Managerial Solutions Case Studies

Managerial Solutions: Case Study D

PROBLEM:

A start up advanced materials company with an exciting but unproven new technology needed to validate the technology, generate and put systems in place, and invent/build products in order to reach the next stage in corporate evolution. The company was in a temporary facility and there were only 12 employees (6 in R&D, 4 technicians and 2 administrative). The business of the company was to take uncured polymers placed them at desired locations within textile structures to yield value added composites

ACTIONS:

During the early stages of assessment organizational as well as technical needs were examined. Determination of known strengths and weaknessesof technology, process, and organization allowed for the prediction of upcoming physical requirements. In order to generate vibrant and robust products, with this technology, skills including polymer rheology, mechanical engineering, physical chemistry, textile science, and synthetic polymer chemistry were needed. A new laboratory had to be designed and constructed, which required knowing what type of testing would be done to evaluate and compare these products with their competition. Finally processes and procedures from product development to determination of sample weight needed to be created and adopted. With these defined needs a staffing plan was developed and executed, protocols and procedures were generated and used to train new employees, and a laboratory was designed an built.

RESULTS:

The process has been validated, and 30 commercial products have been generated. The laboratory is one of the finest in the industry and requests for unbiased testing, material evaluation, or national presentations (ACS, AATCC, Cotton Inc.) about materials and testing have been requested and delivered. There is a clearly defined product development process and champion, all procedures have been written and there is a video training aid for each procedure. The 30 commercial products were used to take sales from $0 to $10MM/year.

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Managerial Solutions: Case Study E

PROBLEM:

A separations instrument and media company with a major focus on pharmaceutical separations was loosing market share to products offering the same results at lower prices. Particularly, in the area of open and use sample preparation (which this company had started) their market share was eroding at double digit percentages yearly. The company needed to battle the flood of “me too” materials while simultaneously correcting the market erosion and, further, establishing long term market leadership.

ACTIONS:

A project portfolio with concurrent projects addressing the company needs was established. The safer and shorter term projects were performed in the column product category. These products were already doing well and a new platform was just beginning to roll out. The medium to long range projects addressed the needs in the sample preparation products. The sample preparation products market share was eroding at double digit percentages yearly. Because of large number of materials having a real cost benefit to the customer, not only was a new platform needed, but it had to address some of the customers major product complaints. Two additional high risk projects were chosen. The first one was in the column product area, and was set up to develop a prototype for the next generation column products platform. Finally, a very high risk project was established examining a potentially revolutionary technology for separating materials.

RESULTS:

Successful short term projects included completion of the development, roll out and support for the new column product platform, followed by development, roll out and support, of multiple line extensions. These projects allowed the company to maintain its leadership position and to continue to bring new and desired products to market. The new sample preparation material allowed for more samples to be run, faster and with higher reproducibility than before. The result was a revolutionary sample prep media which is protected by 5 patents and was given an IR 100 award as one of the 100 technically most significant commercial products in 1999. This material allowed reversal of the erosion of market share and the movement of the product line to positive, double digit, growth. The longer term products are still under way.

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