinidad and Tobago business reputation for being risk averse. In this respect, for the self-confidence and daring shown in this show-stopping rebranding exercise, Massy eminently deserves a regional round of applause.