Case let 1
The war on drugs is an expensive battle, as a great deal of resources go into catching those who buy or
sell illegal drugs on the black market, prosecuting them in court, and housing them in jail. These costs
seem particularly exorbitant when dealing with the drug marijuana, as it is widely used, and is likely no
more harmful than currently legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol. There's another cost to the war on
drugs, however, which is the revenue lost by governments who cannot collect taxes on illegal drugs. In a
recent study for the Fraser Institute, Canada, Economist Stephen T. Easton attempted to calculate how
much tax revenue the government of the country could gain by legalizing marijuana. The study estimates
that the average price of 0.5 grams (a unit) of marijuana sold for $8.60 on the street, while its cost of
production was only $1.70. In a free market, a $6.90 profit for a unit of marijuana would not last for long.
Entrepreneurs noticing the great profits to be made in the marijuana market would start their own grow
operations, increasing the supply of marijuana on the street, which would cause the street price of the
drug to fall to a level much closer to the cost of production. Of course, this doesn't happen because the
product is illegal; the prospect of jail time deters many entrepreneurs and the occasional drug bust ensures
that the supply stays relatively low. We can consider much of this $6.90 per unit of marijuana profit a
risk-premium for participating in the underground economy. Unfortunately, this risk premium is making a
lot of criminals, many of whom have ties to organized crime, very wealthy. Stephen T. Easton argues that
if marijuana was legalized, we could transfer these excess profits caused by the risk premium from these
grow operations to the government: If we substitute a tax on marijuana cigarettes equal to the difference
between the local production cost and the street price people currently pay – that is, transfer the revenue
from the current producers and marketers (many of whom work with organized crime) to the government,
leaving all other marketing and transportation issues aside we would have revenue of (say) $7 per [unit].
If you could collect on every cigarette and ignore the transportation, marketing, and advertising costs, this
comes to over $2 billion on Canadian sales and substantially more from an export tax, and you forego the
costs of enforcement and deploy your policing assets elsewhere. One interesting thing to note from such a
scheme is that the street price of marijuana stays exactly the same, so the quantity demanded should
remain the same as the price is unchanged. However, it's quite likely that the demand for marijuana would
change from legalization. We saw that there was a risk in selling marijuana, but since drug laws often
target both the buyer and the seller, there is also a risk (albeit smaller) to the consumer interested in
buying marijuana. Legalization would eliminate this risk, causing the demand to rise. This is a mixed bag
from a public policy standpoint: Increased marijuana use can have ill effects on the health of the
population but the increased sales bring in more revenue for the government. However, if legalized,
governments can control how much marijuana is consumed by increasing or decreasing the taxes on the
product. There is a limit to this, however, as setting taxes too high will cause marijuana growers to sell on
the black market to avoid excessive taxation. When considering legalizing marijuana, there are many
economic, health, and social issues we must analyze. One economic study will not be the basis of
Canada's public policy decisions, but Easton's research does conclusively show that there are economic
benefits in the legalization of marijuana. With governments scrambling to find new sources of revenue to
pay for important social objectives such as health care and education expect to see the idea raised in
Parliament sooner rather than later.
1. Plot the demand schedule and draw the demand curve for the data given for Marijuana in the case
2. On the basis of the analysis of the case above, what is your opinion about legalizing marijuana in
Case let 2
Companies that attend to productivity and growth simultaneously manage cost reductions very differently
from companies that focus on cost cutting alone and they drive growth very differently from companies
that are obsessed with growth alone. It is the ability to cook sweet and sour that under grids the
remarkable performance of companies likes Intel, GE, ABB and Canon. In the slow growth electrotechnical
business, ABB has doubled its revenues from $17 billion to $35 billion, largely by exploiting
new opportunities in emerging markets. For example, it has built up a 46,000 employee organization in
the Asia Pacific region, almost from scratch. But it has also reduced employment in North America and
Western Europe by 54,000 people. It is the hard squeeze in the north and the west that generated the
resources to support ABB's massive investments in the east and the south. Everyone knows about the
staggering ambition of the Ambanis, which has fuelled Reliance's evolution into the largest private
company in India. Reliance has built its spectacular rise on a similar ability to cook sweet and sour. What
people may not be equally familiar with is the relentless focus on cost reduction and productivity growth
that pervades the company. Reliance's employee cost is 4 per cent of revenues, against 15-20 per cent of
its competitors. Its sales and distribution cost, at 3 per cent of revenues, is about a third of global
standards. It has continuously pushed down its cost for energy and utilities to 3 per cent of revenues,
largely through 100 per cent captive power generation that costs the company 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour;
well below Indian utility costs, and about 30 per cent lower than the global average. Similarly, its capital
cost is 25-30 per cent lower than its international peers due to its legendary speed in plant commissioning
and its relentless focus on reducing the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) that, at 13 per cent, is
the lowest of any major Indian firm.
A Bias for Growth
Comparing major Indian companies in key industries with their global competitors shows that Indian
companies are running a major risk. They suffer from a profound bias for growth. There is nothing wrong
with this bias, as Reliance has shown. The problem is most look more like Essar than Reliance. While
they love the sweet of growth, they are unwilling to face the sour of productivity improvement.
