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COMPUTIME I. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS, CASE INTRODUCTION AND KEY POINTS Introduction The case takes place in 2007, and centers around Computime’s exponential growth and success in the EMS and ODM industries as well its planned strategy to move into the branded product space with electronic controls. Computime has been successful with global electronic controls as it has differentiated based on quality and efficiency. Currently, however, the company is experiencing higher labor costs and new competition from technology entrants. As a means of continuing high growth, the company started an R&D department to design branded products and create IP. Encouraged by its success in the UK with the Salus brand, Computime seeks to continue to aggressively move into the role as a global leader offering its own branded products within the next 3 years. In order to do this it must structure R&D’s role and interaction with the strategic business units. Also Computime must address the challenges of entering a new market that supplies products directly to retail outlets and business customers rather than passing through major manufacturers such as Phillips, Motorola and Siemens. Summary of key learning points and strategic issues 1. Foreseeing and adapting to lucrative opportunities due to changing needs and new competition. 2. The role of acquisitions and JV in moving into new markets 3. The role of R&D in firm infrastructure and business strategy 4. Avoiding commoditization through innovation, IP, and branding. Discussion Questions 1. Perform a STEEP analysis to understand the general environment facing Computime? How will Computime be affected by external factors? 2. Use Porter’s Five Forces Model to analyze the news industry in the US. Given this analysis, is the industry attractive or unattractive? 3. Using the 3I’s framework determine Computime’s immediate, impending and invisible competitors. How does Computime measure up against these competitors? 4. Create a SWOT analysis to understand Computime’s strengths and weaknesses. Does Computime have a sustainable competitive advantage in EMS and ODM industries? If so, what is the source? What about Computime’s evolution and current business strategy may pose problems going forward? 5. What role should R&D play in Computime’s technology strategy? How should R&D coordinate with the business units? To what extent should R&D engage with customers in Computime’s diverse markets? 6. What long-term strategy should the Computime implement? How can it differentiate itself from competitors? How far beyond the company’s core businesses should R&D explore? 7. What would be the implications of transitioning from designing and producing products for customers to producing proprietary branded products?
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