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Candy
2005-Jan-10, 01:18 AM
Through a computerized simulation game, student ďfirmsĒ apply business functions to develop and implement strategies for a business organization. In addition, they use system-analysis and strategic-planning techniques to determine financial, marketing, and human and capital resources required for developing and successfully marketing a product in real-time competition with other student firms.

For my BUSN 412-Z (Business Policy) class, I was required to register for software on-line at www.capism.com for this class. I downloaded it to my USB. It was $39.99, plus we received the Capstone Business Simulation: Team Member Guide 2004.

Iím looking forward to kicking other studentís butts. I have a partner, who seems to think the same way I do. She is super cool.

Has anyone ever heard of this program before? Any strategies I can follow? Is there the equivalent to cliff notes?

Our product is motion sensors. I am doing the Research & Development (R&D) and Production part. My partner is doing the Marketing and Finance. We will implement Human Resources and Total Quality Management later. We wrap up with the Board of Director's Report.

I have some ideas already. Oh yeah, each week of class represents a year for the company. There are only 7 more weeks of class left (we meet once a week for 4 hours).

If someoneís heard of this, Iíll write out the Terminal Course Objectives.

Trebuchet
2005-Jan-10, 01:33 AM
I hate to have to say this Candy, but if you avoid doing anything the company you work for has done in the last few years you'll probably do ok.

That also goes for anything the company I work for has done in the past 10 years.

Candy
2005-Jan-10, 01:55 AM
I hate to have to say this Candy, but if you avoid doing anything the company you work for has done in the last few years you'll probably do ok. :lol:

The game has 5 motion sensor products. I plan to eliminate two. I am going for high technology (replace manpower) to save costs in the long run. I want high quality products on the higher side of a suitable cost to consumers. The employees I retain will be paid well for their knowledge. That's as far as I've got with ideas. I still need to research motion sensors.

I think that is completely opposite of what my company has done in the past. :D

tmosher
2005-Jan-10, 05:01 AM
Questions you need to answer:

- type of motion sensors - for security systems or for other uses?
- type of sale - are you a supplier to other companies or do you market directly to the public or a combination of both?
- product line - do you think limiting yourself to only three of the five is wise?
- R&D - how much of your annual budget is directed toward R&D
- local or off-shore manufacturing - design in the US but have built overseas to save on manufacturing costs (quite common these days)
- in house sales/support force or do you use reps - another common strategy for component manufacturers - reps are paid based on sales commissions

I could think of more questions but it's time for me to crash.

Candy
2005-Feb-11, 07:09 PM
I need a catch phrase for my company!

I could use our newest addition, Alive (name of overseas company). Perhaps...

Andrews
We're Alive!

It doesn't sound right, though. :-k

I'm doing the PowerPoint presentation portion. I can't think of anything clever. Our company's name is Andrews. The name was preassigned. We make motion sensors. We compare ourselves to the Mercedes of motion sensors, so I need something eloquent. 8-[

Here's some notes I'm incorporating into the presentation:

Andrews Mission

As a trusted business, we team with our customers to deliver quality products on time, which exceed industry objectives and maximize value to our employee owners and shareholders.

Andrews Vision

To be recognized as a world class provider of motion sensors using high technology and high automation.

Andrews Facts

- Multiple product lines in high-tech segments
- Minimum focus in other segments
- High promotion and sales investments
- High R&D expenditures
- Increased automation or production capacity
- Focus on ROA, Asset Turnover, and ROE

Strategy

Our concentration will focus on Adam, Aft, and Agape (plants located in USA). Over the course of 7 years, Able and Acre will be reduced substantially in size, if not eliminated (have since been killed). We built a new plant, Alive (located outside the USA). By choosing high-tech, with a twist, high automation, we plan to corner the market in motion sensors by year 5.

Long-term Strategy

We seriously doubt if our competitors will pick the same strategy as the Andrews Team. We believe eliminating two of our products and then focusing on high-tech and high automation is a risky move for any new company. The big investment upfront may or may not pay off in the end. Our vision is not attractive to a new investor within the first four years, but time will prove our vision more attractive to investors in the last four years.

Marketing
The Andrews Team will spend aggressively in promotion and sales in our targeted segments. We want a small select targeted group to know about our superb designs. Promotions will include trade shows, emails to elite customers. We will price at a premium.

Our plan is to re-shift the focus from Able and Acre to a new position. Our main concentration will be Adam, Aft, Agape, and Alive. I will reiterate from our Facts.