Nowhere is this more amply borne out than in the consumer goods industry where the Indian giant
Hindustan Lever has consolidated to grow at over 50 per cent while its labour productivity declined by
around 6 per cent per annum in the same period. Its strongest competitor, Nirma, also grew at over 25 per
cent per annum in revenues but maintained its labour productivity relatively stable. Unfortunately,
however, its return on capital employed (ROCE) suffered by over 17 per cent. In contrast, Coca Cola,
worldwide, grew at around 7 per cent, improved its labour productivity by 20 per cent and its return on
capital employed by 6.7 per cent. The story is very similar in the information technology sector where
Infosys, NIIT and HCL achieve rates of growth of over 50 per cent which compares favorably with the
world's best companies that grew at around 30 per cent between 1994-95. NIIT, for example, strongly
believes that growth is an impetus in itself. Its focus on growth has helped it double revenues every two
years. Sustaining profitability in the face of such expansion is an extremely challenging task. For now,
this is a challenge Indian InfoTech companies seem to be losing. The ROCE for three Indian majors fell
by 7 per cent annually over 1994-96. At the same time IBM Microsoft and SAP managed to improve this
ratio by 17 per cent. There are some exceptions, however. The cement industry, which has focused on
productivity rather than on growth, has done very well in this dimension when compared to their global
counterparts. While Mexico's Cemex has grown about three times fast as India's ACC, Indian cement
companies have consistently delivered better results, not only on absolute profitability ratios, but also on
absolute profitability growth. They show a growth of 24 per cent in return on capital employed while
international players show only 8.4 per cent. Labour productivity, which actually fell for most industries
over 1994-96, has improved at 2.5 per cent per annum for cement.
The engineering industry also matches up to the performance standards of the best in the world.
Companies like Cummins India have always pushed for growth as is evidenced by its 27 per cent rate of
growth, but not at the cost of present and future profitability. The company shows a healthy excess of
almost 30 per cent over WACC, displaying great future promise. BHEL, the public sector giant, has seen
similar success and the share price rose by 25 per cent despite an indecisive sensex. The only note of
caution: Indian engineering companies have not been able to improve labour productivity over time,
while international engineering companies like ABB, Siemens and Cummins Engines have achieved
about 13.5 per cent growth in labour productivity, on an average, in the same period. The pharmaceuticals
industry is where the problems seem to be the worst, with growth emphasized at the cost of all other
performance. They have been growing at over 22 per cent, while their ROCE fell at 15.9 per cent per
annum and labour productivity at 7 per cent. Compare this with some of the best pharmaceutical
companies of the world – Glaxo Wellcome, SmithKline Beecham and Pfizer –who have consistently
achieved growth of 15-20 per cent, while improving returns on capital employed at about
25 per cent and labour productivity at 8 per cent. Ranbaxy is not an exception; the bias for growth at the
cost of labour and capital productivity is also manifest in the performance of other Indian Pharma
companies. What makes this even worse is the Indian companies barely manage to cover their cost of
capital, while their competitors worldwide such as Glaxo and Pfizer earn an average ROCE of 65 per
cent. In the Indian textile industry, Arvind Mills was once the shining star. Like Reliance, it had learnt to
cook sweet and sour. Between 1994 and 1996, it grew at an average of 30 per cent per annum to become
the world's largest denim producer. At the same time, it also operated a tight ship, improving labour
productivity by 20 per cent. Despite the excellent performance in the past, there are warning signals for
Arvind's future. The excess over the WACC is only 1.5 per cent, implying it barely manages to satisfy its
investor’s expectations of return and does not really have a surplus to re-invest in the business.
Apparently, investors also think so, for Arvind's stock price has been falling since Q4 1994 despite such
excellent results and, at the end of the first quarter of 1998, is less than Rs 70 compared to Rs 170 at the
end of 1994. Unfortunately, Arvind's deteriorating financial returns over the last few years is also typical
of the Indian textile industry. The top three Indian companies actually showed a decline in their return
ratios in contrast to the international majors. Nike, VF Corp and Coats Viyella showed a growth in their
returns on capital employed of 6.2 per cent, while the ROCE of Grasim and Coats Viyella (India) fell by
almost 2 per cent per annum. Even in absolute returns on assets or on capital employed, Indian companies
fare a lot worse. While Indian textile companies just about cover their WACC, their international rivals
earn about 8 per cent in excess of their cost of capital.
1. Is Indian companies running a risk by not giving attention to cost cutting?
2. Discuss whether Indian Consumer goods industry is growing at the cost of future profitability.
3. Discuss capital and labour productivity in engineering context and pharmaceutical industries in
4. Is textile industry in India performing better than its global competitors?
Case let 1
This case provides the opportunity to match financing alternatives with the needs of different companies.
It allows the reader to demonstrate a familiarity with different types of securities. George Thomas was
finishing some weekend reports on a Friday afternoon in the downtown office of Wishart and Associates,
an investment-banking firm. Meenda, a partner in the firm, had not been in the New York office since
Monday. He was on a trip through Pennsylvania, visiting five potential clients, who were considering the
flotation of securities with the assistance of Wishart and Associates. Meenda had called the office on
Wednesday and told George's secretary that he would cable his recommendations on Friday afternoon.
George was waiting for the cable. George knew that Meenda would be recommending different types of
securities for each of the five clients to meet their individual needs. He also knew Meenda wanted him to
call each of the clients to consider the recommendations over the weekend. George was prepared to make
these calls as soon as the cable arrived. At 4:00 p.m. a secretary handed George the following telegram.
George Thomas, Wishart and Associates STOP Taking advantage of offer to go skiing in Poconos STOP
Recommendations as follows: (1) common stock, (2) preferred stock, (3) debt with warrants, (4)
convertible bonds, (5) callable debentures STOP. See you Wednesday STOP Meenda. As George picked
up the phone to make the first call, he suddenly realized that the potential clients were not matched with
the investment alternatives. In Meenda's office, George found folders on each of the five firms seeking
financing. In the front of each folder were some handwritten notes that Meenda had made on Monday
before he left. George read each of the notes in turn. APT, Inc needs $8 million now and $4 million in
four years. Packaging firm with high growth rate in tri-state area. Common stock trades over the counter.
