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CRACKING

THE CASE!

Case Interview
Guide
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction/Review of Interview Basics

Practice Cases
Case 1: Supermarket Deli Turnaround
Case 2: China Outsourcing Opportunity
Case 3: Growing Specialty Paper Sales

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WHY CASE INTERVIEWS?

Cases help us gain insight into how you might approach and analyze a typical business issue
Assesses your problem-solving capabilities, analytics and
business judgment
Gives you a perspective of what consultants do

Cases are representative of our work


Our interview cases are frequently taken from real BCG case work
However, keep in mind that in the interview there are not always clear right or
wrong answers

To do well on the case, the interviewer is looking for you to


Provide a clear structure for your analysis
Prioritize the components of the problem
Listen and use relevant information to develop a clear recommendation

Case performance is not the only metric BCG uses to evaluate candidates, others include
Education, work and life experiences
Interpersonal and communication skills

Use
Use sound
sound business
business judgment
judgment to
to take
take the
the quickest
quickest (i.e.,
(i.e., least
least resource
resource
intensive)
intensive) path
path to
to the
the highest
highest impact
impact conclusion.
conclusion. BCG
BCG interviewer
interviewer
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INTERVIEW FORMAT
45 Minute Interview

10-15 minutes Discuss prior experiences


Open discussion (accomplishments,
motivations)

20-25 minutes Case introduction


Case discussion
Case wrap up

5-10 minutes Q&A, your chance to ask questions

Typically
Typically you
you are
are given
given two
two cases
cases in
in the
the first
first
round
round of
of interviews
interviews and
and three
three in
in second
second round
round
-3-
INTERVIEW FORMAT
Breaking Case into Five Components

Next steps/other
Introduction Approach Analytics Recommendation
areas to explore

BCG Pose problem to be Evaluate structure Provide data and Wrap up interview May prompt with
role solved to solve case context as asked in time is there anything
else [Co.] should
Provide basic facts Evaluate analytical Evaluate consider?
(will vary in detail) performance (math, recommendation
deductions, etc.) Evaluate next steps
Your Confirm basic facts Articulate rationale Progress data Conclude analyses Translate
role as given and sequence of collection per with actionable recommendation to
analyses to solve your approach recommendation implementation
case
Execute Address problem Incorporate
Explain what you computations posed in tangential areas for
are thinking and introduction investigation
why Articulate impact
(so what) per
step

Without
Without explaining
explaining the
the right
right approach,
approach, very
very
difficult
difficult to
to succeed
succeed in
in other
other steps
steps
-4-
KEY EVALUATION CRITERIA

Problem
Problemsolving
solving
Effectiveness
Effectivenessand
andimpact
impact Presence/communication
Presence/communication
and insight
and insight

Tolerance
Tolerancefor
forambiguity
ambiguity Framing/organizing
Framing/organizingthe
the Listening
Listeningskills
skills
problem
problem
Self-motivated/directed
Self-motivated/directed Concise
Conciseand
andarticulate
articulate
Prioritization
Prioritizationof
ofissues
issues
Leader
Leaderand
andteam
teamplayer
player Credible/mature
Credible/mature
Identifying
Identifyingrelevant
relevant
Intellectually
Intellectuallycurious
curious information
information

Drives
Drivesto
toresults
results Drawing
Drawingappropriate
appropriate
conclusions
conclusionsfrom
fromfacts
facts
and
andanalysis
analysis

Identifying
Identifyingimplications
implications
and next steps
and next steps

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QUICK TIPS: DOs
Based on Feedback from BCG Interviewers

