Case Studies

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TRIAS: Decision on Cable Ladder Production

by Assoc Prof Singfat Chu and Mr Leo Hermanto (EMBA student)

Publication Date: 22/02/2016

In July 2015, PT Trias Indra Saputra (TRIAS), Indonesia’s leading welded cable ladder producer, had just won its largest-ever tender bid. The news could get even better if it adopted alternative materials that were potentially more profitable. The production director was tasked with weighing whether TRIAS should fulfill the tender using its traditional supplier or the new materials. While more expensive, the new materials would cut out several production processes and associated costs. However, using the new suppliers presented significant risks. Only two mills, in Korea and Japan, supplied the appropriate material, and both companies presented different prices and import costs. Since TRIAS could be penalized if it did not supply the goods on time, the production manager also had to calculate the likelihood that each company could be delayed in supplying the order and how much that would reduce profits if it happened.

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Ramcides: Growing Pains for a Family-Run Business in an Emerging Market

by Ms Serene Chen (MBA student), Mr Juho Eino Ilmari Mikkonen (MBA student), Ms Valeria Barreca (MBA student) and Assoc Prof Trichy Krishnan

Publication Date: 05/07/2016

During the Holi festival in March 2012, the managing director of Ramcides, a family-run agrochemical business, was considering the path of the company that his eldest brother had started in 1973. Ramcides had a goal to achieve US$50 million in revenues by March 2014 and $130 million in the following five years. The managing director reflected on whether the company was on the right path towards achieving that objective. Much had changed since an infusion of private equity from a venture capital firm in 2008, but there was still much to be done. There was also the matter of the venture capital firm’s planned exit, and where the company would then secure additional funding. All the stakeholders were clear on promoting the future growth and success of Ramcides, but the next three to five years were a critical time of transition. What needed to be done to ensure continued success? The current manager viewed himself as the managing director in transition—the bridge between Ramcides’s history as a family-run firm and its future as a professionalized agrochemical company.

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Vibrance Kegel Device: Capturing Mindshare

by Dr Doreen Kum

Publication Date: 28/06/2016

The Vibrance Kegel Device (VKD) was an intra-vaginal device that helped women correctly identify and strengthen their pelvic floor muscles to prevent and improve health issues related to urinary incontinence, back pain, and sexual dysfunction. The VKD was owned and marketed by Bioinfinity, a three-person, start-up company based in Malaysia. Despite being an innovative and award-winning product, its marketing strategy was challenging as its target market was Malaysian women, the majority of whom were conservative and uncomfortable with discussing these types of medical issues. As a result, educating women and developing product awareness had been a struggle. Bioinfinity’s market development director needed to think of ways to grow the business. He was also contemplating whether the VKD was ready to compete in established markets such as Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

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Toyota's Innovative Share Issue (2015)

by Dr Emir Hrnjić

Publication Date: 27/06/2016  

In June 2015, the Toyota Motor Corporation’s annual shareholders’ meeting included a proposal regarding Toyota’s new share issue. Named “Model AA” shares after the company’s first passenger car, the shares would offer investors new hybrid securities. This proposal created a lot of controversy among existing shareholders. Although President Toyoda claimed that no one would be disadvantaged by these shares, it remained unclear how many shareholders had confidence in this assurance. The share issue, which would potentially comprise up to 5 per cent of Toyota’s total outstanding shares, would require the support of a two-thirds majority of shareholders. The new shares looked like ordinary shares with a “lock-up” period or preferred shares with voting rights. At the same time, Model AA shares resembled a convertible debt issue with voting rights (with a conversion ratio to be determined later). It was time to vote on the approval of Toyota’s new share issue, but the following questions lingered in the shareholders’ minds: What exactly was the difference between Model AA shares and ordinary shares? What was the difference between Model AA shares and bonds (or convertible bonds)? Finally, if the vote was approved, how should Model AA shares be priced?

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eHomemakers: Crossing Borders into Singapore

by Dr Wu Pei Chuan, Assoc Prof Albert Chu Ying Teo, Mr Ming Hao Wong (BBAH student)

Publication Date: 24/05/2016

The eHomemakers project was founded in 1998 to provide skills and employment for disadvantaged women in Malaysia. The women worked from home, weaving baskets out of recycled magazines from which they could generate income. This means of self-support was particularly beneficial to stay-at-home mothers and disabled women who were unable to work. By 2011, the enterprise was struggling for viability in Malaysia, which led the founder to consider crossing the border to Singapore to explore opportunities in that country to avoid having to give up on her social enterprise altogether.

