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Case Studies by V. (Paddy) Padmanabhan

8 case studies

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Abstract:
The case focuses on the challenges facing Arenga Rainforest Sugar, a non-profit organization in Indonesia, as it re-thinks its business model. The product (rainforest sugar) supports sustainable agriculture, unlike traditional plantation-driven models (for palm oil and rubber). In response to growing demand in developed markets for sustainable food products, senior management is keen to deploy the new business model across all aspects of the business. The case describes the context, current strategy, operations and financials. It allow for a forward-looking analysis (less common than ‘with hindsight’) where students assess the current context and recommend strategies with actionable plans. The multi-disciplinary approach brings in issues related to strategy, building a new supply chain and distribution model, creating new brand and product categories, adopting a results-oriented marketing and pricing model or implementing a sound operational model while supporting rainforest conservation.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This is potentially a “capstone” case for many courses, where students apply the learning from the course to develop recommendations going forward (strategies with actionable plans). For example, at the end of a course on distribution channels, students need to conceptualize a distribution plan that allows the company to capture more value (most of which is currently captured by retailers).

Keywords:
Strategy, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Operations, Marketing, Branding, Business Model Innovation, Cost Structure Analysis, Social Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, Alleviate Poverty, Economic Growth, Responsible Production, Pricing

published: 24 Jul 2017

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Cosmetics and other toilet preparations
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
In 2013, Victoria Murtazina, Senior Global Brand Director at Unilever, is preparing a team meeting to launch the first truly innovative packaging in the deodorant category for decades - “compressed” technology – as a way to reduce the carbon footprint of aerosol deodorants without undermining product quality or user habits. The new deodorant is half the size of the regular 150ml format, with 50% less propellant gas than traditional aerosol deodorants, a can that uses 25% less aluminium, and significantly softer on the skin. Market research has revealed high consumer preference for attributes such as overall effectiveness, odour control, wetness control, as well as appreciation for the environmental benefits of the smaller format. However, a certain inertia among consumers exposed to marketing collateral suggests that negative perceptions need to be addressed.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case gives students the opportunity to view the challenges faced by companies with regards to innovation in product categories characterized by very low consumer involvement. It also provides an opportunity to analyze the challenges posed in trying to use “sustainability” as a driver of behavioral change and creation of competitive advantage. The core assignment is to create a new product introduction strategy for Unilever in launching the new range of “compressed” deodorants across the UK and France. Students must develop a launch plan based on their understanding of the very different dynamics of these two markets, which display major variations in customer preferences, channel characteristics and competitive landscape.

Keywords:
New Product Introduction, Sustainability, Marketing, Strategy, Fmcg, Positioning, Advertising, Pricing, Promotion, Global Marketing

published: 26 Jun 2017

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Computer Systems Design Services
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
Promoted to manager of the Studio Cloud Tech government vertical commercial sales force in EMEA (covering North-Central Europe, Eastern-Southern Europe, Germany, France, Britain, Africa, Arab Nations and the Middle East), Sam Hanover is moving to London from his position as product manager at the cloud products division in Seattle. According to the outgoing manager, EMEA has the potential to be the top region in the government vertical. Looking over the data he has been given about the territory and individual sales reps, Sam suspects that it is not pulling its weight. How can he turn around the performance of the salesforce in EMEA?

Pedagogical Objectives:
The Studio Cloud Tech EMEA case provides students with a real-world salesforce challenge that requires careful analysis and disciplined execution of all aspects of a sales manager’s responsibilities – hiring, training, deployment, evaluation and motivation. It provides students with the opportunity to develop actionable salesforce management diagnostics by analyzing qualitative as well as quantitative data. The case context surfaces many contemporary management challenges and issues, such as growing business across developed and developing economies and leading a diverse workforce.

Keywords:
Salesforce Management, Distribution, Middle East, Africa, Marketing, Salesforce Analytics, Regression Analysis, Analytics, Europe, Emerging Markets, Developing Economies, Salesforce Performance, Motivation

published: 24 Mar 2016

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Conglomerate
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
The case describes the problem faced by Jebsen & Jessen, South East Asia (J&J SEA), when a long-time supplier from Europe decides to take back the distribution rights for the region and distribute their products directly to their customers. J&J therefore needs to look for other suppliers of forklift trucks. It can either revert to potential European clients or move with the times and leverage on cheaper Chinese suppliers coming into the market.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The objective of the case is to help students understand the challenges of a distribution business, particularly in a diverse market like ASEAN, and the lessons learnt about picking the right type of supplier to represent. The case highlights the uneasy balance of having a well-known name to represent that is easier to sell to end-customers, and the lower bargaining power that the distributor has. It points out how an enterprising company can move up the value chain from doing purely distribution alone, to manufacturing and engineering. It also shows how it is possible to turn a problem – like the entry of cheaper Chinese competitors – into an advantage.