Open
Opendiscussion
discussion Solving
Solvingthe
thecase
case

Relax After
Relax Afterthe
thesetup,
setup,ask
ask2-3
2-3value
valueadded
addedclarification
clarification
Attitude
Attitudeshows
showsthrough questions to help you frame
through questions to help you frame
Keep
Keepititconversational
conversationaland
andfun
fun Use a relevant framework to help structure and
Use a relevant framework to help structure and
Be prioritize.
prioritize.There
Thereisisno
nostandard
standardapproach
Beenthusiastic
enthusiasticand
andauthentic
authentic approach
Know your story
Know your story Think
Be
Begenuine
genuinetotoyourself
yourself Thinkout
outloud
loudmake
makeyour
yourlogic/rationale
logic/rationaleexplicit
explicit
Pace
Paceyourself
yourself
The
Thebasics:
basics: bring
bringpen
penand
andpaper,
paper,ask
askclarifying
clarifying Avoid
questions Avoidaafrantic
franticstart
startcollect
collectyour
yourthoughts
thoughts
questions Be
Beaware
awareofofthe
thetime
timeyou
youneed
needtotobe
be
progressing towards a recommendation
progressing towards a recommendation
Listen,
Listen,Listen,
Listen,Listen
Listen
Stop
Stopand
andsummarize
summarizewhen
whennecessary
necessary
Prepare
Prepareaafewfewquestions
questionstotoask
askinterviewer
intervieweratatthe
theend
end
ofofthe
theinterview
interview Make
Makeititeasy
easyfor
forthe
theinterviewer
interviewertotofollow
followcalculations
calculations
Write
Writedown
downnumbers
numbers
Dont
Dontovercomplicate
overcomplicatethethemath
math
Draw
Drawconclusions
conclusionsfrom
fromthe
thefacts
facts- -identify
identifypivotal
pivotal
evidence for your argument.
evidence for your argument.
Conclude
Concludewith
withaarecommendation
recommendation- -what
whatshould
shouldthe
the
client
clientDO?
DO?Have
Haveaaviewpoint
viewpointand
andconviction
conviction

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QUICK TIPS: DONTs
Based on Feedback from BCG Interviewers
Open
OpenDiscussion
Discussion Solving
Solvingthe
theCase
Case

Focus
Focussolely
solelyon
onthe
thecase;
case;the
theopen
opendiscussion
discussionisisalso Begin asking variety questions before establishing
also Begin asking variety questions before establishing
important in our evaluation of you approach to problem.
important in our evaluation of you approach to problem.
Fumble
Fumblethe
thebasics
basics(e.g.,
(e.g.,why
whyare
areyou
youinterested
interestedinin Repeat back every detail of the case set up
Repeat back every detail of the case set up
consulting?)
consulting?)
Get so set on a framework that you are unwilling to
Get so set on a framework that you are unwilling to
Show
Showconcern/hesitation
concern/hesitationwhen
whenthe
theinterview
interviewshifts
shiftstoto accept a new direction
accept a new direction
the case
the case
Avoid the math - interviewers are looking for your
Avoid the math - interviewers are looking for your
Provide
Providelong,
long,technically
technicallydetailed
detaileddescriptions
descriptionsofof comfort level with numbers
comfort level with numbers
your
yourexperiences
experiences
Ignore given information, clues on relevant issues
Ignore given information, clues on relevant issues
Try
Trytotosteer
steerthe
theconversation
conversation
Get bogged down on less important issues
Get bogged down on less important issues
Ignore
Ignoreinterviewers
interviewerssignals
signalsregarding
regardingpace,
pace,e.g.
e.g.
answering
answering22minute
minutequestion
questionwith
with10
10minute Make critical assumptions without explaining hte
minute Make critical assumptions without explaining hte
monologue logic behind them
monologue logic behind them
Take too long to formulate the summary think of the
Take too long to formulate the summary think of the
30 second elevator speech
30 second elevator speech
Ask how did I do? or did I get the right answer?
Ask how did I do? or did I get the right answer?
during the interview
during the interview

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HOW TO PREPARE

Practice problem solving


Case examples (this book!, Wet Feet Press, consulting club casebooks,
www.bcg.com)
Interview workshops and mock interviews
Student peers, former BCG Associates, former BCG summer interns
Make it as realistic as possible (e.g., timing, write down ideas/approach,
talk out loud)

