The Ebola Virus Strikes Fear

The article, “Hazmat suit maker’s stock up 50% on Ebola fears” by Paul R. La Monica describes the effect of the Ebola virus on the demand for medication. The article states that with the cases of the ebola virus around the world fear of contracting the virus has increased dramatically, and so has the demand for preventative medications. The high demand, however, for these medications is much greater than companies are currently able to produce. In short, the companies producing the medication lack the capacity to produce the amount of medication demanded.


In short, the widespread fear of the Ebola virus has caused such a great demand for preventative medication that companies are unable to meet the high demand. What can companies do to meet the demand?




Social Responsiblity in the Workplace

Though it is not one of the characteristics that most people associate with being a manager, being Socially Responsible is key when leading a group. Being “Socially Responsible,” as described by DePaul’s Student Leadership Institute, includes taking seriously the perspectives of others, and self- understanding. Being Socially Responsible means conducting business, but taking into consideration those whom the actions affect. In today’s world it is accted for companies to ship labor overseas where it is cheaper, but does that necessarily make it right? It is important for leaders to take into consideration social responsibility because it they can set the example for companies around them. More importantly, being socially responsible could mean that there is less injustice in business.

This begs the question, “Are we just in the business for the money or do we care about those who we affect?”

FORD is really “Shifting into Gear!”

Recently, Ford Motor Company has a announced they are putting a greater focus on their SUV and crossover cars to prepare for the future. You might ask, why? Well according to forecasts by IHS Automotive, one in five cars sold around the world annually in 2018 will be either a SUV or crossover. There is about 14 million vehicles sold world wide annually and a specific model taking up 20% of an entire market is a very large number.

Now after reading this article, I almost felt like I was ready the weekly courier, and analyzing the market conditions report from our simulation. Its really remarkable how this article pertains to the methods and leanings of the game we played in class.


Ford’s SUV and crossover sales were up 37%, which also outpaced the industry increase of 17%. This is exactly what we tracked in the statistics segment of the segment analysis. Ford is clearly putting a focus on a specific segment of the market, or in our game “product type.” The amount of models of SUVs and crossovers has risen from 180 to 370 from 2000 to the current day. This market is becoming very competitive and in the simulation we would have to go into R&D and tweak our product to become better and have an edge. We would also encounter situations where we would have to buy more capacity in our plant to account for higher demand. Ford is doing exactly this. The article states, “…Where it is spending $700 million to expand.” Ford has announced it will continue producing their crossover product, The “Edge”, and expand its production capacity by spending $700 million dollars in Oakville, Ontario where the car is produced. Ford ships this model to over 60 countries, which obviously can be concluded the demand is very high. This scenario right here is exactly like the decisions we had to make within the simulation, adjusting capacity to meet demand and forecasts, along with the segment demand fluctuations.

Just to show exactly how intense this increase in market demand for these SUV’s and midsized crossover is, utility cars sales grew 10% and crossover sales grew 16% last year totaling about 2.2 million units…but that’s just in North America! In 2000 1.8 million units of utility vehicles were sold outside North America, today that number is now 10 million!

Obviously the future of the automotive industry is leaning in a specific direction. I think it is very interesting to see how Ford Motor Company is planning all of this now, and how closely this scenario relates to our simulation. How do you think this market preference for SUV’s and crossovers will affect the industry as a whole? Do you think this will create entry points for new automotive companies? What do you think will happen to all the inventory of the less preferred sedan and cope model type of cars?

Article Source:

-Evan Meador

If CVS Pharmacy Can Say No To Smoking, You Can Too!


Link to Article:

CVS Pharmacy has recently taken a large step forward in their industry by making the strategic decision to remove tobacco products from all of their stores in order to show how serious they are about being committed to the health of their customers. Also, for CVS customers that are smokers, they will begin offering free online assistance to help their customers stop smoking if they choose to do so. This was obviously a difficult decision and one that could potentially lose them a lot of money, but they believe that this decision will have the opposite effect, and will actually help them strengthen their brand, retain their current customers, and inspire new customers to come into their stores.

I think this directly relates to the material that we covered in class when it comes to the decisions that departments have to make together regarding the success/failure of their company. A decision like this is obviously not made overnight and is one that can only benefit the company if everyone in the company (all departments) is onboard. In class, we learned that a part of a company’s successful strategy is that “learning and continuous renewal are essential parts of a [successful company’s] strategy.” CVS is choosing to “lead the market” instead of “follow the market” and I believe this will really pay off for them. According to the author of the article, “CVS is “putting its money where its brand is” and has the first mover advantage.”

