What are the common export/import documents required

15 Sep

International Business

1. What do you understand by business ethics in International business. How can a firm maintain a balance and display international business ethics practices of highest order without compromising on profit maximization.
2. Can you classify Dell Vostro1740 laptop as a global product? What is the concept of a global product? What are the different product strategies organizations can use and which strategy would you choose, say as marketing in charge at Dell.
3. A) Can a firm trade in every and all types of goods, products and services in international markets? Explain the concept of Export Restrictions. What is the difference between prohibited goods and restricted goods.
3. B) What are the common export/import documents required for those goods, products and services which are freely tradable. Why are these documents required in the first place? What are four ways to obtain export license?

Can a firm trade in every and all types of goods, products and services in international markets

15 Sep

International Business

1. What do you understand by business ethics in International business. How can a firm maintain a balance and display international business ethics practices of highest order without compromising on profit maximization.
2. Can you classify Dell Vostro1740 laptop as a global product? What is the concept of a global product? What are the different product strategies organizations can use and which strategy would you choose, say as marketing in charge at Dell.
3. A) Can a firm trade in every and all types of goods, products and services in international markets? Explain the concept of Export Restrictions. What is the difference between prohibited goods and restricted goods.
3. B) What are the common export/import documents required for those goods, products and services which are freely tradable. Why are these documents required in the first place? What are four ways to obtain export license?

Can you classify Dell Vostro1740 laptop as a global product

15 Sep

International Business

1. What do you understand by business ethics in International business. How can a firm maintain a balance and display international business ethics practices of highest order without compromising on profit maximization.
2. Can you classify Dell Vostro1740 laptop as a global product? What is the concept of a global product? What are the different product strategies organizations can use and which strategy would you choose, say as marketing in charge at Dell.
3. A) Can a firm trade in every and all types of goods, products and services in international markets? Explain the concept of Export Restrictions. What is the difference between prohibited goods and restricted goods.
3. B) What are the common export/import documents required for those goods, products and services which are freely tradable. Why are these documents required in the first place? What are four ways to obtain export license?

What do you understand by business ethics in International business

15 Sep

International Business

1. What do you understand by business ethics in International business. How can a firm maintain a balance and display international business ethics practices of highest order without compromising on profit maximization.

2. Can you classify Dell Vostro1740 laptop as a global product? What is the concept of a global product? What are the different product strategies organizations can use and which strategy would you choose, say as marketing in charge at Dell.

3. A) Can a firm trade in every and all types of goods, products and services in international markets? Explain the concept of Export Restrictions. What is the difference between prohibited goods and restricted goods.

3. B) What are the common export/import documents required for those goods, products and services which are freely tradable. Why are these documents required in the first place? What are four ways to obtain export license?

International Business

15 Sep

International Business

1. What do you understand by business ethics in International business. How can a firm maintain a balance and display international business ethics practices of highest order without compromising on profit maximization.

2. Can you classify Dell Vostro1740 laptop as a global product? What is the concept of a global product? What are the different product strategies organizations can use and which strategy would you choose, say as marketing in charge at Dell.

3. A) Can a firm trade in every and all types of goods, products and services in international markets? Explain the concept of Export Restrictions. What is the difference between prohibited goods and restricted goods.

3. B) What are the common export/import documents required for those goods, products and services which are freely tradable. Why are these documents required in the first place? What are four ways to obtain export license?

International Business

06 Jul

1. Trace the evolution of international business.

2. What is the contribution of MNCs towards the development of developing countries?

3. Explain the following theories of FDI:

(i) Product Life Cycle.

(ii) Market Imperfections.

4. What is new economic policy? Why was it needed?

5. Define the term `international business’. Compare and contrast international business with domestic business.

6. What is an MNC? What are its salient features?

7. Describe, in brief, all the components of economic environment?

8. What are the limitations of social responsibility?

9. Define international financial management. Bring out its scope.

10. What is international financial management? How does it compare and contrast with domestic financial management?

International Business

06 Jul

CASE: I    UNFAIR PROTECTION OR VALID DEFENSE?

Mexico Widens Anti-dumping Measure…Steel at the Core of US-Japan Trade Tensions…Competitors in Other Countries Are Destroying an American Success Story…It Must Be Stopped”, scream headlines around the world.

International trade theories argue that nations should open their doors to trade. Conventional free trade wisdom says that by trading with others, a country can offer its citizens greater volume and selection of goods at cheaper prices than it could in the absence of it. Nevertheless, truly free trade still does not exist because national governments intervene. Despite the efforts of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and smaller group of nations, governments seem to be crying foul in the trade game now more than ever before.

We see efforts at protectionism in the rising trend in governments charging foreign producers for “dumping” their goods on world markets. Worldwide, the number of antidumping cases that were initiated stood at about 150 in 1995, 225 in 1996, 230 in 1997, and 300 in 1998.

There is no shortage of similar examples. The United States charges Brazil, Japan, and Russia with dumping their products in the US market as way out of tough economic times. The US steel industry wants the government to slap a 200 per cent tariff on certain types of steel. But car makers in the United States are not complaining, and General Motors even spoke out against the antidumping charge—as it is enjoying the benefits of low-cost steel for use in its auto production. Canadian steel makers followed the lead of the United Sates are pushing for antidumping actions against the four nations.

Emerging markets, too are jumping into the fray. Mexico recently expanded coverage of its Automatic Import Advice System. The system requires importers (from a select list of countries) to notify Mexican officials of the amount and price o a shipment ten days prior to its expected arrival in Mexico. The ten-day notice gives domestic producers advance warning of incoming low-priced products so they can complain of dumping before the products clear customs and enter the marketplace. India is also getting onboard by setting up a new government agency to handle antidumping cases. Even Argentina, China, Indonesia, South Africa, South Korea, and Thailand are using this recently-popularised tool of protectionism.

Why is dumping on the rise in the first place? The WTO has made major inroads on the use of tariffs, slashing them across almost every product category in recent years. But the WTO does not have the authority to punish companies, but only governments. Thus, the WTO cannot pass judgments against the individual companies that are dumping products in other markets. It can only pass rulings against the government of the country that impose an antidumping duty. But the WTO allows countries to retaliate against nations whose producers are suspected of dumping when it can be shown that: (1) the alleged offenders are significantly hurting domestic producers, and (2) the export price is lower than the cost of production or lower than the home-market price.

Supporters of antidumping tariffs claim that they prevent dumpers from undercutting the prices charged by producers in a target market and driving them out of business. Another claim in support of antidumping is that it is an excellent way of retaining some protection against potential dangers of totally free trade. Detractors of antidumping tariffs charge that once such tariffs are imposed they are rarely removed. They also claim that it costs companies and governments a great deal of time and money to file and argue  their cases. It is also argued that the fear of being charged with dumping causes international competitors to keep their prices higher in a target market than would other wise be the case. This would allow domestic companies to charge higher prices and not lost marketshare—forcing consumers to pay more for their goods.

Questions

1. “You can’t tell consumers that the low price they are paying for a particular fax machine or automobile is somehow unfair. They’re not concerned with the profits of companies. To them, it’s just a great bargain and they want it to continue.” Do you agree with this statement? Do you think that people from different cultures would respond differently to this statement? Explain your answers.

2. As we’ve seen, the WTO cannot currently get involved in punishing individual companies for dumping—its actions can only be directed towards governments of countries. Do you think this is a wise policy? Why or why not? Why do you think the WTO was not given the authority to charge individual companies with dumping? Explain.

3. Identify a recent antidumping case that was brought before the WTO. Locate as many articles in the press as you can that discuss the case. Identify the nations, product(s), and potential punitive measures involved. Supposing you were part of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body, would you vote in favour of the measures taken by the retailing nation? Why or why not?

 

CASE: II   WAITING IN NEW DELHI

Richard was a 30-year-old American, sent by his Chicago-based company to set up a buying office in India. The new office’s main mission was to source large quantities of consumer goods in India: cotton piecegoods, garments, accessories and shoes, as well as industrial products such as tent fabrics and cast iron components.

India’s Ministry of Foreign Trade (MFT) had invited Richard’s company to open this buying office because they knew it would promote exports, bring in badly-needed foreign exchange and provide manufacturing knowhow to Indian factories.

Richard’s was, in fact, the first international sourcing office to be located anywhere in South Asia. The MFT wanted it to succeed so that other Western and Japanese companies could be persuaded to establish similar procurement offices.

The expatriate manager decided to set up the office in the capital, New Delhi, because he knew he would have to frequently meet senior government officials. Since the Indian government closely regulated all trade and industry, Richard often found it necessary to help his suppliers obtain import licenses for the semi-manufactures and components required to produce the finished goods his company had ordered.

Richard found these government meetings frustrating. Even though he always phoned to make firm appointments, the bureaucrats usually kept him waiting for half an hour or more. Not only that, his meetings would be continuously interrupted by phone calls and unannounced visitors as well as by clerks bringing in stacks of letters and documents to be signed. Because of all the waiting and the constant interruptions, it regularly took him half a day or more to accomplish something that could have been done back home in 20 minutes.

Three months into this assignments, Richard began to think about requesting a transfer to a more congenial part of the world. ‘somewhere where things work’. He just could not understand why the Indian officials were being so rude. Why did they keep him waiting? Why didn’t the bureaucrats hold their incoming calls and sign those papers after the meeting, so as to avoid the constant interruptions?

After all, the government of India had actually invited his company to open this buying office. So didn’t he have the right to expect reasonably courteous treatment from the officials in the various ministries and agencies he had to deal with?
Questions

1. Why did Richard not able to jell with local conditions?

2. If you were Richard, what would you do?

 

CASE: III   THE P&G FIASCO

The break-up of the joint venture between the American FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) giant, Procter and Gamble (P&G) and the leading Indian business group, Godrej in 1996 is a case that goes down in the history of corporate India as an event  few would like to forget. It was a shortlived marriage. The year was 1992 and the two firms announced the formation of a strategic alliance that seemed to hold great promise for both companies. As part of the deal, the two companies set up a marketing joint venture, P&G- Godrej (PGG) in which P&G held a 51 per cent stake and Godrej the remaining 49 per cent. David Thomas, P&G’s country manager was appointed the CEO while Adi Godrej, the head of the Indian company became the chairman.

To begin with everything looked bright and promising for the alliance. Both the partners were well-known names in the consumer goods industry.

Modalities were worked out very well. P&G paid Godrej nearly Rs 50 crore to acquire its detergent brands—Trilo, Key, and Ezee. P&G, on its part, gave a commitment that it would utilize Godrej’s soap making capacity of 80,000 tpa. Godrej was allowed to complete its existing manufacturing contracts for two other MNCs, Johnson and Johnson and Reckitt and Coleman, but could not take up any new contracts. P&G, on its part, would not appoint any other supplier until Godrej’s soap making capacity had been fully utilised. Godrej transferred 400 of its salespeople to the joint venture. P&G acted quite fast in finalizing the alliance lest arch rival Hindustan Lever would move in, if it did not.

P&G gained access to the manufacturing facility of Godrej. It would have taken a couple of years to set up to implement a project on its own. Godrej also had expertise in vegetable oil technology for making soaps. Vegetable oils like palm oil and rice bran oil can only be used in India for making soaps as beef tallow is banned. Godrej also had network of retail outlets which were thrown open for P&G. Even though P&G was not a stranger to India, its Indian operations were essentially those of the erstwhile Richardson Hindustan, which was mainly known for the famous Vicks, a pharmaceutical product. The non-pharma distribution network of Godrej was of immense benefit to P&G. Godrej had excess manufacturing capacity, which proved to be a burden and the company was struggling to find ways of utilizing the excess facility. Godrej also hoped to access superior technology and managerial skills of P&G.

