E-Mail Management: Avoid PepsiCo's Mistake

Lora Bentley

After two days of telecommuting this week, I returned this morning to an inbox brimming with messages. Messages that I hadn't thought needed my attention yesterday, and that I really didn't want to deal with this morning, either. Most of them were pitches for this product or that conference, or hey, here's a press release announcing the latest and greatest in the world of storage solutions/PCI compliance software/e-discovery helps (take your pick).


I use a lot of releases as starting points for blog posts, sure, but I didn't want to wade through them at 8 a.m. I skimmed the list and actually read the few from recognized senders and those with subject lines that really grabbed my attention, knowing that the rest would be there later. We all have similar routines, whether we're dealing with e-mail or snail mail. But if we're not careful, we can still miss things. Sometimes important things.


A secretary at PepsiCo is learning this lesson the hard way right now. According to MSN Money's Market Dispatches blog, Kathy Henry received a letter around Sept. 18 alerting her boss that the company was being sued for allegedly stealing trade secrets from two entrepreneurs. But Henry put the letter aside because she was busy on a more immediate project, and she didn't remember it until she got another notice. This one said the plaintiffs were seeking a default judgment against PepsiCo. Then, Henry remembered the first letter and sent both to her boss.


On Sept. 30, a default judgment was entered in the amount of $1.26 billion. PepsiCo is asking the court not to enforce the judgment, of course. I know nothing about the case other than what I've read, so I can't say whether the judgment will stick. But even if it doesn't, at the very least, proper handling of the first notice would have saved the company the legal expenses associated with asking the court not to enforce the judgment.


Document management, or more specifically, e-mail management, is important. Done properly, it can save a company a bundle. Done poorly, or not at all, it could cost a great deal more -- in both dollars and reputation.

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