Give cases to others to see things from the other side

Talk to alumni and friends who have experience with case interview formats

Practice
Practice helps
helps train
train you
you to
to structure
structure the
the problem
problem and
and think
think out
out loud;
loud;
however,
however, beware
beware the
the risk
risk of
of becoming
becoming robotic
robotic with
with over-practice
over-practice
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction/Review of Interview Basics

Practice Cases
Case 1: Supermarket Deli Turnaround
Case 2: China Outsourcing Opportunity
Case 3: Growing Specialty Paper Sales

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Case
Case 11

CASE #1 - SUPERMARKET DELI TURNAROUND


Problem Set-Up

The client is a national supermarket chain that is facing a very difficult situation.
Low-price competitors like Wal*Mart, Costco, and Dollar General are stealing
share and eroding margins in the traditional grocery business. Therefore, other
departments within its stores, such as produce and deli, are becoming
increasingly important to our clients financial health

In particular, the client is concerned about their deli department, a $700M


business that has been reporting no profit growth over the last few years. The
deli department consists of two main business lines: 1) deli meats and 2)
prepared foods (sandwiches, fried chicken, etc.)

We have been asked to help the client understand why their deli profits are not
growing and what they need to do to turn things around

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Case
Case 11

SUPERMARKET DELI TURNAROUND


Questions and Facts

Topic Information to share with interviewee


Clients deli financials Share Exhibit 1

Overall industry/ Deli meat category has been flat to slightly declining recently
customers Prepared foods category has been growing at roughly 10% per year as people
have less time to cook at home

Competitors Increasing competition from deli departments of other supermarkets,


discounters, etc. e.g., expanding product lines, increasing advertising
Also compete with fast food restaurants in prepared foods category

Clients product mix/ Mix has remained constant, with exception of two products introduced a couple
recent events of years ago BBQ chicken wings and made to order sandwiches
- both products have been a major boost to prepared foods revenue

Info on new products BBQ wings are similar to the chicken wings the company already sells, although
they take a little longer to fry and are tossed in BBQ sauce after frying
Made to order sandwiches is clients response to Subway, etc. for two hours
during lunchtime and two hours during dinnertime, one employees sole task is
to make sandwiches to order for customers

Financials of new Revenues for each product are $40M annually


products Costs not broken down at product level
Give info on Exhibit 2 as requested (but do not hand sheet to interviewee)

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Case
Case 11

SUPERMARKET DELI TURNAROUND


Exhibit 1

$M
2002 2003 2004
Deli meats Revenues 260 255 260

COGS 160 155 160

Prepared foods Revenues 360 400 440

COGS 190 230 270

Overall Revenues 620 655 700

COGS 350 385 430

Gross margin 270 270 270

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Case
Case 11

SUPERMARKET DELI TURNAROUND


Exhibit 2

BBQ wings Made-to-order sandwiches


Price $5 for 20 pieces Price $4 per sandwich

Total material cost $0.10 per piece Avg. sales/store 20 sandwiches


per day
Prep time 15 minutes per
batch of 200 Total material cost $2 per sandwich

Employee cost $20 per hour Employee cost $20 per hour
(fully loaded) (fully loaded)

Total COGS $2.50 per 20 pieces Dedicated hours 4 hours per day

Margin $2.50 per 20 pieces Revenue $80 per store per day

Total COGS $120 per store per day

Margin $(40) per store per day

Note: Boxes indicate figures that should be calculated by the interviewee


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Case
Case 11

SUPERMARKET DELI TURNAROUND


Sample Approach
Main question What should supermarket do to turn around deli?