The alliance became operational in April 1993. Around this time, P&G increased its stake in its Indian subsidiary P&G (India) from 51 per cent to 65 per cent, while Godrej, having functioned for several years as a private limited company, went public. As soon as the alliance became operational, P&G engineers introduced  new systems such as Good Manufacturing Practices and Materials Resource Planning in Godrej plants. The two companies seemed to show a considerable amount of sensitivity to the cultural differences between them. For about a year, it looked as though things were going fine. Thereafter, elements of distrust began to surface and the two firms found the differences in management styles too significant to be brushed aside. By December 1994, rumours were rife that P&G and Godrej did not see eye to eye on many key issues.

One reason why the relationship soured was that the performance did not match expectations. In 1992, Godrej had sold 29,000 tonnes of soap. This increased to 46,000 in 1994 but fell sharply to 38,000 tonnes in 1995. While sales did not rise as expected, costs were increasing. Due to the cost plus agreement, Godrej had little incentive to cut costs. Informed sources were of the opinion that Godrej was charging Rs 10,000 more per tonne than the expected processing costs.

To compound the problem, Godrej expressed its dissatisfaction on the ground that P&G did not promote brands like Trilo and Key. It was also unhappy with P&G’s methodical and analytical approach as opposed to its own intuitive method of launching brands at great speed. P&G, on its part, felt that there was little logic or coordination in Godrej’s brand building exercises. By mid-1994, differences became sharp between the partners, and a senior executive, HK Press, on deputation to the joint venture, was quietly eased out and sent back to the Godrej group company.

The year 1996, as stated earlier, saw the termination of the alliance. The two companies would have little to do with each other, except for Godrej continuing to make Camay for  P&G for two more years and providing office space to P&G at its Vikhroli complex. PGG would be taken over by P&G, which would also retain the detergent brands, Trilo, Key, and Ezee. Most of PGG’s 550 people and the distribution network consisting of some 3000 stockists would stay with P&G. Godrej would absorb about 100 salespeople and get back its seven soap brands, which had been leased to PGG.

Questions

1. What according to you, are the factors that favoured the alliance between P&G and Godrej?

2. What went wrong with the joint venture? Why did it break up within four years of its formation?

3. What signal s does this joint venture fiasco send to other foreign investors?

 

CASE: IV    CHINESE EVOLVING ACCOUNTING SYSTEM

Attracted by its rapid transformation from a socialist planned economy into a market economy, economic annual growth rate of around 12 per cent, and a population in excess of 1.2 billion, Western firms over the past 10 years favoured China as a site for foreign direct investment. Most see China as an emerging economic superpower, with an economy that will be as large as that of Japan by 2000 and that of the US  before 2010, if current growth projections hold true.

The Chinese government sees foreign direct investment as a primary engine of China’s economic growth. To encourage such investment, the government has offered generous tax incentives to foreign firms that invest in China, either on their own or in a joint venture with a local enterprise. These tax incentives include a two-year exemption from corporate income tax following an investment, plus a further three years during which taxes are paid at only 50 per cent of the standard tax rate. Such incentives when coupled with the promise of China’s vast internal market have made the country a prime site for investment by Western firms. However, once established in China, many Western firms find themselves struggling to comply with the complex and often obtuse nature of China’s rapidly evolving accounting system.

Accounting in China has traditionally been rooted in information gathering and compliance reporting designed to measure the government’s production and tax goals. The Chinese system was based on the old Soviet system, which had little to do with profit  or accounting systems created to report financial positions or the results of foreign operations.

Although the system is changing rapidly, many problems associated with the old system still remain.

One problem for investors is a severe shortage of accountants, financial managers, and auditors in China, especially those experienced with market economy transactions and international accounting practices. As of 1995, there were only 25,000 accountants in China, far short of the hundreds of thousands that will be needed if China continues on its path towards becoming a market economy. Chinese enterprises, including equity and cooperative joint ventures with foreign firms, must be audited by Chinese accounting firms, which are regulated by the state. Traditionally, many experienced auditors have audited only state-owned enterprises, working through the local province or city authorities and the state audit bureau to report to the government entity overseeing the audited firm. In response t the shortage of accountants schooled in the principles of private-sector accounting, several large international auditing firms have established joint ventures with emerging Chinese accounting and auditing firms to bridge the growing need for international accounting, tax, and securities expertise.

A further problem concerns the somewhat halting evolution of China’s emerging accounting standards. Current thinking is that China won’t simply adopt the international accounting standards specified by the IASC, nor will it use the generally accepted accounting principles of any particular country as its model. Rather, accounting standards in China are expected to evolve in a rather piecemeal fashion, with the Chinese adopting a few standards as they are studied and deemed appropriate for Chinese circumstances.

In the meantime, current Chinese accounting principles, present difficult problems for Western firms. For example, the former Chinese accounting system didn’t need to accrue unrealized losses. In an economy where shortages were the norm, of a state-owned company didn’t sell its inventory right away, it could store it and use it for some other purpose later. Similarly, accounting principles assumed the state always paid its debts—eventually. Thus, Chinese enterprises don’t generally provide for lower-of-cost or market inventory adjustments or the creation of allowance for bad debts, both of which are standard practices in the west.

Questions

1. What factors have shaped the accounting system currently in use in China?

2. What problems does the accounting system, currently in use in China, present to foreign investors in joint ventures with Chinese companies?

3. If the evolving Chinese system does not adhere to IASC standards, but instead to standards that the Chinese governments deem appropriate to China’s “special situation”, how might this affect foreign firms with operations in China?

 

CASE: V THE JUGGERNAUT ROLLS ON – BUT THE ROAD AHEAD IS HUMPY AND BUMPY

It al started with the takeover of Tetly in 2000.Then became Daewoo Commercial Vehicles (2004); Tyco Global (2004); Natsteel (2005); Teleglobe (2005); Brunner Mond (2006); Millienniums Steel (2006); Eight O’Clock (2006); Ritz Carlton (2006); Corus (2007); PT Bumi Resources with 30 per cent stake (2007); and General Chem Partners (2008). The latest in the acquisition spree is the takeover of Jaguar and Land Rover (March 2008). The stake involved in all these buyouts is a whopping Rs. 81,527 crore.

It is a moment of glory which any Indian should be proud of—particularly because of the timing of the Jaguar and Land Rover deal. Compared to the Corus deal, which carried a price tag of Rs. 53,850 crore, the buyout of the two brands, with Rs. 9223 crore, is miniscule. But what makes it breath taking? First, the deal has been struck when the world economy is dipping and companies everywhere are facing falling fortunes. Viewed against this background, Tata deal demonstrates how resilient and vibrant Indian companies are. Second, the brands acquired are no mean “also rans”. Jaguar and Land Rover are world’s top class brands with a long history. Land Rover was born in 1880s and Jaguar in 1930s. Third, the acquisition of the two brands marks a paradigm shift of the balance of power in financial and technological arenas. The power is shifting form West to East. Finally, from now onwards, Tata’s name (read India) will be seen and heard on the premier markets of Europe and Americas.

Sentiments apart, challenges before Tata’s are going to be hard nuts. Tata Motors, the flagship company of Tatas which deemed to have acquired Jaguar and Land Rover, has no experience in managing luxury brands. The Indian car maker is well-known for offering rugged cheap cars, buses, and trucks suiting to Indian buyers and Indian roads. Its costliest passenger vehicle, the Safari Dicor, is about Rs. 1 lakh cheaper than the least expensive Land Rover. Will Tata Motors be able to sustain the quality of the two brands?

The Indian market for luxury cars is growing but is still small. The cheapest luxury cars available in India, such as Honda Siel Cars India Ltd’s Accord, cost around Rs. 15.5 lakh. It is believed that some 5000 luxury cars are sold in India every year. True some Indians do own and use high-end foreign brands, such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Lxus, but their numbers are still in thousands, a fraction of the 1.4 million cars sold each year in the country’s exploding automobile market. Nor the markets in Europe and America are promising because of the recession in their economies.

The not so profitable brands (Jaguar has been making losses) and commitments made to British labour unions in a slowing economy could compound problems for Tata Motors. Trade unions, representing the 16,000—strong Ford workforce in UK, have in a way paved the way for Tata takeover. It is these unions that, in principle, picked up Tatas as their “preferential choice” as the bidder. The Tatas have now assured job and better working conditions to the British workforce. Going by the domestic track record of Tatas, the British workers feel reassured about their future under the Indian management.

Ford has agreed to use its finance arm to help its dealers and Tatas sell their cars for another 12 months. It will also supply engines, transfer some intellectual property and offer engineering support, Inspite of this, Tata might be required t pump in more money to develop new and improved products as the EU gets tougher about controlling pollution, especially from cars made and driven in Europe.

Also, refinancing debt is likely to pose a big challenge to Tata Motors. The company may find it difficult to raise long-term debt in the current environment. While Tatas managed to get a bridge loan of $3 billion for a period of 12 months, it may have trouble raising debt to repay that loan as lendors have grown jittery over extending credit.

Thus, the road ahead of Tata Motors is humpy and bumpy.

But going by the clout enjoyed by Tata Motors, the challenges may not be insurmountable. Tata Motors is a $5.5 billion company and is the leader in commercial vehicles in each segment, and the second largest in the passenger vehicles market with winning products in the compact, midsize car and utility vehicle segments. The company is the world’s fifth largest medium and heavy commercial vehicle manufacturer.

The company’s 22,000 employees are guided by the vision to the “best in the manner in which we operate, best in the products we deliver and best in our value system and ethics.”

Established in 1945, Tata Motors’ presence indeed cuts across the length and breadth of India. Close to four million Tata vehicles ply on Indian roads, since the first vehicle rolled out in 1954. The company’s manufacturing base is spread across Jamshedpur, Pune and Lucknow, supported by a nation-wide dealership, sales, services and spare parts network comprising over 2,000 touch points.

The foundation of the company’s growth over the last 50 years is a deep understanding of economic stimuli and customer needs, and the ability to translate them into customer-desired offerings through leading edge R&D. With 1,400 engineers and scientists, the company’s Engineering Research Centre, established in 1956, has enabled pioneering technologies and products. The company today has R&D centres in Pune, Jamshedpur, Lucknow, in India, and in South Korea, Spain, and the UK.

With the announcement of the launch of one lakh rupee car Nano, Tata Motors has gained the attention of people around the world.

Questions

1. Do you think the challenges listed above are genuine? If yes, how do you think the Tatas will face them?

2. With the widest range of cars (from the cheapest to the costliest) under its belt, how do you think Tata Motors will manage and sustain?

International Business

06 Jul

CASE I

A GLOBAL PLAYER?

This is one game that India has permanently lost to its arch-rival Pakistan – manufacturing and exporting sports goods. Historically, when India and Pakistan were one before 1947, Sialkot, now in Pakistan, used to be the world’s largest production centre for badminton, hockey, football, volleyball, basketball, and cricket equipment. After the creation of Pakistan, Jalandhar became the second centre after Hindus in the trade migrated to India. Soon Jalandhar overtook Sialkot and till the early 1980s it remained so. However when the face of the trade began to change in the 1980s and import of quality leather and manufacturing equipment became a necessity for quality production, Pakistan wrested the initiative as India clung it its policies of discouraging imports through high duties and restrictions. As it was, the availability of labor and skills was a common factor in both Sialkot and Jalandhar, but with Sialkot having the advantage of easier entry, most of the world’s top sports manufactures and procedures developed an association with local industry in Sialkot that continues even today. Ten years later, in the early 1990s, when Manmohan Singh liberalised the norms for importing equipment and raw material required for producing sports goods, it was too late as majority of the global majors had already shifted base to Sialkot.

In 1961 the late Narinder Mayor started the first large scale sports goods manufacturing unit, Mayor & Company, thereby laying the foundation of an organized industry. Even today, more than 70 percent of the industry functions in an unorganized manner. Starting with soccer balls, Mayor expanded to produce inflatable balls like volleyballs, basketballs, and rugby balls. Today his two sons Rajan & Rajesh have built it up into five companies engaged in a wide array of businesses, though sports goods remain the group’s core business. While the parent trading company, Mayor & Company, remains the leading revenue-earner to the tune of Rs. 55 crore annually out of a total group turnover of Rs. 85 crore-plus, Mayor’s second venture, the Indo-Australian Mayor International Limited, is spinning another Rs. 15 crore. Mayor International is a 100 per cent export-oriented unit (EOU) exclusively manufacturing and exporting golf and tennis balls.