Stock is depressed but should rise in year to 18 months. Willing to accept any type of security. Good
management. Expects moderate growth. New machinery should increase profits substantially. Recently
retired $7 million in debt. Has virtually no debt remaining except short-term obligations.
Needs $16 million. Crusty management. Stock price depressed but expected to improve. Excellent growth
and profits forecast in the next two year. Low debt-equity ratio, as the firm has record of retiring debt
prior to maturity. Retains bulk of earnings and pays low dividends. Management not interested in
surrendering voting control to outsiders. Money to be used to finance machinery for plumbing supplies.
Sharma Brothers., Inc.
Needs $20 million to expand cabinet and woodworking business. Started as family business but now has
1200 employees, $50 million in sales, and is traded over the counter. Seeks additional shareholder but not
willing to stock at discount. Cannot raise more than $12 million with straight debt. Fair management.
Good growth prospects. Very good earnings. Should spark investor's interest. Banks could be willing to
lend money for long-term needs.
Sacheetee Energy Systems
The firm is well respected by liberal investing community near Boston area. Sound growth company.
Stock selling for $16 per share. Management would like to sell common stock at $21 or more willing to
use debt to raise $ 28 million, but this is second choice. Financing gimmicks and chance to turn quick
profit on investment would appeal to those likely to invest in this company.
Needs $25 million. Manufactures boat canvas covers and needs funds to expand operations. Needs longterm
money. Closely held ownership reluctant surrender control. Cannot issue debt without permission of
bondholders and First National Bank of Philadelphia. Relatively low debt-equity ratio. Relatively high
profits. Good prospects for growth Strong management with minor weaknesses in sales and promotion
areas. As George was looking over the folders, Meenda's secretary entered the office. George said, "Did
Meenda leave any other material here on Monday except for these notes?” She responded, "No, that's it,
but I think those notes should be useful. Meenda called early this morning and said that he verified the
facts in the folders. He also said that he learned nothing new on the trip and he sort of indicated that, he
had wasted his week, except of course, that he was invited to go skiing at the company lodge up there".
George pondered over the situation. He could always wait until next week, when he could be sure that he
had the right recommendations and some of the considerations that outlined each client's needs and
situation. If he could determine which firm matched each recommendation, he could still call the firms by
6:00 P.M. and meet the original deadline. George decided to return to his office and match each firm with
the appropriate financing.
1. Which type of financing is appropriate to each firm?
2. What types of securities must be issued by a firm which is on the growing stage in order to meet
the financial requirements?
Case let 2
This case has been framed in order to test the skills in evaluating a credit request and reaching a correct
decision. Perluence International is large manufacturer of petroleum and rubber-based products used in a
variety of commercial applications in the fields of transportation, electronics, and heavy manufacturing.
In the northwestern United States, many of the Perluence products are marketed by a wholly-owned
subsidiary, Bajaj Electronics Company. Operating from a headquarters and warehouse facility in San
Antonio, Strand Electronics has 950 employees and handles a volume of $85 million in sales annually.
About $6 million of the sales represents items manufactured by Perluence. Gupta is the credit manager at
Bajaj electronics. He supervises five employees who handle credit application and collections on 4,600
accounts. The accounts range in size from $120 to $85,000. The firm sells on varied terms, with 2/10, net
30 mostly. Sales fluctuate seasonally and the average collection period tends to run 40 days. Bad-debt
losses are less than 0.6 per cent of sales. Gupta is evaluating a credit application from Booth Plastics, Inc.,
a wholesale supply dealer serving the oil industry. The company was founded in 1977 by Neck A. Booth
and has grown steadily since that time. Bajaj Electronics is not selling any products to Booth Plastics and
had no previous contact with Neck Booth. Bajaj Electronics purchased goods from Perluence
International under the same terms and conditions as Perluence used when it sold to independent
customers. Although Bajaj Electronics generally followed Perluence in setting its prices, the subsidiary
operated independently and could adjust price levels to meet its own marketing strategies. The Perluence's
cost-accounting department estimated a 24 per cent markup as the average for items sold to Pucca
Electronics. Bajaj Electronics, in turn, resold the items to yield a 17 per cent markup. It appeared that
these percentages would hold on any sales to Booth Plastics. Bajaj Electronics incurred out-of pocket
expenses that were not considered in calculating the 17 per cent markup on its items. For example, the
contact with Booth Plastics had been made by James, the salesman who handled the Glaveston area.
James would receive a 3 per cent commission on all sales made Booth Plastics, a commission that would
be paid whether or not the receivable was collected. James would, of course, be willing to assist in
collecting any accounts that he had sold. In addition to the sales commission, the company would incur
variable costs as a result of handling the merchandise for the new account. As a general guideline,
warehousing and other administrative variable costs would run 3 per cent sales. Gupta Holmstead
approached all credit decisions in basically the same manner. First of all, he considered the potential
profit from the account. James had estimated first-year sales to Booth Plastics of $65,000. Assuming that
Neck Booth took the, 3 per cent discount. Bajaj Electronics would realize a 17 per cent markup on these
sales since the average markup was calculated on the basis of the customer taking the discount. If Neck
Booth did not take the discount, the markup would be slightly higher, as would the cost of financing the
receivable for the additional period of time. In addition to the potential profit from the account, Gupta was
concerned about his company's exposure. He knew that weak customers could become bad debts at any
time and therefore, required a vigorous collection effort whenever their accounts were overdue. His
department probably spent three times as much money and effort managing a marginal account as
compared to a strong account. He also figured that overdue and uncollected funds had to be financed by
Bajaj Electronics at a rate of 18 per cent. All in all, slow -paying or marginal accounts were very costly to
Bajaj Electronics. With these considerations in mind, Gupta began to review the credit application for
1. How would you judge the potential profit of Bajaj Electronics on the first year of sales to Booth
Plastics and give your views to increase the profit.