- Multiple product lines in high-tech segments
- Minimum focus in other segments
- High promotion and sales investments
- High R&D expenditures
- Increased automation or production capacity
- Focus on ROA, Asset Turnover, and ROE

The strategy is to make changes in increments, two week time spans, to our products. We will slowly get rid of two products, while simultaneously building up three products using high-tech and high automation.

1. Due to several reasons, we decided on a two part strategy. For years 1-3, we focused on product inventions, automations, and product redesign. Going into years 4-8, will begin focus on awareness, plant utilization, and forecasting.

2. For the first part, our decisions stemmed around depleting inventory to 0 for two products. This caused our company to struggle for the first 2 years. It was necessary to spend money, in order, to make money. For the second part, we opened a new plant focusing on high-technology and high-automation. We wanted to get the word out to the public, so we spent monies on marketing the product.

3. We anticipate our new product to corner the market. Itís like no other product on todayís market, so we predict huge sales. Our price will be on the higher end of the spectrum. We have an edge with the consumer with satisfaction based on our other products. We are respected in the motion sensor industry. Our competitors will certainly feel the crunch in the year to come.

Andrews is focusing on ROS (Return on Sales) and ROA (Return on Assets) at a 50/50 ratio for our grade.
Andrews is dominating over our competitors in this area. :D

1. Is this measure appropriate for evaluating your strategy? For example, if you in every segment, market share is appropriate. If you are in only two segments, it is not appropriate, even if you have highest overall market share at the moment.

Our strategy has remained the same, unlike our competitors. We are confident that our consumer is in want of a product of quality with a reasonable price. With the introduction of a new and improved product, we estimate the consumer will respond in our favor. We have been pumping monies into our new plant, while utilizing our other two. The combination is working quite nicely.

2. Why did you prioritize it with the value you gave it? In particular, if you think it is an appropriate measure, why? Likewise, if you think it is marginally appropriate, why?

I was teetering on adding ROE, but I just canít bring myself to accept the risk. I feel confident that we are superior in ROA & ROS. We continually focus on our customer with a product of quality at an acceptable price.

[edited for misspelling overseas]

Swift
2005-Feb-11, 07:53 PM
Andrews, keeping the world in motion.

Andrews, keeping the world Alive with motion.

Andrews, sensing the world in motion.


Ok, maybe this is why I'm not in Marketing? :wink:

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-11, 08:07 PM
The big investment upfront may or may not pay off in the end. Our vision is not attractive to a new investor within the first four years, but time will prove our vision more attractive to investors in the last four years.

These two statements are, from a business perspective, presentation death! Any vision with a solid business plan and good management team will be attractive to new investors. Never, ever, say that your proposal "might not be attractive to investors". It will only be "not attractive" to investors if they feel it is a bad plan. And never, ever mention in a presentation that it "may not pay off". Positive messages at all times!

I would instead point out how this strategy contains an increase in risk over the next four years. A competent investor will assess the risk of the plan and decide whether or it is worth the risk to invest in this bold plan of yours. However, if the plan poses increased risk you should be able to show how it will provide a higher ROI (in investing, more risk = more reward)

The rest of your post contains that great positive messaging. You want a presentation that says: we have a bold new stategy for the company that is riskier, but we have done significant analysis, drawn up a powerful plan, and expect excellent long-term results from this initiative. It doesn't mean sugar-coat or hide facts that might be detrimental. If you find possible problems that might occur point them out in the presentation, along with how you will plan to address them. That will show competence and good business planning. 8)

Candy
2005-Feb-11, 08:18 PM
The big investment upfront may or may not pay off in the end. Our vision is not attractive to a new investor within the first four years, but time will prove our vision more attractive to investors in the last four years.

These two statements are, from a business perspective, presentation death! Any vision with a solid business plan and good management team will be attractive to new investors. Never, ever, say that your proposal "might not be attractive to investors". It will only be "not attractive" to investors if they feel it is a bad plan. And never, ever mention in a presentation that it "may not pay off". Positive messages at all times!

I would instead point out how this strategy contains an increase in risk over the next four years. A competent investor will assess the risk of the plan and decide whether or it is worth the risk to invest in this bold plan of yours. However, if the plan poses increased risk you should be able to show how it will provide a higher ROI (in investing, more risk = more reward)
Oops, these were actually notes from my homework assignments that I copied and pasted to word. I am sifting through the notes for the presentation. I promise I won't use anything negative. :wink:

I'm stealing some of your verbiage from your post. :D

I like Swift's one phrase, too. It will look something like this in the First Slide.