The product portfolio of the company comprises the following:

Inflatable Balls

  • Soccer balls and footballs (Professional, Indoor, Match and Training, leisure toy)
  • Volley balls, rugby balls (Volley balls and Beach Volley Balls)
  • Australian rugby, hand balls (English League, Union and touch) (Australian rules, Australian Rugby League balls with laces)

 Boxing Equipment

  • Boxing and punching balls (Boxing and Punching Balls, Head Gear, Gloves, Punching Mitts and Kits Punching Bags & Bag Sets)
  • Gloves
  • Goal keeper’s gloves (Football / Soccer)
  • Boxing gloves

Cricket Equipment

  • Worldwide distributor for Spading Cricket Bats, Balls and Protective equipment.

HOCKEY EQUIPMENT

  • Worldwide distributor for Spading Hokey Sticks, Balls & Protective equipment

Based in Delhi, Rajan Mayor, 41 is the CMD of the group, which also comprises an IT division working on B2B and B2C solutions; Voyaguer World Travels in the tourism sector; a houseware exports division specializing in stainless steel kitchenware, ceramics, and textiles; and a high school. Younger brother Rajesh, 34, is the executive director and looks after all the divisions operating in Jalandhar. Technical director Katz Nowaskowski divides his time equally between India and Australia, where he looks after the group’s interests. “While inflatable balls are our prime competence in our core business, we are presently focusing on golf balls, for which we are the sole producers in South Asia. Out of a total Rs. 300 crore of sports goods business generated in domestic market, most of which is supplied by the unorganized players, golf balls constitute a miniscule amount and therefore we came up with a 100 per cent EOU for producing golf balls. Later the same facility was utilized with little moderation for tennis balls too,” says Nowaskowaski.

Clarifying that the sports good industry in India only includes playing equipment and not apparels or shoes, D K Mittal, chairman of the Sports Goods Export Promotion Council and joint secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, has certified Mayor group as the number one exporter since 1993 till date, barring 1996. However, SGEPC secretary Tarun Dewan points out that being the number one exporter does not mean that Mayor is the number one brand being exported. “Actually we have tie ups Dunlop, Arnold Palmer, and Fila for manufacturing golf balls. For footballs and volleyballs we have association with Adidas, Mitre, Puma, Umbro, and Dunlop. We manufacture soccer World Cup and European Cup replicas for Adidas, which is a huge market. Only 400 balls used for actual play in the World Cup are manufactured in Europe & that too only for sentimental reason, otherwise we are capable of delivering products of the same, if not better quality. Now since we manufacture balls for them, we cannot antimonies them by producing balls of similar quality with our own brand name. Secondly, I agree that competing with such big quaint in the world market in terms of branding is a task that is well beyond our reach at the moment. However, we are trying to brand ourselves in the domestic market and that is one of the prime focus in the coming year,” says Rajan.

Coca-Cola, Unilever, McDonald’s, American Airlines, Disney club, and other such big brands come up with huge orders at tines for golf balls with their logos for promotional schemes. However, there is no mention of the producing country since these companies do not want to show that balls they deliver in the US are being produced in Asia, “Not only is our quality good enough; labour in India is cheap enough to churn out a much less expensive product in the end. Yet, the main threat to our industry comes from countries like Taiwan and China, who have already cornered a chunk of world markets in tennis, badminton, and squash rackets. This is primarily because of two reasons – slow response to our needs in tune with the market requirements from the government and lack of infrastructure. And most importantly, tags ‘Made in China’ or ‘Made in Taiwan’ are more acceptable in the West than ‘Made in India’ or ‘Made in Pakistan’. One of the mottos of the Mayor group has been to make ‘Made in India’ an acceptable label in the West. For that we stress quality, timely delivery, and competent rates. Yet, a lot depends on perception value, which in our case is sadly on the negative side, much owing to our government’s stance over the years. Things might be improving, but the pace is very slow and as our economy drifts towards a free market scenario supinely, it might just prove to be too little too late in the end,” says Rajesh.

Today, Mayor group is sitting pretty as its competitors, Soccer International Sakay Trades, Savi, Wasan, Cosco, Nivia and Spartan are only trying to catch up in the inflatables category. With 1.2 million dozen golf balls, Mayor is way ahead of its competitors. The company is planning to enhance its manufacturing capacity to 1.5 million dozen golf next fiscal. With approval from the world’s two top golf associations – the US PGA and RNA of Scotland, demand for its product is not a problem, the company’s senior marketing officials point out. With the markets in Mayor’s current export destinations – Europe, North America, Australia, and Nw Zealand – all set to expand in the coming years after the present slump, Mayor wants to expand its sports goods business that caters to 60 per cent of its overall exports. Though 40 per cent of exports come from house ware manufactured in Delhi and Mumbai, with export centres in the same countries for its sports goods, just about maintaining this business at its present state, and concerning entirely on sports goods is what the mayors are intent on.

With nearly 2000 skilled workforce; quality certification from ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001: 2004; and having spread to more than 40 countries, Mayor and Company is obviously sitting pretty.

Questions

1. What routes of globalization has the Mayor group chosen to go global? What other routes could it have taken?

2. What impediments are coming in the Mayor group’s way becoming a major and active player in international business?

3. Why is ‘Made in India’ not liked in foreign markets? What can be done to erase the perception?

 

CASE II

ARROW AND THE APPAREL INDUSTRY

Ten years ago, Arvind Clothing Ltd., a subsidery of Arvind Brands Ltd., a member of the Ahmedabad based Lalbhai Group, signed up with the 150-year old Arrow Company, a division of Cutlet Peabody & Co. Inc., US, for licensed manufacture of  Arrow shirts in India. What this brought to India was not just another premium dress shirt brand but new manufacturing philosophy to its garment industry which combined high productivity, stringent in-line quality control, and a conducive factory ambience.

Arrow’s first plant, with a 55,000 sq. ft. area and capacity to make 3,000 to 4,000 shirts a day, was established at Bangalore in 1993 with an investment of Rs. 18 crore. The conditions inside – with good lighting on the workbenches, high ceilings, ample elbow room for each worker, and plenty of ventilation, were a decided contrast to the poky, crowded, and confined sweatshops characterizing the usual Indian apparel factory in those days. It employed a computer system for translating the designed shirt’s dimensions to automatically mark the master pattern for initial cutting of the fabric layers. This was installed, not to save labour but to ensure cutting accuracy and low wastage of cloth.

The over two-dozen quality checkpoints during the conversion of fabric to finished shirt was unique to the industry. It is among the very few plants in the world that makes shirts with 2 ply 140s and 3 ply 100s cotton fabrics using 16 to 18 stitches per inch. In March 2003, the Bangalore plant could produce stain-repellant shirts based on nanotechnology.

The reputation of this plant has spread far and wide and now it is loaded mostly with export orders from renowed global brands such as GAR, Next, Espiri, and the like. Recently the plant was identified by Tommy Hilfiger to make its brand of shirts for the Indian market. As a result, Arvind Brands has had to take over four other factories in Bangalore on wet lease to make the Arrow brand of garments for the domestic market.

In fact, the demand pressure from global brands which want to out outscore from Arvind Brands, is so great that the company has had to set up another large for export jobs on the outskirts of Bangalore. The new unit of 75,000 sq. ft. has cost Rs. 16 crore and can turn out 8,000 to 9,000 shirts per day. The technical collaborates are the renowned C&F Italia of Italy.

Among the cutting edge technologies deployed here are a Gerber make CNC fabric cutting machine, automatic collar and cuff stitching machines, pneumatic holding for tasks like shoulder joining, threat trimming and bottom hemming, a special machine to attach and edge stitch the back yoke, foam finishers which use air and steam to remove creases in the finished garment, and many others. The stitching machines in this plant can deliver up to 25 stitches per inch. A continuous monitoring of the production process in the entire factory is done through a computerized apparel production management system, which is hooked to every machine. Because of the use of such technology, this plant will need only 800 persons for a capacity which is three that of the first plant which employs 580 persons.

Exports of garments made for global brands fetched Arvind Brands over Rs. 60 crore in 2002, and this can double in the next few years, when the new factory goes on full stream. In fact, with the lifting of the country-wise quota regime in 2005, there will be a surge in demand for high quality garments from India and Arvind is already considering setting up two more such high tech export-oriented factories.

It is not just in the area of manufacture but also retailing that the arrow brand brought a wind of change on the Indian scene. Prior to its coming, the usual Indian shirt shop used to be a clutter of racks with little by way of display. What Arvind Brands did was to set up exclusive showrooms for Arrow shirts in which the functional was combined with the aesthetic. Stuffed racks and clutter were eschewed. The products were displayed in such a manner that the customer could spot their qualities from a distance. Of course, today this has become standard practice with many other brands in the country, but Arrow showed the way. Arrow today has the largest network of 64 exclusive outlets across India. It is also present in 30 retail chains. It branched into multi-brand outlets in 2001, and is present in over 200 select outlets.

From just formal dress shirts in the beginning, the product range of Arvind Brands has expanded in the last ten years to include casual shirts, T-shirts, and trousers. In the pipeline are light jackets and jeans engineered for the middle age paunch. Arrow also tied up with the renowed Italian designer, Renato Grande, who has worked with names like Versace and Marlboro, to design its Spring / Summer Collection 2003. The company has also announced its intention to license the Arrow brand for other lifestyle accessories like footwear, watches, undergarments, fragrances, and leather goods. According to Darshan Mehta, President, Arvind Brands Ltd., the current turnover at retail price of the Arrow brand in India is about Rs. 85 crore. He expects the turnover to cross Rs. 100 crore in the next few years, of which about 15 per cent will be from the licensed non-clothing products.

In 2005, Arvind Brands launched a major retail initiative fir all its brands. Arvind Brands licensed brands (Arrow, Lee and Wrangler) had grown at a healthy 35 per cent rate in 2004 and the company planned to sustain the growth by increasing their retail presence. Arvind Brands also widened the geographical presence of its home-grown brands, such as Newport and Ruf-n-Tuf, targeting small towns across India. The company planned to increase the number of outlets where its domestic brands would be available, and draw in new customers for readymades. To improve its presence in the high – end market, the firm started negotiating with an international brand and is likely to launch the brand.

The company has plans to expand its retail presence of Newport Jeans, from 1200 outlets across 480 towns to 3000 outlets covering 800 towns.

For a company ranked as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of denim cloth and owners of world famous brands, the future looks bright certain for Arvind Brands Ltd.

Company Profile     

Name of the Company : Arvind Mills
Year of Establishments : 1931
Promoters : Three brothers – Katurbhai, Narottam Bhai and Chimnabhai
Divisions : Arvind Mills was spilt in 1993 into three units – textiles, telecom and garments. Arvind Brands Ltd. (textile unit) is 100 per cent subsidiary of Arvind Mills.
Growth Strategy : Arvind Mills has grown through buying – up of sick units, going global and acquisition of Germanand US brand names.


Questions

1. Why did Arvind Mills choose globalization as major route to achieve growth when domestic market was huge?

2. How does lifting of Country-wise quota regime’ help Arvind Mills?

3. What lessons can other Indain business learn from the experience of Arvind Mills?

 

CASE III

AT THE RECEIVING END! 

Spread over 121 countries with 30,000 restaurants, and serving 46 million customers each day with the help of more than 400,000 employees, the reach of McDonald’s is amazing. It all started in 1948 when two brothers, Richard and Maurice ‘Mac’ McDonald, built several hamburger stands, with golden arches in southern California. One day a traveling salesman, Ray Kroc, came to sell milkshake mixers. The popularity of their $O. 15 hamburgers impressed him, so he bought the world franchise rights from them and spread the golden arches around the globe.

McDonald’s depends on its overseas restaurants for revenue. In fact, 60 percent of its revenues are generated outside of the United States. The key to the company’s success is its ability to standardize the formula of quality, service, cleanliness and value, and apply it everywhere.

