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Shobana Ramamurthi

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(starts with 00xxxxxxxx)


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(Note to markers indicate level of achievement for each row by highlighting relevant text or cell - do not provide a numerical score for each row)







0 to 34

35 to 41

42 to 48

49 to 62

63 to 70

It has been suggested that a project

Little, or no,

Basic analysis of

Adequate analysis

Good analysis of

Clear, concise and

business case provides

analysis of the

the topic, with

of the topic using

the topic using

comprehensive analysis of

justification for undertaking a


limited use of

appropriate theory

appropriate theory

the topic, supported by



(High distinction)

REQUIREMENTS (out of 70)

Critical analysis of the project
business case

project, in terms of evaluating the

theory to support

appropriate theory, figures

benefit, cost and risk of alternative

the analysis

and tables.

options and the rationale for the

preferred solution. Its purpose is to
obtain management commitment
and approval for investment in the
project. The business case is owned
by the (project) sponsor
Write a critical analysis of the
chosen project business case in the
form of an essay about the issues
that you think are important in the
context of the business case for


your chosen project. Your

responses will differ depending on
whether your project is completed, is
underway or is yet to start. :


0 to 14

15 to 19


23 to 25

26 to 30

THEORY (out of 30)


Critical analysis uses appropriate

Little or no use of

Limited use of

Adequate use of

Good use of

Extensive use of theoretical

theoretical principles as a framework

theoretical principles

theoretical principles

theoretical principles

theoretical principles

principles and appropriate

for analysis

application to the project and

its environment

Argument is well structured, logical,

Little or no structure

Poor structure and

Appropriate structure

Good structure and

Well structured, logical, and

and well reasoned (compelling)

and no logical

poor argument

and argument


well reasoned

Figures and tables are effectively

Little or no effective

Limited usage of

Adequate usage of

Good usage of

Excellent usage and

used and adapted in the analysis to

usage of figures and

figures and tables

figures and tables

figures and tables

adaptation of figures and

clearly illustrate/compare/contrast



theoretical principles with project

Evidence of research is provided to

Little or no evidence

Little or no evidence

Adequate evidence


Evidence of extensive

support the analysis and argument.

of research

of research beyond

of research beyond

evidence of research

research beyond the study

the study materials

the study materials

beyond the study

materials and set text to

and set text

and set text

materials and set text

support the analysis and


Evidence of knowledge of study

No indication of

Indication of limited

Indication of

Evidence of

Evidence of extensive

materials and general knowledge of

knowledge of study

knowledge of study

adequate knowledge


knowledge of study materials

the project management domain is



of study materials

knowledge of study

and of PM domain


materials and of PM

Quality of resources evidence of

Poor quality sources

Limited quality of

Adequate quality of

Good quality of

Excellent sources of research

use of research resources from

of reference

sources of research

sources of research

sources of research

resources, including journals,

quality sources (e.g. journal articles,

materials (e.g.

texts, conference papers, etc)

websites, Wikipedia,

texts, conference papers, etc.

Citations are effectively and

Little or poor use of

Limited use of

Adequate use of

Good use of citations

Extensive and appropriate

appropriately provided (and




to indicate use of

use of citations to reflect use

consistent with the Harvard

theory in analysis

of theory in analysis and

referencing system)

and argument


List of references is provided and

Inadequate or no list

Limited list of

Adequate list of

Good list of

Comprehensive list of

shows quality sources

of references





Harvard referencing system is

Little or no use of

Basic or limited use

Adequate use of

Good use of Harvard

Comprehensive use of

used and conforms to Harvard style

Harvard system of

of Harvard system

Harvard system

system throughout

Harvard system in

as defined on USQ Library website


the assignment

accordance with conventions

(e.g. alphabetical order)

* Total Assessment Mark

(out of 100)


Penalties applied to...

Marks to be deducted for...

