“Strategic direction is more important today. It's about providing a framework for managers to navigate through the fog of complex chokes. No company can avoid this."

– C.K. Prahalad –

Case 4: Winning against odds!

Client: A small project engineering company in air-cooling solutions for offices and factories.

Background: Founded and run by a highly qualified visionary technocrat, the company designs, engineers, and sells environment friendly solutions for comfortable and healthy indoor air quality. It had grown steadily but unspectacularly in the four years since inception. It was pitted against three of the largest air-conditioning contractors bidding to win a prestigious project for a very large and progressive Indian firm.

Although its product was specified in the original tender, the company’s offer had been undercut by several of the reputed leaders of the air-conditioning industry, all of them over fifty times its size.

Task: Win the contract.

Methodology: Consulting – advice, information and follow through action.

The client company’s unique promise was its eco-friendly (no CFC, low power consumption) product. This position was strengthened by the healthy output air quality (100 per cent fresh air compared to 10 per cent per cycle for air-conditioning).

The client was advised to leverage this unique position. They conveyed to the prospective customer how their solution was completely in sync with the customer’s own value system and philosophy of responsible social citizenship and genuine care for employees.

The strategy employed was a vindication of Michael Porter’s suggestion that a company’s sustainable competitive advantage lies in creating a unique and valuable position. In this case, the client’s solution was unique compared to competition. It was also highly valuable because it offered the customer the opportunity to walk the talk – its credo of responsible and ethical behaviour. It was a win-win solution.

Result: The client won the prestigious order at a premium over established market leaders in the industry. The order was nearly two-third of the company’s previous year’s turnover.