I also believe this article directly relates to the business simulation we did in class. I think the simulation really showed us how important it is for companies to make important thought out decisions and to not try to be something that they’re not. I also think it proves to us that even though at times it was hard to let go of a product that we have been making for a while, sometimes it was the best decision for the overall health of the company. While CVS could’ve remained successful being in the tobacco industry, they chose to differentiate themselves from their competitors and hopefully help them gain a competitive advantage.

Overall, I believe that this decision was the right one for CVS especially since none of its competitors have really done anything as of yet regarding selling tobacco in their stores (Walgreens?). I believe that in order to make these decisions CVS executives strategically evaluated all of their market segments and made sure to forecast so that in case their revenues did fall dramatically, the company would be able to bounce back. One thing that really stood out to me while doing this simulation is how important forecasting is and how important knowing your market segments are in order to be successful. I feel like my team had a lot of trouble with this in the beginning of the competition and this is what caused us to suffer later on. Knowing your products and knowing the market segments that those products are is extremely important and making sure that all of your departments are working cohesively is just as important.

Do you agree with CVS’s decision to remove tobacco from their stores?
What do you think it’s competitors will do regarding CVS’s decision? Will they drop tobacco products as well?
What else do you think CVS can do to set themselves apart from their competition?
Do you believe this will negatively impact CVS’s business?

Reflection: A Look at Strategy

            Before starting this class, I was already aware that forecasting was important. However, I didn’t realize the extent to which it was important. Forecasts drive so many decisions that are made within a company. It is hard to know if you are being too conservative or too ambitious because you never can predict the market. Once you get the forecast, all of the other departments work together to make sure that the numbers are realistic and can make a profit in the end.

           I also saw that you can start with one strategy in mind and then you can just end up going in a different direction later on. I was assuming that companies had to stick to the strategy that they intended to start with but that isn’t true. Change is inevitable and you just have to learn to grow with the changing markets.

          Amazon is a company that has maintained its strategy for many years. They aim to make their customers as happy as possible and they have done a good job with that. They didn’t follow the Silicon Valley theory where you focus less on revenue and try to establish a product or service. Amazon doesn’t focus on profits, their profit margins aren’t that great but they still have people willing to invest in them. Amazon isn’t worrying about revenues, they are trying to gain more memberships without changing the price to match inflation. Money just doesn’t seem to be a problem for Amazon. They created Amazon Fresh and it just needs to make enough to finance its self. There strategy is proving to work very well for them because they keep adding more services to their business that they really don’t need to finance very heavy. They are able to charge fairly cheap prices for their Kindles because customers will purchase games and applications from the Amazon Kindle store. Their goal is to have their products widely spread across a large number of the population. So far, they have done an amazing job with that.


       My team’s strategy was to be a differentiator and lead in the high end and low end. As the simulation progressed, we saw that some of our products in those segments just did not do well. They were positioned in the worst spots in some rounds, some stocked out multiple times, and our awareness of the products fluctuated constantly. It was a true learning experience nonetheless. One thing I learned from this course is that you really have to analyze your competitors very closely and constantly do SWOT analysis to keep your company up to date. I also learned that ethics isn’t always a issue of what is good and bad, it can be about what’s in the best interest of the company. Doing nothing is also an option that can be chosen but it will also have implications in some way.




Happy Competitors


On June 27 BlackBerry will launch its BBM messaging application for both iOS and Android smartphone platform users for free. BBM has been of one the key features in all BlackBerry smartphones.  According to blackBerry there are currently more than 60 million monthly active users of BBM, who send and receive more than 10 billion messages each day. This equivalents nearly twice as many messages per user per day as compared to other mobile messaging apps.

Few years ago BBM was the most active messaging application in the market and the reason for many people not to switch to an iPhone or Android cellphones. It was also very secure, reliable and was also equipped with voice, video calling and screen sharing and was on its way to become into a new type of social network. Even to this date there is nothing else that comes close to such service.  This gave Black Berry the edge over all the smartphones in the market and had established a very loyal fan following.

But soon blackBerry will make BBM available on both IOS and Android devices and this might just take away its edge.  As BBM was the main platform for people to interact on their BlackBerry smart-phones, this new service will give its consumers the ability to use this application onto any one of those devices of their choosing and I think this will create a big problem for BlackBerry in the near future.

I think BlackBerry should have hold on making this move and should have seen how their new smartphones will perform and on based on that they should have made the decision of what to do with their BBM application on whether or not they should put in the hands of their rival smartphone companies like Apple and Google.  To me it also seems weird that they would launch this application on other IOS and android devices before launching it on to their BlackBerry PlayBook.  Does this mean that they have completely given up on their tablet market? If so what kind of message would this send to their consumers and investors?

