December 2010

Dec 22, 2010

First Solar global strategyBy Gregg Gallager, Arnold Jee, David Lembo, Colleen Manley, Eric Moldabayev and Paola Torres

First Solar (FS) was originally founded as Solar Cells in 1984 by inventor and visionary Harold McMaster. McMaster with the help of Jim Nolan made the switch from amorphous silicon to Cadmium telluride (CdTe). This switch in thin film technology allowed Solar Cells to manufacture moderately efficient (7%) and low-cost thin film cells on a large scale.

In 1999, Solar Cells was purchased by True North Partners, LLC (an investment company of the Walton Family) and the name was then changed to First Solar. In 2006, FS became a publically traded company and released its IPO on the NASDAQ to become the first “pure play” renewable company listed on the S&P 500. Since its public offering, FS has never looked back as it ranked 10th in the Fortunes Fastest Growing Companies and sixth as the world’s most innovative companies in 2010. Today FS has remained true to its innovative spirit by being an industry leader in the manufacturing of photovoltaic, thin film solar modules worldwide.  As the leader of the solar energy industry, FS has dominated their competition as a result of their innovation in productivity, cost reduction measures, and implementation of environmentally friendly solutions.

Dec 22, 2010

Cloud ComputingHow will meet the ever-increasing competitive pressure in the cloud computing market they helped to create?

By Mohammed Ahmed, Eric Boone, Ilya Gouts, Laurent Monod, Davron Nurbaev, John Perez, Ravi Thotapalli and Detelina Trendafilova

The vibrant world of enterprise software and cloud computing paradoxically generates larger-than-life executives in its own ranks through managing the business of corporations and monitoring client relationships. Consider Larry Ellison, the billionaire CEO of Oracle. It’s no accident that Marc Benioff worked for Ellison for 13 years before founding San Francisco-based in 1999, a company based on the premise that business software—and maybe all software—was changing from a product to a service. Leaving Oracle was a risk for Benioff, but risk-taking is in keeping with his outsize, jovial personality which brought criticism the first time he stated software was dead.

Dec 22, 2010

DHL-ExpressBy Carlos Ceron, Isaac Chiu, Eric Craig, Tiina Kandzia, David Kuo, Tatiana Sunshine and David Yom

The perfect storm of economic downturn, high fuel prices and reduced demand worldwide put a serious hurt on DHL Express. In 2008, it pulled out of the US domestic market and in 2010, it sold its money-losing UK express parcel division. However, it appears that 2009-2010 has seen a fair degree of recovery for DHL Express and the industry as a whole. In the midst of this, Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL began the initiative of Strategy 2015 whose goal is to create synergy among the three divisions of DP-DHL into “One DHL.” It is quite the rosy picture, but integrating each division’s respective strategy and culture will be easier said than done.

Dec 21, 2010

Yahoo global strategyBy Daniela Bernini, Tobias Bertram, Thomas Dornis, Nofil Fawad, Asif Shaw, Ron Teagarden and Dan VanDusen

Yahoo has been here for fifteen years. We are the Internet. Unfortunately, we sit in a paradigm that values the new shiny penny,” Carol Bartz CEO of Yahoo!

Yahoo, once the leader in internet services, is struggling to implement a growth strategy to keep up with competitors such as Google and Facebook. Yahoo used to be the portal for Internet users, but over the last 10 years Yahoo’s market dominance has been severely dampened by new entrants. Yahoo announced a reduction in force of about 600 employees this month, or 4 percent of its workforce, the third such action since 2008.

Dec 21, 2010

honeywellBy Kishore Chagamreddy, Peter Addy, Ian Jensen, Darrell Member, Bindu Malik, Misty Caruth and Maggie Gu

“Aerospace is a leading global supplier of aircraft engines, avionics, and related products and services for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, aircraft operators, military services, and defense and space contractors” (Honeywell 2009 Annual Report). This statement by Honeywell sounds like the same mumbo jumbo that customers and investors read from a company. All for-profit organizations strategize in some way to be the leader in their industry. What is Honeywell’s recipe?

A favorable attribute of the aerospace industry that benefits Honeywell is the high barriers to entry into the market. This area is a recognizable strength for Honeywell and the company uses it to maintain profitability.

