Friday, September 05, 2008

MSMW Case Study: Competitive Advantages

MSMW Case Study: Competitive Advantages

Quality: This is a perception issue related to the successful product placement dependent upon the market positioning chosen by MSMW. For example, there is much turmoil in the markets concerning the environmental impact and /or consumer safety of bottled water products globally at this time. Concerns range from the possible dangers of oil-based PETs, the possible risks of certain plastics composites like bisphenol A, and the overall costs of delivery from non-local locations. My recommendation leans towards tetra-pak bottling as a quality improvement as its consumer profile is possibly more positive. As well a unique upscale branded simple pottery-bottle concept would also reinforce natural and environmentally friendly packaging of a premium product which at the same time reinforces quality concepts among consumers seeking to associate with environmental sustainability.

Price: For a retail tetra-pak product segmentation we would need to assure pricing which earned a significant cost to benefit improvement in the repacking and remarketing of the water. This would need to account for currrent and historical prices, ideally lowering the cost and at the same time enhancing its sales performance. The comparative strength of tetra-packaging may reduce defects thus reducing overall delivery and retail costs due to product damages or losses.

Timeliness: While tetra-paks would not be first to market for water products developing a clay bottle might be in the luxury market. Consumers often thrive on a sense of novelty which abounds in the global niche water luxury markets. Seasonal design or colour fluctuations easily identifed in soft-drink promotional advertising might encourage seasonal purchase cycles. Competitor intelligence would need to be sharp. New services such as central water tank systems with piped mineral fountains for office complexes might prove innovative and more cost effective in eliminating the 5 gallon water jug but maintaining the stand or purifier.

Responsiveness: After-sales and customer contact should be a means of introducing new systems and services as well as data collection on satisfaction, improvement suggestions and cost saving ideas to enhance, improve and attract customer loyalty.

Service: New business areas, such as retirement complexes, medical/hospitals, universities, colleges, public recreational facilities, transport logisitics centres and large retail complexes should be developed as customer contact and contract grows. Limiting wholesale contracts to businesses is to narrow a market in many cities where other volume customer opportunities exist.

MSMW will fill the needs of consumer awareness of environmentally sustainable premium mineral water retail and wholesale services which are responsive to continuing changes in safety, packaging and locational demands. Technology transfer may be acquired through licensing such as tetrapak, join ventures such as sourcing single use 5 gallon bottles, limited R+D partnerships such as those possible with patented alternatives to plastic 5 gallon jugs, and short-term design specialists for new plant manufacturing systems as well as acquiring pottery/kiln capabilities and contracting of artists and advertising logos, colour schemes and product information.

MSMW should also consider making progressive updates to all of these facets based upon regular refurbishment of production, design, placement and brand image goals. Many companies closing on the East Coast have been a result of long-term investment in obsolete equipment and non-investment in continued updates which match current market demands, such as poultry and piggery abbatoirs and sawmills, pulp and paper products, etc. These plants did not close only due to productivity concerns but also due to lack of imagination for putting current unique niche products at the centre of their development and future orientiation.

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