Another thing that BlackBerry has done is that they will be providing the BBM application for free to its both IOS and android users. I don’t think this was a smart move from a management standpoint. If you know that so many people are using your application and that it is one of the best one out in the market then they should have charged some sort of a purchase fee for the application knowing that people will pay for it no matter what. This would have given some sort of extra side revenue that they could have applied to their operations.

I also believe that if they would have acted on this sooner when the demand for application was even greater couple years earlier then what it is today, it might have still worked out to their benefit.

Do you think that this move will prove profitable for BlackBerry or will it backfire? Also should they have acted earlier on this when other applications like What’s App, iMessage were not as popular?


Tesla: Creating a revolution in the luxury car industry

If you are somewhat familiar even a little bit about stocks and have an interest in investing, you probably have heard about the recent boom of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) stock. Recently, the stock went as high as $110 a share; this was a 103% increase over a one month period and a 247% increase over a 3 month period.Source: AutoBlog

So you may be thinking, what caused this sudden increase and growth? Tesla stock first jumped 31% on May 8th when it announced its First Quarter sales to be $562 Million and recorded  first quarterly profit in its 10-year history of $15 million.  In a letter to shareholders, CEO Elon Musk mentioned that Tesla delivered 4,900 electric vehicles as well as other important figures. One of them being that their gross margin doubled from 2012 to 17 percent. This was made possible due to better use of raw materials, smarter inventory management, and a reduction in the hours required to build each car by 40 percent over the quarter.

In the first quarter of the year, Tesla delivered more than 4,750 Model S vehicles in the US which when compared to the more traditional luxury car brands such as BMW 7-series and Mercedes S Class, is much higher. BMW sold 2,338 7-Series models in the first quarter while Mercedes sold 3,077 S-Class models. The demand for their most popular model, Model S, is projected to be around 20,000 units per year in North America and in Europe, the current order rate is 200 per week. In order to meet these demands, they have added some changes to their manufacturing process which should drive margins higher.

Some of these changes include:

(1) a reduction in temp workers since the beginning of the      year

(2) increased efficiencies and reduced scrappage both at supplier and in-house production sites

(3) a streamlining of operations leading to a further reduction in full time employee man-hours from 60-70hrs/week previously to 40-50 hrs/week currently

(4) a significant improvement in logistics costs.


Currently their body assembly and finished assembly are still running on a 2 shift basis so the main goal of the production team right now is to get production levels of 20,000 on a single shift across most processes.

With the Tesla Model S being a luxury car and priced at $62,400, I feel that its affordable and much better then other cars. Do you see Tesla continuing to be as successful as they are now and do you think their stock price will continue to go up as it is now? As I mentioned earlier, they out sold Mercedes and BMW luxury models, do you think that will continue to happen in the future as well? What would you rather have, Tesla or other traditional luxury car models?

World’s Largest Vehicle Manufactures

Toyota Motor Corporation is Japanese globally automaker headquartered in, Japan. Toyota Motor Corporation has about 325,905 employees working worldwide and was third-largest automobile manufacture in 2011 by production behind General Motors and Volkswagen Group. Toyota Motor Corporation is in top eleventh largest company in the world by revenue. The world’s largest vehicle manufactures, Toyota Car Company was having issues with recall. This issue is going around all over the world as well as in USA, Europe and China. This issue makes the consumer loss their confidence and as well as corporate image dropped. Toyota Motor Corporation their recall was nearly one million vehicles around the world, on top to replace damaged parts that could cause drivers to lose control of the steering wheel. There were total of 10 models affected, including the popular Prius. Prius recall more than 200,000. Due to defective gas pedals Toyota lost a lot of customers. But, to be in market and not to lose customer they are still in game.

Toyota Motor Corporation blamed that the floor mats was the problem, then it came to the gas pedal was the actual cause. But, when car owners they don’t know personally what was causing the gas pedal to accelerate and stick, without releasing. Not only Toyota had recall problems, but cars like Honda and Nissan recall over 3 million vehicles globally due to air bag problems. Not only these two cars had recall problems with their airbag, Toyota recall 1.3 million cars due to this airbag problem. Toyota FJ Cruiser recall affects seat belt retractors on 209,000 vehicles. Still, the numbers are getting bigger and bigger.

To chase the maximum profit and cost minimization, suppliers pay more attention on how to reduce cost. By using raw materials quality Toyota Motor Corporation was over confidence with their suppliers, that they changed their design without taking permission. Toyota Motor Corporation their biggest suppliers changed the pedal design that leading to the pedal problem.