The company, well known for its golden arches, is not the world’s largest company. Its system wide sales are only about one-fifth of Exxon Mobil or Wal-Mart stores. However, it owns one of the world’s best known brands, and the golden arches are familiar to more people than the Christian cross. This prominence, and its conquest of global markets, makes the company a focal point for inquiry and criticism.

McDonald is a frequent target of criticism by anti-globalization protesters. In France, a pipe-smoking sheep farmer named Jose Bove shot to fame by leading a campaign against the fast food chain. McDonald’s is a symbol of American trade hegemony and economic globalization. Jose Bove organized fellow sheep farmers in France, and the group led by him drove tractors to the construction site of a new McDonald’s restaurants and ransacked it. Bove was jailed for 20 days, and almost overnight an international anti-globalisation star was borne. Bove, who resembles the irrelevant French comic book hero Asterix, traveled to Seattle in 1999, as part of the French delegation to lead the protest against commercialization of food crops promoted by the WTO. Food, according to him, is too vital a part of life to be trusted to the vagaries of the world trade. In Seattle, he led a demonstration in which some ski-masked protestors transhed at McDonald’s/ As Bove explained, his movement was for small farmers against industrial farming, brought about by globalization. For them, McDonald’s was a symbol of globalization, implying the standardization of food through industrial farming. If this was allowed to go on, he said, there would no longer be need for farmers. “For us”, he declared, “McDonald’s is a symbol of what WTO and the big companies want to do with the world”. Ironically, for all of Bove’s fulminations against McDonald’s, the fast food chain counts its French operations among its most profitable in 121 countries. As employer of about 35,000 workers, in 2006, McDonald’s was also one of France’s biggest foreign employers.

Bove’s and his followers are not the only critics of McDonald’s. Leftists, anarchists, nationalists, farmers, labor unions, environmentalists, consumer advocates, protectors of animal rights, religious orders and intellectuals are equally critical of the fast food chain. For these and others, McDonald’s represents an evil America. Within hours after US bombers began to pound Afghanistan in 2001, angry Pakistanis damaged McDonald’s restaurants in Islamabad and an Indonesian mob burned an American flag.

McDonald entered India in the late 1990s. On its entry, the company encountered a unique situation.  Majority of the Indians did not eat beef but the company’s preparations contained cow’s meat nor could the company use pork as Muslims were against eating it.  This left chicken and mutton.  McDonald’s came out with ‘Maharaja Mac’, which is made from mutton and ‘McAloo Tikki Burger’ with chicken potato as the main input.  Food items were segregated into vegetarian and non-vegetarian categories.

Though it worked for sometimes, this arrangement did not last long.  In 2001, three Indian businessmen settled in Seattle sued McDonald’s for fraudulently concealing the existence of beef in its French fries.  The company admitted its guilt of mixing miniscule quantity of beef extract in the oil. The company settled the suit for $10 million and tendered an apology too.  Further, the company pledged to label the ingredients of its food items, and to find a substitute for the beef extract used in its oil.

McDonald’s succeeded in spreading American culture in the East Asian countries.  In Hong Kong and Taiwan, the company’s clean restrooms and kitchens set a new standard that elevated expectations throughout those countries.  In Hong Kong, children’s birthdays had traditionally gone unrecognized, but McDonald’s introduced the practice of birthday parties in its restaurants, and now such parties have become popular among the public.   A journalist set forth a ‘Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention’ based on the notion that countries with McDonald’s restaurants do not go to war with each other.  A British magazine, The Economist, paints an yearly ‘Big Mac Index’ that uses the price of a Big Mac in different foreign currencies to access exchange rate distortions.

Questions:

1. What lessons can other MNCs learn from the experience of McDonald’s?

2. Aware of the food habits of Indians, why did McDonald’s err in mixing beef extract in the oil used for fries?

3. How far has McDonald’s succeeded in strategizing and meeting local cultures and needs?

 

CASE IV

BPO-BANE OR BOON?

Several MNCs are increasingly unbundling or vertical disintegrating their activities. Put in simple language, they have begun outsourcing (also called business process outsourcing) activities formerly performed in-house and concentrating their energies on a few functions. Outsourcing involves withdrawing from certain stages/activities and relaying on outside vendors to supply the needed products, support services, or functional activities.

Take Infosys, its 250 engineers develop IT applications for BO/FA (Bank of America). Elsewhere, Infosys staffers process home loans for green point mortgage of Novato, California. At Wipro, five radiologists interpret 30 CT scans a day for Massachusetts General Hospital.

2500 college educated men and women are buzzing at midnight at Wipro Spectramind at Delhi. They are busy processing claims for a major US insurance company and providing help-desk support for a big US Internet service provider – all at a cost upto 60 percent lower than in the US. Seven Wipro Spectramind staff with Ph.Ds in molecular biology sift through scientific research for western pharmaceutical companies.

Another activist in BPO is Evalueserve, headquartered in Bermuda and having main operations near Delhi. It also has a US subsidiary based in New York and a marketing office in Australia to cover the European market. As Alok Aggarwal (co-founder and chairman) says, his company supplies a range of value – added services to clients that include a dozen Fortune 500 companies and seven global consulting firms, besides market research and venture capital firms. Much of its work involves dealing with CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, CLOs and other so-called C-level executives.

Evalueserve provides services like patent writing, evaluation and assessment of their commercialization potential for law firms and entrepreneurs. Its market research services are aimed at top-rung financial service  firms, to which it provides analysis of investment opportunities and business plans. Another major offering is multilingual services. Evalueserve trains and qualifies employees to communicate in Chinese, Spanish, German, Japanese and Italian, among other languages. That skill set has opened market opportunities in Europe and elsewhere, especially with global corporations.

ICICI Infotech Services in Edison, New Jersey, is another BPO services provider that is offering marketing software products and diversifying into markets outside the US. The firm has been promoted by $2-billion ICICI Bank, a large financial institution in Mumbai that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

In its first year after setting up shop in March 1999, ICICI Infotech spent $33 million acquiring two information technology services firms in New Jersy – Object Experts and lvory Consulting – and Command Systems in Connecticut. These acquisitions were to help ICICI Infotech hit the ground in the US with a ready book of contracts. But it soon found US companies increasingly outsourcing their requirements to offshore locations, instead of hiring foreign employees to work onsite at their offices. The company found other native modes for growth. It has started marketing its products in banking, insurance and enterprise source planning among others. It has ear——- $10 million for its next US market offensive, which would go towards R & D and back-end infrastructure support, and creating new versions of its products to comply with US market requirements. It also has a joint venture – Semantik Solutions GmbH in Berlin, Germany with the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering, which is based in Berlin, Germany with the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering, which is based in Berlin and Dortmund, Germany, Fraunhofer is a leading institute in applied research and development with 200 experts in software engineering and evolutionary information.

A relatively late entrant to the US market, ICICI Infotech started out with plain vanilla IT services, including operating call centers. As the market for traditional IT services started weakening around mid-2000, ICICI Infotech repositioned itself as a “Solutions” firm offering both products and services. Today, it offers bundled packages of products and services in corporate and retail banking and insurance, among other areas. The new offerings include data center and disaster recovery management and value chain management services.

ICICI Infotech’s expansion into new overseas markets has paid off. Its $50 million revenue for its latest financial year ending March 2003 has the US operations generating some $15 million, while the Middle East and Far East markets brought in another $9 million. It now boasts more than 700 customers in 30 countries, including Dow Jones,  Glaxo – Smithkline, Panasonic and American Insurance Group.

The outsourcing industry is indeed growing from strength. Though technical support and financial services have dominated India’s outsourcing industry, newer fields are emerging which are expected to boost the industry many times over.

Outsourcing of human resource services or HR BPO is emerging as big opportunity for Indian BPOs with global market in this segment estimated at $40-60 billion per annum. HR BPO comes to about 33 percent of the outsourcing revenue and India has immense potential as more than 80 percent of Fortune 1000 companies discuss offshore BPO as a way to out costs and increase productivity.

Another potential area is ITES/BPO industry. According to a NASSCOM Survey, the global ITES/BPO industry was valued at around $773 billion during 2002 and it is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of nine percent during the period 2002-06. NASSCOM lists the major indicators of the high growth potential of ITES/BPO industry in India as the following:

During 2003-04, The ITES/BPO segment is estimated to have achieved a 54 percent growth in revenues as compared to the previous year. ITES exports accounted for $3.6 billion in revenues, up from $2.5 billion in 2002-03. The ITES-BPO segment also proved to be a major opportunity for job seekers, creating employment for around 74,400 additional personnel in India during 2003-04. The number of Indians working for this sector jumped to 245,500 by March 2004. By the year 2008, the segment is expected to employ over 1.1 million Indians, according to studies conducted by NASSCOM and McKinsey & Co. Market research shows that in terms of job creation, the ITES-BPO industry is growing at over 50 percent.

Legal outsourcing sector is another area India can look for Legal transcription involves conversion of interviews with clients or witnesses by lawyers into documents which can be presented in courts. It is no different from any other transcription work carried out in India. The bottom-line here is again cheap service. There is a strong reason why India can prove to be a big legal outsourcing industry.

India, like the US, is a common-law jurisdiction rooted in the British legal tradition. Indian legal training is conducted solely in English. Appellate and Supreme Court proceedings in India take place exclusively in English. Indian legal opinions are written exclusively in English. Due to the time-zone differences, night time in the US is daytime in India which means that clients get 24 hour attention, and some projects can be completed overnight. Small and mid-sized business offices can solve staff problems as the outsourced lawyers from India take on the time consuming labour intensive legal research and writing projects. Large law firms also can solve problems of overstaffing by using the on-call lawyers.

Research firms such as Forrester Research, predict that by 2015, more than 489,000 US lawyer jobs, nearly eight percent of the field, will shift abroad.

Many more new avenues are opening up for BPO services providers. Patent writing and evaluation services are markets set to boom. Some 200,000 patent applications are written in the western world annually, making for a market size of between $5 billion and $7 billion. Outsourcing patent writing service could significantly lower the cost of each patent application, now anywhere between $12,000 and $15,000 apiece – which help expand the market.

Offshoring of equity research is another major growth area. Translation services are also becoming a big Indian plus. India produces some 3,000 graduates in German each year, which is more than in Switzerland.

Though going is good, the Indian BPO services providers cannot afford to be complacent, Phillippines, Mexico and Hungary are emerging as potential offshore locations. Likely competitor is Russia, although the absence of English speaking people there holds the country back. But the dark horse could be South Africa and even China.

BPO is based on sound economic reasons. Outsourcing helps gain cost advantage. If an activity can be performed better or more cheaply by an outside supplier, why not outsource it ? Many PC makers, for example, have shifted from in-house assembly to utilizing contract assemblers to make their PCs. CISCO outsources all productions and assembly of its routers and switching equipment to contract manufacturers that operate 37 factories, all linked via the Internet.

Secondly, the activity (outsourced) is not crucial to the firm’s ability to gain sustainable competitive advantage and won’t hollow out its core competence, capabilities, or technical knowhow. Outsourcing of maintenance services, data processing, accounting, and other administrative support activities to companies specializing in these services has become common place. Thirdly, outsourcing reduces the company’s risk exposure to changing technology and / or changing buyer preferences.

Fourthly, BPO streamlines company operations in ways that improve organizational flexibility, cut cycle time, speedup decision making and reduce coordination costs. Finally, outsourcing allows a company to concentrate on its crore business and do what it does best. Are Indian companies listening? If they listen, BPO is a boon them and not a bane.

Question

1. Which of the theories of International trade can help Indian services providers gain competitive edge over their competitors?

2. Pick up some Indian services providers. With the help of Michael Porter’s diamond, analyze their strengths and weaknesses as active players in BPO.

