Case Studies

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Food for Thought: The 2008 China Milk Scandal

by Assoc Prof Vivien K.G. Lim, Ms Rashimah Rajah (PhD student) and Ms Smrithi Prasad (MSc graduated student)

Publication Date: 08/02/2013

In 2008, a scandal in China involving milk products tainted with melamine (a chemical used in plastic production) brought regional and global attention to the country. More than 290,000 infants were affected and several died. At a time when international trade was important for China's economic development, the tainted milk scandal raised concerns about the safety of products and food made in China. The case illustrates how the pressure of rapid economic development resulted in measures to cut costs at the expense of consumer safety and health, bringing into question the ethics underlying business practices in the country. The lack of quality control and corporate governance processes on the part of the company and government facilitated the ease with which the milk was tampered. The case also documents remedial efforts that followed the scandal, including recall of the tainted milk products, putting new government policies and regulations in place, arrest of top executives and the companies' public apology in the unique form of a New Year text message.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only) 
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg) 


Shanghai Baolong Automotive Corporation

by Assoc Prof Brian Hwarng and Mr Xuchuan Yuan (PhD student)

Publication Date: 25/10/2012

The president of a Chinese auto parts manufacturer is facing a crisis. For nearly 10 years the company's production lines have not been able to keep up with the orders. Deliveries are due, but the in-house stock is in short supply despite the production lines operating under extended hours. Quality issues have resulted in recent recalls in the United States, making the company's prospects worrisome. Faced with worsening international trade conditions and mounting problems, the chair and president decide to expedite the initiative of transforming their company into a lean manufacturer based on the Toyota Production System. However, the company has no in-house expertise or experience in lean production. The case presents a challenging situation faced by many companies as they move up the ladder of production competence and operational excellence. The major learning focuses on the adoption of Japanese production practices in an emerging Chinese company as it implements lean production.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only) 
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg) 


Filling Institutional Voids in Indonesia: Jababeka's Foray into Infrastructure

by Dr Marleen Dieleman

Publication Date: 17/08/2012

Led by CEO S.D. Darmono, Jababeka was a publicly listed real estate firm in Indonesia specializing in industrial estates. Due to infrastructure and logistics bottlenecks in Indonesia, the company had moved into various infrastructure projects, including a power plant and a port. Even though the company had identified substantial business opportunities in the form of a captive market of industrial estate tenants, both projects suffered from delays due to regulatory complexity. Darmono skillfully aligned the interests of private and public-sector partners, but was still unable to get quick returns on his considerable investments, necessitating an allocation of more funds. The case illustrates the opportunities and risks of emerging market infrastructure projects. Students are asked to evaluate the viability of Jababeka's new infrastructure strategy and formulate an action plan.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg)


Purchasing Consortium for the BMS Industry in Singapore

by Dr Mei Qi and Dr Siew Hwa Ong

Publication Date: 17/07/2012

Since November 2011, the director and chief scientist for Acumen Research Laboratories (ARL) had been conferring with Spring Singapore on ways to improve the current procurement practices of the biomedical science (BMS) industry in Singapore. As a senior chief scientist and the founder of ARL, she saw and experienced tremendous purchasing inefficiency as well as quality issues in the existing procurement practice in sourcing needed supplies and equipment. She believed that a centralized procurement structure and process among all members of the BMS industry in Singapore would be a more efficient practice and was finalizing a proposal, in April 2012, to Spring Singapore for initial funding to set up such a purchasing consortium. This consortium would be a new line of business for ARL.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only) 
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg) 


Australian Miners and the Resource Super Profit Tax

by Prof Andrew Karl Delios, Ms Donna Jimenez (BBA Hons graduated student) and Ms Clarissa Turner (MBA graduated student) 