Key areas to Revenue and profit breakdown within deli External factors influencing the overall
explore deli market

Deli meat revenue and profits flat - People have less time to cook at home
consistent with overall category prepared foods category growing, deli meats
Prepared foods showing revenue growth category flat
(10% consistent with category) but no profit Increasing competition from other deli
Analysis growth therefore declining margins why? departments starting to expand product
- made-to-order (MTO) sandwiches losses lines, increase advertising, etc.
offsetting profit growth from BBQ wings

Eliminate made-to-order sandwiches (at least in low-traffic stores or during non-peak hours)
Recommend- Raise or lower prices on MTO sandwiches (depending on demand elasticity)
ation Boost demand for MTO sandwiches (e.g., advertising, promotions, merchandising)

Eliminating MTO sandwiches or boosting demand can impact overall traffic in store and deli
Other factors

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Case
Case 11

SUPERMARKET DELI TURNAROUND


Framework and Analysis (I)

There are three main questions that the interviewee needs to answer
Which part of the business is responsible for the lack of profit growth deli meats,
prepared foods, or both?
Is the lack of profit growth caused by flat revenues, increasing costs, or both?
What is causing the flat revenues or increasing costs (and what should the client do)?

Based on Exhibit 1, the interviewee will see that gross margins for both business lines are flat.
Furthermore, deli meat sales have been basically flat while prepared foods sales have been
growing at 10%.

The interviewee should recognize that the clients deli meat and prepared food sales have
been growing at about the category averages; therefore, revenues are not the main issue here.
Deli meat COGS have been more or less flat, mirroring sales. However, despite robust growth
in prepared food sales, prepared food profits have been flat, implying deteriorating margins.

At this point, ask the interviewee for some potential reasons for deteriorating margins (e.g.,
change in product/sales mix, rising material costs, rising labor costs).

It is critical that the interviewee asks about changes in product mix, in which case the
interviewer should inform him about the BBQ chicken wings and the made to order
sandwiches. The interviewee should be suspicious at this point and ask to learn more about
these products.

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Case
Case 11

SUPERMARKET DELI TURNAROUND


Framework and Analysis (II)

By doing a back of the envelope analysis of product profitability (based on data in Exhibit 2),
the interviewee will find that BBQ wings have a 50% margin, indicating that they are not a
problem. On the other hand, the interviewee will find that the client is losing a lot of money on
the made to order sandwich concept.

The interviewee should then be asked for recommendations, which could include: 1)
eliminating the made to order sandwich, 2) restricting the sandwich to busier stores or
during busier times of the day (e.g., lunch hours only), 3) raising or lowering prices (to either
increase profit per sale or units sold will depend on demand elasticity), and/or 4) boost
demand (through increased advertising, promotions, better merchandising, etc.). A good
answer will also consider the second-order effects of eliminating the product or boosting
sales (the effect on traffic in the deli and the overall store).

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction/Review of Interview Basics

Practice Cases
Case 1: Supermarket Deli Turnaround
Case 2: China Outsourcing Opportunity
Case 3: Growing Specialty Paper Sales

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Case
Case 22

CHINA OUTSOURCING OPPORTUNITY


Problem Set-Up

The client is a national manufacturer of plastic consumer products that are sold in
a variety of retail formats, including supermarkets, discounters, club stores, and
dollar stores. The company has three main product lines 1) freezer bags, 2)
plastic plates and utensils, and 3) specialty plates and utensils.

The CEO has been reading for some time about American companies outsourcing
their production overseas to low-cost countries such as China. She wonders
whether this makes sense for her company as well. It worries her that none of her
main competitors have established foreign production capabilities; on the other
hand, this could be a tremendous opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.

We have been asked to help the client understand the benefits and risks of
moving its production capabilities to China and to provide a recommendation.