Toyota Motor Corporation lack of an effective quality control cause them recall happening. They did not do enough test of their design before they produced. Their biggest mistake was they did not use quality check after the production they did not even do better quality check. This is a big embarrassment for the world’s largest automobile manufacture, that lack of negligence and having over confidence could cause them big problem in future.

Now the big question is that, let’s see that tomorrow morning you sit in your car to drive to work or anywhere and you are driving, down the road and suddenly you notice that your car breaks are not working fine. What would be your reaction? Are you still going to keep buying the same car brand you were buying before? What do you think that Toyota Motor Corporation should do to keep their name back in world’s largest automobile manufacture?




Changing the Gaming Landscape


Recently Microsoft announced their newest version of its Xbox series, the Xbox One. The Xbox has been one of the most profitable products for the Microsoft in the last decade and with Xbox One Microsoft hopes to continue that tradition. When Xbox 360 was last released around eight years ago there were no iPads; we still had smart phones with keyboards and the smart phone app stores were still in there initial phase. But a lot has changed in the last eight years; today games can be played from virtually anywhere and on any device with everyone online.

Because of the rise in the mobile gaming and its low prices, gaming systems like Xbox, Play-Stations, Nintendo has started seeing decline in their sales.  According to a report released by a leading technology research firm IDC, they concluded that paying for games on smart-phones and tablets would outpace paid gaming on portable video game hand-held devices by the end of the year. According to Nick Wingfield’s article in the New York Times U.S retail sales of game hardware and software fell by 25 percent to $495.2 million in April from $657.3 million earlier last year. This means that more and more people prefer mobile gaming rather then the old traditional gaming methods. This also proves that the life cycle for these gaming consoles will be cut short drastically unless they innovate their products for more use then just gaming.

So to keep up in the race, companies like Microsoft has started innovating their gaming consoles into more useful ways. Microsoft noted saying that they want to see their Xbox product as a more useful tool in peoples living room then just for gaming purposes. So to achieve this they want the Microsoft’s technology to take the center stage of a home entertainment system, which would end up giving people access to online videos. Apart from that Microsoft is also planning to develop its own original live-action television series that would be accessible through the Xbox. To stay ahead of the competition and to stay in the market they are also working with National Football League to develop an app for Xbox that would let players interact with their fantasy football teams while watching the live game.

From all this innovation that Microsoft is bringing in to the new Xbox, it is clearly evident that they are trying to do more with their consoles then just using them for gaming purposes.

Surely technology has come way forward then it was then Microsoft’s earlier product was launched eight years ago but do you think that will this affect the products life cycle? Will the mobile industry have drastic effect to gaming hardware systems like the Xbox, Nintendo, or PlayStation? Will innovation in their product similarly to what Microsoft has done will help them stay survive for a long time as it previous products?



Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)


My Zynga! How does one fall so fast?

Words With Friends. FarmVille. Scramble With Friends. We’ve all heard or played these games, or we have watched our friends on Facebook or Twitter interact with these games. These games are created by Zynga, a company that is nearly six years old based in San Francisco, California. This past week Zynga’s CEO Mark Pincus announced an 18% job cut for employees throughout the gaming company.

Who or what could possibly be the cause of such an 18% job cut? Pincus, in his blog announcement, acknowledged the fact that Zynga has struggled with adapting and entering the mobile space like many other companies. Larger companies, such as Facebook, have also admittedly publicly to have struggled to get a firm grasp on the market that caters to smaller devices that have smaller screens where users expect a fast, seamless and intuitive experience – with less ads. Is this lack of leadership on Pincus’? Or could it be Zynga’s lack of innovation?

This move to lean the company is certainly one thing – focusing on the future. By decreasing the size of the company today, Zynga was able to fairly compensate the newly departed associates. By making this move now, Pincus believes that Zynga is saving money in the long run. He believes making the deep cuts now will allow Zynga to take the risks it was once able to take before it expanded.

There are many similarities in this recent move by Zynga, and the the past few recent years of Chicago based, Groupon. These small start-up online companies expand exponentially all too quickly which brings up the questions, is it lack of leadership? One difference between Zynga and Groupon is that Pincus acknowledging the issues, and addressing them head on from the get go where as it can be argued that Groupon’s first CEO (yet to be replaced), Andrew Mason, failed to take the initiative to help his company early on. Mason, after months of criticism, left by similar fashion – a blog letter written to employees riddled with his off-based humor.

Companies that scale too quickly can easily lose their focus and their identity. Pincus is taking a risk to help his company in the long run. It is a difficult decision to make, but could potentially be the right one to correct Zynga’s projection path. Do think Pincus is making the right move?