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Uber: Competing as Marketing Leader in the US vs. Being a Distant Second in China

by Professor Jochen Wirtz and Professor Christopher Tang (UCLA Distinguished Professor and the holder of the Edward W. Carter Chain in Business Administration).

Publication Data: 15/04/2016
Uber allowed people to book and share rides in private cars via their smartphones. With its headquarters in the US, it operates in 60 countries and has a strong presence in the Asia–Pacific region. This case study explores Uber’s development and growth, first in the US, then its global expansion and subsequent foray into China. Despite enjoying international success with deep penetration in major cities, Uber flopped in the Chinese market. What were the reasons for its failure in China, given its spectacular performance in many other countries?

Cargill: Keeping the Family Business Private

by Assoc Prof Ruth S. K. Tan and Assoc Prof Yupana Wiwattanakantang

Publication Date: 18/04/2016

When Margaret A. Cargill passed away in 2006, her 17.5 per cent stake in Cargill went to Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MAC). MAC lobbied for her stake to be liquidated. Cargill proceeded to shed its 64 per cent stake in Mosaic, North America’s second-largest fertilizer company, in exchange for Margaret Cargill’s stake in the company, in order to maintain control over the company. Like many second- and third-generation family businesses, Cargill’s current family owners were not actively involved in the day-to-day running of the company. Was spinning off Mosaic in the best long-term interests of Cargill? Were there other feasible ways in which Cargill could have better facilitated the liquidation of Margaret Cargill’s stake?

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Din Tai Fung: The Art of the Dumpling

by Assoc Prof H. Brian Hwarng and Assoc Prof Xuchuan Yuan (Harbin Institute of Technology)

Publication Date: 11/04/2016

AWARD WINNING CASE – This case won the Best Teaching Case Studies Award at the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI), 2015. In 2014, as one of the most well-known Taiwanese cuisine brands, Din Tai Fung operated more than 100 restaurants around the world. Attracted by its signature xialongbao (soup dumpling), long queues of customers at Din Tai Fung’s storefront were a common sight. Requests for partnerships for global expansion were constantly arriving. Customer feedback from overseas, however, suggested a notable gap in service quality between the overseas and Taiwanese branches. The demand for support by overseas branches had also surged significantly due to the fast pace of growth in recent years. The company’s chief executive officer had deferred his plan to open the 10th branch in Taiwan. Nevertheless, plans to open new branches in overseas markets were enthusiastically evaluated by existing partners. Two new potential partnership offers from Dubai and the Philippines were being aggressively pursued. What was the best way to cope with the increasing number of requests for support from overseas branches and to ensure high quality? Should Din Tai Fung approve the two overseas offers for partnership that seemed promising? What was the best overseas expansion strategy?

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LUX*: Staging a Service Revolution in a Resort Chain

By Professor Jochen Wirtz and Mr Ron Kaufman (Founder and Chairman of UP! Your Service Pte. Ltd.)

Publication Date: 15/04/2016

LUX* was a successful hospitality group operating in the Indian Ocean as well as other locations. In its previous incarnation, the company suffered from poor financial performance, poor service quality and a weak brand. A change in the leadership of the company led the group through a transformation, which showed positive results within 12 months. This case study describes a service revolution that lead to rapid improvements in service culture and guest experience, which in turn lead to sustained financial improvements on a quarter-onquarter basis.

APLO: Optimal Supply of Street Lights

by Assoc Prof Singfat Chu, Ms Nicole Lo (MBA student), Mr Clark Hsu (MBA student ), Mr Masahiro Okumura (MBA student), Mr R. J. Guzman (MBA student) and Ms Lisa Santoso (MBA student)

Publication Date: 10/02/2016

APLO was a reputable supplier of LED lighting systems for diverse countries from Taiwan to the United Kingdom. In 2015, APLO signed a contract to supply and install 30,000 pieces of 60-watt ecological street lights in several towns within one of Indonesia’s provinces. With over 250 million inhabitants, Indonesia was in dire need of modernizing its infrastructure as it expanded economically. Having already been contracted for street lighting in several parts of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, APLO was eager for more projects across Indonesia. Would APLO be able to make this its showcase project and win many more contracts throughout Indonesia’s 34 provinces?

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