 

CASE V

THE SAGA CONTINUES

It was the talk of the town in Bangalore during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The plant was coming up on the Bangalore – Yelahanka Road, about 20 km from the city. Everything the people over three did became a folklore. The buildings were huge with wonderful architecture, beautifully built with wide roads and huge spaces. Should a situation demand, the entire plant could be dismantled, bundled up, loaded into trucks and ferried to other places. Lighting inside the building had to be seen to be believed. Interiors had to be seen to be believed. Washrooms, stores, reception, canteen, healthcare, had to be seen to be believed. It had never happened elsewhere. It was amazing, the boss was not addressed as Sir, he was called Mr. —- and so ! The yellow painted buses on the city roads made a delightful sight. Legends were fold about the two gentlemen who founded the company.

An interesting story is told about how one of the surviving founders (Larsen who lived till 2003) visited the Bangalore plant once a year, he stayed in a hotel on his own, hired his own cab, went to the plant and greeted every employee, from the top brass down to the last person in the hierarchy. Story is also told about how, on one such visit Larsen went to the reception and asked for permission to enter the plant. Not knowing who he was, the young lass in reception room made him wait for half-an-hour. By luck, someone recognized him.

A budding author captured all these and many more in his first book, which became a big hit with all the teachers and students in different colleges buying and reading it.

If cannot be anything other than L & T, the huge engineering and construction multi-plant organization, founded in 1938 by two Danish engineers, Henning Holck – Larsen and Soren Kristin Toubro.

Henning Holck – Larsen and Soren Kristin Toubro, school – mates in Denmark, would not have dreamt, as they were learning about India in history classes that they would, one day, create history in that land. In 1938, the two friends decided to forgo the comforts of working in Europe and started their own operation in India. All they had was a dream. And the courage to dare. Their first office in Mumbai (Bombay) was so small that only one of the partners could use the office at a time! Today, L & T is one of India’s biggest and best known industrial organizations with reputation for technological excellence, high quality of products and services and strong customer orientation.

As on today, L & T is a 62 business conglomerate with turnover of Rs. 18,363 crore (2006-07), with the script commanding Rs. 2400 in the bourses.

No, L & T is not sitting pretty. It want to hit Rs. 30,000 crore turnover mark by 2010 and is busy restructuring, sniffing new pastures, grooming new talent and projecting the new company credo – “It’s all about Imagineering.” With the sole idea of creating several MNCs within, with footprints across nations, L & T is shedding the old economy and embracing the emergent opportunities and challenges.

Stagnant Revenues and Low Margins

Not everything went the L & T way.

In the late nineties, the macro environment was —– inspiring with stagnant revenues and low margins, and L & T’s core strength, its engineers, were being constantly weaned away by the fast-growing software sector. So, the general comment around the bourses was about the credibility of the company, ‘L & T is a, good company but its stock price, for some reason or the other, is fixed at the Rs. 140-210 band. So the company had to change by keeping its core intact. As s senior executive remarks. “L & T was perceived to be un –sexy and we had to create a new buzz around the campuses.” The metamorphosis must echo through a whimper, not a bang. Even before the company divested its cement business in 2003, which accounted for 25% of its total sales, there were years of incremental and low visibility organizational moves towards a new L & T.

At a 52-week high of Rs. 2400, the L & T scrip today looks dapper, a far cry from the nineties when the stock price was in a state of flux. Much of the change started as a ripple way back in 1999 when Naik took over as the CEO. He visited employees at all levels across the organization and asked them what it took to transform the company. The insights were mapped and implemented. “None of our employees thought that we build shareholder value. They thought we build monuments,” the chairman reminisces. The focus on people became stronger and formed the basis of restructuring. It became the first old economy company to provide stock options to its employees.

When Naik came to the helm, he set upon himself a 90 – day transformational agenda. Portfolios were reviewed and a vision clearly chalked out. He drew up a simple, brief, “ L & T has to be a multinational company and it has to deliver shareholder value at any cost. At the end of 90 days, between July 22 and July 24, 1999, the company launched Project Blue Chip, which essentially fast – tracked projects. The moot point was to complete all projects by February of the new millennium. Strategy formation teams were formed, portfolios reviewed and structures were optimized. Young leadership was brought to the fore and the business streamlining process kicked in.

Hiving off from 1999-2001, L & T went about debottle- necking its cement plants. They were modernized and capitalized were raised from 12 million tones to 16 million tones annually, with minimum costs. The mantra really was to grow the business and then divest it as cement fell in the non-core category.

So, in September 2003, L & T sold its cement business to the Aditya Birla Group, which resulted in the company’s Economic Value Add (EVA), an

SUMMARY

Technological environment wields considerable influence on international business. Technology is systematic application of knowledge to practical tasks.

Three features of technology are conspicuous, change, widespread effects and self-reinforcement.

Technology may be structured into different categories, for example, state of art, proprietary, supporting, and the like.

Technology management involves its awareness, acquisition, adaption, advancement and abandonment phases.

Impact of technology can be studied under three heads – impact on society, impact on economy and plant level implications. Major aspect of plant level implications relates to the management of technology transfers.

Questions

1. What is technology? How does it differ from science?

2. Describe the different phases of technology management?

3. Bring out the impact of technology on: (a) Society, (b) Economy, and (c) A plant.

4. What is technology transfer? What are the directions of such transfers?

5. Bring out the stages in technology transfer.

6. Explain the issues involved in international technology transfers.

 

CASE VI

THE ABB PBS JOINT VENTURE IN OPERATION

ABB Prvni Brnenska Strojirna Brno, Ltd. (ABB-PBS), Czechoslovakia was a joint venture in which ABB has a 67 per cent stake and PBS a.s. has a 33 per cent stake. This PBS share was determined nominally by the value of the land, plant and equipment, employees, and goodwill, ABB contributed cash and specified technologies and assumed some of the debt of PBS. The new company started operations on April 15, 1993.

Business for the joint venture in its first two full years was good in most aspects. Orders received in 1994, the first full year of the joint venture’s operation, were higher than ever in the history of PBS. Orders received in 1995 were 21/2 times those in 1994. The company was profitable in 1995 and ahead of 1994s results with a rate of return on assets of 2.3 per cent and a rate of return on sales of 4.5 per cent.

The 1995 results showed substantial progress towards meeting the joint venture’s strategic goals adopted in 1994 as part of a five-year plan. One of the goals was that exports should account for half of the total orders by 1999. (Exports had accounted for more than a quarter of the PBS business before 1989, but most of this business disappeared when the Soviet Union collapsed), In 1995 exports increased as a share of total orders to 28 per cent up from 16 per cent the year before.

The external service business, organized and functioning as a separate business for the first time in 1995, did not meet expectations. It accounted for five per cent of all orders and revenues in 1995, below the 10 per cent goal set for it. The retrofitting business, which was expected to be a major part of the service business, was disappointing for ABB-PBS, partly because many other small companies began to provide this service in 1994, including some started by former PBS employees who took their knowledge of PBS-built power plants with them. However, ABB-PBS managers hoped that as the company introduced new technologies, these former employees would gradually lose their ability to perform these services, and the retrofit and repair service business would return to ABB-PBS.

ABB-PBS dominated the Czech boiler business with 70 per cent of the Czech market in 1995, but managers expected this share to go down in the future as new domestic and foreign competitors emerged. Furthermore, the west European boiler market was actually declining because environmental laws caused a surge of retrofitting to occur in the mid-1980s, leaving less business in the 1990s. Accordingly ABB-PBS boiler orders were flat in 1995.

Top managers at ABB-PBS regarded business results to date as respectable, but they were not satisfied with the company’s performance. Cash flow was not as good as expected. Cost reduction had to go further. “The more we succeed, the more we see our shortcomings”, said one official.

Restructuring

The first round of restructuring was largely completed in 1995, the last year of the three-year restructuring plan. Plant logistics, information systems, and other physical capital improvements were in place. The restructing included :

  • Renovating and reconstructing workshops and engineering facilities
  • Achieving ISO 9001 for all four ABB-PBS divisions (awarded in 1995)
  • Transfer of technology from ABB (this was an ongoing project)
  • Installation of an information system
  • Management training, especially in total quality assurance and English language
  • Implementing a project management approach.

A notable achievement of importance of top management in 1995 was a 50 per cent increase in labour productivity, measured as value added per payroll crown. However, in the future ABB-PBS expected its wage rates to go up faster than west European wage rates (Czech wages were increasing about 15 per cent per year) so it would be difficult to maintain the ABB-PBS unit cost advantage over west European unit cost.

The  Technology Role for ABB-PBS

The joint venture was expected from the beginning to play an important role in technology development for part of ABB’s power generation business worldwide. PBS a.s. had engineering capability in coal-fired steam boilers, and that capability was expected to be especially useful to ABB as more countries became concerned about air quality. (When asked if PBS really did have leading technology here, a boiler engineering manager remarked, “Of course we do. We burn so much dirty coal in this country, we have to have better technology”).

However, the envisioned technology leadership role for ABB-PBS had not been realised by mid-1996. Richard Kuba, the ABB-PBS managing director, realised the slowness with which the technology role was being fulfilled, and he offered his interpretation of events :

“ABB did not promise to make the joint venture its steam technology leader. The main point we wanted to achieve in the joint venture agreement was for ABB-PBS to be recognised as a full-fledged company, not just a factory. We were slowed down on our technology plans because we had a problem keeping our good, young engineers. The annual employee turnover rate for companies in the Czech Republic is 15 or 20 per cent, and the unemployment rate is zero. Our engineers have many other good entrepreneurial opportunities. Now we’ve begun to stabilise our engineering workforce. The restructuring helped. We have better equipment and a clean and safer work environment. We also had another problem which is a good problem to have. The domestic power plant business turned out to be better than we expected, so just meeting the needs of our regular customers forced some postponement of new technology initiatives.”

ABB-PBS had benefited technologically from its relationship with ABB. One example was the development of a new steam turbine line. This project was a cooperative effort among ABB-PBS and two other ABB companies, one in Sweden and one in Germany. Nevertheless, technology transfer was not the most important early benefit of ABB relationship. Rather, one of the most important gains was the opportunity to benchmark the joint venture’s performance against other established western ABB companies on variables such as productivity, inventory, and receivables.

Questions

1. Where does the joint venture meet the needs of both the partners? Where does it fall short?

2. Why had ABB-PBS failed to realized its technology leadership?

3. What lessons one can draw from this incident for better management of technology transfers?

 

CASE VII

PERU

Peru is located on the west coast South America. It is the third largest nation of the continent (after Brazil and Argentina), and covers almost 500,000 square miles (about 14 per cent of the size of the United States). The land has enormous contrasts, with a desert (drier than the Sahara), the towering snow-capped Andes mountains, sparking grass-covered plateaus, and thick rain forests. Peru has approximately 27 million people, of which about 20 per cent live in Lima, the capital. More Indians (one half of the population) live in Peru than in any other country in the western hemisphere. The ancestors of Peru’s Indians were the famous Incas, who built a great empire. The rest of the population is mixed and a small percentage is white. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, fishing, mining, and services. GDP is approximately $115 billion and per capita income in recent years has been around $4, 300. In recent years the economy has gained some relative and multinationals are now beginning to consider investing in the country.

One of these potential investors is a large New York based that is considering a $25 million loan to the owner of a Peruvian fishing fleet. The owner wants to refurbish the fleet and add one more ship.

During the 1970s, the Peruvian government nationalized a number of industries and factories and began running them for the profit of the state. In most cases, these state-run ventures became disasters. In the late 1970s, the fishing fleet owner was given back his ships and allowed to operate his business as before. Since then, he has managed to remain profitable, but the biggest problem is that his ships are getting old and he needs and influx of capital to make repairs and add new technology. As he explained it to the New York banker: “Fishing is no longer just an art. There is a great deal of technology involved. And to keep costs low and be competitive on the world market, you have to have the latest equipment for both locating as well as catching and then loading and unloading the fish.”

Having reviewed the fleet owner’s operation, the large multinational bank believers that the loan is justified. The financial institution is concerned, however, that the Peruvian government might step in during the next couple of years and again take over the business. If this were to happen it might take and additional decade for the loan to be repaid. If the government were to allow the fleet owner to operate the fleet the way he has over the last decade, the loan could be repaid within seven years.

