August 2012

Aug 21, 2012

FordA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students By Anne Campeau, Elizabeth Clark, Jay Jacobsmuhlen, Kyle Scott and Chad Winters

The future of the automobile clearly does not favor the traditional combustible engine. Can Ford adjust and prosper in the new global green environment?

Josh Watson, a 35 year old accountant from Akron, Ohio is looking for a new car in the coming model year. Watson and his wife, Lori, are looking for a car with style and safety. But most important, Josh was to see the numbers, Watson wants to be sure he gets good mileage. Lori’s priorities mirror Josh’s but she also wants a car that will be environmentally friendly. The Watsons, lifelong Midwesterners, want to buy American if they can and Lori has a personal affinity for Ford, since her father worked for the company for over 25 years. They both have heard that Ford is working to minimize the environmental impacts of motor vehicles and they have been impressed with some new vehicles Ford has been offering. Having done some research on new cars, Josh and Lori visit a local Ford dealer, Park Ford in nearby Tallmadge, Ohio.

Aug 20, 2012

BPA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Timothy Houston, Timothy Mayberry, Adam Yestrepsky, Matthew Allred and Bhawin Khanna

The changing environment of the upstream crude oil procurement industry and recent catastrophic accidents have created numerous issues for British Petroleum (BP). International oil companies such as BP face the challenge of entering markets which are dominated by national oil companies that receive subsidies from local governments and beneficial treatments. BP also has a tarnished public reputation driven by the Deepwater Horizon gulf oil spill, which makes global and domestic operation even more difficult. The recent disasters within the oil procurement industry also have driven tighter environmental regulations that require new approaches and techniques to crude oil isolation. BP has developed a comprehensive program to tackle these new hurdles for its upstream oil procurement division. This plan is known as “Project 20K” and involves new technology, unique approaches to regulations, and new business strategies.

Aug 19, 2012

Southwest AirlinesA study of the current and future state of growth and acquisition strategy, by Thunderbird students Manash Banerjee, Owen Chen, Chris Hardesty, William Keller and Dustin Ward

“If the Wright Brothers were alive today, Wilbur would have to fight Orville to reduce costs.” — Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines (SWA) transports more passengers (101M) than any other US carrier while maintaining an 80%+ on-time performance rate. Further, SWA recorded its 39th consecutive year of profitability1 – a remarkable accomplishment for a company that previously did not fly outside of Texas and especially considering the general turmoil and collapse of the airline industry as a whole. SWA is known for its committed approach to short-haul, point-to-point service with “no frills”. Nevertheless, the question for the future is – how can SWA continue its low-cost advantages and current operational strategy to achieve successful growth targets? In other words, where is the next blue sky for SWA?

Aug 19, 2012

CaterpillarA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Shen-Chun Lin, Aimee DeGrauwe, Eli Darby, Monica Willbrand, Raymond Caruso and James Moore

CSR: The Reputation Necessity

For most companies, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a face-saving, repair mission in reaction to some recently identified social injustice or industrial accident.  Examples of reputation saving CSR have been seen with Nike’s early reaction to substandard working conditions or Union Carbide’s Bhopal tragic explosion in 1984.  At best, most companies treat CSR as a cost center line item akin to corporate publicity or charity, where a separate division within the organization implements a “community outreach” program.  Although these programs do have merit, they are mainly counter balances to the damages a corporation’s normal operations have on the community and environment.  This inefficiency lies in the fact that many firms’ CSR attempts pit society and business against each other, when in reality they should be dependent.  In addition, CSR tends to push firms into thinking generally, rather than about shared value.  In the developed world, national and regional laws help regulate and limit the damage a company’s presence can have at large. From environmental regulations, to worker safety standards, many US and EU companies meet or exceed the bare minimums laid out by governments.

Aug 19, 2012

EmbraerA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Mitch Epstein, Chad Bonfiglio, Trudy Sharp, Edgar Khachatryan and Alyssa Watt

Embraer, a Brazilian aircraft manufacturing company, flew into a lead role in the regional jet industry. With a tagline of “For the Journey,” Embraer faces significant pressure and competition.  In order to maintain and extend its lead in the industry, Embraer will have to build on its unique history and push harder and deeper into strategic relationships and innovations.

National Champion

Embraer’s unique relationship with the Brazilian government has positioned the company well to continue pursuing its lead in the regional aircraft market.  When the Brazilian government was looking for a national champion in the late 1960s, in the airplane manufacturing sector, it created its own “mixed enterprise.”  Created in 1969 as a joint venture, shareholders and the Brazilian government formed Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica, better known as EMBRAER.

Aug 19, 2012

BoeingA look into the turbulent flight path that lies ahead, by Thunderbird students Alexander Espiritu, Robert Grimes, Carlos Flores, Brian Long and Arturo Furones Seco

As one of the two giants in the commercial aircraft industry, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) currently dominates a significant portion of the commercial aircraft market.  However, as that market continues to evolve, BCA faces a number of critical strategic issues; how the company chooses to deal with them will determine whether or not the company succeeds in maintaining a tight hold on its market share and future profits.  Amongst these strategic issues, the most serious challenges to BCA’s future operations are the new entry of additional competitors to the industry, supplier and partnership relationships, and relations between the company and its labor force.

Aug 19, 2012

Crystal BallA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students A. Andrikopoulos, L. Del Bianco, S. Golliher, I. Perez and K. Singh

As the movie rental industry evolves, what’s next for movie rental kiosks?

How many Americans have never seen a movie with a crystal ball or some tea leaves? Movies are replete with clairvoyant seers peering into the future. Harry Potter’s Professor Trelawney predicts the eventual demise of Voldemort or Harry. Precogs in the Minority Report have visions of crimes before they happen. Sandra Bullock’s character in Premonition is forewarned of her husband’s imminent death with lifelike visions. The companies that rent these same movies could certainly use such tools and talents to fully understand the future of the movie rental industry which has drastically changed in the last few years with the advent of recent technological advances for online streaming.

Aug 06, 2012

googleA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Eric Chown, Mike Grey, Nicholas Kincaid, Steve McCaa, Charles Midthun and Srikanth Venkatasubramanian

Mei Huang’s family has moved from Beijing to Shanghai and she misses her old friends. She had a great day in school today and has met a new boy — she is really excited and wants to share the news — what are they up to and wouldn’t it be nice to just chat real time, even if it was online — but the current service provider has strict limits on this capability. … Wen Li met with a group of friends last night and they know there is something wrong with the way people are being treated by the local businesses — the bosses seem to have no feeling or responsibility to the workers. This leads to thoughts about the Tiananmen Square uprising and the reasons for the demonstrations — but there is no way to search for anything related to this period, everything is censored. … Hui Zhong has been working on a report on the river systems in China, but the word for river “jiang” is the same as that of a former head of the communist party and searches for political information are taboo. (Ford) So she needs to be somewhat vague, and the information returned doesn’t meet her needs. There must be a better search engine that understands more than exactly what is typed, something that understands what she wants or is looking for.

Aug 05, 2012

coca-colaThe recent decision of India’s parliament to allow 100 percent foreign ownership of companies in India is big news to many multinationals that have been dying to get in on the action in the world’s second most populous market, and the massive Coca-Cola Company is no exception. Indeed, with a full re-entry to the country it abandoned in the late 1970s, there’s essentially no corner of the world that will now be without the seemingly ubiquitous white-on-red script of the most successful soft drink in history. But one other major region has given Coke headaches since at least the early 1960s, and going there today one might be hard pressed to find the classic can for sale. Indeed, Coca-Cola has faced a number of challenges in the Middle East, but learning how to turn them into opportunities there could teach the soft drink giant some important lessons it will need for success in India.

Aug 05, 2012

BoeingA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students  Amanda Bhatia, David Freeman, David Wilson, Geoffrey Christanday, Jennifer Mousseau and Matthew Larson

As China’s economy develops, so do the prospective opportunities for foreign firms eager to sell their goods and services to these new Chinese customers.  However, many multinational corporations have already tried and failed – and yet – what makes these MNC’s keep coming back?

On March 6, 2012, Boeing and COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China) announced[i] to the world that they will be joining forces for the first time ever, in creating a “collaboration agreement to partner in areas that will enable commercial aviation industry growth in China and potentially around the world”.  This partnership sounds well intentioned, but could make Boeing, and even Airbus (their current main competitor) nervous as to their future prospects in China and the future global market.  Will Boeing’s partnership with COMAC provide Boeing with an opportunity to meet strong aircraft demand forecasts in China in coming years, or instead mean the creation of their own competitor?

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