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Case
Case 22

CHINA OUTSOURCING OPPORTUNITY


Questions and Facts (I)

Product description Costs (China vs. U.S.) Consumers Competitive landscape

Freezer bags All three product lines Top purchase criteria Client is #3 in category,
Plastic bags used have similar cost is quality, since low 200 million lbs. sold
mainly to store food structures and savings quality bags will result Category leader has
items in freezers Give interviewee in food spoilage strong brand and
Exhibit 1 strong innovation

Plastic plates and All three product lines Top purchase criteria Client is #2 in category,
utensils have similar cost is price 300 million lbs. sold
Disposable plates and structures and savings Client at cost parity
utensils; intended for Give interviewee with category leader
single/limited use Exhibit 1 but has weaker brand

Specialty plates and All three product lines Top purchase criteria Client is #1 in category,
utensils have similar cost is style/design 100 million lbs. sold
Plastic plates and structures and savings Because many No strong competitors
utensils produced for Give interviewee products are new and
specific retailers, Exhibit 1 untested, demand is
customized to their highly variable
design specs

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Case
Case 22

CHINA OUTSOURCING OPPORTUNITY


Questions and Facts (II)
Topic Information to share with interviewee
Current client All products are made in a single factory in Ohio
production capabilities The factory is at capacity and the company is considering building or
acquiring a nearby facility

Chinese production Client has no previous experience in building and managing a factory
options overseas
Client has met with several Chinese manufacturing partners and has done
initial product testing
- Cost
all three product lines have similar cost structures and savings
give interviewee Exhibit 1
- Quality
lower quality on freezer bags
equal quality on plastic plates and utensils (both regular and specialty)
- Lead time
need 3-4 weeks of additional lead time for each product line for
transportation from China to U.S. distribution center

Chinese market, All three categories are relatively underdeveloped but growing, dominated
current client by local manufacturers
presence Client does not currently have any sales in China, although a few of their
U.S. customers (e.g., Wal*Mart) do have presence there

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Case
Case 22

CHINA OUTSOURCING OPPORTUNITY


Exhibit 1

Costs in Costs in China Costs in


Costs U.S. ($/lb.) relative to U.S. China ($/lb.)
Labor 0.30 8% of wage rate
80% of productivity
Material
Plastic resin 0.30 80%
Other material (incl. packaging) 0.20 75%

Variable overhead 0.05 140%

Fixed overhead 0.10 60%

Transportation
China to U.S. distribution center N/A $6K to ship 40K lbs.
U.S. distribution center to customer 0.05 Same

Total 1.00

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Case
Case 22

CHINA OUTSOURCING OPPORTUNITY


Sample Approach
Main question Should plastics manufacturer move production to China?

Key areas to Cost savings Consumer behavior and Effect on current


explore purchase criteria production capabilities

Would save $0.25/lb. (25% of Quality is top purchase Current plant is at capacity
current costs) criteria for freezer bags - outsourcing would
At current production levels, - lower quality from China eliminate need to build
would save: Price is top criteria for plastic additional capacity
Analysis - $50M in freezer bags plates and utensils Plastic plates and utensils are
- $75M in plastic plates and Style is top criteria for 50% of total production
utensils specialty plates and utensils - outsourcing may create
- $25M in specialty plates - highly variable demand too much extra capacity
and utensils requires short lead times

Outsource plastic plates and utensils to China


Recommend- Do not outsource specialty plates and utensils
ation Do not outsource freezer bags (although further analysis may be warranted)

To compensate for extra capacity that would be created in current plant, could produce new
Other factors
product line, rent out spare capacity, or move to smaller facility

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Case
Case 22

CHINA OUTSOURCING OPPORTUNITY


Framework and Analysis (I)

The interviewee should start with a brief overview of the potential benefits and risks of
outsourcing to China. The main benefit is lower costs, mostly driven by inexpensive labor. A
secondary benefit is a possible springboard into the emerging Chinese (and other Asian)
market. Risks include lower labor productivity, possible quality issues, longer lead times,
additional transportation costs, and potential communication/coordination issues. Ask the
interviewee about the ramifications of longer lead times they include greater carrying costs,
higher cycle and safety stock, greater forecast error, and less responsiveness to demand.