2. Suggestion regarding Credit limit. Should it be approved or not, what should be the amount of
credit limit that electronics give to Booth Plastics.
Human Resource Management
Case let 1
Trust them with knee-jerk reactions," said Vikram Koshy, CEO, Delta Software India, as he looked at the
quarterly report of Top Line Securities, a well-known equity research firm. The firm had announced a
downgrade of Delta, a company listed both on Indian bourses and the NASDAQ. The reason? "One out
of every six development engineers in the company is likely to be benched during the remaining part of
the year." Three analysts from Top Line had spent some time at Delta three weeks ago. Koshy and his
team had explained how benching was no different from the problems of excess inventory, idle time, and
surplus capacity that firms in the manufacturing sector face on a regular basis, "Delta has witnessed a
scorching pace of 30 per cent growth during the last five years in a row," Koshy had said, "What is
happening is a corrective phase." But, evidently, the analysts were unconvinced.
Clients suddenly decide to cut back on IT spends Project mix gets skewed, affecting work allocation
Employee productivity is set to fall, creating slack working conditions. High degree of job specialization
leads to redundancy
What are the options?
Quickly cut costs in areas which are non-core look for learning’s from the manufacturing sector Focus on
alternative markets like Europe and Japan Move into products, where margins are better. Of course, the
Top Line report went on to cite several other "signals," as it said: the rate of annual hike in salaries at
Delta would come down to 5 per cent (from between 20 and 30 per cent last year); the entry-level intake
of engineers from campuses in June 2001, would decline to 5 per cent (unlike the traditional 30 per cent
addition to manpower every year); and earnings for the next two years could dip by between 10 and 12
per cent. And the loftiest of them all: "The meltdown at Nasdaq is unlikely to reverse in the near future."
"Some of the signals are no doubt valid. And ominous," said Koshy, addressing his A-Team, which had
assembled for the routine morning meeting. "But, clearly, everyone is reading too much into this business
of benching. In fact, benching is one of the many options that our principals in the US have been pursuing
as part of cutting costs right since September, 2000. They are also expanding the share of off-shore jobs.
Five of our principals have confirmed that they would outsource more from Delta in India-which is likely
to hike their billings by about 30 per cent. At one level, this is an opportunity for us. At another, of
course, I am not sure if we should be jubilant, because they have asked for a 25-30 per cent cut in billing
rates. Our margins will take a hit, unless we cut costs and improve productivity." "Productivity is clearly a
matter of priority now," said Vivek Varadan, Vice-President (Operations). "If you consider benching as a
non-earning mode, we do have large patches of it at Delta. As you are aware, it has not been easy to
secure 70 per cent utilization of our manpower, even in normal times. I think we need to look at why we
have 30 per cent bench before examining how to turn it into an asset." "There are several reasons,"
remarked Achyut Patwardhan, Vice-President (HR). "And a lot of it has to do with the nature of our
business, which is more project-driven than product-driven. When you are managing a number of
overseas and domestic projects simultaneously, as we do at Delta, people tend to go on the bench. They
wait, as they complete one project, and are assigned the next. There are problems of coordination between
projects, related to the logistics of moving people and resources from one customer to another. In fact, I
am fine-tuning our monthly manpower utilization report to provide a breakup of bench costs into
specifics-leave period, training programmes, travel time, buffers, acclimatization period et al." "It would
be worthwhile following the business model used by US principal Techno Inc," said Aveek Mohanty,
Director (Finance). "The company has a pipeline of projects, but it does not manage project by project.
What it does is to slice each project into what it calls 'activities'. For example, communication
networking; user interface development; scheduling of processes are activities common to all projects.
People move from one project to another. It is somewhat like the Activity Based Costing. It throws up the
bench time straightaway, which helps us control costs and revenue better." "I also think we should reduce
our dependence on projects and move into products," said Praveen Kumar, Director (Marketing). "That is
where the opportunity for brand building lies. In fact, now is the time to get our technology guys involved
in marketing. Multiskilling helps reduce the bench time." "Benching has an analogy in the manufacturing
sector," said Girish Shahane, Vice-President (Services). "We could look for learning's there. Many firms
have adopted Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory as part of eliminating idle time. It would be worthwhile
exploring the possibility of JIT. But the real learning lies in standardization of work. It is linked to what
Mohanty said about managing by activities." "At a broader level, I see several other opportunities," said
Koshy, "We can fill in the space vacated by US firms and move up the value chain. But before we do so,
Delta should consolidate its position as the premier outsourcing centre. Since there are only two ways in
which we can generate revenue-sell expertise or sell products-we should move towards a mix of both.
Tie-ups with global majors will help. Now is the time to look beyond the US and strike alliances with
firms in Europe- and also Japan-as part of developing new products for global markets."
1. Should benching be a matter of concern at Delta?
2. What are the risks involved in moving from a project-centric mode to a mix of projects and
Case let 2
The contexts in which human resources are managed in today's organizations are constantly, changing.
No longer do firms utilize one set of manufacturing processes, employ a homogeneous group of loyal
employees for long periods of time or develop one set way of structuring how work is done and
supervisory responsibility is assigned. Continuous changes in who organizations employ and what these
employees do require HR practices and systems that are well conceived and effectively implemented to
ensure high performance and continued success.
1. Automated technologies nowadays require more technically trained employees possessing multifarious
skills to repair, adjust or improve existing processes. The firms can't expect these employees (Gen X
employees, possessing superior technical knowledge and skills, whose attitudes and perceptions toward
work are significantly different from those of their predecessor organizations: like greater self control,
less interest in job security; no expectations of long term employment; greater participation urge in work
activities, demanding opportunities for personal growth and creativity) to stay on without attractive
compensation packages and novel reward schemes.
