The Billion Dollar Brand Club Is Disrupting the Basics

The Billion Dollar Brand Club Is Disrupting the Basics

The founders of Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s, and other direct-to-consumer start-ups adopted razor-sharp strategies.

They focused on consumers’ simple needs and disrupted the old adage “You get what you pay for.” They fearlessly lured customers away from giant corporations’ established brands and succeeded. Their strategy was to offer quality, basic products at much lower prices than the competition’s and connect directly with their customers. However, for all start-ups, easy market entry with a catchy video on a Web site is both an opportunity and a threat: it helps achieve rapid success while leaving the door wide open to other daring, new competitors.


Video Spotlight: The Dollar Shave Club Video that Started It All


This post is based on The New York Times article, They Changed the Way You Buy Your Basics, by L. Ingrassia, January 23, 2020, and the YouTube video, DollarShaveClub.com – Our Blades Are [Expletive] Greatby Dollar Shave Club, March 6, 2012. Image source: Shutterstock / Oksana Kuzmina.

Discussion Questions:

1. In your opinion, what are the competitive priorities emphasized in Dollar Shave Club’s operations strategy? Distinguish between order winners and qualifiers.

Guidance: Review cost, quality, delivery and flexibility. To beat the competition, Continue reading

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Where’s the Plant-Based Beef?

Where’s the Plant-Based Beef?

February 1, 2020

Impossible Foods bowed out, at least temporarily, from its bid to supply plant-based burgers to McDonald’s, because it lacks the capacity to meet the world’s largest burger company’s demand.

Currently, plant-based meats have only a tiny sliver of packaged meat sales. Capacity lags behind the growing demand.  Last year saw Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat vie for contracts with Burger King, Qdoba, Del Taco, Little Caesar’s, Subway, and KFC.   However, McDonald’s is still too tall an order for either to tackle, other than in a limited test market or regional format.


Video Spotlight: Impossible Foods abandons its pursuit to supply McDonald’s plant-based burgers


This post is based on the Vox article, Why McDonald’s has been slow to adopt meatless meat, by Kelsey Piper, January 9, 2020, and the YouTube video, Impossible Foods abandons its pursuit to supply McDonald’s plant-based burgers, by CNBC Television, January 7, 2020. Image source: Christopher Kerrigan/McGraw-Hill Education.

Discussion Questions:

1. What steps has McDonald’s taken to test plant-based burgers?

Guidance: Over the years McDonald’s has gradually introduced some plant-based burgers in its international markets, but the U.S. is still awaiting this product’s arrival.  Recently, McDonald’s announced that its Continue reading

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Effect of Chinese New Year on Inventory Management

Effect of Chinese New Year on Inventory Management

January 27, 2020

The Chinese New Year brings manufacturing slowdowns in China. United States companies must plan on being proactive in managing supply by making early purchases and scheduling transportation before the slowdowns begin.

Building buffer inventory in the United States as a result of early purchases means storage capacity in the United States must be managed proactively as well.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, Why procurement planning is critical ahead of Chinese New Year, by Amanda Loudin, January 16, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / Dmitry Kalinovsky.

Discussion Questions:

1. Note in the article that the average shipping time from China to the United States is about 30 days.  How does this lead time impact inventory levels at United States facilities?

Guidance: This question is designed to get students to reflect on the interaction between lead time and inventory levels.   Ask students to suggest better ways to accumulate the additional Continue reading

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