Right now, the bank is deciding on the specific terms of the agreement. Once these have been worked out, either a loan officer will fly down to Lima and close the deal or the owner will be asked to come to New York for the signing. Whichever approach is used, the bank realizes that final adjustments in the agreement will have to be made on the spot. Therefore, if the bank sends a representative to Lima, the individual will have to have the authority to commit the bank to specific terms. These final matters should be worked out within the next ten days.

Question

1. What are some current issues facing Peru? What is the climate for doing business in Peru today?

2. What type of political risks does this fishing company need to evaluate? Identify and describe them.

3. What types of integrative and protective and defensive techniques can the bank use?

4. Would the bank be better off negotiating the loan in New York or in Lima? Why?

International Business

06 Jul

CASE: I    ARROW AND THE APPAREL INDUSTRY

Ten years ago, Arvind Clothing Ltd., a subsidiary of Arvind Brands Ltd., a member of the Ahmedabad based Lalbhai Group, signed up with the 150- year old Arrow Company, a division of Cluett Peabody & Co. Inc., US, for licensed manufacture of Arrow shirts in India. What this brought to India was not just another premium dress shirt brand but a new manufacturing philosophy to its garment industry which combined high productivity, stringent in-line quality control, and a conducive factory ambience.

Arrow’s first plant, with a 55,000 sq. ft. area and capacity to make 3,000 to 4,000 shirts a day, was established at Bangalore in 1993 with an investment of Rs 18 crore. The conditions inside—with good lighting on the workbenches, high ceilings, ample elbow room for each worker, and plenty of ventilation, were a decided contrast to the poky, crowded, and confined sweatshops characterising the usual Indian apparel factory in those days. It employed a computer system for translating the designed shirt’s dimensions to automatically mark the master pattern for initial cutting of the fabric layers. This was installed, not to save labour but to ensure cutting accuracy and low wastage of cloth.

The over two-dozen quality checkpoints during the conversion of fabric to finished shirt was unique to the industry. It is among the very few plants in the world that makes shirts with 2 ply 140s and 3 ply 100s cotton fabrics using 16 to 18 stitches per inch. In March 2003, the Bangalore plant could produce stain-repellant shirts based on nanotechnology.

The reputation of this plant has spread far and wide and now it is loaded mostly with export orders from renowned global brands such as GAP, Next, Espiri, and the like. Recently the plant was identified by Tommy Hilfiger to make its brand of shirts for the Indian market. As a result, Arvind Brands has had to take over four other factories in Bangalore on wet lease to make the Arrow brand of garments for the domestic market.

In fact, the demand pressure from global brands which want to outsource form Arvind Brands is so great that the company has had to set up another large factory for export jobs on the outskirts of Bangalore. The new unit of 75,000 sq. ft. has cost Rs 16 crore and can turn out 8,000 to 9,000 shirts per day. The technical collaborators are the renowned C&F Italia of Italy.

Among the cutting edge technologies deployed here are a Gerber make CNC fabric cutting machine, automatic collar and cuff stitching machines, pneumatic holding for tasks like shoulder joining, threat trimming and bottom hemming, a special machine to attach and edge stitch the back yoke, foam finishers which use air and steam to remove creases in the finished garment, and many others. The stitching machines in this plant can deliver up to 25 stitches per inch. A continuous monitoring of the production process in the entire factory is done through a computerised apparel production management system, which is hooked to every machine. Because of the use of such technology, this plant will need only 800 persons for a capacity which is three times that of the first plant which employs 580 persons.

Exports of garments made for global brands fetched Arvind Brands over Rs 60 crore in 2002, and this can double in the next few years, when the new factory goes on full stream. In fact, with the lifting of the country-wise quota regime in 2005, there will be surge in demand for high quality garments from India and Arvind is already considering setting up two more such high tech export-oriented factories.

It is not just in the area of manufacture but also retailing that the Arrow brand brought a wind of change on the Indian scene. Prior to its coming, the usual Indian shirt shop used to be a clutter of racks with little by way of display. What Arvind Brands did was to set up exclusive showrooms for Arrow shirts in which the functional was combined with aesthetic. Stuffed racks and clutter eschewed. The product were displayed in such a manner the customer could spot their qualities from a distance. Of course, today this has become standard practice with many other brands in the country, but Arrow showed the way. Arrow today has the largest network of 64 exclusive outlets across India. It is also present in 30 retail chains. It branched into multi-brand outlets in 2001, and is present in over 200 select outlets.

From just formal dress shirts in the beginning, the product range of Arvind Brands has expanded in the last ten years to include casual shirts, T-shirts, and trousers. In the pipeline are light jackets and jeans engineered for the middle-aged paunch. Arrow also tied up with the renowned Italian designer, Renato Grande, who has worked with names like Versace and Marlboro, to design its Spring / Summer Collection 2003. The company has also announced its intention to license the Arrow brand for other lifestyle accessories like footwear, watches, undergarments, fragrances, and leather goods. According to Darshan Mehta, President, Arvind Brands Ltd., the current turnover at retail prices of the Arrow brand in India is about Rs 85 crore. He expects the turnover to cross Rs 100 crore in the next few years, of which about 15 per cent will be from the licensed non-clothing products.

In 2005, Arvind Brands launched a major retail initiative for all its brands. Arvind Brands licensed brands (Arrow, Lee and Wrangler) had grown at a healthy 35 per cent rate in 2004 and the company planned to sustain the growth by increasing their retail presence. Arvind Brands also widened the geographical presence of its home-grown brands, such as Newport and Ruf-n Tuf, targeting small towns across India. The company planned to increase the number of outlets where its domestic brands would be available, and draw in new customers for readymades. To improve its presence in the high-end market, the firm started negotiating with an international brand and is likely to launch the brand.

The company has plans to expand its retail presence of Newport Jeans, from 1200 outlets across 480 towns to 3000 outlets covering 800 towns.

For a company ranked as one of the world’s largest manufactures of denim cloth and owners of world famous brands, the future looks bright and certain for Arvind Brands Ltd.

Company profile

Name of the Company  Arvind Mills
Year of Establishment 1931
Promoters Three brothers–Katurbhai, Narottam Bhai, and Chimnabhai
Divisions Arvind Mills was split in 1993 into Units—textiles, telecom and garments. Arvind Ltd. (textile unit) is 100 per cent subsidiary of Arvind Mills
Growth Strategy Arvind Mills has grown through buying-up of sick units, going global and acquisition of German and US brand names

Questions

1. Why did Arvind Mills choose globalization as the major route to achieve growth when the domestic market was huge?

2. How does lifting of ‘Country-wise quota regime’ help Arvind Mills?

3. What lessons can other Indian businesses learn form the experience of Arvind Mills?

 

CASE: II    THE ECONOMY OF KENYA

Kenya’ economy has been beset by high rates of unemployment and underemployment for many years. But at no time has it been more significant and more politically dangerous than in the late 1990s as an authoritarian beset by corruption, cronyism and economic plunder threatened the economic stability of this once proud nation. Yet Kenya still has great potential. Located in East Africa, it has a diverse geographic and climatic endowment. Three-fifths of the nation is semiarid desert (mostly in the north), and the resulting infertility of this land has dictated the location of 85 per cent of the population (30 million in 2000) and almost all economic activity in the southern two-fifths of the country. Kenya’s rapidly growing population is composed of many tribes and is extremely heterogeneous (including traditional herders, subsistence and commercial farmers, Arab Muslims, and cosmopolitan residents of Nairobi). The standard of living at least in major cities, is relatively high compared to the average of other sub-Saharan African countries.

However, widespread poverty (per capita US$360), high unemployment, and growing income inequality make Kenya a country of economic as well as geographic diversity. Agriculture is the most important economic activity. About three quarters of the population still lives in rural areas and about 7 million workers are employed in agriculture, accounting for over two-thirds of the total workforce.

Despite many changes in the democratic system, including the switch from a federal to a republican government, the conversion of the prime ministerial system into a presidential one, the transition to a unicameral legislature, and the creation of a one-party state, Kenya has displayed relatively high political stability (by African standards) since gaining independence from Britain in 1963. Since independence, there have been only two presidents. However, this once stable and prosperous capitalist nation has witnessed widespread ethnic violence and political upheavals since 1992 as a deteriorating economy, unpopular one-party rule, and charges of government corruption create a tense situation.

An expansionary economic policy characterised by large public investments, support of small agricultural production units, and incentives for private (domestic and foreign) industrial investment played an important role in the early 7 per cent rate of GDP growth in the first decade after independence. In the following seven years (1973-80), the oil crisis let to a lower GDP growth to an annual rate of 5 per cent. Along with the oil price shock, lack of adequate domestic saving and investment slowed the growth of the economy. Various economic policies designed to promote industrial growth led to a neglect of agriculture and a consequent decline in farm prices, farm production, and farmer incomes. As peasant farmers became poorer, more migrated to Nairobi, swelling an already overcrowded city and pushing up an existing high rate of urban unemployment. Very high birthrates along with a steady decline in death rates (mainly through lower infant mortality) led Kenya’s population growth to become the highest in the world (4.1 per cent per year) in 1988. Population growth fell to a still high rate of 2.4 per cent for the period 1990-2000.

The slowdown in GDP growth persisted in the following five years (1980-85), when the annual average was 2.6 per cent. It was a period of stabilization in which political shakiness of 1982 and the severe drought in 1984 contributed to a slowdown in industrial growth. Interest rates rose and wages fell in the public and private sectors. An improvement in the budget deficit and current account trade deficit, obtained through cuts in development expenditures and recessive policies aimed at reducing imports, contributed to lower economic growth. By 1990, Kenya’s per capita income was 9 per cent lower than it was in 1980–$370 compared to $410. It continued to decline in the 1990s. In fact, GDP per capita fell at an annual average rate of 0.3 per cent throughout the decade. At the same time, the urban unemployment rate rose to 30 per cent.

Comprising 23 per cent of 2000 GDP AND 77 per cent of merchandise exports, agricultural production is the backbone of the Kenyan economy. Because of its importance, the Kenyan government has implemented several policies to nourish the agricultural sector. Two such policies include fixing attractive producer prices and making available increasing amounts of fertilizer. Kenya’s chief agricultural exports are coffee, tea, sisal, cashew nuts, pyrethrum, and horticultural products. Traditionally, coffee has been Kenya’s chief earner in foreign exchange.

Although Kenya is chiefly agrarian, it is still the most industrialised country in eastern Africa. Public and private industry accounted for 16 per cent of GDP in 2000. Kenya’s chief manufacturing activities are food processing and the production of beverages, tobacco, footwear, textiles, cement, metal products, paper, and chemicals.

Kenya currently faces a multitude of problems. These include a stagnating economy, growing political unrest, a huge budget deficit, high unemployment, a substantial balance of payments problem, and a stubbornly high population growth rate.

With the unemployment rate already at 30 per cent and its population growing, Kenya faces the major task of employing its burgeoning labour force. Yet only 10-15 per cent of seekers land jobs in the modern industrial sector. The remainder must find jobs in the self-employment sector; in the agricultural sector, where wages are low and opportunities are scarce; or join the masses of the unemployed.

In addition to the unemployment problem, Kenya must always be concerned with how to feed its growing population. An increase in population means an increasing demand for food. Yet only 20 per cent of Kenya’s land is arable. This implies that the land must become increasingly productive. Unfortunately, several factors work to constrain Kenya’s food output, among them fragmented landholdings, increasing environmental degradation, the high cost of agricultural inputs, and burdensome governmental involvement in the purchase, sale, and pricing of agricultural output.

