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Capstone Simulation Report Essay

Part 1:

1. Introduction

This report is designed to critically analyse the changing environment of simulation and review the performance of Baldwin by using a set of business models. To start with, the general industry background and company overview will be introduced by highlighting some market segments. Secondly, competitive landscape will be demonstrated by applying Porter’s Five Force and SWOT analysis tools. Thirdly, it will present Baldwin’s performance with identification of diverse strategies in different rounds. Finally, based on the overall performance of Baldwin, some recommendations will be given for future direction.

2. Overview of simulation

2.1 General Background of the industry

Initially, the sensors industry that the Baldwin operates can be simulated as monopoly before the competition and at the same time the initial Selected Financial Statistics are equal within all these five companies. Hence this market is known as red ocean market as all the companies competed in the current market are engaging in getting more market share with existing demand (Kim and Mauborgne 2005). In addition, the products the sensor industry is divided into five market segments based on customers’ different demands and companies are using relevant strategies to target them. To be exact, customers of the sensors are concerned about four aspects of the products, which include price, MTBF, age and positioning. In addition, nowadays, the current trend for customers’ preferences is using smaller and faster sensors. The general trend for customers’ preference is for the smaller and faster products.

2.2 Company overview

The initial strategy of Baldwin is to develop high end and performance market and then try to strike a balance of all segments of the market share. Based on the perceptual map as at the end of 2014, our products Baker, Bead, Bid, Bold, Buddy are in traditional, low end, high end, performance and size segments respectively. To be exact, the traditional and low end products take up a significant percentage of market shares while another three segments have higher growth rate.

3. Critical analysis of the changing environment

The Porter’s Five Force and accordant strategy decision

In order to determine the factors that will affect Baldwin’s performance during the competition, the Porter’s Five Forces Model can be applied to analyse to industry structure.Before the competition, the sensors industry is monopoly. When these five companies come into the market, this industry can be demonstrated as monopolistic competition. Therefore, the industry structure is drawn by five forces which are: threat of new entrants, threat of substitute products or service, bargaining power of suppliers as well as intensity of competitive rivalry (Note Desk, 2009). For the threat of new entrants and threat of substitute products or service, there was no new entrant or substitute product in this market, so these factors can be not taken into considerations.

The bargaining power of suppliers was low, as in this industry, each company had the vertical integration form of supply chain and can determine some material costs. The bargaining power of customers was high, for the reason that customers can easily change their choice between the five companies. In addition, information asymmetry between customers and manufacturers was not existed. For the intensity of competitive rivalry, the threat from internal rivals is high. To be exact, at the beginning of the competition, each company had the same level resources and capabilities. No one can exist to the market until the end of the simulation.

Table 1: Porter’s Five Force Model (Michael 2008)
The SWOT analysis of Baldwin’s Strategy

When it comes to the response to what the other companies do, it is necessary to evaluate Baldwin’s strategy and the competition in the industry by using SWOT analysis. The strategy decision that Baldwin applied is Niche Differentiator, which engaged in developing high technology segments including high end, performance and size.

STRENGTHS:

It only focus on high end and performance market segment initially, so R&D, marketing activities are more effective than other companies with its competitive advantage in High-Tech product. The production and manufacture can be up-to-date with the market and offering the best quality of Performance and Size to meet customers’ needs.

WEAKNESSES:

Focusing on high end and performance will have a significant influence on general market share. On the half way of the simulation, as we choose a balanced way to develop different segments. It is difficult to for Baldwin to decide to invest on which market segment. The products with high cost will have less attractive due to higher price. In addition, the automation level is relative low due to the strategy.

OPPORTUNITIES:

Products in high end and performance market segment will have a positive influence in the future competition with its high growth rate. In addition, it will bring benefits in the long term due to its higher customers’ demand The outstanding products with its brand name will save the cost for marketing and increase the competence in the industry competition.

THREATS:

The business may at risk of failure due to its strategy with narrow focus on high-tech products. The traditional and low-end product may at risk of losing large amount of market share. For the reason that traditional and low-end products do not have enough competitive advantage. It will bring higher R&D and production cost with its current strategy and it is difficult to increase its market capacity. Table 2: The SWOT analysis for the Niche Differentiator (High Technology)

4. Review of Baldwin’s performance

4.1 Baldwin overall performance and strategic positioning

The initial strategy that Baldwin took was Niche Differentiator (Capsim, p.24), which was aiming to develop high end and performance market. The primary objective of Baldwin was to producing up-to-market production with excellent design, high quality and advanced technology. The following strategy of Baldwin took was the Broad Cost Leader (Guisse 2012). That is to say, in the mid way of the simulation, Baldwin tried to undertake a balanced way to develop other segments. In addition, high technology market segments had relatively high growth rates as well as high margins. Therefore, with the excellent execution of the strategy, Baldwin occupied a large percentage of market shares, especially performance product at the last round (figure1).