There are three main questions that the interviewee needs to answer:
How much cheaper is producing in China?
What do consumers value and how would outsourcing affect those criteria?
What are the clients current production capabilities and how would outsourcing part/all
of their production affect the remainder?

First, the interviewee should size the opportunity is this a $5 million or $500 million
opportunity? By solving for the last column in Exhibit 1, the interviewee will find that the
client would save $0.25/lb. (25% of current costs) by outsourcing to China. Given current
production levels, the client would save $50 million by outsourcing freezer bags, $75 million
by outsourcing plastic plates and utensils, and $25 million by outsourcing specialty plates
and utensils. Two notes: 1) costs may increase if the Chinese Yuan rises versus the dollar
and 2) these estimates do not include a profit margin for the Chinese outsourcing partner.

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Case
Case 22

CHINA OUTSOURCING OPPORTUNITY


Framework and Analysis (II)

The interviewee must recognize, however, that cost savings alone are not sufficient to make a
decision. It is important to understand how an outsourced product will affect sales. The
interviewee should suggest market research to understand consumer behavior.

Freezer bags: since customers top purchase criteria is quality and outsourcing would
produce lower quality bags, the interviewee should raise a red flag here. A more
sophisticated recommendation would be to conduct market research to see the impact on
sales of the lower quality bag at lower prices even though quality is more important than
price, the magnitude of a price change may override the drop in product quality.

Plastic plates and utensils: the top purchase criteria here is price, which makes this product
line an attractive outsourcing opportunity. Ask the interviewee what the client should do with
the cost savings potential recommendations include dropping price to steal share, investing
to defend its position in case competitors begin outsourcing (e.g., brand, innovation,
customer service), and milking the product line as a cash cow.

Specialty plates and utensils: the highly variable and unpredictable demand for these
products means that shorter lead times are critical in order to adjust production quickly.
Longer lead times will result in greater forecast errors, higher safety/cycle stock, and more
unsold inventory and/or out-of-stocks. Therefore, specialty plates and utensils should not be
outsourced.

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Case
Case 22

CHINA OUTSOURCING OPPORTUNITY


Framework and Analysis (III)

An analysis of customer purchase behavior indicates that plastic plates and utensils should
be outsourced, specialty plates and utensils should not be, and freezer bags probably should
not be. The final step is to understand the impact of outsourcing on the clients current
production capabilities. For example, will it lead to plant closings (resulting in closing costs
and possible negative publicity)? Will it lead to underutilization of current facilities?

Since the current plant is already near capacity, moving plastic plates and utensils offshore
would actually save the client from investing in new facilities. However, since that product
line makes up 50% of total production (in terms of lbs.), removing it may create too much
extra capacity in the current plant for the two remaining lines. To compensate, the client
could produce a new product line, rent out the extra capacity, or move to a smaller plant.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction/Review of Interview Basics

Practice Cases
Case 1: Supermarket Deli Turnaround
Case 2: China Outsourcing Opportunity
Case 3: Growing Specialty Paper Sales

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Case
Case 33

GROWING SPECIALTY PAPER SALES


Problem Set-Up

Your client is a leading manufacturer of specialty papers sold to commercial


printers. The client produces self-adhesive sheeted papers that are ultimately
used in a variety of labeling applications including the labeling of consumer
goods and the printing of self-adhesive signs.

Your clients operations are profitable, but the business has failed to grow over
the past few years. The client would like to invest in the business and you have
been asked to identify opportunities for growth.

