How Could Have RadioShack Been Saved?

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By Jacob Maslow

Radio Shack in strip mall
Washington DC, USA-February 4, 2015; This RadioShack electronics store was spotted in Tenleytown of Northwest Washington DC on Wisconsin Avenue. It is having a clearance sale to get rid of inventory in order to get ready for bankruptcy. RadioShack plans to close 4000 stores and sell leases for 2000 stores to Sprint Corp. and Standard General.

RadioShack is one of the most iconic names in consumer electronics. If you have ever put together an electronic gadget in the past or ever been interested in shortwave radio, you would have been familiar with RadioShack. In the mobile age, RadioShack seems like a relic from the distant past. However, if you grew up in the 70s, 80s or 90s, RadioShack was a big name among hobbyists.

There are a lot of Americans with fond memories of stopping by their neighborhood RadioShack store to pick up supplies for a science project or a device they are putting together in their garage. I can’t imagine Steve Jobs not stopping by a RadioShack or an electronics supply store for parts. There is just something about RadioShack that brings to mind the image of a would-be inventor working on the next revolutionary electronic device in his/her garage.

Well, now that RadioShack has officially filed for bankruptcy, the question turns to whether or not RadioShack could have been saved at all. It is not like the leadership of RadioShack didn’t see that their company was in trouble. RadioShack had been teetering on bankruptcy for a long time. Perhaps with a little bit stronger leadership and more forward planning, RadioShack could have been saved. How could it have been saved? It could have done many things.

First, it could have become effectively a foreign company with an American name. There are many large electronics brands that effectively outsource their manufacturing overseas. This could have reduced RadioShack’s overhead. However, this is just part of the solution. The other solution requires shutting down RadioShack’s storefronts and converting to a purely online operation. Keep in mind that, as wide as Amazon’s reach is, RadioShack had a solid brand when it came to electronic supplies. It could have easily created a niche for itself online as the premier destination for electronic parts.

Moving operations online and then servicing the supply channels through a vast network of international suppliers could have reduced cost overall. It also would have made RadioShack a faster, nimbler, and more effective competitor. As the old saying goes, “Hindsight is always 20/20.” So long, RadioShack.

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos

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