Publication Date: 09/05/2012

This case presents a means by which students can explore how government policy can be influenced by the actions of stakeholders in an economy: firms, taxpayers and voters, unions and other such organizations. It highlights the point that policy-making can be a process endogenous to the interests and influence of private sector influence, and not an exogenous one, even in domains that are the power reserve of public policy makers. In 2010, the ruling party in Australia had devised a new tax, which they designated as the Resource Super Profit Tax (RSPT). This tax was devised to enable national and state governments to benefit from the boom in the mining industry by expropriating a greater portion of the earnings of the industry, via the imposition of a new tax. The RSPT was devised without any input from major mining companies in Australia, and if implemented it represented a substantial increase in their tax payable. The case is presented from the perspective of the CEO of BHP Billiton, one of the largest mining companies in Australia. The situation considers what, if any, action can be taken to combat a tax that has already been devised by the government, and is about to be implemented. Successful analysis of the case involves an evaluation of all interested stakeholders in the Australian economy that will be influenced by the imposition of the RSPT. After this is done, a strategy needs to be devised that will successfully influence a government to withdraw a tax to which it has already demonstrated a firm commitment.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only) 
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg) 


Compassion Web

by Dr Wee Yong Yeo

Publication Date: 26/04/2012

This is a case of an ambitious techno-preneur with ideas that were at the forefront of technology. The business was successful initially but was soon swamped with challenges. The initial business model needed major changes in order to make sense in the fast changing environment. At the same time, the company was facing a lawsuit with a major client that could severely affect its survival. To make matters worse, the company did not have a strong and unified leadership necessary to pull it out of the difficulty it was in.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg) 


Lan-Ray Global Payment Services

by Dr Yeo Wee Yong

Publication Date: 20/04/2012

Lan-Ray in Singapore attempted to break into the prepaid cash card (PCC) business in China. Equity funds were sourced to acquire Protection Communications Network (PCN), a payment intermediary in Quanzhou, China, with a vast payment network, which could be instrumental to the success of the PCC business. However, PCN would need to demonstrate profitability before they could obtain the licence to run the PCC business.

Together, Lan-Ray and PCN ventured into the mobile phone campus e-card business, which was initially assessed to be able to help PCN achieve profitability in the short run. However, the campus e-card business did not prove to be as profitable as expected. At the same time, the acquisition of PCN by Lan-Ray hit a road block as PCN was unwilling to transfer shares to Lan-Ray.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only) 
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg) 


DHL Supply Chain

by Assoc Prof Chu-Chun-Lin Singfat and Mr David Ringrose (participant, Asia-Pacific EMBA Intake 20)

Publication Date: 19/04/2012

The degradation of the environment has led many governments and customers to pressurize businesses to make their operations more nature-friendly. The case illustrates an effective example of corporate social responsibility. Specifically, it demonstrates how a small increase in a supply chain budget can drastically reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emission in the transportation of LCD TVs from their manufacturing bases to a distribution centre.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only) 
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg) 


Family Business Succession in Asia

by Dr Marleen Dieleman and Mr Jonathan Ho Wye Kit (BBA graduated student)

Publication Date: 05/04/2012

The Wang Group was created by Alfred Wang in Hong Kong after fleeing China during the turbulence that marked the beginning of the communist regime. After successfully building up the diversified trading business and expanding to various other Asian countries, in 1995, the business was taken over by his second son, Charles Wang, a charismatic leader. Charles wished to create a more sustainable family business, tuned in to today's global trends, and run by non-family members. To this end, Charles hired an outside CEO to implement his vision after implementing a far-reaching corporate change program. The global economic crisis that started in 2008, however, caught the company halfway through the reorganization, and brought losses and the departure of the newly hired CEO. Charles Wang had no other option than to again take up the top job himself, and had to reconsider the path towards a sustainable future for the family firm.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg) 


IEC in Sports

by Assoc Prof Chu-Chun-Lin Singfat and Mr Josh Burack (participant, Asia-Pacific EMBA Intake 20)

Publication Date: 03/02/2012

A sports broadcasting firm, which is facing uncertain contract renewals by its current clients from several geographic territories, has to figure out the likelihood of making money if it goes ahead and purchases the global broadcasting rights of the Portuguese Soccer League ("Liga Zon Sagres") for the upcoming 2011/12 season.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only) 
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg) 


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