Cavinkare Private Limited: Serving Low Income Consumers

Anand Kumar Jaiswal & Pingali Venugopal

This case deals with the strategies adopted by CavinKare Private Limited to serve the low income consumers in India. Chik brand of CavinKare established its leadership in rural markets and emerged as the second largest selling shampoo brand. The factors contributing to the success of CavinKare were (a) keen understanding of rural markets, (b) focus on innovation, (c) development of affordable products, (d) low cost operations, and (e) extensive distribution and access. The study of CavinKare highlights the business strategies organizations can use for the successful exploitation of opportunities present in the low income markets.

Webdunia: Beating the Downturn

Sumit Mitra & Girish K. Agrawal, one of the first Indian vernacular language portals, was launched in the heady days of Internet boom in 1999. Born out of its owner-entrepreneur’s dream of empowering his countrymen with information in their own vernacular language, Webdunia attracted venture funding focused on building traffic and hits to the portal. The melt-down in internet and portal business worldwide exposed the tenuous link between the venture capitalist’s short-term view and the owner-manager’s long-term objective in planning the future of Webdnia. Under testing conditions, trade-offs between immediate revenue streams from rapidly expanding mobile telephone business in vernacular language and a much more slowly growing internet based business in e-governance, rural agricultural procurement and portal hits put the owner-entrepreneur in a dilemma. He was caught between new partner’s confidence in Webdunia’s vernacular language computing and communications strength and revenue streams for immediate survival of the business. Synergistic linkages between transferable competencies and emerging growth opportunities in mobile telephony area promises short-term relief to the firm. However, in pursuing this path of empowering people in vernacular space, the owner-entrepreneur may take Webdunia away from leveraging internal competencies and assets in the language space including transliteration and voice and speech recognition where future sources of revenue could lie. This case is useful in assessing short-term and long-term directions of the firm and the dilemma of dealing with short-term perspectives of investors and shareholders.

Beauty and the Beast: The Brand Crisis of SK-II Cosmetics in China

Susan H. C. Tai 

On September 14, 2006, customers in all major mainland China cities flooded SK-II counters with refund requests after health authorities found banned metals in SK-II cosmetics products. The report of possible health risks prompted a fierce backlash from some Chinese consumers, a movement partly orchestrated on the Internet, which forced P&G into offering compensation. P&G ended up pulling all its SK-II products from mainland China shops amid security fears after outbreaks of violence in Shanghai, where hundreds of people pushed, shouted, and broke a glass door of the office building at which product returns were being accepted. The case is useful in dealing with marketing issues such as product safety concerns, product recalls and negative publicity.

Managing Capacity at Sparsh Call Centre

T. T. Niranjan & Samir K. Srivastava 

Bangalore based Sparsh Call Centre was set up as a subsidiary of the major telecom software company IP-Trinity, with ambitious plans of becoming a significant player in the booming BPO (business process outsourcing) space. Its strategy, in line with that of its parent group, was to focus on telecom related services. Sparsh began its operations in 2002 with its first client Alfa, a US based VOIP telephone service provider and had three other accounts and employed over 400 people. Financial performance had been lacklustre and top management including Kumar, Director (Operations) was carrying out a review. Operationally, everything appeared to be fine. People management was, to a great extent, managed by sophisticated workforce management software, supplemented by supervisory actions by managers.
This case is useful in highlighting the complexities of managing call centres and the unique people issues involved. This case illustrates that besides operational efficiencies, there is a need for a fit between strategy and scale of operations. In particular, high employee attrition can cause reduction in service quality as well as reduced capacity. Fast scale up of operations may be needed to make call centres economically viable. Cost effective innovative retention schemes may be needed to retain call centre staff to achieve this scale up.

Women Association Struggle for Development (WASFD)

Irfan Amir & Farrah Arif

Women Association Struggle for Development (WASFD) was established in December 1998 by 15 women of the Swabi district with a vision to build a society where poor women could enjoy their rights for social and economic development. WASFD extended its area of operation to the Mardan district in June 2002. In June 2005, WASFD was working in 25 villages of the Swabi district and 15 villages of the Mardan district. Since its inception, WASFD had been actively working towards the economic uplift of women in the area. After six years of its operations, the executive body of WASFD wanted to examine the viability of increasing its impact of operations in line with its mission and objectives. This case is useful in examining the expansion and long term planning of a social organization.

Global Information Technology Company, Ltd

Alicia Leung, Amy Wong & Michael N. Young

This case presents a scenario that pertains to the effective management of human resources in a Chinese cultural context where guanxi and face are of considerable importance. It depicts actual situations in detail, but the names of the organization and participants have been disguised at the request of the interviewees. The scenarios deal with issues of managerial appointments, promotion, husband-wife team in an organization, threat of resignation, effective leadership and achievement of subordinate respect and performance. Human resource management in China often requires a different approach from that espoused in the Western literature that currently dominates orthodox management theory. With China’s growing economic power and the numerous foreign joint ventures in China, examining the cultural differences provides important insights for understanding the ways in which the norms and informal rules in general, and face and harmony in particular, function in Chinese organizations.

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