aqueline Devore, Samridh Bhandari, Ashwin Mahtani, William Nardone, Alexandra McDonald BSBA
Subject area: Corporate Strategy of Extension
Region: United States
Industry: Paper Products
Company: Printed Piper
Challenge: Printed Piper is a B2B greeting card retailer with customers across North America. The private company’s core competencies include unique designs, high quality, and a loyal consumer base. During an early 2021 meeting, marketing manager Harry Lee expressed frustration with the firm’s declining year-over-year revenue gains due to a contracting industry. These concerns resulted in an unsustainable seasonal cycle. We addressed this topic through the lens of a challenge-problem; Harry Lee proposed the issue—a contracting industry—and the team was tasked with analyzing relevant factors and determining the optimal solution in its entirety.
Investment in Personal Capital: Elucidating Professional CORE
Our team wanted exposure to the myriad implications of managing an entrepreneurial venture in a dynamic industry. Almost every team member has aspirations toward owning or operating a business. The personal capital gained during this project allowed each teammate to reflect on these aspirations in light of the case. Over the course of any burgeoning company’s lifecycle, it will undoubtedly face key inflection points where it must pivot to reflect changes in the external environment. The first-hand experience helping Printed Piper toe the fine line between a “Golden opportunity” or “Sudden-death threat” will likely become invaluable as we pursue our own ventures in the near future.
- Jaqueline DeVore: BS in Accounting & Entrepreneurship. Utilized experience in entrepreneurship and client’s priorities through communication to help ideate and create feasible recommendations for Piper.
- Samridh Bhandari: BS in Finance & Marketing. Broadened his horizons via strategic frameworks and data collection; employed these new skills in company operations.
- Ashwin Mahtani: BS in Corporate Innovation & Marketing. Utilized problem solving skills to come up with innovative solutions and recommendations.
- William Nardone: BS in Finance & Economics. Incorporated knowledge of microeconomics to understand the industry and Piper’s competitive edge. Utilized financial models to analyze costs of the recommendation.
- Alexandra McDonald: BS in Marketing Analytics. Utilized knowledge of analytical frameworks and the scientific method to streamline data collection.
Investments in Social Capital: Building Trust within the Company and Industry
Our consulting team analyzed internal and external pressures on the business through several lenses, including, but not limited to: the VRIO framework (resource-based view: is the resource valuable, rare, and inimitable, and is the firm organized to capture value?);capabilities analysis (ordinary vs. dynamic capabilities); a shared value creation perspective (corporate social responsibility and the triple bottom line); local market analysis (PESTLE framework);and industry analysis (industry trends, lifecycle, adjacent industries).
Investments in Professional Capital: Analyzing Market Needs, Crating an Industry Map
The aforementioned process revealed several matches between Printed Piper’s strengths and the dynamic external market. Out of these, the most tenable and lucrative is the market for marketing materials for luxury corporate clients. As a result, the consulting team recommends the following value proposition:
- A focused differentiation business-level strategy in which Printed Piper expands its pursuits in business cards and portfolios, ultimately adding brochures, leaflets, postcards, signs, and flyers. The goal of this strategy is to maintain Piper’s dominance in the niche market of high quality printed goods, while leveraging its design capabilities as an added service benefit.
To implement this strategy financially, the consulting team recommends divesting in the Cherishables SBU, a notable question mark in Printed Piper’s portfolio, due to its current feeble market share and uncertain industry growth. Otherwise, Printed Piper already possesses most of the capabilities necessary for offering marketing materials (efficient product design, organization-wide emphasis on quality, and advanced machinery). The consulting team recommends a stepped rollout of the marketing materials SBU, with less than 15%of revenues to be obtained from this business unit in the first year of its offering. The firm’s current functional organizational structure will be a perfect fit for this dominant-business corporate strategy.
Capital Utilization: What’s next?
- Jaqueline DeVore: BS in Accounting & Entrepreneurship. Jacqueline had the opportunity to further explore a company in depth from an entrepreneurial mindset. She learned things such as how to dissect a company through frameworks and how to make client deliverables such as consulting reports. This was her first experience looking into a private company and she hopes to further explore the private sector through future projects.
- Samridh Bhandari: BS in Finance & Marketing. Samridh had the opportunity to share his organizational and finance skills on the project. He was able to plan and organize future plans for the company and how they can outweigh their competition. Likewise, he also focused on strong financial projections which can keep the company debt proof in the long run.
- Ashwin Mahtani: Ashwin integrated his knowledge of corporate innovation towards the project. He was able to utilize his entrepreneurial mindset to problem solve and come up with ideas for recommendations. Ashwin learned, holistically, the struggles of a business operating in a dying industry and how to adapt to the current market, mainly by working with technology, in order to revive the business and boost sales.
- William Nardone: William was able to utilize the tools and skills he has obtained over the years in financial analysis. This gave him the opportunity to practice and strengthen those skills through a real-life case analysis. This consulting project also exposed him to the consulting industry. Something he’s always had an interest in, but never had the opportunity to explore in detail. Therefore, this experience has made him consider a possible career in consulting.
- Alexandra McDonald: Rowdie had the opportunity to strengthen her analytical skills re: qualitative data collection and compilation throughout the course of this project. She is excited to practice using Strategic Management frameworks to guide the growth of her future employer, a health-tech startup, post-graduation.