Business Finance Assignment Collections – assignmentcollections.com
You are the VP of operations and you have been interrupted from your vacation with some startling news. One of your company’s important products is called “The Superwidget”. The US Government and the national governments of many NATO countries, Japan, Australia, Argentina and Brazil each buy hundreds of thousands of these Superwidgets a year.
Several companies manufacture a similar competing product and competition for Superwidgets is fierce, based on technical innovation, price, and delivery criteria. The Superwidget is manufactured from components, software, and firmware from numerous companies plus some internal fabrication of parts and subassemblies in your own plants. The final Superwidget usually sells for between $8,000 and $10,000 per unit, based on some special features, warranty, and service. Your company has manufacturing facilities for the Superwidget in the US, Germany, Australia, and Brazil. These manufacturing facilities service specific areas of the world and there is no overlap.
Your company buys a particular subwidget for about $3,000/unit. This subwidget is a critical component of your Superwidget. It adds certain security features through software that your competitors add through hardware; as a result, your company’s Superwidget is smaller and weighs less—a real differentiator in this market. You source the subwidget from only one supplier in the US through an exclusive supply contract. There is no other source for the subwidget due to protections from the manufacturer’s patent, which is set to expire in 7 years. Your competitors do not use the subwidget in their designs
The phone call to your vacation spot is very disturbing. You have just been informed that deliveries of the subwidget will be late for the next 3 to 4 months. After your staff completed an analysis, it determined that your company does not have sufficient stock of subwidgets to cover the required deliveries for the next 4 to 6 months. You perceive this as a failure of your finance and operations departments.
You recognize that you have a huge problem that will affect many aspects of the company’s operations. How do you start to define the problem and come up with plans to mitigate the negative effects that result from this current situation? What are your priorities?
Some market conditions:
- There are 5 competitors in the worldwide market, and there are about 2 or 3 companies that are trying to enter.
- Superwidgets make up about 15% – 20% of your total annual revenue. Your closest competitors have a similar manufacturing profile, but there are two US competitors that are much larger and more diverse in their product lines.
- Rumors exist, but none are substantiated yet, that the large competitors may try to acquire smaller companies. Your company does not have resources to make such an acquisition.
- The Superwidget is a mature product, and the next generation of major redevelopment is about 5-7 years into the future.
In the case above, you recognize that there is the potential for an internal conflict between many departments about the priorities. Finance is reluctant to make large investments to secure sufficient stock of parts in inventory; production is recommending against the set up of a second shift; and marketing and sales have specific goals that now cannot be met. Large companies can overcome these internal disputes because they have more efficiencies of scale and scope, but your medium-sized company is constrained and cannot incur any more borrowing and debt. How can the company get its departments in line to service a coherent strategy? (Although there is no single correct answer to this problem, you must refer to the the week’s readings when formulating your plan.)