2. Technology driven companies are led by project teams, possessing diverse skills, experience and
expertise. Flexible and dynamic organizational structures are needed to take care of the expectations of
managers, technicians and analysts who combine their skills, expertise and experience to meet changing
customer needs and competitive pressures.
3. Cost cutting efforts have led to the decimation of unwanted layers in organizational hierarchy in recent
times. This, in turn, has brought in the problem of managing plateau employees whose careers seem to
have been hit by the delivering process. Organizations are, therefore, made to find alternative career paths
for such employees.
4. Both young and old workers, these days, have values and attitudes that stress less loyalty to the
company and more loyalty to oneself and one's career than those shown by employees in the past,
Organizations, therefore, have to devise appropriate HR policies and strategies so as to prevent the flight
of talented employees
1. Discuss that technological breakthrough has brought a radical changes in HRM.
Case let 1
Ask the company top brass what ‘almost there’ means. The answer: a premier Indian retail company that
has come to be known as a specialty chain of apparel and accessories. With 52 product categories under
one roof, Shoppers’ Stop has a line-up of 350 brands. Set up and headed by former Corona employee, B.
S. Nagesh, Shoppers’ Stop is India’s answer to Selfridges and Printemps. As it proudly announces, ‘We
don’t sell, we help you buy.’ Back in 1991, there was the question of what to retail. Should it be a
supermarket or a departmental store? Even an electronics store was considered. Finally, common sense
and understanding won out. The safest bet, for the all-male team was to retail men’s wear. They knew the
male psyche and felt that they had discerning taste in men’s clothing. The concept would be that of a
lifestyle store in a luxurious space, which would make for a great shopping experience. The first
Shoppers’ Stop store took shape in Andheri, Mumbai, in October 1991, with an investment of nearly Rs.
20 lakh. The original concept that formed the basis of a successful marketing campaign for seven years is
here to stay. And the result is an annual turnover of Rs. 160 crores and five stores, nine years later.
Everything went right from the beginning, except for one strange happening. More than 60 per cent of the
customers who walked into Shoppers’ Stop in Mumbai were women. This gave rise to ideas. Soon, the
store set up its women’s section. Later, it expanded to include children’s wear and then, household
accessories. The second store in Bangalore came in 1995. The store at Hyderabad followed in 1998 with
the largest area of 60,000 sq. ft. The New Delhi and Jaipur stores were inaugurated in 1999. All this
while, the product range kept increasing to suit customer needs. The most recent experiment was home
furnishings. Secure in the knowledge that organised retailing in global brands was still in its infancy in
India, Shoppers’ Stop laid the ground rules which the competition followed. The biggest advantage for
Shoppers’ Stop is that it knows how the Indian consumer thinks and feels while shopping. Yes, feeling –
for in India, shopping remains an outing. And how does it compare itself to foreign stores? While it is not
modeled on any one foreign retailer, the ‘basic construct’ is taken from the experience of a number of
successfully managed retail companies. It has leveraged expertise for a critical component like technology
from all over the world, going as far as hiring expatriates from Littlewoods and using state-of-the-art ERP
models. Shoppers’ Stop went a step further by even integrating its financial system with the ERP model.
Expertise was imported wherever it felt that expertise available in-house was inadequate. But the store felt
there was one acute problem. A shortage of the most important resource of them all was trained humans.
Since Indian business institutes did not have professional courses in retail management, people were hired
from different walks of life and the training programme was internalized. By 1994, the senior executives
at Shoppers’ Stop were taking lectures at management institutes in Mumbai. The Narsee Monjee Institute
of Management Studies (NMIMS) even restructured its course to include retail management as a subject.
Getting the company access to the latest global retail trends and exchange of information with business
greats was an exclusive membership to the Intercontinental Group of Department Stores (IGDS). It allows
membership by invitation to one company from a country and Shoppers’ Stop rubs shoulders with 29 of
the hottest names in retailing – Selfridges from the UK, C.K. Tang from Singapore, Lamcy Plaza from
Dubai and the like. With logistics I in place, the accent moved to the customer. Shoppers’ Stop conducted
surveys with ORG-MARG and Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) and undertook in-house
wardrobe audits. The studies confirmed what it already knew. The Indian customer is still evolving and is
very different from, say, a European customer, who knows exactly what he wants to purchase, walks up
to a shelf, picks up the merchandise, pays and walks out. In India, customers like to touch and feel the
merchandise, and scout for options. Also, the majority of Indian shoppers still prefer to pay in cash. So,
transactions must be in cash as against plastic money used the world over. Additionally, the Indian
customer likes being served – whether it is food, or otherwise. The company’s customer profile includes
people who want the same salesperson each time they came to the store to walk them through the shop
floors and assist in the purchase. Others came with families, kids and maids in tow and expected to be
suitably attended to. Still others wanted someone to carry the bags. So, the shops have self-help counters,
with an assistant at hand for queries or help. The in-house wardrobe audit also helped with another facet
of the business. It enabled Shoppers’ Stop to work out which brands to stock, based on customer
preferences. In fact, the USP of Shoppers’ Stop lies in judiciously selected global brands, displayed
alongside an in-house range of affordable designer wear. The line-up includes Levi’s, Louis Philippe,
Allen Solly, Walt Disney, Ray Ban and Reebok, besides in-house labels STOP and I. Brand selection is
the same across the five locations, though the product mix may be somewhat city-based to accommodate
cuts and styles in women’s wear, as well as allowing for seasonal variations (winter in Delhi, for instance,
is a case in point). Stocking of brands is based on popular demand – recently, Provogue, MTV Style, and
Benetton have been added. In-house labels are available at competitive prices and target the value-formoney
customer and make up around 12 per cent of Shoppers’ Stop’s business. Sometimes in-house
brands plug the price gap in certain product categories. To cash in on this, the company has big plans for
its in-house brands: from re-branding to repositioning, to homing in on product categories where existing
brands are not strong. Competition between brands is not an issue, because being a trading house, all
brands get equal emphasis. The in-house brand shopper is one who places immense trust in the company
and the quality of its goods and returns for repeat buys. And the company reposed its faith in regular
customers by including them in a concept called the First Citizen’s Club (FCC). With 60,000 odd
members, FCC customers account for 10 per cent of entries and for 34 per cent of the turnover. It was the
sheer appeal of the experience that kept pulling these people back. Not one to let such an opportunity
pass, the company ran a successful ad campaign (that talks about just this factor) in print for more than
eight years. The theme is still the same. In 1999, a TV spot, which liked the shopping experience to the
slowing down of one’s internal clock and the beauty of the whole experience, was aired. More recently,
ads that spell out the store’s benefits (in a highly oblique manner) are being aired.
