Short Cases

Sustainability and chocolate

April 8, 2014
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Sustainability and chocolate

Chocolate has long been a staple in our diets, either for medical or pure pleasure reasons. Recent reports indicate that there is a growing shortage of the cocoa bean used to make chocolate.  Current and futures pricing are rising, as demand increases and availability decreases due to disease, climate changes, agricultural production inefficiencies, and the…

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Oysters and business models―the loss leader pricing strategy

March 12, 2014
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Oysters and business models―the loss leader pricing strategy

Oyster farms populate nearly all of the US states that have access on the salty waters of the oceans and gulfs.  These farms replace the wild oyster beds that no longer have enough output to meet consumer demand, due in part to human destruction of their environment.  Oysters grow in the brackish waters of estuaries. …

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Coffee standoff―Tim Hortons vs. Starbucks

February 10, 2014
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Coffee standoff―Tim Hortons vs. Starbucks

Tim Hortons and Starbucks are two coffee purveyors with somewhat similar backgrounds and now find themselves in direct competition in Canada and the USA. Both companies built their business around coffee.  Starbucks, founded in 1971 in Seattle, WA, opened as a coffee-bean roaster and began surving brewed coffee in the 1980s. Tim Hortons, founded in…

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Office supply marketplace gets a Fall cleaning

November 1, 2013
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Office supply marketplace gets a Fall cleaning

According to industry news reports, on October 21 of this year the FTC will approve the proposed acquisition of Office Max by Office Depot.  The newly combined company is expected to provide a global office solutions company that will be better positioned to compete against the current market leader, Staples.  Additional competitors in this market…

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Challenging the traditional business model

October 1, 2013
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Challenging the traditional business model

Two rivals in short-term property rentals, HomeAway and Airbnb, present the traveling consumer with alternative lodging offers.  For property owners, each provides a different model for interfacing with consumers. This brief interview with HomeAway CEO, Brian Staples, gives a good overview of the differences.  HomeAway brings the consumer and property owner together, but does not…

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Online travel competition―evolving business models

September 1, 2013
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Online travel competition―evolving business models

Two rivals in the online travel reservation industry are competing and sharing at the same time.  TripAdvisor and Booking.com provide online hotel reservation service.  TripAdvisor is publicly traded on NASDAQ.  Booking.com is owned by publicly-traded The Priceline Group, which has five primary brands (Booking.com, priceline.com, Agoda.com, KAYAK, and Rentalcars). It also has several other ancillary…

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Surviving the century mark―sustainability in play

August 1, 2013
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Surviving the century mark―sustainability in play

Color, smell, and branding all play a part in the successful story of Crayola LLC, formerly known as Binney & Smith Company.  Crayola, LLC is a subsidiary of privately held, Hallmark Cards, Inc. since 1984 and continues to exploit the Crayola brand. Started by two cousins in 1885, the company began with making colorants for…

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From idea to sustainability―Caretotell

April 8, 2013
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From idea to sustainability―Caretotell

Patient satisfaction surveys haven’t changed much since the last century.  Paper and pencil is still the most common way to get the job done. Research shows a positive correlation with both revenue and patient satisfaction for those who do conduct these surveys. Few medical practices today, however, are conducting these surveys. Doctors complain that the…

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Manufacturing returns to the USA, but….

March 11, 2013
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Manufacturing returns to the USA, but….

The 201 square mile city of Griffin, Georgia is in Spalding County, midway between Atlanta and Macon.  Incorporated in 1843, it lay on the Monroe Railroad north-south line and maintained an important cotton growing industry.  Textile manufacturing began in the 1880’s and several firms dominated the market, including the Kincaid Manufacturing Company that became the…

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Innovation gone wrong-maybe?

February 5, 2013
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Innovation gone wrong-maybe?

JCPenney, the hundred year old mid-range department store chain headquartered in Plano, TX, is searching for its key success factors, once again.  CEO Ron Johnson joined the company in June 2011 with a bold plan to eliminate sales and to restructure the company around the Apple store model he developed, while SVP of Retail Operations…

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