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Business models in the online market economy

Q.1)The case discusses the reasons behind the success of China’s online bookstore dangdang.com. The business model of dangdang.com and the strategies adopted by dangdang are discussed in detail. The case also explains the problems in e-commerce unique to the developing countries.
Issues:
» Business models used in the Internet economy
» The unique problems faced by online companies in the developing countries like China
» Highlight the importance of sound back-end infrastructure (logistics – operations – supply chain) for the success of online stores
Q.2)The case discusses the events that occurred in Boeing, one of the largest aerospace companies in the world, under the leadership of Phil Condit. Condit became the CEO of Boeing in 1996. In the very first year, the company found itself with a serious manufacturing breakdown, which led to huge losses. Condit was also responsible for shifting Boeing’s focus from commercial aircraft to defense contracts, which possibly led to the emergence of ethical problems in the company. In addition to this, under Condit, Boeing was overtaken by rival Airbus Industrie in aircraft deliveries for the first time in 2003. Condit’s diversification strategy was also not entirely successful and Boeing had to write off huge amounts in the late-1990s and early-2000s, due to failed acquisitions.
Condit resigned from Boeing in December 2003, and soon after his resignation, Boeing restructured its management structure. It also committed itself to the development of a new aircraft for the first time in 10 years. What remained to be seen was whether Boeing would recover from the damage it suffered under Condit and reestablish itself as the leader in the aerospace industry.
Issues:
» Analyze the leadership style of a brilliant engineer who went on to become the CEO of one of the largest aerospace companies in the world
» The importance of a CEO’s leadership style in relation to the environment in which a company operated
Q.3)By successfully adopting a cost leadership strategy over the decades, Wal-Mart has emerged as the largest company (in terms of revenues) in the world.
The case examines in-depth the key elements of the cost leadership strategy followed by Wal-Mart. It discusses how the cost leadership strategy generated above-average returns for the company and acted as a defense against competition in the industry.
Finally, the case discusses the plans and challenges faced by Wal-Mart in early 2004.
Issues:
» Understand the important components of Porter’s cost leadership strategy and examine how it has been applied by a company
» Understand how a company can emerge as an industry leader by effectively implementing a generic strategy
Q.4)The case discusses a five-year long organisational restructuring exercise undertaken by Unilever, a leading global fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company. It examines in detail the important elements of the restructuring programme named the ‘Path to Growth Strategy’.
The case focuses on the changes made with respect to the organisational structure, various Unilever businesses, branding strategies, operational processes and the supply chain management practices. Finally, it discusses the results of the restructuring exercise and examines the company’s future prospects in the light of its falling share price and the sluggish growth of many of its leading brands.
Issues:
» Gain an insight into the internal and external factors which force a large multi-product multi-national company to restructure its operations
Q.5)The case details the globalization strategies adopted by one of the world’s leading automobile majors, the Japan-based Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota). It examines the company’s evolution from being Japan’s number one automaker to a formidable competitor in the global automobile market by 2003. It examines the rationale behind Toyota’s decision to concentrate on global expansion and studies the company’s various globalization programs, focusing on the localization efforts. The case also analyzes the problems faced by the company within Japan and discusses the steps taken to overcome them. Finally, it examines the results of Toyota’s globalization strategies and discusses its future prospects in the light of intensifying competition and demand saturation in its core markets, Japan and the US.
Issues:
» Gain an insight into the dynamics of the global automobile market
Q.6)The case explains how adopting innovation as a strategic tool helped Harley Davidson (H-D) become a leading motorcycle and motorcycle accessories company. It provides an explanation of the concept of innovation, types of innovation, the innovation process and its applicability in the business context. Thereafter, the case covers H-D’s history and talks of the product innovations that helped it become the leader in the US motorcycle industry. It also discusses the reasons for H-D losing its market share to foreign and domestic competitors. The case then focuses on how H-D innovated at various functional levels (marketing and customer relations, manufacturing, organization and new product development) to regain its leadership status.
The case explains how all this was done using the concept of technological innovations not as an end by itself, but as the means to enhance the ‘total customer experience.’
Issues:
» Understand the concept of innovation, different types of innovation, and its applicability in the business context
» Study the evolution of H-D’s business and understand how innovations in product development are integral for sustained business growth
Q.7)This case deals with the strategy adopted by the Internet Service Provider, Freeserve, to stay ahead of the competition. Freeserve was launched by Dixons, a consumer electronics chain of stores in UK, in 1998. It pioneered a subscription-free Internet service in Europe. The case takes a look at how the ISP worked.
It goes on to describe its IPO and its huge initial success. It then elaborates on the ISP’s operational model, including the various schemes and services it provided, and eventually discusses its downturn. It concludes with a detailed explanation of Freeserve’s acquisition by the French Telecom company, Wanadoo.
It provides a note on the revival of Freeserve after its takeover.
Issues:
» Understand the working of free Internet Service Providers
» Examine the pros and cons of providing Internet Service
Q.8)In the mid-1990s Canon, Japan’s leading camera and photocopier manufacturer undertook reengineering and restructuring of its business processes. The case brings out the various strategies employed by the company in its process of reengineering and restructuring, and the benefits of these programs. Canon’s reengineering efforts were divided into two phases. The case discusses in detail the reengineering strategies of the company under each phase. The case also discusses the future prospects of the company.
Issues:
» Understand why organizations opt for reengineering and restructuring
» Understand and appreciate the intricacies of restructuring and reengineering processes
» Understand the differences between reengineering and restructuring

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