For the fiscal year 1995, the Kenyan budget deficit was $362 million, well above the government’s target rate. Dealing with a high budget deficit is a second problem Kenya currently faces. Following the collapse of the East African Common Market, Kenya’s industrial growth rate has declined; as a result the government’s tax base has diminished. To supplement domestic savings, Kenya has had to turn to external sources of finance, including foreign aid grants from Western governments. Its highly protected public enterprises have been turning in a poor performance, thus absorbing a large chunk of the government budget. To pay for its expenses, Kenya has had to borrow from international banks in addition to foreign aid. In recent years, government borrowing from the international banking system rose dramatically and contributed to a rapid growth in money supply. This translated into high inflation and pinched availability of credit.

Kenya has also had a chronic international balance of payments problem. Decreasing prices for its exports, combined with increasing prices for its imports, left Kenya importing almost twice as much as it exported in 2000, at $3,200 million in imports and only $1,650 million in exports. World demand for coffee, Kenya‘s predominant exports, remains below supply. In 2001-01, a dramatic surge in coffee exports from Vietnam hurt Kenya further. Hence Kenya cannot make full use of its comparative advantage in coffee production, and its stock of coffee has been increasing. Tea, another main export, has also had difficulties. In 1987, Pakistan, the second largest importer of Kenyan tea, slashed its purchases. Combined with a general oversupply in the world market, this fall in demand drove the price of tea downward. Hence Kenya experienced both a lower dollar value and quantity demanded for one of its principal exports.

Kenya faces major challenges in the years ahead as the economy tries to recover. Current is expected to be no more than 1 to 2 per cent annually. Heavy rains have spoiled crops and washed away roads, bridges, and telephone lines. Foreign exchange earnings from tourism, once promising, dropped by 40 per cent in the mid-1990s, then suffered again after the August 7, 1998, terrorist bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi. Even more frightening, however, is the prospect of growing hunger as Kenya’s maize (corn) crop has failed to meet rising internal demand and dwindling foreign exchange reserves have to be spent to import food. Corruption is perceived to be so widespread that the International Monetary Fund and World Bank suspended $292 million in loans to Kenyan in the summer of 1997 while insisting on tough new austerity measures to control public spending and weed out economic cronyism. As a result, the economy went into a tailspin, foreign investors fled the country, and inflation accelerated markedly.

Unfortunately, needed structural adjustments resulting form the World Bank—and IMF—induced austerity demands usually take a long time. Whether the Kenyan political and economic system can withstand any further deterioration in living conditions is a major question. Public protests for greater democracy and a growing incidence of ethnic violence may be harbingers of things to come.

Fig 1  Continuum of Economic Systems

Pure Market Economy                                                              Pure Centrally Planned Economy

        The US                                  France                     India           China

                        Canada                                   Brazil                                             Cuba

                                         UK                                                                         North Korea

Questions

1. Is the economic environment of Kenya favourable to international business? Yes or no—substantiate.

2. In the continuum of economic systems (see Fig 1), where do you place Kenya and why?

3. Compare this case with the opening case to this chapter and draw similarities and dissimilarities.

 

Case III: LATE MOVER ADVANTAGE?

Though a late entrant, Toyota is planning to conquer the Indian car market. The Japanese auto major wants to dispel the notion that the first mover enjoys an edge over the rivals who arrive late into a market.

Toyota entered the Indian market through the joint venture route, the partner being the Bangalore based Kirloskar Electric Co. Know as Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), the plant was set up in 1998 at Bidadi near Bangalore.

To start with, TKM released its maiden offer—Qualis. Qualis is not a newly conceived, designed, and brought out vehicle. Rather it is the new avatar of Kijang under which brand the vehicle was sold in markets like Indonesia.

Qualis virtually had no competition. Telco’s Sumo was not a multi-utility vehicle like Qualis. Rather, it was mini-truck converted into a rugged all-purpose van. More importantly, Toyota proved that even its old offering, but decked up for India, could offer better quality than its competitor. Backed by a carefully thought out advertising campaign that communicated Toyota’s formidable global reputation, Qualis went on a roll and overtook Tata Sumo within two years of launch.

Sumo sold 25,706 vehicles during 2000-2001, compared to a 3 per cent growth over the previous year, compared to 25,373 of Qualis. But during 2001-2002, it was a different story. Qualis had been clocking more than 40 per cent share of the market. At the end of Sept 2001, Qualis had sold over 25,000 units, compared to Sumo’s 18000 plus.

The heady initial success has made TKM think of the future with robust confidence. By 2010, TKM wants to make and sell one million vehicles per year and garner one-third share of the Indian market.

The firm is planning to introduce a wide range of vehicle—a sub-compact, a sedan, a luxury car and a new multi-utility vehicle to replace Qualis. A significant percentage of the vehicles will be exported.

But Toyota is not as lucky in China. Its strategy of ‘late entry’ in China seems to have back fired. In 2005, it sold just 1,83,000 cars in China, the fastest growing auto market in the world. Toyota ranks ninth in the market, far behind Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai and Honda.

Toyota delayed producing cars in China until 2002, when it entered a joint venture with a local company, the First Auto Works Group (FAW). The first car manufactured by Toyota-FAW, the Vios, failed to attract much of a market, as, despite its unremarkable design, it was three times as expensive as most cars sold in China.

Late start was not the only problem. There were other lapses too. Toyota assumed the Chinese market would be similar to the Japanese market. But Chinese market, in reality, resembled the American market.

Sales personnel in Japan are paid salaries. They succeeded in building a loyal clientele for Toyota by providing first-class service to them. Likewise, most Japanese auto dealers sell a single brand, thereby ensuring their loyalty to it. Japan is a relatively a well-knit country with an ethnically homogeneous population. Accordingly, Toyota used nationwide advertising to market its products in its home country.

But China is different. Sales people are paid commissions and most dealers sell multiple brands. Obviously, loyalty plays little role in motivating either the sales staff or the dealers, who will ignore a slow selling product should a more profitable one turn up. Besides, China is a large, diverse country. A standardised ad campaign will not do. Luckily, Toyota is learning its lessons.

Competition in the Chinese market is tough, and Toyota’s success in reaching its goal of selling a million cars a year, by 2010, is uncertain. But, its chances are brighter as the company is able to transfer lessons learned in the American market to its operations in China.

Questions

1. Why has the ‘late corner’s strategy’ of Toyota failed in China, though it succeeded in India?

2. Why has Toyota failed to capture the Chinese market? Why is it trailing behind its rivals?

 

CASE: IV   DELVING DEEP INTO USER’S MIND

Whirlpool is an American brand alright, but has succeeded in empowering the Indian housewife with just the tools she would have designed for herself. A washing machine that doesn’t expect her to get ‘ready for the show’ (Videocon’s old jingle), nor adapt her plumbing, power supply, dress sense, values, attitudes and lifestyle to suit American standards.

That, in short, is the reason that Whirlpool White Magic, in just three years since its launch in 1999, has become the choice of the discerning Indian housewife. Also worth noting is how quickly the brand’s sound mnemonic, ‘Whirlpool, Whirlpool’, has established itself.

Whiteboard beginning

As a company, the US-based white goods major Whirlpool had entered India in 1989, in a joint venture with the TVS group. Videocon, which had pioneered washing machines in India, was the market leader with its range of low-priced ‘washers’ (spinning tubs) and semi-automatic machines, which required manual supervision and some labour. The brand’s TV commercial, created by Pune-based SJ Advertising, has evoked considerable interest with its jingle (‘It washes, it rinses, it even dries your clothes, in just a few minutes…and you’re ready for the show’). IFB-Bosch’s front-loading, fully automatic machines, which could be programmed and left to do their job, were the labour-free option. But they were considered expensive and unsuited to Indian conditions. So Videocon faced competition from me-too machines such as BPL-Sanyo’s. TVS Whirlpool was something of an also-ran.

The market’s sophistication started rising in the 1990s and there was a growing opportunity in the price-performance gap between expensive automatics and laborious semi-automatics. In 1995, Whirlpool gained a majority control of TVS Whirlpool, which was then renamed Whirlpool Washing Machines Ltd (WMML). Meanwhile, the parent bought Kelvinator of India, and merged the refrigerator business in 1996 with WMML to create Whirlpool of India (WOI), to market both fridges and washing machines. Whirlpool’s ‘Flexigerator’ fridge hit the market in 1997. Two years later, WOI launched its star White Magic range of washing machines.

Whitemagic was late to the market, but WOI converted this to a ‘knowledge advantage’ by using the 1990s to study the Indian market intensely, through qualitative and quantitative market research (MR) tools, with the help of IMRB and MBL India. The research team delved deep into the psyche of the Indian housewife, her habits, her attitude towards life, her schedule, her every day concerns and most importantly, her innate ‘laundry wisdom’.

If Ashok Bhasin, vice-president marketing, WOI, was keen on understanding the psychodynamics of Indian clothes washing, it was because of his belief that people’s attitudes and perceptions of categories and brands are formed against the backdrop of their bigger attitudes in life, which could be shaped by broader trends. It was intuitive, to begin with, that the housewife wanted to gain direct control over crucial household operations. It was found that clothes washing was the daily activity for the Indian housewife, whether it was done personally, by a maid, or by a machine.

The key finding, however, was the pride in self-done washing. To the CEO of the Indian household, there was no displacing the hand wash as the best on quality. And quality was to be judged in terms of ‘whiteness’. Other issues concerned water consumption, quantity of detergent used, and fabric care—also something optimized best by herself. A thorough wash, done with gentle agility, was what the magic was all about.

That was the break-through insight used by Whirlpool for the design of all its washing machines, which adopted a ‘1-2, 1-2 Hand Wash Agitator System’ to mimic the preferred handwash technique. With a consumer so particular about washing, one could expect her to be value-conscious on other aspects too. Sure enough, WOI found the housewife willing to pay a premium for a product designed the way she wanted it. Even for a fully automatic, she wanted a top-loader; this way, she doesn’t fear clothes getting trapped in if the power fails, and retains the ability to lift the shutter to take clothes out (or add to the wash) even while the machine is in the midst of its job.

The target consumer, defined psychographically as the Turning Modernist (TM), was decided upon only after the initial MR exercise was concluded. This was also the stage at which the unique selling proposition (USP)—‘whitest white’—was thrashed out.

WOI first launched a fully automatic machine, with the hand-wash agitator. Then came the deluxe model with a ‘hot wash’ function. The product took off well, but WOI felt that a large chunk of the TM segment was also budget-bound. And was quite okay with having to supervise the machine. This consumer’s identity as a ‘home-maker’ was important to her, an insight that Whirlpool was using for the brand overall, in every product category.

So WOI launched a semi-automatic washing machine, with ‘Agisoak’ as a catchword to justify a 10—15 per cent premium over other brand’s semi-automatics available in India.

The advertising, WOI was clear, had to flow from the same stream of reasoning. It had to be responsive, caring, modern, stylish, and warm, and had to portray the victory of the Homemaker. FCB-Ulka, which had bagged Whirlpool’s account in March 1997 from contract (in a global alignment shift), worked with WOI to coin the sub-brand Whitemagic, to break into consumer mindspace with the whiteness proposition.

The launch commercial on TV, in August 1999, scored a big success with its ‘Whirlpool, Whirlpool’ jingle…and a mother’s fantasy of her daughter’s clothes wowing others. A product demonstration sequence took the ‘1-2, 1-2’ message home, reassuring the consumer that the wash would be just as good as that of her own hand. The net benefit, of course, was an unharried home life.

Second Wave

Sadly, the Indian market for washing machines has been in recession for the past two years, with overall volumes declining. This makes it a fight for market share, with the odds stacked against premium players.

Even though Whirlpool has sought to nudge the market’s value perception upwards, Videocon remains the largest selling brand in volume terms with its competitively priced machines. Washers have been displaced by semi-automatics, which are now the market’s mainstay (in the Rs 7,000-12,000 price range). In fact, these account for three-fourths of the 1.2 million units the Indian market sold in 2000. With a share of 17 per cent, Whirlpool is No. 2 in this voluminous segment.

Whirlpool’s bigger success has been in the fully automatic segment (Rs 12,000-36,000 range). This is smaller with sales of 177,600 units in 2000, but is predicted to become the dominant one as Indian GDP per head reaches for the $1,000 mark. With a 26 per cent share, Whirlpool has attained leadership of this segment.