Andrews

sensing
the
world
in
motion

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-11, 08:34 PM
Oops, these were actually notes from my homework assignments that I copied and pasted to word. I am sifting through the notes for the presentation. I promise I won't use anything negative. :wink:

Learning good presentation skills are essential in the business world so I hope it goes well. I've seen a number of bad presentations and they have killed multi-million dollar deals.

Here's a key phrase to avoid if you're asked a question in the presentation: "I don't know".
Preplan your responses ahead of time to questions that you don't have the answer to. "We have been looking at those options but at this time have not reached a conclusion on . . . " is an example for general questions. Consider ahead of time focused responses, say for a question on Marketing issue you haven't addressed, "We are finalizing the work contract for our President of Marketing and want to use her expertise before committing to a decision on . . . ". In a class presentation you'll probably be making up the reasons, but in the real world never lie, if you lie and are found out the deal is off. So rather than say you don't have the answer, tell the questionner how you will be getting the answer, with confidence like the issue is something your team had been considering anyway.


I'm stealing some of your verbiage from your post. :D

Okay, go ahead. :)

Swift
2005-Feb-11, 08:41 PM
<skip>
I like Swift's one phrase, too. It will look something like this in the First Slide.

Andrews

sensing
the
world
in
motion
I expect 4% of imaginary profits in the first 5 years of your imaginary business for my creative efforts. You can send the imaginary check to my imaginary Swiss bank account. :D

Candy
2005-Feb-15, 05:39 PM
This simulation game is so cool from www.capsim.com. Our team focused on ROA & ROS as the determination for our final grade (we did this in week 4). I'm still working on the PowerPoint presentation, while my partner is doing the paper side. The below are answers to my homework assignment for this week.

New Strategy Ė since my team totally bombed last Ďyearí (week)!
 We opted to not put more monies into plant and equipment for the last round. Instead, we decided to invest heavily in sales and promotions. Based on the strategies of our competitors and the industry demand, we refocused our investments in Performance. Performance shows an industry unit demand of 5,662 with only one other competitor, Dot. We shifted Alive and Adam to join Aft.
 We are hoping our competitor's will remain focused on traditional and low end and not refocus on Performance. We pumped $1500 into our Promo Budget and $1658-$3868 into our Sales Budget. By refocusing three products on Performance, we hope to take the market share and stock out with the 5,141 units we have in stock. We are taking a chance by keeping our price range between $32-$35, and by assuming Dot remains unchanged. If our competitor, Dot, ups their Promo and Sales Budget, we anticipate their prices to increase. Hopefully, this will help us corner the market with our last minute strategy move.
 We were strong in Size with Agape, so to keep competitive, we increased the Promo and Sales Budget. Hopefully, with the Customer Awareness at 57%, the dollar increase ($32) will be an acceptable amount. We hope to remain a solid competitor in this market.
 The low end was very desirable to change strategies toward. Calculating the competitors Capacity Next Round, there is only 12,150 Unit Sales for a 17,404 Unit Demand. The prices are so low, $12-$22, that we would have taken a huge sales loss if we focused on guaranteed Units Sold. We must remain over $30 per unit to meet our ROA & ROS agreements.
 Traditional and High seem to be the focus of our competitors, and we just canít compete in those markets any longer.

Operational Explanation for New Strategy
 Our final strategy has dramatically shifted to increase our ROS & ROS. We needed to focus on a market that had a demand not being met. Performance and Low End were the only choices. Low End didnít appear to increase our profit/sales or turnover needed to meet our needs. Performance, however, did. We are taking a big chance that no one else will refocus their strategies as drastically as we did this round.

We refocused our Accounts Payable from 20 days to 30 days. This small change helped to improve our cash position.

We refocused our Accounts Receivable from 20 days to 60 days. This change keeps demand at 98.5%, without cash being tied up in receivables.