Range of




Mark sheet to be attached to front of assignment

No mark sheet


Turnitin Report to be submitted with assignment

No Turnitin originality report


(mark of 1/100 allocated until report submitted)

Page Numbering - page numbering to comply with normal

No page numbering at all

conventions (e.g. set text by Summers & Smith Communications Skills Handbook)

Poor or inadequate page numbering

Language Skills - grammar, spelling, clear and concise writing

Numerous mistakes indicating poor editing


style, correct punctuation

Some mistakes


Appendices - additional and relevant information to support the

Lack of use of appendices where required, or


discussions and arguments in the body of the text

appendices inappropriately used

Overall Presentation logically structured, easy to follow

Poorly organised and/or hard to follow


Word count

Word count is unnecessarily excessive


** Total Deducted Mark (TDM)

Overall Results
* Total Assessment Mark (TAM)

** Total Deducted Mark (TDM)

Final Assignment Mark = TAM - TDM
(capped at 1/100 until Turnitin originality report received)

Comments and feedback from Marker:

Ways to improve:

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Shobana Ramamurthi

Student No: 0061020029


Shobana Ramamurthi

Date: 14-Apr-14

Disclaimer: Much of this information has been sourced from internal company information and systems.
This information is not to be made public for confidentiality reasons.


Introduction and Background

Yatsal Distributors is a wholesaler of around 2500 GM (general merchandise) products across 23

major categories that sell to the IDV (Independent Discount Variety) industry for consumer
purchase in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands off the coast of Australia.
Yatsal has just brought to market a new product line of stick on products branded StickFx.
This product line has 36 individual products. In addition, Yatsal is looking for growth
opportunities and has set a ambitious target of growing at the rate of 20% over the next
years. This business case is to assess whether the proposed project to address the issues and
accelerate the growth rate will indeed provide the necessary outcome.


Business Case

Yatsal currently faces multiple business challenges which makes them uncompetitive in their
market segment. The purpose of this business case is to provide necessary information and
justification around the proposed project which will address issues around Yatsals product
development, sales and marketing processes to make it competitive among its peer segment in
the market.
Business Problem
Business problems faced by Yatsal have been identified and broadly divided into following

Product Development



Product Development
Yatsals product line categories personal, pets, cleaning and stationery are the weakest
among their 23 product line categories. New product planning is skewed towards short term and
there are no long term strategy, roadmap and research and development efforts in place. The
product manager currently decides on each new development without consultation with other
department heads or sales personnel. This was the case with a newly launched product StickFx.
Current state of new product development is limited to only certain categories like electrical,

hardware and craft, however in categories like kitchen, stationary and pets there is very little
Yatsals marketing department currently operates as a function of the business with an internal
focus instead of external customer focus. Marketing efforts are reactive and marketing control
processes are not effective. The current marketing communication information is not available
until after the products come into stock so it can take some time for the sales personnel to learn
this information and pass it on to the retailers. Many competitors in the industry carry one or
more of the category solutions that Yatsal carries. Some of the competitors have a better
distribution model that is more efficient, smaller minimum orders and more areas for FIS
delivery areas. Competitors could move to a similar corporate strategy focus on specializing in
category solutions. There are price wars from the competition in competing categories.
Competitors could have a more advanced reordering model and distribution network that would
enable them to have the right products in at the right time and in the right quantities.
Yatsals current sales processes are not very effective as the roadshow program is the main
selling tool. The effectiveness of the roadshow program is limited as information such as retailer
historical information, RRPs (Recommended Retail Prices), clearance prices and the
classification of products essential, core and range are inadequate and not shown during the
roadshows. Planning or preparation for the sales process is underutilised due to the complexity of
obtaining data. Yatsals current CRM system is very basic and relies on the sales personnel
updating it manually at the end of each sale and after contact with each retailer. There are high
number of out of stocks due to an ineffective just in time ordering model in the buying
department. There are delays in processing, picking and packing orders during peak times. The
pricing of essential products are uncompetitive due to a cost plus margin pricing strategy model.
The ordering tools like website and roadshow programs do not offer enough information when
promoting the products. Based on the consumer value assessment for Yatsal and the major
competitors for their stick on hook ranges, the consumers rating for Yatsals indicate that their
rating is lower in Handy Products, is not cost effective, hard to understand instructions in the
package and longer time to fulfil orders.

Yatsals business objective for the year is to achieve a sales target of AUD $20 Million which is
20% growth target from last year, expand in to new territories and industries and expand their
new StickFx Product Line to 120 products from current 36. The proposed changes will help
increase the sales and in turn achieve sustainable growth of 20% year on year, expand into new
territories that are not already covered as well as increase the market share through increased
number of IDV retailers carrying Yatsal products thereby increasing the customer reach. The
improvements in marketing operations will help to get the new products in to shelf faster, which
will result in quicker order fulfilment

Following are the risks assessed as part of the proposal. There is a fierce competition in the IDV
industry and competitors are scaling up faster than Yatsal and launching new products. Hence
there may not be sufficient time for Yatsal to revamp its growth strategy. The price to cost
margin for Yatsal is high and the pricing needs to be made competitive for comparable products
in the market. However such pricing differentiation may not help in achieving growth targets
unless volume can be substantially increased. Due to technical revolution, Yatsals stationery
products have been facing a year on year decline of 5% in revenue due to replacement with
online products. Hence expansion in stationary product lines may not yield desired business
benefits and there is a pressure to expand new product lines in the market to grow the business
and gain market share. Yatsals business objectives and sales goals are aggressive and the
timelines are ambitious to achieve them. There will be costs involved in engaging the external
consultants and internal resources utilization for project management and landing of deliverables.

