SunCity: Beyond the Green Marking

Maria Jilla Phoebe S. Decena, Nur Sa’adah Muhamad and Khairul Akmaliah Adham

Sunway City Berhad (also known as SunCity) is a well-known Malaysian company focusing on premium property development and investment. It began operation in 1986, and had since continued to integrate various innovations in its property offerings. In mid-2008, the global economic crisis had affected the overall performance of the Malaysian property development sector. In the midst of the crisis, SunCity realized that it needed to take a preemptive action to face the crisis. At the end of the year, SunCity applied for the Green Mark certification by the Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for two of its most recently launched projects. Although SunCity had consistently integrated green features in its projects to meet customer’s demands for the last several years, it had yet to obtain a proper evaluation of such efforts. Obtaining the certification was a way of demonstrating SunCity’s commitments toward creating values for its customers. By April 2009, while SunCity had the BCA Green Mark certifications in hand, the company’s top management team was aware that the construction industry was not doing well, and that getting the certification was expensive.  As such, proper strategies were urgently needed to help avoid further decline in the company’s profitability. This case study aimed to analyze SunCity’s green initiatives and to stimulate discussion on the appropriate ‘green’ strategies that the company can implement in the future.



MedicCom

Andrew T.K. Seang and A.K. Siti-Nabiha

MedicCom, a medical device manufacturer has been plagued by deteriorating customer feedback from the satisfaction survey results for the Asia Pacific region, particularly on the responsiveness, pricing, and delivery categories from July to December 2010. The Marketing and Sales department is also facing problems with employee dissatisfaction on their key performance indicator (KPI) system, high employee turnover, and time-consuming internal process and procedures that require manual labour. The top performance issues faced by the Marketing and Sales department personnel are slow response time or excessive time-consuming support, poor troubleshooting and resolution skills, lack of product knowledge, and poor communication skills of the Marketing and Sales personnel.



Kakao in Korea: Increasingly Shaking the Market

Jinsoo Park and Taekyung Kim

Kakao is a fast growing software company focused on providing innovative smartphone applications. The company is rooted in the Korean mobile communication market where customer demands for high speed connectivity have been growing sharply. Kakao maintains the top position in the category of mobile communication utility tool for the last three years and competes successfully with other new comers.
 
However, the company faces a tremendous external threat from traditional smartphone carriers, SK Telecom, KT and LG U+. Those telecommunication conglomerates view the rapid growth of Kakao as a dangerous possibility that may deprive them of revenue streams from their traditional cash cows of texting and voice calling. Moreover, traditional software champions, Naver and Daum, steadily expand their market shares by differentiating themselves. Those competitors have strong brand assets, innovation capabilities and market sensitivity.
 
After three years in the mobile software market, Kakao faces constraints to its growth potential. Kakao tries to overcome the situation by positioning itself as a new mobile platform leader that connects potential customers and game publishers. In addition, the company wants to speed up innovation for sustaining its reputation through a financial transfusion from external investors. Instead of choosing an easier option of being merged or acquired, the company clearly sets its course to fight against external challenges. How can Kakao overcome the difficulty and sustain growth? What kind of strategic choices can be executable?



Sikshasandhan: Funding Challenges and Mission Drift

Pradeep Kumar Mishra

Sikshasandhan is a not-for-profit organisation working in the field of education for the last 16 years. The organisation is headquartered in Bhubaneswar and it has been operating in some tribal areas of Odisha. In 1995, the organisation started its operations as a resource centre to cater to the needs of elementary education particularly of the tribal people in the state. At present Sikshasandhan has 36 full time employees and 29 volunteers. Its main activities includes running alternative education centres, making right to education effective at grassroot level, advocacy with the state government on issues related to elementary education, and running a resource centre – including a library and publishing various books and periodicals.

For a decade a committed long-term funding partner supported the organsiation’s activities. Recently the agency has indicated withdrawal of a significant part of its grant support. Under these circumstances, Mr. A. Pradhan, the Member-Secretary of the organisation, has to look for alternative sources of funding. As he consulted various stakeholders, he received a number of suggestions like expanding into other sectors such as health, livelihoods, women development, and climate change; going into full implementation mode rather than operating as a resource centre; and starting a full-fledged model school. So far the organisation has focused on elementary education for tribal people. Looking at the existing pattern of funding in the development sector, it was no surprise for Mr. Pradhan that the suggestions for diversification have come from various stakeholders. Also, government and various other donors have good amount of funds for implementing schemes at grassroot level, which is not available for a resource agency. Hence full-fledged implementation was a lucrative idea. Given the success of private educational institutions in Odisha, the rationale for a model school was also understandable.

But would such actions not create a ‘mission drift’? The organisation was not set up to cater to issues like climate change and women development. Such issues are important but delving into other fields would dilute the institutional expertise. Going into full implementation mode would also not make much difference to the education sector as there are already a number of players at that level – it also may turn the organisation into a service contractor. With these concerns in mind, Mr. Pradhan prepared a note for the upcoming meetings of governing board. He has to present an action plan on how to manage the finances in the next ten years.



