Case study on INDCOSERVE by Professor Seema Gupta and Professor B Mahadevan ranked #1 in ISB-IVEY Case Competition, 2011
The case study "INDCOSERVE: Stirring Up" by Professor Seema
The competition witnessed overwhelming response with over 220 faculty members representing more than 75 business schools registering for the competition. Submissions came in from top Indian B Schools including IIM-A, IIM-B, XLRI, S.P. Jain, MDI, IIT-B, NMIMS, Welingkars as well as many upcoming B-schools. Cases covered topics like Social entrepreneurship Microfinance, Leadership, Change Management, Governance etc., in addition to regular management topics of strategy, marketing, and organizational behavior etc. Competition was intense.
The case was judged by Ariff Kachra - Strategy Professor & Director of India Development, Richard Ivey School of Business and Sharon Armstrong, VP Business Development CMA, Ontario.
INDCOSERVE: Stirring Up
Seema Gupta and B Mahadevan
Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
In January 2011 A.S. Jafry, Special Officer and Managing Director, INDCOSERVE, a tea producing and marketing cooperative, was reflecting on the marketing strategy of the company. Jafry's main concern pertained to putting more money in the hands of the small growers. He can do this only by increasing the profitability. The moot question is do we increase profitability by improving the quality of tea or by strengthening existing marketing channel or by exploring new channels?
Agricultural commodities often are characterized by seasonality and shelf-life of the produce. Further, in countries such as India there are significant public policy dimensions (governmental regulation on pricing and markets etc.) that critically influence production, distribution and marketing of several agricultural commodities. Unlike their counterpart in manufacturing, agricultural commodity supply chains typically are not well organized in such countries. Therefore, prevalence of cooperatives as an organization structure for managing several supply chain activities is also a common feature. This case has contextually been set under these conditions and it deals primarily with the issue of marketing of tea. In addition to issues pertaining to marketing of agricultural commodities, tea poses unique challenges arising out of numerous varieties/grades. Due to several of these aspects understanding the factors that influence profitability of a firm engaged in procurement, production, marketing and brand creation of tea makes an interesting study for a student of management.
The case offers a multidimensional perspective to the problem of improving the profitability and points to various alternatives in the hands of the management to address the same. The case can be used in the core marketing course, perhaps, as a capstone case towards the end to highlight the interrelationships among different elements of marketing. The case can also be used in other courses to introduce challenges of managing cooperatives, use of auction as the procurement mechanism and also to illustrate the use of Internet as a primary marketing channel.
B. Mahadevan is a professor of operations management at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, where he has been teaching since 1992. He was also the Dean (Administration) of the institute. Professor Mahadevan has more than 18 years of wide-ranging experience in teaching, research, consulting and academic administration at IIM Bangalore and other reputed institutions such as IIT Delhi and XLRI, Jamshedpur. He was earlier Chief Editor of the IIMB Management Review, the premier Indian journal for management educators, consultants and practitioners. Professor Mahadevan was earlier the EADS-SMI Chair Professor for Sourcing and Supply Management at IIM Bangalore. He was a visiting scholar at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, in 1999-2000. He was also a retainer consultant to Deloitte Consulting LLP, USA, in 2001-2002. Professor Mahadevan is on the board of trustees of some NGOs providing valuable community and social service.
Professor Mahadevan is a member of the editorial board of the Production and Operations Management Journal and the International Journal of Business Excellence. He served in the editorial board of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage. Besides being on the advisory boards of several business schools and management journals in India, Professor Mahadevan has published several of his research findings in leading international journals such as the California Management Review, the European Journal of Operational Research, the Production and Operations Management Journal, the International Journal of Production Research, the International Journal of Technology Management and the Asian Journal of Operations Management. He is a lifetime member of the Society of Operations Management and a member of the Production and Operations Management Society.
Seema Gupta is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. She has earlier worked with RPG Enterprises in Sales and Marketing function.
Professor Gupta's current research interests are Marketing strategy, Corporate Reputation and Marketing Communications. She has published papers in international journals such as Corporate Reputation Review and Public Relations Review. Her recent research includes identifying new dimensions for communicating change in corporate identity; building an experience brand; and building image through advertising. Some of her recent cases are on The Park Hotels, Coke-Pepsi and Bosch.
Professor Gupta is the academic affiliate of Reputation Institute (RI) a premier international research and consulting organization, for India. She is an invited speaker in forums of Marketing, Corporate Reputation, Corporate Communications and Public Relations.
She has conducted several training programmes on Marketing and Marketing Communications for executives. She has done consulting assignments for public as well as private sector organizations in the field of Marketing Strategy and Corporate Reputation.