The campaign is based on entries entered in the Visitors’ Book. None of the ads has a visual or text – or
any heavy handedly direct reference to the store or the merchandise. The ads only show shoppers having
the time of their lives in calm and serene locales, or elements that make shopping at the store a pleasure –
quite the perfect getaway for a cosmopolitan shopper aged between 25 and 45. The brief to the agency,
Contract, ensured that brand recall came in terms of the shopping experience, not the product. And it has
worked wonders. Value-addition at each store also comes in the form of special care with car parks,
power backup, customer paging, alteration service and gift-wrapping. To top it all, cafes and coffee bars
make sure that the customer does not step out of the store. In Hyderabad, it has even created a Food
Court. Although the food counter was not planned, it came about as there was extra space of 67,000 sq. ft.
Carrying the perfect experience to the shop floor is an attempt to stack goods in vast open spaces neatly.
Every store has a generic structure, though regional customer variances are accounted for. Each store is
on lease, and this is clearly Shoppers’ Stop’s most expensive resource proposition – renting huge spaces
in prime properties across metros, so far totaling 210,000 sq. ft of retail space. Getting that space was easy
enough for Shoppers’ Stop, since its promoter is the Mumbai-based Raheja Group, which also owns 62
per cent of the share capital.
1. What are the significant factors that have led to the success of Shoppers’ Stop?
2. Draw the typical profile(s) of Shoppers’ Stop customer segments.
Examination Paper Semester I: Marketing Management
3. How are Indian customers visiting Shoppers’ Stop any different from customers of developed
4. How should Shoppers’ Stop develop its demand forecasts?
Case let 2
The rise of personal computers in the mid 1980s spurred interest in computer games. This caused a crash
in home Video game market. Interest in Video games was rekindled when a number of different
companies developed hardware consoles that provided graphics superior to the capabilities of computer
games. By 1990, the Nintendo Entertainment System dominated the product category. Sega surpassed
Nintendo when it introduced its Genesis System. By 1993, Sega commanded almost 60 per cent of Video
game market and was one of the most recognized brand names among the children. Sega’s success was
short lived. In 1995, Saturn (a division of General Motors) launched a new 32-bit system. The product
was a miserable failure for a number of reasons. Sega was the primary software developer for Saturn and
it did not support efforts by outside game developers to design compatible games. In addition, Sega’s
games were often delivered quite late to retailers. Finally, the price of the Saturn system was greater than
other comparable game consoles. This situation of Saturn’s misstep benefited Nintendo and Sony greatly.
Sony’s Play Station was unveiled in 1994 and was available in 70 million homes worldwide by the end of
1999. Its “Open design” encouraged the efforts of outside developers, resulting in almost 3,000 different
games that were compatible with the PlayStation. It too featured 32-bit graphics that appealed to older
audience. As a result, at one time, more than 30 per cent of PlayStation owners were over 30 years old.