Keywords:
Distribution, Family Enterprise, Asean, China, Operations, Material Handling

published: 23 Jun 2014

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Abstract:
Eastern Condiments is a three-part case focused on the challenge of distributing spices in Southern India from 2008-2012. Case (A) describes the strategy and tactics that enabled Eastern Condiments to swiftly dominate the local market in Kerala by 2008, yet had poor results in the adjoining state of Karnataka in 2009-2012. Case (B) describes the new strategy to revive business in Karnataka and its consequences. When the market in Kerala starts to stagnate, it also has to revise strategy in its home market.

Pedagogical Objectives:
(i) Heighten understanding of the relationship between customer insight, market characteristics and a firm’s channel design and distribution model. (ii) Illustrate the fundamentals of channel design and execution: mapping channel functions and flows to the firm’s go-to-market strategy. (iii) Reinforce the importance of alignment of all elements of sales strategy (i.e., sales role design, hiring, training, motivation, evaluation and compensation), and (iv) The adaptation of the firm’s salesforce control system to the local market context.

Keywords:
Marketing, Distribution Channels, Salesforce Management, Salesforce Control Systems, India, Entrepreneurship, Developing Markets, Strategy

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published: 23 Jun 2014

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Abstract:
Eastern Condiments is a three-part case focused on the challenge of distributing spices in Southern India from 2008-2012. Case (A) describes the strategy and tactics that enabled Eastern Condiments to swiftly dominate the local market in Kerala by 2008, yet had poor results in the adjoining state of Karnataka in 2009-2012. Case (B) describes the new strategy to revive business in Karnataka and its consequences. When the market in Kerala starts to stagnate, it also has to revise strategy in its home market.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Teaching Objectives (50 words) (i) Heighten understanding of the relationship between customer insight, market characteristics and a firm’s channel design and distribution model. (ii) Illustrate the fundamentals of channel design and execution: mapping channel functions and flows to the firm’s go-to-market strategy. (iii) Reinforce the importance of alignment of all elements of sales strategy (i.e., sales role design, hiring, training, motivation, evaluation and compensation), and (iv) The adaptation of the firm’s salesforce control system to the local market context.

Keywords:
Marketing, Distribution Channels, Salesforce Management, Salesforce Control Systems, India, Entrepreneurship, Developing Markets, Strategy

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published: 23 Jun 2014

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Abstract:
Eastern Condiments is a three-part case focused on the challenge of distributing spices in Southern India from 2008-2012. Case (A) describes the strategy and tactics that enabled Eastern Condiments to swiftly dominate the local market in Kerala by 2008, yet had poor results in the adjoining state of Karnataka in 2009-2012. Case (B) describes the new strategy to revive business in Karnataka and its consequences. When the market in Kerala starts to stagnate, it also has to revise strategy in its home market.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Teaching Objectives (50 words) (i) Heighten understanding of the relationship between customer insight, market characteristics and a firm’s channel design and distribution model. (ii) Illustrate the fundamentals of channel design and execution: mapping channel functions and flows to the firm’s go-to-market strategy. (iii) Reinforce the importance of alignment of all elements of sales strategy (i.e., sales role design, hiring, training, motivation, evaluation and compensation), and (iv) The adaptation of the firm’s salesforce control system to the local market context.

Keywords:
Marketing, Distribution Channels, Salesforce Management, Salesforce Control Systems, India, Entrepreneurship, Developing Markets, Strategy

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published: 01 Apr 2003

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Abstract:
APL (Australian Pork Limited) is a not-for-profit company focused on securing a profitable future for the Australian Pork Industry through R&D and export development. The case describes the March 2000 introduction of Airpork chilled Australian pork that is air-freighted into Singapore daily, following the outbreak of the Nipah virus and foot-and-mouth disease in neighboring Malaysia (which supplied most of Singapore’s pork requirements). The timing of the case is a year after the launch of the product. The top management are involved in rationalizing the performance of Airpork over the year and developing its future strategy.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case has been used in the core Marketing Management for MBA students as well as in elective courses with MBA students and with senior executives. It gives students an opportunity to view the complexities of new product/brand development and brand management. Additionally, Airpork allows examination of these issues in a crisis environment. Obviously, Airpork is useful in examining branding/new product situations within an Asian context. It also serves as a good case for highlighting the possibilities of branding in the context of commodity-type markets.

Keywords:
New Product Introduction, Brand Management, Crisis Management, Export Marketing, Product Positioning

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