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Case
Case 33

GROWING SPECIALTY PAPER SALES


Questions and Facts (I)
Topic Information to share with interviewee
Supply chain
Raw mats Layering Sheeting Packaging Distrib.
Rolls of paper Adhesive and Rolls of layered
Adhesive liner applied paper cut into
Non-stick liner to rolls sheets

The client is not capacity constrained in its manufacturing processes


The clients manufacturing and packaging operations are currently configured to package
specialty papers in boxes

Customers There are approximately 24,000 commercial printers in the United States
Printers are roughly categorized into three groups: small, medium, and large
Differences among the groups are driven by the type of printing technology employed and
the size of print jobs that the printers are able to serve
Printers prefer to receive product from the specialty paper manufacturers in different forms,
primarily driven by the type of printing technology employed
- Small printers prefer to receive their specialty paper in boxes
- Medium printers prefer cartons of specialty paper
- Large printers prefer to receive palletized shipments of specialty paper

Market share The client has approximately 30% market share with small printers and only 10% share with
medium and large printers

Client financials Margins are currently acceptable but management is against cutting price to gain market
share, knowing that competitors can match price cuts
Price and cost to serve per equivalent box are different for each customer type

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Case
Case 33

GROWING SPECIALTY PAPER SALES


Questions and Facts (II)
All figures are per equivalent box
Small (boxes) Medium (carton) Large (pallets)
Price to printer 20.00 18.00 15.00

Materials 5.50 5.50 5.50

Coating 1.00 1.00 1.00

Sheeting 0.50 0.50 0.50

Packaging (direct costs) 3.00 2.00 1.00

Gross profit/($ per equivalent box) 10.00 9.00 7.00

Number of printers 20,000 3,000 1,000

Annual usage (number of 100 500 3,000


equivalent boxes)

Total potential profit pool ($) 20,000,000 13,500,000 21,000,000

Information
Information revealed
revealed only
only when
when asked
asked
interviewee
interviewee completes
completes all
all calculations
calculations
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Case
Case 33

GROWING SPECIALTY PAPER SALES


Framework and Analysis (I)

The problem set-up indicates that the client wants to invest in this business. Investment can
take many forms including expansion of manufacturing operations and capacity, expansion of
customer-facing activities, and acquisition of competitors. Its interesting to note that this is
currently a profitable, no-growth business for the client. Investment decisions cannot be
made unless the management team (and the interviewee) understand the market conditions as
well as the clients internal capabilities

This case does not lend itself well to traditional case solution structures. A strong initial
response is to list a set of internal and external factors that must be understood and
evaluated. Ultimately, the interviewee should decide whether investment is warranted, and if
so, where

Strong hypotheses might include


Assuming the client is not capacity constrained, there are likely groups of customers
that represent opportunities for profitable growth
Depending upon the current go-to-market strategy, the client may need to re-evaluate
the way that it is configured to serve existing and potential customers

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Case
Case 33

GROWING SPECIALTY PAPER SALES


Framework and Analysis (II)

Assume the client can expand their packaging operations to better serve medium or large
customers, but not both

Interviewee should recognize that a comprehensive solution evaluates the required


investment to serve a particular market segment (packaging line, manufacturing operations,
additional SG&A) against the expected return
For simplicity, interviewee should ignore taxes and depreciation, assume SG&A is
fixed

Client economics and cost to serve each customer group are shown on Exhibit 1

Interviewee should evaluate the profit pool from serving medium and large customers. This
should be based upon an assumption about the size of the market that the client can capture.
Assuming the client can match its small printer market share, the client could capture an
additional 20% of the medium or the large printer customer segment

Assume the following (and reveal to interviewee when asked)


Investment and operation of carton packaging line would cost $675,000 per year
Investment and operation of the palletizing line would cost $2,300,000 per year

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Case
Case 33

GROWING SPECIALTY PAPER SALES


Framework and Analysis (III)

A logical conclusion would be that an investment in a carton packaging line would be a


superior investment compared to the palletizing line

A strong answer may also include following


The carton packaging line is a less-risky investment (requires less up-front capital)
The solution assumes a static environment. If large printers are growing in number
and or usage of specialty paper, this may change the answer
The investment in a new carton packaging line would need to be evaluated against
other potential investments to understand if it is the optimal use of the clients capital

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