Fortune 500 Companies and the Jo Anne Effect : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I've been on the net all night researching the Fortune 500 and when their fiscal years begin. I found 28 companies in the 500 whose fiscal year ends January 31st, and that'll rollover into their new fiscal year in February of 1999.

These are those BIG companies that are supposed to have the resources and awareness to take care of Y2K. They're the kind of companies we hear about that should have remediation done by December 31, 1998 to allow a year for testing in 1999.

Will they be ready by February of 1999? Here are the 28:



J. C. Penny

Dayton Hudson (they own Target)

Home Depot

American Stores

Federated Department Stores


May Department Stores

Dell Computer

Toys "R" Us


The Limited

The TJX Companies

Tech Data


Venator Group (formerly Woolworth)

The Gap

Fred Meyer



Consolidated Stores


Saks (formerly Proffitt's)

BJ's Wholesale Club


Longs Drug Stores

Barnes & Noble

I'm going to be watching the news on these companies VERY closely this coming February.....

-- Kevin (, November 07, 1998



Thanks for the great job! I appreciate the effort you have put in. Now I don't have to do it. ;-)

Best regards,


-- Anna McKay Ginn (, November 07, 1998.

Good post, Kevin.

Now if each one of us picks a company from this list and searches for puzzle pieces, then reports back, we just might have a bigger picture. Sign me up for Barnes & Noble.


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 07, 1998.

Sign me up for Dayton Hudson (Father owns stock in it so I may have a little more access, not much, but some)


-- Rick Tansun (, November 07, 1998.

I'm pretty ignorant about fiscal years. Can someone explain how a rollover to 1999-2000 is going to cause problems?


-- Jim (, November 07, 1998.

Here is the basic idea. The problem happens with 2 digit years and the start of the fiscal year + 1 year is in 2000. Lets say fical year start feb 1, and there is a transaction of feb 5. The first question the computer asks is: Is this in the current fiscal year? It says year if 2 questions answer yes: is the current date after the end of the last fiscal year (i.e. is 2/5/99 after 1/31/99)? Answer: yes, next question: is the current date before the first day of the next fiscal year? (i.e. is 2/5/99 less than 1/31/00)? Answer NO because of stupid 2 year arithmetic. If the quesiton was is 2/5/1999 less than 1/31/2000 then the answer would have been correct, YES.

Thus the computer thinks that all current transactions are not part of the current fiscal year. They are thrown in the electronic trash as "not useful". At some point, some nerd will notice that there have been no sales in the current fiscal year even though the loading dock has been busy for the past few weeks. Meanwhile the computer has not been billing or doing anything with these transactions. So we have a major I.T. failure without the obviousness of a power grid failure. And it all starts in early 1999.

-- David Holladay (, November 07, 1998.

Thanks David! I get it! I am very much in tune with what can happen on January 1, 2000, but I didn't realize that the fiscal setup actually looks 1 year into the future for a reference point. Now I understand why this mess will begin to occur much sooner. In a way, it may actually serve to lessen the shock, like an advance tremor before the major quake.

Thanks again!

-- Jim (, November 07, 1998.

I'll take Albertson's. My brother-in-law works in the Boise home office. He has said that their computers are compliant. Guess we'll see huh?! Albertsons recently bought a chain of grocery stores because that chain could not afford to fix their computers. I wonder how many of the really big companies are "buying" up the smaller ones because of this. I've often wondered why Chase Bank is aquiring (sp Gayla?) alot of the banks in the Houston area & I would guess other places also.

-- Donna in Texas (, November 07, 1998.

These Jo-Anne Effect problems begin in three months. They may not be apparent immediately, but it shouldn't take long.

How likely is it that any of these outfits will jump in and remediate this in time? Meaning, Find the code, Fix it, Test it.

Seems like they're all good bets for put options 2nd Q. 1999.

-- Tom Carey (, November 08, 1998.

"How likely is it that any of these outfits will jump in and remediate this in time? Meaning, Find the code, Fix it, Test it. "

We also have no proof though that they haven't remediated this and tested it.


-- Rick Tansun (, November 08, 1998.

If anybody would like to track fiscal year rollover issues as 1999 unfolds, here are the two sources I used--

Fortune 500 List

Hoover's Online

-- Kevin (, November 08, 1998.

I work at OfficeMax. Any tips on what to ask or how to check for Y2K preparedness?

-- John Smith (, November 08, 1998.

I'll take Wal-Mart.


-- Anna McKay Ginn (, November 08, 1998.

Albertson's bought Lucky Food Stores. They shut down Albertson's here and kept Lucky's store open, and kept the Lucky's name. I don't trust that any of the above mentioned businesses are Y2K complaint. And even if they were, their suppliers probably aren't. So what good is a business if they don't have anything sell? I believe we will start seeing shortages and runs on banks and stores sonner than some may think.

-- bardou (, November 13, 1998.

John Smith (ref Office Max)

1. First, go thank your collecting group for me for tracking down and correcting a 2 year cancelled check that had failed to clear my bank when my wife's purse was stolen in 1996.

2. Start casually - unless you can get an okay from your boss to "...take a couple hours and check the PC's in our office for Y2K compliance. I've found that many applications we might be running will fail, and want to give you a heads-up on what to do."

That will get you some level of permission to check things - and then follow the threads - look through your process of your work: everybody's job involves in some manner or another a process: you get something from somebody who did something to a product (or to information) -> you do soemthing to it using a process -> you pass that something (revised or approved or updated or built or taken apart or improved) to soembody else who will do something else to it.

Where does the input for your job come from?

Who does it? Have they checked their process and its compliance?

What do they use? Will it work? What if it (their process) fails or slows down (has to be done manually)? Can you do your job if their process fails?

What do you require to work? Power, lights, network, PC, hands, tools, packing paper, reservation system, Internet, company mainframe, trucks, gas, inventory reports, inventory lists, forklifts, more people, coffe pot, creamer, sugar?

Will you have those? Can you get by with substitutes? Can you use a brown bag lunch rather than microwave? Can you use instant coffee? How long can you survive with no updates nationally in your process? Can local stores call-in orders? What if the telephones are down? Can they Internet their needs, if that works? Who knows Morse code? Who knows smoke signals?

Assume you've checked your own process, now check (politely, you don't want to step on toes outside your cubical) the downstream process.

Now, think about what you've found - nobody else can do that for you - and get a short report back to your boss. If TSHTF (meaning in your opinion, the company will fold - you can either work to improve things, work to minimize damage, or work so you're extremely valuable and not one of those cut when they can't pay salaries in Jan/Feb/Mar 2000.

If your boss fails at his job - he/she/it hides your info, then you have begun an ehtical dilema - quit now or be laid off then?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 13, 1998.

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