Timeline and Cost Benefit Analysis

The overall elapsed time for the project will be around 1 year from the date of approval for the
project. An external consultant for project management and consulting will cost about 100,000
AUD for the year. The number of sales personnel needs to be increased from 8 to 12 and this will
cost around 200,000 AUD per year. Also, we need a project team to be formed with one resource
from each of the 3 departments (product, marketing and sales) with 20% utilization of their time
on a monthly basis for this project, throughout the year which is approximately 30,000 AUD.

Hence the total cost is expected to be around 330,000 AUD. The benefit expected is an increase
of 3.5 million AUD in sales.

Recommended Solution:
Product Development - Innovation in Product and Packaging:
Implementing a quarterly product line launch plan throughout the year, subscribing to
various market research journals to keep abreast of the trends in their industry, implementing a
framework mechanism for capturing customer feedback (Eg: Customer Satisfaction Surveys) and
ensuring the voice of the customers feedback in to the product design and development process.
All of these will ensure there is innovation done constantly in the product and packaging of
Yatsals product lines, to continue maintain the high level of product quality and packaging and
look for areas to innovate them to stay competitive.
Marketing - Expanding the new StickFX product line to 120 products:
To expand the market share as fast as possible for current stores, Yatsal is to use existing
retailer relationships which have been built up over time through purchasing other product
categories, as a platform to introduce the StickFx product line. For new markets segments
across many geographical locations the retailers to initially focus on to achieve rapid market
share are the ones already purchasing from other competitors these categories; Hardware,
Gardening, Auto or Stick on Products. Plan to expand the product lines into new territories
(areas not already covered) WA, NT, TAS, NZ and Pacific Islands, to increase the number of
IDV retailers carrying Yatsal Products to 1500 and stores to 2500, to increase the number stores
from other industries sold into 10 new distributors, 100 new hardware and 100 new food stores
and to reduce the time it takes to bring the product to shelf for interstate retailers.

These strategies and tactics will ensure StickFx achieves the required growth and
market share expansion which will contribute to the overall objective of $20 million dollars in
sales and also expand the product lines.
Sales - Differentiated Pricing Strategy for Yatsals Products:
The differentiated pricing strategies can be implemented by making the wholesale prices
to be better than major competitors, wholesale prices costing structure on a cost plus margin
basis, Include RRPs (Recommended Retail Prices) processes and programs to ensure that the
retailers have a point of comparison as the nearest competitive offer in the market place and to
have a competitive price offer for comparable competitor products. As part of sales processes,
ensure that at any one time to have out of stock less than 5% of Essential and Core and 10% of
Range products. This is to assure that the products are always stocked to demand to promote
Critical Analysis of the Business Case

The subject of critical analysis in this document is the business case prepared for the project to
address the issues impeding the growth of Yatsal. The purpose of the business case is to
understand the business need of the project and assess whether the approach and the investment
in the project is going to yield the necessary benefits. This critical analysis reviews each of the
business case sections and assesses whether it satisfies the requirements of a business case such
as valid benefits to costs in order to proceed with the necessary investments.

Add this reference link

The business case should typically cover the following areas :

business problem or opportunity,



costs including investment appraisal,

likely technical solutions,


impact on operations, and

organizational capability to deliver the project outcomes.

The business case prepared for Yatsal clearly does not cover the impact on operations as well as
organizational capability to deliver the project outcome. In addition, among the areas which have
been covered, there are multiple areas where there is not enough reasoning to substantiate that
the steps recommended will indeed result in necessary benefits.