We have a Long Term Debt of $20,160. We wish we could squash this, but we canít afford to eat into our profits this late in the game.
 Our final strategy has drastically shifted to meet the needs of market demand. We shifted two products into Performance, Adam and Alive. We increased Sales and Promo Budgets to help Customer Awareness and Units Sold. There is a Unit Demand of 5,662 with a Price $22-$32. With three products expected to dominate the market, we hope to take 5,141 of those Units Sold this segment.
 This is a huge risk, but we donít really have any other choice. Low End will have an excess Unit Demand, but their Prices are so low. There is no way we could meet our expectations for ROA & ROS.

sarongsong
2005-Feb-16, 02:15 AM
...We compare ourselves to the Mercedes of motion sensors, so I need something eloquent...
Unless Mercedes reverses course (http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/earnings/2005-02-10-dcx_x.htm) before your product comes out (unlikely), you may wish to consider another comparison.

Enzp
2005-Feb-16, 09:03 AM
I don't think it is possible anymore to market a company without referring to the product as a "solution." SO how about "Andrews - solutions in motion."

You can't say I don't know, but as any politician knows, you can always redirect the question to something you want to talk about. "Well, Bob, that is a good question, but a better question to ask is..."

A local computer company that markets itself as providing business solutions recently held an event, and on the radio mentioned that the first 100 people in the door would get a "free solution." I am expecting a bottle of cleaning spray.

And make sure to hire a detective to dig up some dirt on the opposition. If they have to defend against allegations of spousal abuse or embezelment, they won't have time to market their products effectively. Worked last November.

And how about spicing up the presentation with maybe the Blue Man Group or Mummenshantz (sp?) or even Stomp. Plenty of motion there.

OK, I'm not helping....

Wally
2005-Feb-16, 02:10 PM
I don't think it is possible anymore to market a company without referring to the product as a "solution." SO how about "Andrews - solutions in motion."



Wouldn't "Solutions to motion" be more precise??? :lol:

Enzp
2005-Feb-17, 04:07 AM
Beats me, depends on what the product does. solutions to motion sounds to my ear like motion is the problem. Solutions im motion to me sounds like sloutions to unspecified problems int he motion field. Then again maybe I am just rationalizing my own idea.

ANyway, since when did marketing have to be precise?

"In recent surveys, some studies have suggested that (product) may tend to increase the likelihood of..."

tmosher
2005-Feb-17, 04:48 AM
I just have to put my two cents in....

TV commercial jingle for the company - Every Breath You Take - The Police

Every move you make
Every step you take
Iíll be watching you

Iíll be watching you
Iíll be watching you
Iíll be watching you
Iíll be watching you...

Candy
2005-Feb-17, 05:08 AM
Beats me, depends on what the product does.
No one seems to know exactly what the product does, not even the professor. I think the capsim changes the product's 'name' after every game, but the game doesn't give you any specifics for the product. :-?

The final 'year' is to be updated tomorrow evening. Then one day to finalize the Ppt. My partner is graduating, so my team had to move everything up a week. :D

Enzp
2005-Feb-17, 09:07 AM
No one knows what it does... Well now it starts sounding like Dilbert.

There is always in your face marketing. There is a company that makes giant ceiling fans for cooling large barns and warehouses and stuff. I mean these things can be 30 feet across, they are really big *** fans. The company name? Big *** Fans. Check them out at www.bigassfans.com They have the rear view of a donkey as a logo. They have a page with letters complaining about the name. They sell Big *** merchandise - I got some. They have a refridgerator magnet. Yep, a magnet with a picture of Refrigerator Perry - and of course a big *** fan behind him. Gave that to my sister. She sticks it on her refrigerator whenever I visit...and hides it when I leave.

They had the balls to be outrageous. That's our name, what're you gonna do about it? But you remember them, and who might the competition be? I sure don't remember.

Something to think about... for a minute anyway. Now stop.

Enzp
2005-Feb-17, 09:09 AM
My goodness, didn't mean to break the rules. I ASSume we can figure out their name.

Sorry.

Candy
2005-Feb-17, 12:23 PM
There is always in your face marketing.
We don't really have to market the product. I just wanted a catch phrase for the Ppt. In the game, the marketing part is to simply adjust your promo and sales budgets based on with target segment you choose.

There are 5 target segments: traditional, low end, performance, size, and high end. For example, I have refocused our products into performance and size.

For performance, marketing needs to focus on web media and email. I pumped monies into print media, direct mail, and trade shows, too. Just not as much, because it would have little affect on sales. I also readjusted my resourses for outside sales, inside sales, and distributors.

It's a game. I don't really need a jingle for a game. I just wanted an opening for my Ppt.

I'm actually graded on how well my products sell. I took a big risk in the refocus, but I am just keeping my fingers crossed until everyone's results get uploaded on the website tonight. That way, I can see if I tanked or not. 8-[