Inotera Memories ̶ Leader or Dreamer

Yin-Wen Shyu and William Reinfeld

This case can be divided into two sections. The first section focuses on how Inotera Memories can effectively analyze capital expenditure and return on investment for long-term capital budgeting in a capital-intensive, highly volatile and competitive industry. The following section is to highlight the strategy shift of Inotera. The DRAM business environment is highly volatile, and continuously requires large amounts of capital to improve process technologies, reduce production costs and achieve economies of scale. The challenge is greater because Inotera Memories is a joint venture of two entities with very different backgrounds, cultures and objectives, but which are not necessarily incompatible.

Fei Lin, an assistant vice president in Inotera, and Charles Kau, the president of Inotera, play the central roles in this case study.  Fei has been instructed to prepare a report to the board of directors that presents an effective investment evaluation model to ensure the success of Inotera’s business model and expansion project. On the other hand, Charles proposed the issue of strategy shift to determine how it has been implemented and whether it needs replacement by a new strategy to meet changed circumstances, new technology, and new market segments.



Warehouse to Manage Collateral – Kaul’s Dilemma

Kushankur Dey and Sivakumar Alur

NCMSL, incorporated in India in 2004 was a Mumbai based Collateral Management (CM) services organization that was facing a dilemma in expanding its operations. It was set up with the objective of empowering stakeholders mainly in agricultural commodities business to deal with various risks. Its major businesses were managing warehouses and providing collateral management services. It provided CM services to its clients that lent based on collaterals (warehoused non-perishable commodities). Competitors included National Bulk Handling Corporation among others, who provided similar offerings in the market. Banks were its major clients. The assets under NCMSL’s management and income varied considerably over the last four financial years (FY 2008 ̶ 12). Mr Sanjay Kaul, NCMSL’s MD & CEO was wondering whether investing in an own-warehousing network would make business sense. He was exploring whether increasing the bank network for business expansion would bear any fruit. He anticipated answers to his questions from the data available.



Sabarmati Gas Limited: Challeges of Marketing Natural Gas

Sanjay Kumar Kar, Piyush Kumar Sinha and Saurabh Mishra

This case is set in June 2012 and brings out many operational issues and challenges faced by the management of Sabarkantha Gas Limited (SGL) to efficiently, effectively, and profitably market natural gas in Mehesana, Sabarkantha, and Gandhinagar districts of Gujarat, India. The company has been able to achieve some degree of success with its growing customer base, volume, and profitability. The business environment seems to be rapidly changing and SGL acknowledging the intensive competition in the near future, especially after the expiry of marketing exclusivity as granted by the regulatory body. Currently the company operates in small geographical territories but has the opportunity to expand. For SGL economies of scale seems to be a big challenge. In India the markets of some competing fuels are either artificially underpriced/subsidized and are cheap without considering of environmental externalities. Marketing natural gas was found to be a challenging task. The company also faces emerging challenges like managing customer perception, customer acquisition and retention, price volatility, customer adoption cycle, and meeting customer expectations.  Efficient management of such challenges could mitigate some of the business risks and improve the top-line and bottom-line. The opportunity of resolving pressing issues faced by SGL would keep the readers interested and allow them to test their knowledge on marketing and commercial strategy along with other functional strategies.



Distribution Strategy of a Global Firm in an Emerging Market: The Case of 3M India

Debasis Pradhan and Niladri Kundu

3M had an entire portfolio of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) targeted at the large industrial customers. These were high priced, premium quality products which 3M India enjoyed a dominant market share in this segment. The demand for such products was facilitated by the fact that big clients were more aware of the Occupational Health and Environmental Safety (OHES) implications at the workplace.

3M traditionally capitalized on its business strategy of differentiation. This helped it charge a premium on its products to its customers. Having catered to large industrial customers since its entry into the Indian market, 3M had developed its marketing channel to improve its revenues from this target segment.

With economic liberalization, the smaller B2B customers who belonged to the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) category also became aware of OHES. This segment was very price conscious and did not have preference for any brand. PPE was another overhead for them and they would opt for any product that addressed the safety concerns and at the same time keep costs down. In order to build a presence among them, it was necessary to build a intensive distribution network with a strong sales force. Ubiquity of the brand was essential to gain market share. Another important consideration was competitive pricing compared to prices to the existing players. Both the factors together were expected to help 3M consolidate its position as a supplier of PPE for this segment.

3M had never been a player on the price front. The price war that 3M had to constantly indulge in while targeting the SME segment was not its forte. The decision on whether to go for a comprehensive rollout was itself questionable. Introducing low price products in the Indian market would lead to connabilisation of the high end PPE. A pertinent question was how much of this inevitable cannibalization would be acceptable without impacting the revenues. 



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