Figure 1: Market Share for each company at Round 7

4.2 Analysis of the performance in different rounds

Different strategies will affect the proportion of current market as well as profits during the whole competition. To start with, the environment for all the five companies is same at round 0. According to Baldwin’s strategy, it placed importance on high end and performance products. The Financial Statistics for this round is shown as below (Capsim2014):

Figure 2: the Financial Statistics for the initial round 0

In the round 1, it was decided to improve the automation of low end products, hence, it went up to 1000 at the end of round 1. What is more, in this round, the sales reached to the highest among all the companies, which is $140,557,902. Unfortunately, the profits were limited due to the high cost of materials in this round (Capsim 2014). As can be seen from the following financial statistics:

Figure3: the Financial Statistics for the round 1

In the round 2, there were a few changes in our strategy, we tried to have a balanced development of all the products in order to guarantee the profits. To be more, the high end segment was changed to 8 and the outcome turned out to be satisfied. Therefore, there is a significant increase in traditional and high end capacity (Capsim 2014). In the round 3, due to the fierce competition, the Performance capacity with 200 was not sold well. From the round 4 to the round 7, the most significant action of the group is retire stock and issue stock. During this period, in the round 4, we loaned $20000 as short term while in the round 6 we started to send dividend. In addition, in the round 7, the group A: Andrews and the Group C: Chester gave up the manufacture of some products.

Note that, from the round 5, our group started to trade the bond with stock. Until the round 7, the bond had retired two new products for the replacement of the pricing importance within the marketing. The detailed method was: fix relatively higher price for the high end and the performance while turned the low end a little bit lower (Capsim 2014). The Stock price and the Bond Market summary after the Round 7 is illustrated as below:

Figure 4: the Stock Price and the Bond Market Summary

5. Recommendations

In conclusion, the performance and the strategy taken by the group B- Baldwin is general satisfied, especially when taking the balance adjustment between traditional and the high-tech segment into considerations. Hence, it is wise to use Niche Differentiator and Broad Cost Leader combined together in order to have a balanced development. Based on the Capstone® Courier report, the profit, control of emergency loan inventory as well as stock price are all achieved with ideal results.

However, Baldwin should place more importance on margin part, which is the poorest performance in the whole competition (Capsim 2014). As for the sales and cumulative profits, Baldwin got a medium rank among all the competitors. Therefore, there is a large space to improve these two important parts. In addition, Baldwin should emphasis more on the forecast customers’ demands in order to get more market share. What is more, based on the previous performance of Chester company, it only occupied a small market share in the industry, Baldwin should take the strategy of acquiring Group C (Chester) by using horizontal integration method.

Part 2:
Group reflection

During these 7 rounds, our team had a face to face meeting to discuss our decisions every week. In the first round, our team leader allocated the four parts in this simulation to our four team members. I was responsible for finance department, as I am a student majored in Finance. Although each team member in charge of different department, we still make our final decision together during the meeting. To be lucky, in our team, we have team players with different style, which made our teamwork more fantastic. Hence, we have collaborative, challenger, communicator and contributor style team player in our team (Glenn 2008). To be more, our team leader: Sandy is in the style of communicator and collaborator. She focused on the whole process of the simulation by coordinating all the activities during our decisions. She respected everyone’s opinion and made our teamwork in an efficient and effective way. What is more, she is also in the style of collaborator, which is aiming to achieve the goal of each round.

After each department made a draft of the decision, she would like to look through each individual part to make sure the decision was used to achieve the goal. Alice as a challenger of our team, she used her critical thinking to make our decision more appropriate. It is unavoidable to have some conflicts during our discussion, the challenger helps us to think in a different way by outweighing the advantages and disadvantage of each decision. In addition, when there were conflicts come out, communicator had communication with everyone in order to help us to have a better understanding of the decision. As for me, I am a contributor of the team and put emphasis on completing each task timely and accurately. In each round, I am not only responsible for finance department but also help each part to get maximal profits by minimizing total costs. What is more, when each part made their decision, I would to check every part to make our decision in consistent with our strategy.

Another team player in our group is Jasmine who is a collaborator in our team as well. During our simulation, as a team player responsible for production part, she would like to recalculate each part in order to make our goal more achievable. For example, in round 3, she found a significant problem which was existed in R&D, which helps us to avoid that error in the future round. She is also good at encourage us to express our opinion in an open mind, which makes our teamwork in a pleasant atmosphere. After doing the simulation in this team, I gained some experience from our teamwork. Firstly, it is crucial to have an efficient and effective teamwork.

To be more, we should have an organized structure of our team working. It is important to plan every steps of our decision in advance and then give everyone the opportunity to express their opinion. Using critical thinking during the process of problem solving is vital in order to get a satisfied result. Therefore, we should avoid any activities that are far away from our goal by wasting too much time. Secondly, we should try to take some risks at the beginning of the simulation. For example, finance department should support R&D department with sufficient fund. It is important to make the products more profitable by investing more on manufacturing. What is more, clear strategy also plays a significant role in our teamwork. To be exact, it helps us to have a straightforward goal and specific tasks.

References:

Capsim 2014, Capstone® Courier Round 0, Management Simulations Inc., Chicago, viewed 27 October 2014,

Capsim 2014, Capstone® Courier Round 1, Management Simulations Inc., Chicago, viewed 27 October 2014,

Capsim 2014, Capstone® Courier Round 7, Management Simulations Inc., Chicago, viewed 27 October 2014,

Capsim 2014, Capstone® Courier Report Round 1-7, Management Simulations Inc., Chicago, viewed 27 October 2014,

Capsim 2014, Team Member Guide, Business Simulations, USA & Canada,

Guisse Marian 2012, Foudation Broad Cost Leader, Scribd, viewed 26 October 2014, < http://zh.scribd.com/doc/86850763/Foundation-Broad-Cost-Leader-2>

Glenn M.Parker 2008, Team and Teamwork, Wiley, viewed 26 October 2014,

Kim, W. C. and Mauborgne, R. 2005, Blue ocean strategy: how to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant, Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston.

Michael E Porter 2008, The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy, Viewed 28 October 2014,

Notes desk 2009, Porter’s Five Force Model, Business Strategy, viewed 28 October 2014,


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