Nintendo 64 was introduced in 1996 and had eye-popping 64-bit graphics and entered in more than 28
million homes by 1999. Its primary users were between the age of 6 and 13 as a result of Nintendo’s
efforts to limit the amount of violent and adult-oriented material featured on games that can be played on
its systems. Because the company exercised considerable control over software development, Nintendo
64 had only one-tenth the number of compatible games as Sony’s PlayStation did. By 1999, Sony had
captured 56 per cent of the video game market, followed by Nintendo with 42 per cent. Sega’s share had
fallen to a low of 1%. Hence, Sega had two options, either to concede defeat or introduce an innovative
video machine that would bring in huge sales. And Sega had to do so before either Nintendo or Sony
could bring their next-generation console to market. The Sega Dreamcast arrived in stores in September
1999 with an initial price tag of $199. Anxious gamers placed 300,000 advance orders, and initial sales
were quite encouraging. A total of 1.5 million Dreamcast machines were bought within the first four
months, and initial reviews were positive. The 128-bit system was capable of generating 3-D visuals, and
40 different games were available within three months of Dream cast’s introduction. By the end of the
year, Sega had captured a market share to 15 per cent. But the Dreamcast could not sustain its
momentum. Although its game capabilities were impressive, the system did not deliver all the
functionality Sega had promised. A 56K modem (which used a home phone line) and a Web browser
were meant to allow access to the Internet so that gamers could play each other online, surf the Web, and
visit the Dreamcast Network for product information and playing tips. Unfortunately, these features either
were not immediately available or were disappointing in their execution. Sega was not the only one in
having the strategy of adding functionality beyond games. Sony and Nintendo followed the same
approach for their machines introduced in 1999. Both Nintendo’s Neptune and Sony’s PlayStation 2
(PS2) were built on a DVD platform and featured a 128-bit processor. Analysts applauded the move to
DVD because it is less expensive to produce and allows more storage than CDs. It also gives buyers the
ability to use the machine as CD music player and DVD movie player. As Sony marketing director
commented, “The full entertainment offering from Play Station 2 definitely appeals to a much broader
audience. I have friends in their 30s who bought it not only because it’s a gaming system for their kids,
but also a DVD for them.” In addition, PlayStation 2 is able to play games developed for its earlier model
that was CD-based. This gives the PS2 an enormous advantage in the number of compatible game titles
that were immediately available to gamers. Further enhancing the PS2’s appeal is its high-speed modem
and allows the user’s easy access to the Internet through digital cable as well as over telephone lines. This
gives Sony the ability to distribute movies, music, and games directly to PS2 consoles. “We are
positioning this as an all-round entertainment player,” commented Ken Kutaragi, the head of Sony
Computer Entertainment. However, some prospective customers were put off by the console’s initial
price of $360. Shortly after the introduction of Neptune, Nintendo changed its strategies and announced
the impending release of its newest game console, The GameCube. However, unlike the Neptune, the
GameCube would not run on a DVD platform and also would not initially offer any online capabilities. It
would be more attractively priced at $199. A marketing vice president for Nintendo explained the
company’s change in direction, “We are the only competitor whose business is video games. We want to
create the best gaming system.” Nintendo also made the GameCube friendly for outside developers and
started adding games that included sports titles to attract an older audience. Best known for its extra
ordinary successes with games aimed at the younger set, such as Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros, and
Pokemon, Nintendo sought to attract older users, especially because the average video game player is 28.
Youthful Nintendo users were particularly pleased to hear that they could use their handheld Game Boy
Advance systems as controllers for the GameCube. Nintendo scrambled to ensure there would be an
adequate supply of Game Cubes on the date in November 2001, when they were scheduled to be available
to customers. It also budgeted $450 million to market its new product, as it anticipated stiff competition
during the holiday shopping season. With more than 20 million PlayStation 2 sold worldwide, the
GameCube as a new entry in the video game market would make the battle for market share even more
intense. For almost a decade, the video game industry had only Sega, Nintendo, and Sony; just three
players. Because of strong brand loyalty and high product development costs, newcomers faced a
daunting task in entering this race and being competitive. In November 2001, Microsoft began selling its
new Xbox, just three days before the GameCube made its debut. Some observers felt the Xbox was aimed
to rival PlayStation 2, which has similar functions that rival Microsoft’s Web TV system and even some
lower level PCs. Like the Sony’s PlayStation 2, Xbox was also built using a DVD platform, but it used an
Intel processor in its construction. This open design allowed Microsoft to develop the Xbox in just two
years, and gave developers the option of using standard PC tool for creating compatible games. In
addition, Microsoft also sought the advice of successful game developers and even incorporated some of
their feedback into the design of the console and its controllers. As a result of developers’ efforts,
Microsoft had about 20 games ready when the Xbox became available. By contrast, the GameCube had
only eight games available. Microsoft online strategy was another feature that differentiated of the Xbox
from the GameCube. Whereas Nintendo had no immediate plans for Web-based play, the Xbox came
equipped with an Ethernet port for broadband access to Internet. Microsoft also announced its own Webbased
network on which gamers can come together for online head-to head play and for organised online
matches and tournaments. Subscribers to this service were to pay a small monthly fee and must have
high-speed access to the Internet. This is a potential drawback considering that a very low percentage of
households world over currently have broadband connections. By contrast Sony promoted an open
network, which allows software developers to manage their own games, including associated fees charged
to users. However, interested players must purchase a network adapter for an additional $39.99. Although
game companies are not keen on the prospect of submitting to the control of a Microsoft-controlled
network, it would require a significant investment for them to manage their own service on the Sonybased
network. Initially the price of Microsoft’s Xbox was $299. Prior to the introduction of Xbox, in a
competitive move Sony dropped the price of the PlayStation 2 to $299. Nintendo’s GameCube already
enjoyed a significant price advantage, as it was selling for $100 less than either Microsoft or Sony
products. Gamers eagerly snapped up the new consoles and made 2001 the best year ever for video game
sales. For the first time, consumers spent $9.4 billion on video game equipment, which was more than
they did at the box office. By the end of 2001 holiday season, 6.6 million PlayStation 2 consoles had been
sold in North America alone, followed by 1.5 million Xbox units and 1.2 million Game Cubes. What
ensued was an all out price war. This started when Sony decided to put even more pressure on the
Microsoft’s Xbox by cutting the PlayStation 2 price to $199. Microsoft quickly matched that price.
Wanting to maintain its low-price status, Nintendo in turn responded by reducing the price of its the
GameCube by $50, to $149. By mid 2002, Microsoft Xbox had sold between 3.5 and 4 million units
worldwide. However, Nintendo had surpassed Xbox sales by selling 4.5 million Game Cubes. Sony had
the benefit of healthy head start, and had shipped 32 million PlayStation 2s. However, seven years after
the introduction of original PlayStation, it was being sold in retail outlets for
a mere $49. It had a significant lead in terms of numbers of units in homes around the world with a 43 per
cent share. Nintendo 64 was second with 30 per cent, followed by Sony PlayStation 2 with 14 per cent.
