(left), interim president and general manager of Omnet Technology Corp. and Thomas DePetrillo, Omnet's co-owner, are collaborating on writing the next part of Omnet's story.
Instead of making a large profit on one item, DiBenedetto
says, the company seeks to make a modest profit on several items, such as the CD, its packaging, its collateral sales material and its shipping services.Omnet Technology's customers are software publishers and recording companies, which often deal with several other CD manufacturers besides Omnet Technology -- a common situation in a business where few customers give all their work to one supplier.Through its 4CDs Corp. unit, which also filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last November as an Omni subsidiary, Omnet Technology also resells CDs and CD-ROMs for software publishers through its Web page.
is not new to Omnet Technology.He
was hired as general manager of Omni Resources -- which also filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last November -- by Omni Multimedia's former management in 1996.A graduate of WPI in Worcester and a 17-year veteran of Maynard-based Digital Equipment Corp., where his
last post was as director of the VAX and Alpha divisions, he
seems to have learned many lessons from Digital's troubled years.He
appears to be a caring, considerate person, but one who also knows how to get people to respond quickly.You have to make change happen rather than have it imposed on you, he
To lower expenses at Omnet Technology, DiBenedetto
had to trim almost 100 jobs.To solve production problems, he
had to reassign and/or retrain people, many of whom had worked at Omni Multimedia for years.To get customers back, he
be had to promote the mindset among employees that Omni Multimedia be not so much a manufacturing as a service company.Different departments had to learn to work interactively rather than separately and more employees had to learn to work directly with customers.DiBenedetto
has apparently succeeded in taking over after the March 10 resignations of three top Omni Multimedia leaders, at the request of the DePetrillo investor group.
A listener gets the impression that DiBenedetto
would rather build bridges than burn them.
admits it took many months for him to get the company's former managers to accept his
ideas about solving the production problems which had put the company into crisis mode as it changed the focus of its business.
A service economy
Because the life of software products can be as short as six months, and because many applications are customized for a small market, there are no long-term contracts in the software manufacturing industry.However, the Omni Multimedia/Omnet Technology customers with whom we spoke say they have stuck with the company because it has been very good at building relationships over the course of many projects.
One of them is Expert Software Inc., a software publishing firm based in Coral Gables, Florida, with $ 33 million in 1997 revenues.
says the primary industry change he
be seen is continued pressure from software publishers on CD manufacturers to reduce cost, in part because of pressure on software publishers themselves to reduce their pricing.As they fight for shelf space, he
says, they seek to drive down distribution costs to make their operations more profitable.Software is becoming a commodity, he
says, adding that Omnet Technology managers have to look at the simplest way to satisfy clients.We have to be invisible to them, he
says.We can not be [ an ] issue [ for them ] ..
, Interim President and General Manager