That places WOI at the appropriate juncture to plot the value curve to be ascended over the new decade.

According to IMRB data, Whirlpool finds itself in the consideration set of 54 per cent of all prospective washing machine buyers, and has an ad recall of close to 85 per cent. This indicates the medium-term potential of Whitemagic, a Rs20.5 crore on a turnover of Rs1,042.8 crore, one-fifth of which was on account of washing machines.

The innovations continue. Recently, Whirlpool has launched semi-automatic machines with ‘hot wash’. The brand’s ‘magic’ isn’t showing signs of wearing off either. The current ‘mummy’s magic’ campaign on TV is trying to sell Whitemagic as a competent machine even for heavy duty washing such as ketchup stains on a white tablecloth.

The Homemaker, of course, remains the focus of attention. And she remains as vivacious, unruffled, and in control as ever. The attitude: you can sling the muckiest of stuff on to white cloth, but sparkling white is what it remains for its her hand that’ll work the magic, with a little help from some friends… such as Whirlpool.

Questions

1. What product strategy did WOI adopt? And why? Global standardisation? Local customisaton?

2. What pricing strategy did WOI follow? What, according to you, could have been the appropriate strategy?

3. What lessons can other white goods manufacturers learn from WOI?

 

CASE V: CONSCIENCE OR COMPETITIVE EDGE

The plane touched down at Mumbai airport precisely on time. Olivia Jones made her way through the usual immigration bureaucracy without incident and was finally ushered into a waiting limousine, complete with uniformed chauffeur and soft black leather seats. Her already considerable excitement at being in India for the first time was mounting. As she cruised the dark city streets, she asked her chauffeur why so few cars had their headlights on at night. The driver responded that most drivers believed that headlights use too much petrol! Finally, she arrived at her hotel, a black marble monolith, grandiose and decadent in its splendour, towering above the bay.

The goal of her four-day trip was to sample and select swatches of woven cotton from the mills in and around Mumbai, to be used in the following season’s youth-wear collection of shirts, trousers, and underwear. She was thus treated with the utmost deference by her hosts, who were invariably Indian factory owners or British agents for Indian mills. For three days she was ferried from one air-conditioned office to another, sipping iced tea or chilled lemonade, poring over leather-bound swatch catalogues, which featured every type of stripe and design possible. On the fourth day, Jones made a request that she knew would cause some anxiety in the camp. “I want to see a factory,” she declared.

After much consultation and several attempts at dissuasion, she was once again ushered into a limousine and driven through a part of the city she had not previously seen. Gradually, the hotel and the Western shops dissolved into the background and Jones entered downtown Mumbai. All around was a sprawling shantytown, constructed from sheets of corrugated iron and panels of cardboard boxes. Dust flew in spirals everywhere among the dirt roads and open drains. The car crawled along the unsealed roads behind carts hauled by man and beast alike, laden to overflowing with straw or city refuse—the treasure of the ghetto. More than once the limousine had to halt and wait while a lumbering white bull crossed the road.

Finally, in the very heart of the ghetto, the car came to a stop. “Are you sure you want to do this?” asked her host. Determined not be faint-hearted, Jones got out the car.

White-skinned, blue-eyed, and blond, clad in a city suit and stiletto-heeled shoes, and carrying a briefcase, Jones was indeed conspicuous. It was hardly surprising that the inhabitants of the area found her an interesting and amusing subject, as she teetered along the dusty street and stepped gingerly over the open sewers.

Her host led her down an alley, between the shacks and open doors and inky black interiors. Some shelters, Jones was told, were restaurants, where at lunchtime people would gather on the rush mat floors and eat rice together. In the doorway of one shack there was a table that served as a counter, laden with ancient cans of baked beans, sardines, and rusted tins of fluorescent green substance that might have been peas. The eyes of the young man behind the counter were smiling and proud as he beckoned her forward to view his wares.

As Jones turned another corner, she saw an old man in the middle of the street, clad in a waist cloth, sitting in a large bucket. He had a tin can in his hand with which he poured water from the bucket over his head and shoulders. Beside him two little girls played in brilliant white nylon dresses, bedecked with ribbons and lace. They posed for her with smiling faces, delighted at having their photograph taken in their best frocks. The men and women around her with great dignity and grace, Jones thought.

Finally, her host led her up a precarious wooden ladder to a floor above the street. At the top Jones was warned not to stand straight, as the ceiling was just five feet high. There, in a room not 20 feet by 40 feet, 20 men were sitting at treadle sewing machines, bent over yards of white cloth. Between them on the floor were rush mats, some occupied by sleeping workers awaiting their next shift. Jones learned that these men were on a 24-hour rotation, 12 hours on and 12 hours off, every day for six months of the year. For the remaining six months they returned to their families in the countryside to work the land, planting and building with the money they had earned in the city. The shirts they were working on were for an order she had placed four weeks earlier in London, an order of which she had been particularly proud because of the low price she had succeeded in negotiating. Jones reflected that this sight was the most humbling experience of her life. When she questioned her host about these conditions, she was told that they were typical for her industry—and most of the Third World, as well.

Eventually, she left the heat, dust and din to the little shirt factory and returned to the protected, air-conditioned world of the limousine.

“What I’ve experienced today and the role I’ve played in creating that living hell will stay with me forever,” she thought. Later in the day, she asked herself whether what she had seen was an inevitable consequence of pricing policies that enabled the British customer to purchase shirts at £12.99 instead of £13.99 and at the same time allowed the company to make its mandatory 56 percent profit margin. Were her negotiating skills—the result of many years of training—an indirect cause of the terrible conditions she has seen?

Once Jones returned to the United Kingdom, she considered her position and the options open to her as a buyer for a large, publicly traded, retail chain operating in a highly competitive environment. Her dilemma was twofold:

Questions

Can an ambitious employee afford to exercise a social conscience in his or her career? And can career-minded individuals truly make a difference without jeopardising their future? Answer her.

International Business

02 Jul

Case 1                                                                                                         

Kodak started selling photographic equipment on Japan 1889 and by the 1930s it had a dominant position in the Japanese market. But after World War II, U.S occupation forces persuaded most U.S companies including Kodak to leave Japan to give the war torn local industry a chance to recover. Kodak was effectively priced out of the market by tariff barriers; over the next 35 years Fuji gained 70% share of the market while Kodak saw its share slip to miserable 5%. During this period Kodak limited much of its activities in Japan.
This situation persisted until early 1980s when Fuji launched an aggressive export drive, attacking Kodak in the north American and European markets. Deciding that a good offence is the best defense, in 1984 and the next six year, Kodak outspent Fuji in Japan by a ratio of more than 3 to 1. It erected mammoth $ 1 million near signs as land marks in many of the Japan’s big cities and also sponsored Sumo wrestling, Judo, and tennis tournaments and even the Japanese team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Thus Kodak has put Fuji on defensive, forcing it to divert resources from overseas to defend itself at home. By 1990’s, some of Fuji’s best executives had been pulled back to Tokyo.
All this success, however , was apparently not enough for Kodak. In may 1995, Kodak filed a petition with the US trade office, that accured the Japanese government and Fuji of “Unfair trading practices”. According to the petition, the Japanese government helped to create a ‘ profile sanctuary’ for Fuji in Japan by systematically denying Kodak access to Japanese distribution channels for consumer film and paper. Kodak claims Fuji has effectively shut Kodak products out of four distributors that have a 70% share of the photo distribution market. Fuji has an equity position in two of the distributors, gives large year –end relates and cash payments to all four distributors as a reward for their loyalty to Fuji, and owns stakes in the banks that finance them. Kodak also claims that Fuji uses similar tactics to control 430 wholesale photo furnishing labs in Japan to which it is the exclusive supplier. Moreover Kodak’s petition claims that the Japanese government has actively encourages these practices.
But Fuji a similar counter arguments relating to Kodak in U.S. and states bluntly that Kodak’s charges are a clear case of the pot calling the kettle back.

(a) What was the critical catalyst that led Kodak to start taking the Japanese market seriously?
(b) From the evidence given in the case do you think Kodak’s charges of unfair trading practices against Fuji are valid? Support your answer.

 

Case 2                                                                                             

Two Senior executives of world’s largest firms with extensive holdings outside the home country speak.
Company A: “We are a multinational firm. We distribute our products in about 100 countries. We manufacture in over 17 countries and do research and development in three countries. We look at all new investment projects both domestic and overseas using exactly the same criteria”.
The execution from company A continues, “of course the most of the key ports in our subsidiaries are held by home country nationals. Whenever replacements for these men are sought, it is the practice, if not the policy, to look next to you at the lead office and pick some one (usually a home country national) you know and trust”.

Company B: “We are multinational firm. Our product division executives have worldwide profit responsibility. As our organisational chart shows, the united states is just one region on a par with Europe, Latin America, Africa etc, in each division”.
The executive from Company B goes on to explain, “the worldwide Product division concept is rather difficult to implement. The senior executives incharge of this divisions have little overseas experience. They have been promoted from domestic ports and tend to view foreign consumers needs as really basically the same as ours. Also, product division executives tend to focus on domestic market, because it generates more revenue than foreign market. The rewards are for global performance, but strategy is to focus on domestic. Most of the senior executives simply do not understand what happens overseas and really do not trust foreign executives, even those in key portions?

Questions:

1. Which company is truly Multinational? Why?

2. List three differences between Company, Multi National Company and Trans Multi National Company?

 

Case – 3                                                                                           

Strategic R & D by TNCs in Developing Countries

TNCs have had long units in developing host countries for adapting products and processes to the local conditions, and in a few cases, to products for local markets. Since the min-1980s, however, they have also started locating strategic R & D centres in some developing countries, for developing generic technologies and products for regional or global markets. The main incentives for this are : (a) access to highly qualified scientists as shortages of research personnel emerge in certain fields in industrialised countries, (b) Cost differentials in research salaries between developing and industrialised countries, and (c) rationalisation of operations, assigning particular affiliates the responsibility for developing, manufacturing, and marketing particular products worldwide. Th new trends are more visible in industries dealing with new technologies, such as microelectronics, biotechnology, and new materials. In these technologies, the location of R & D can be geographically de-linked more easily from the location of manufacturing. It is also possible to separate R & D in core activities from that in non-core activities. Consequently, countries like India, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia or Brazil serve TNCs as good locations for strategic R & D.

For instance, Sony Corporation of Japan has around nine R & D units in Asian developing countries. It has three units in Singapore conducting R & D on core components such as optical data shortage devices, integrated chip design for audio products and CD-ROM drives, and multimedia and microchip software. It has three units in Malaysia working on video design, derivative models and circuit blocks for new TV chases, radio cassettes, discman and hi-fi receiver designs. It has one unit in Republic of Korea focusing on the design of compact discs, radio cassettes, tape recorders, and car stereos. It has one in Taiwan designing and developing video tape-recorders, minidisk players, video CDs, and duplicators. Finally, it has one unit in Indonesia focusing on the design of audio products.

Such units often work in collaboration with science and technology institutes in the host country. For instance, Daimler Benz has established such a unit in Bangalore, India, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science to work on projects related to its vehicles and avionics business. Current work includes interface design of avionics landing systems and smart GPS sensors for use by the group’s business worldwide.
Source: World Investment Report 1999.

Questions:

(a) Explain why MNCs have located R & D centers in developing countries?
(b) Mention the areas where R & D activities can easily be decentralized.

 

Case -4

VK Ltd a multi-product Company, furnishes you the following data relating to the year 2000.
                         First Half of the year                    Second Half of the year
Sales                            Rs. 45,000                                           Rs. 50,000
Total Cost                   Rs. 40,000                                           Rs. 43,000

Assuming that there is no change in prices and variable costs and that the fixed expenses are incurred equally in the two half years periods calculate for the year 2000.

1. The Profit Volume ratio

2. Fixed Expenses

3. Break-Even Sales

4. Percentage of margin of safety.