The Xbox and GameCube each claimed about 3 per cent of the market, with Sega Dreamcast comprising
the last and least market share of 4.7 per cent. Sega, once an industry leader, announced in 2001 that it
had decided to stop producing the Dreamcast and other video game hardware components. The company
said it would develop games for its competitors’ consoles. Thus Sega slashed the price of the Dreamcast
to just $99 in an effort to liquidate its piled up inventory of more than 2 million units and immediately
began developing 11 new games for the Xbox, four for PlayStation 2, and three for Nintendo’s Game Boy
Advance. As the prices of video game consoles have dropped, consoles and games have become the
equivalent of razors and blades. This means the consoles generate little if any profit, but the games are a
highly profitable proposition. The profit margins on games are highly attractive, affected to some degree
by whether the content is developed by the console maker (such as Sony) or by an independent game
publisher (such as Electronic Arts). Thus, the competition to develop appealing, or perhaps even
addictive, games may be even more intense than the battle among players to produce the best console. In
particular, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft want games that are exclusive to their own systems. With that
in mind, they not only rely on large in-house staffs that design games but they also pay added fees to
independent publishers for exclusive rights to new games. The sales of video games in 2001 rose to 43
per cent, compared to just 4 per cent increase for computer-based games. But computer game players are
believed to be a loyal bunch, as they see many advantages in playing games on their computers rather
than consoles. For one thing, they have a big advantage of having access to a mouse and a keyboard that
allow them to play far more sophisticated games. In addition, they have been utilizing the Internet for
years to receive game updates and modifications and to play each other over the Web. Sony and
Microsoft are intent on capturing a portion of the online gaming opportunity. Even Nintendo has decided
to make available a modem that will allow GameCube users to play online. As prices continue to fall and
technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated, it remains to be seen whether these three companies
can keep their names on the industry’s list of “high scorers”.
1. Considering the concept of product life cycle, where would you put video games in their life
2. Should video game companies continue to alter their products to include other functions, such as
Case let 1
M/s. ABC Ltd is a medium-sized engineering company producing a large-range of product lines
according to customer requirements. It has earned a good reputation as a quick and reliable supplier to its
customers because of which its volume of business kept on increasing. However, over the past one year,
the Managing Director of the company has been receiving customer complaints due to delays in dispatch
of products and at times the company has to pay substantial penalty for not meeting the schedule in time.
The Managing Director convened an urgent meeting of various functional managers to discuss the issue.
The marketing manager questioned the arbitrary manner of giving priority to products in manufacturing
line, causing delays in wanted products and over-stocking of products which are not required
immediately. Production Control Manager complained that he does not have adequate staff to plan and
control the production function; and whatever little planning he does, is generally overlooked by shop
floor manager. Shop floor managers complained of unrealistic planning, excessive machine breakdowns,
power failure, and shortage of materials for scheduled products because of which it is impossible to stick
to the schedule. Maintenance manager says that he does not get important spares required for equipmentmaintenance
because of which he cannot repair machines at a faster rate. Inventory control manager says
that on one hand the company often accuses him of carrying too much stock and on other hand people are
grumbling over shortages. Fed up by mutual mud-slinging, the Managing Director decided to appoint
you, a bright management consultant with training in business management to suggest ways and means to
put his “house in order”.
1. How would you examine if there is any merit in the remarks of various functional managers?
2. What, in your opinion, could be the reasons for different Managerial thinking in this case?
3. How would you design a system of getting correct information about job status to identify delays
4. What would you suggest to promote co-ordinate interaction of various people to meet the
Case let 2
Rajender Kumar was a production worker at competent Motors Limited (CML) which made components
and accessories for the automotive industry. He had worked at CML for almost seven years as a welder,
along with fifteen other men in the plant. All had received training in welding both on the job and through
company sponsored external programmes. They had friendly relations and got along very well with one
another. They played Volleyball in the playground regularly before retiring to the quarters allotted by the
company. They work together in the company canteen, cutting Jokes on each other and making fun of
everyone who dared to step into their privacy during lunch hour. Most of the fellows had been there for
some length of time, except for two men who had joined the ranks only two months back. Rajender was
generally considered to be the leader of the group, so it was no surprise that when the foreman of the new
was transferred and his job was posted, Rajender applied for the job and got it.
There were only four other applicants for the job, two from mechanical section and two from outside,
when there was a formal announcement of the appointment on a Friday afternoon, everyone in the group
congratulated Rajender. They literally carried him on their shoulders, and bought him snacks and
celebrated. On Monday morning, Rajender joined duty as Foreman. It was company practice for all
foremen to wear blue jacket and a white shirt. Each man’s coat had his name badge sewn onto the left
side pocket. The company had given two pairs to Rajender. He was proud to wear the coat to work on
Monday. People who saw him from a distance went up to him and admired the new blue coat. There was
a lot of kidding around calling Rajender as ‘Hero’, ‘Raja Babu’ and ‘Officer’ etc. One of the guys went
back to his locker and returned with a long brush and acted as though he were removing dust particles on
the new coat. After about five minutes of horseplay, all the men went back to work. Rajender went to his
office to familiarize himself with the new job and environment. At noon, all the men broke for Lunch and
went to the canteen to eat and take a break as usual. Rajender was busy when they left but followed after
them a few minutes later. He bought the food coupon, took the snacks and tea and turned to face the open
canteen. On the left-side corner of the room was his old work group; on the right-hand side of the canteen
sat the other entire foreman in the plant—all in their smart blue coats.
At that point of time, silence descended on the canteen. Both groups looked at Rajender anxiously,
waiting to see which group he would choose to eat with.
1. Whom do you think Rajender will eat with? Why?
2. If you were one of the other foremen, what could you do to make Rajinder’s transition easier?
Recently Asked Questions
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- Review and reflect on what you learned in the past 8 weeks. What is the most practical and easily applied lesson you learned? What was the hardest to grasp?