Business Problem:

In this section, problems have been identified in three different areas namely product
development, marketing and sales. However the methodology that has been used to identify the
problem areas has not been disclosed. This is a fundamental flaw as the issues identified may not
be the priority items which have to be addressed and may not contribute to the expected
growth. While there is a mention that there are no new product developments in Kitchen,
stationary and pets, the new product which has been launched StickFX is in the household
category. In the marketing section, there is no clear elucidation of the problems faced by the
department. There are lot of loosely coupled sentences about how competitors may be (or) are
different than Yatsal. There is no clear explanation of how the issues in marketing department

are dragging down the growth of Yatsal. In the sales area, few issues around systems and sales
process have been identified. Overall, the identification of problems needs to be more structured
(eg. through interviews, root cause analysis etc) and a clear link needs to be established between
the problems and impact they are having with respect to bottom-line of the company.


In the Benefits section, the high level benefit in terms of sales number i.e., 20% growth has been
provided. However in terms of the benefits in other areas like faster turnaround time, quicker
order fulfillment, there is no proper quantification. There is also no clear definition of how
getting the new products in to shelf faster as well as quicker order fulfilment will contribute to
the overall business growth. The statements are very subjective and unless proper quantitative
numbers are assigned (e.g., order fulfillment within x number of days which is better/equal to a
competitor), it is difficult to assess the benefits of these initiatives.


One of the key risks of any project is the ability of the organization to adopt the change. There is
no indication of whether the changes suggested have been discussed with all the stakeholders.
Moreover, there is an expectation of 20% commitment from 3 people in each of the departments.
While there is a mention of increase in sales staff, there is no proposed increase for product
development and marketing. While there is no indication of the current utilization of resources in
these two departments, it is safe to assume that with an additional objective of 20% growth year
on year, these departments will be hard pressed to delegate one of their resources to the project
tasks. The second risk which is not mentioned is the risk on existing operations due to the

changes in the process. Recruitment of additional resources in the sales department may not
immediately provide benefits as these people have to ramp up and blend into the organization
during a time when the whole organization is itself undergoing change. With the twin pressures
of stiff growth objectives and changes in the organization, there has to be an effective HR
mechanism to address the concerns of the organizational personnel. Overall, the risks associated
with multiple changes in the organization amidst ambitious growth targets have not been clearly

Timeline and cost benefit analysis:

While a detailed project plan need not be provided as part of the business case, key milestones
should have been mentioned so that there can be proper evaluation and prioritization of the tasks.
Without the milestones, the timeline of one year to achieve all the changes seems
farfetched. While a cost of 330K AUD to achieve a growth of 3.5 million AUD seems very
attractive, the cost seems to have only considered personnel cost and not any increases in
operational costs due to changes in the process. For example, a quicker turnaround time to fulfill
orders can be probably achieved by having robust CRM system in place. This needs sufficient
investment and is not part of the costs. Moreover, such changes to the system will also have a
definite impact on the timelines. In addition, the complexities around introducing such systems,
usage & training, increases in resources to maintain the systems have not been factored in the
costs and timelines.

Recommended Solution:

Recommended solution seems to have taken the path of organic increase and diversification
within the same group of products. However there seems to be no mention of any analysis done
regarding how the different product segments which have been targeted for growth are identified,
how they fare with their competitors and how expanding into different geographies are going to
contribute towards the growth. The plan does not seems to have taken the concerns around
decrease in revenues in certain segments (e.g. 5% in the stationery segment). Unless the
management has a plan to produce better products than its competitors and cannibalize their
market share, there is no real reason to believe that expansion into this segment is going to yield
any growth benefits.


List of Internal References:

a) Internal Systems:

a. Attach Program - for Sales Analysis, customer invoice and payment records, customer and
delivery information, cost prices, inventory levels etc.

b. Sales Matrix Program - for product and category sales info at a Customer, Account Manager
and Product level by periods.

b) Database: CRM database for all customer contacts, visitations, average orders, preferences

c) Internal Source documents: Company Sales and Induction Manual, Operations Manual,
Marketing brochures and Pricelists from company and competitor

d) Other Sources: Sales personnel, Retailers and competitors.

e) Company Website:

List of External References:


World link for Law 2013, Labour and Employment law data for Australia (Victoria),

Viewed 2 Apr 2014, <>

b) 2013, Employment and Workforce, Viewed 2 Apr 2014,



Community Futures 2011, Market/Business Environment Research, Viewed 5 Apr 2014,



International Business Behaviour Academy, The difference and relationship between

PEST and SWOT, Viewed 6 Apr 2014,



Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Multicultural

Australia: the way forward, Viewed 6 Apr 2014,



Turner, JR 2009, The handbook of project-based management, 3rd Edition,

McGraw-Hill, New York.

Business Case: