MONDAY: 21 August 2023. Morning Paper. Time Allowed: 3 hours.
Answer ALL questions. Marks allocated to each question are shown at the end of the question. Do NOT write anything on this paper.
MARINA COMPANY LIMITED (MCL)
Marina Company Limited (MCL) is a multinational company whose headquarters are in New Delhi, India. The company established its offices in Kenya in the year 2012 and currently operates in 15 other countries across the globe. The company specialises in solar technology and offers alternative power solutions in remote areas where main electric power cannot be accessed easily. The vision of MCL is “to power the world and bring comfort to the forgotten”.
The company manufactures most of the appliances centrally in India and then ships them directly to its global markets. At the initial stages of establishment, MCL collaborated with technical institutes to train technologists who assembled and maintained the appliances. The company’s after-sale service approach has boosted its customer base globally. Any major repair was referred back to New Delhi.
In the year 2013, MCL hired a business analyst to carry out a worldwide business analysis with the aim of identifying countries where new offices could be set up. This decision would be based on a wide variety of factors. Globally, MCL customers were classified according to geographical regions. Africa region was the largest, with MCL present in five countries. The company had enjoyed monopoly status in the countries where it operated for a long period of time.
From the year 2018, competition has been building up where some companies have been able to offer more advanced and better products. This has led to MCL’s bottom line being impacted adversely. The competitors’ products are imported as a complete portable set, and do not require local assembly. The marketing model used by competitors borrows heavily on multi-level marketing and therefore embraced by MCL customers. Perception associated with companies such as MCL which sell in large quantities undermines quality selling. The competitors introduced new modes of selling including hire purchase and loaning for the appliances. These modes were quickly adopted by customers.
Peter Quick joined MCL in the year 2020 as the head of sales, Africa region, at a time competition was very stiff and the financial position of the company was very low. Major customers that had remained loyal to MCL were shifting their loyalty. By the year 2021 the competition grew exponentially as new entrants joined in with cheaper and more technologically advanced appliances.
Khan Ho, the global operations general manager, whose office is in New Delhi, planned for a brainstorming workshop in the year 2022 for all the regional sales heads to advise on the way forward. The regional sales managers were required to provide scientific responses to the problem, guided by facts and the unique challenges in each of their regions. Khan Ho expected that the workshop would yield remedies to the effects of fierce competition and the way forward would be arrived at.
In preparation for the workshop, Peter Quick and his team carried out an in-depth internal and external analysis of MCL, studied the competitors’ strengths, customers behaviour, market volatility, competitors and products differentiation. In the analysis, it was undisputable that some of MCL’s appliances were unique and effective in the market. To enable him understand the reasons behind the customers shift in loyalty, Peter Quick purchased some of the competitors’ products and shipped them to the company’s main laboratories in India for detailed analysis of their constituent parts. The laboratory report revealed that 70% of the competitors’ products comprised of MCL’s products components. The only major differentiating factor was the logo, colour and packaging. Most of the competitors were buying MCL’s products, adding on a few improvements, re-branding, packaging and selling the products in the market as their own.
In his presentation, Peter Quick noted that the assignment was complex and weighty. To enable him have a logical presentation during the workshop, he classified his findings in the following categories: marketing strategies, production and operations, human resource, ethics and morals, and legal issues.
The workshop recommended certain measures to be undertaken. These measures included:
• To broaden the customer base
• Top management to implement e-marketing strategy
• The company to re-classify their customers according to products
• MCL to reduce cost for their products
• Litigation and court action against companies that had used MCL’s patent illegally.
By the beginning of this year, the company’s bottom line had started showing a positive increase. Customers were trickling back in and it is expected that by the end of the year, the company will have regained its lost market share.
1. Discuss THREE possible reasons why MCL engaged the services of a business analyst. (6 marks)
2. Evaluate FOUR internal factors that could have played part in impacting on MCL’s bottom-line. (8 marks)
3. Examine FOUR ways in which MCL could apply Michael Porter’s generic competitive strategies to regain its competitive advantage. (8 marks)
4. Identify the leadership style applied by Khan Ho in the case. (1 mark)
Analyse FOUR characteristics of the leadership style applied by Khan Ho in (d) (i) above. (8 marks)
5. Explain the type of thinking that Peter Quick used, to address the problem. (1 mark)
Analyse FOUR steps followed in the thinking process described in (e) (i) above. (8 marks)
(Total: 40 marks)
1. Summarise FIVE approaches in project management. (5 marks)
2. Discuss the process of developing marketing information for a new product. (10 marks)
(Total: 15 marks)
1. With regards to organisation structures, explain FIVE objectives of departmentalisation. (5 marks)
2. Elton Mayo and his team found a way to improve productivity by creating a healthy team spirit environment between workers and supervisors labeling it “Hawthorne Effect”.
In view of the above statement, describe FIVE features of the Hawthorne Experiments. (10 marks)
(Total: 15 Marks)
1. According to A.H Cole, “Entrepreneurship is the purposeful activity of an individual or group of associated individuals, undertaken to initiate, maintain or increase profit by production or distribution of economic goods or services.”
With reference to the above definition, highlight SEVEN obstacles which inhibit development of
entrepreneurship in Kenya. (7 marks)
2. With regard to planning as one of the aspects of management, examine FOUR types of plans. (8 marks)
(Total: 15 marks)
1. Max Weber’s model of bureaucracy is based on legitimate and formal system of authority.
With reference to the above statement, summarise FIVE characteristics of bureaucratic organisations. (5 marks)
2. Explain FIVE strategies that leaders could apply to increase their leadership influence in an organisation. (5 marks)
3. Outline FIVE reasons why organisations conduct baseline surveys before implementing a new project.
(Total: 15 marks)