Initiatives this past year have shown that Honeywell is winning in the marketplace. Their pursuits into a customer focused portfolio have created over $100B in OEM wins. Their selection by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd (COMAC), a huge win to be the fly-by-wire flight control provider for the new C919 single-aisle commercial, is an additional $11B for the company. They’ve managed to obtain over 90% of the airline aftermarket selections. And these are just the story board wins for Honeywell.

Dec 20, 2010

mcdonaldsBy Shawn Duncan, Srikant Akula, Zarmineh Rab, Roman Yasinsky, Isabella Delboni and Philippe Richard

McDonalds is the world’s biggest food service retailer serving more than 60 million customers each day in over 30,000 retail locations in 118 countries. McDonalds is growing at an annual rate of 3-8% worldwide. Annual revenues are in excess $24 B with a net income of $4.9 B. Earnings per share $4.59 with a dividend yield at nearly 3%. McDonalds has over 385,000 employees in its various stores around the world.

In early 2002, after posting a fist quarterly loss McDonalds began a major restructuring of its operations. Over 700 restaurants worldwide were closed and many employees were laid off. McDonalds exited from several countries where brand had a negative perception.

Dec 16, 2010

Nokia global strategyBy Abhilash Mishra, Meha Gupta, Mrinal Das, Navjyot Ukarde, Sandeep Das and Vinod Jayavelu

“At the highest level, what I have initially found is a company with many great strengths and a history of achievements that are second to none in the industry. And yet our company faces a remarkably disruptive time in the industry, with recent results demonstrating that we must re-assess our role in and our approach to this industry.” These words by Stephen Elop, the newly appointed CEO of Nokia, sent out a message loud and clear that Nokia needs a facelift for its business strategy to prevent its dwindling market share. In reality, Nokia needs much more than a new CEO. The company needs a complete renovation of its business model that addresses Nokia’s failure to react to dynamic market trends.

Dec 15, 2010

Volkswagen in BRIC countriesThe automotive industry is in transition. Growing environmental concerns and ever increasing oil prices are accelerating a shift from gasoline to electric vehicles. Volkswagen AG will be ready to meet the surge in demand for these “green” vehicles (hybrid, electric, biofuel cars) and for the components that are used to make them.  Development of small, inexpensive environmentally-friendly vehicles and continued expansion of manufacturing and selling these vehicles in emerging markets are keys to the company’s success.  These two mutually-reinforcing activities give VW advantageous positioning in the intensely competitive automotive industry and will propel it to achieve its ambitious goal to become the largest automobile manufacturer in the world by 2018.

Dec 15, 2010

Caterpillar in China and IndiaBy Edward Matloub, Thomas McIntyre, Peter Rohlfer, Caelie Fryers, Bert Valencia Jr. and Aditya Koyyalamud

Caterpillar has survived the recession and enhanced its global presence, but at what cost? Caterpillar is a quintessential American company with a highly differentiated brand that is recognized for quality and dependability. Founded in 1925, as a result of the merger of the Holt Company and C.L. Best Tractor Trailers, the company has left an indelible mark on American society. The Holt Company gained notoriety during the First World War with the production of heavy-duty tractor-trailers. The company also produced other machinery during World War II to build bridges, airstrips and an entire logistical network used to support the Allies. This cemented the company’s position as an all-American brand capable of attaining the highest quality. This image has remained with the company for three generations, and in 2008 Global Brands ranked Caterpillar number sixty-eight out of the top one hundred global brands. Despite this rich legacy, the firm operates in a highly competitive industry and is at a crossroads which will determine the future of the company and potentially re-define its image throughout the world.

Dec 15, 2010

Research in MotionThe smartphone industry is a fast-moving, highly competitive industry. Gains in market share are created through thin marginal differences between phones that are quickly eclipsed by other companies. This summer’s 3G innovation becomes “too old, too slow” as this month’s 4G phone makes headlines. In order to successfully compete, a smart phone maker must be able to keep up with its competition and innovate to snatch small sections of market share. Research in Motion (RIM), currently the largest smartphone maker in terms of market share with over 50 million users worldwide and 12 million units shipped last quarter, managed to carve out a section of the smart phone market for itself during the early- to mid-2000s.