Nigerian Packaged Goods, Ltd

By Smith, D. K. | Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, May-June 2004 | Go to article overview

Nigerian Packaged Goods, Ltd


Smith, D. K., Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies


CASE DESCRIPTION

Ever wished you had a full-length case (lots of issues, lots of data) about a large under-performing company in the developing world? This case challenges students to use the information provided to develop a plan to dramatically increase profitability and to double the number of tons of products sold by Nigerian Packaged Goods Ltd. within a four-year period. The case is based on field research conducted by the author in Nigeria. At first glance, students may believe the central issue in the case is "marketing strategy." As they will discover in the epilogue, however, the solution developed by the company's Managing Director involves initiatives on a very wide range of factors with the potential to impact corporate performance. Those factors include not only marketing strategy-related issues (that is, target market and the four marketing mix variables) but also company, competitor, and customer characteristics; industry considerations; and the macro-economic environment in Nigeria. The case is appropriate for senior-level undergraduates as well as students in MBA and Executive Development programs. It is designed to be taught in a "one hour and a half" class session, and is likely to require at least a couple hours of preparation by students.

CASE SYNOPSIS

Brian Keith is the newly-appointed Managing Director of Nigerian Packaged Goods Ltd., a large subsidiary of Global Packaged Goods Ltd. and a major manufacturer and marketer of consumer packaged goods (foods, cosmetics, soaps, detergents, toothpastes, etc.) in Nigeria. The company has just reported a massive loss, and the former managing director together with most of the senior management team have retired. To ensure continued support for the company from worldwide headquarters in Belgium, Keith believes that he will need to dramatically improve profitability and to double sales volumes within the next four years. Data and information in the case include:

1. Description of the challenge the company faces.

2. For Nigeria: Historical overview, a sample of recent statistics from the World Bank, and (for benchmarking purposes), some comparable statistics on the United States.

3. On the company: Historical overview, current performance, and numerous factors impacting that performance.

4. Characteristics of the marketing strategy, including descriptive information on the product line, characteristics of the distribution system, and information on the promotion and pricing strategies the company is currently using.

5. Characteristics of the competitive situation.

THE SITUATION

Boarding his flight to Lagos, Brian Keith wondered again whether his decision four months ago to accept his old friend Johnson Ojo's offer to become Managing Director of Nigerian Packaged Goods, Ltd. would make or break his career at the multinational parent company, Global Packaged Goods, Ltd. As former Managing Director of a major Nigerian Packaged Goods Ltd. subsidiary, Keith had hands-on senior management-level knowledge and experience of the Nigerian business environment. Thus, while he knew very well the tremendous opportunities and successes which can be achieved in Nigeria, Keith also knew how problematic the Nigerian business environment can be. Difficulties Nigerian Packaged Goods had faced recently and/or was currently facing included:

1. The company had been losing small amounts of money for the last three years. For the most recent year, however, Nigerian Packaged Goods, Ltd. had written off more than 1.5 billion naira (approximately US$15,000,000) of very old accounts receivable and inventory. As a result, the company would be posting a large annual loss.

2. As the magnitude of the problems Nigerian Packaged Goods, Ltd. was facing had become more clear, Keith had requested a three-month suspension of the company's listing on the Nigerian Stock Market. When its stock resumed trading at the end of that three month suspension, the price of a Nigerian Packaged Goods, Ltd. …

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