Marketing analysis and strategy company Indes
Current situation and market condition in which is Indes, offered services and company problems. Segmentation of the market and an industry condition. The analysis of possibilities and threats of firm, action for advancement of business processes.
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Marketing analysis and strategy company Indes
Mrs. Von Raesfeld
This assignment is meant to get us familiar with segmentation and targeting, based on a rational approach. We strive to achieve the following objectives:
* Indentifying and analyzing the industry Indes is currently operating in with its electric kits.
* Identifying other possible business applications for the electronic kit from Indes.
* Picking out the best business applications and describing how Indes could implement its electric kit into the product and industry.
* Giving an advice to the research agency on how to approach the potential new industries.
Our main research question aligns to our objectives and is as follows:
In which products could Indes implement its electric kit (e-kit) and how should Indes bring these new products to the industry and make them successful?
We will try to find the answers to the research question by carry out a few analyses. At first we will describe the current situation and industry Indes is in. Then we will do a segmentation to find possible industries to implement the e-kit in. Out of the segmentation, we will target the best options and explain the process of realizing the product and we will analyze the industry in which the product belongs. At last, we will formulate a report out of these steps in order to advice the research agency on the opportunities and threats that occurring when Indes chooses to implement the new business applications.
industry manufacturing business
1.1 Indes - the company
Indes is a company, which has been focusing on innovation of products and processes for already more than 20 years. It develops their products in terms of comfort, simplicity, clarity and safety. The best way to do that is by using the information of the users. User needs are important and products should be developed and improved to meet the requirements. This means that Indes focuses on benchmark studies, processes, trainings and certification, additionally to product development. Its three target markets are human care, medical cure and user safety. They offer consultancy, product development and design & engineering especially in these markets.
Comparing to other companies in the industry C30, Manufacturing of other transport equipment, Indes is a very small company, which employs around 35 persons.
Indes has several partnerships with different types of companies, for example field lab for Client Centered Care, Industrial Design Center and TKT Technologie Kring Twente.
1.2 Manufacturing of other transport equipment - the industry
In order to make a good comparison of the opportunities and threats in the market, it is useful to look at the industry of manufacturing of other transport equipment, which is C30 in NACE terms.
This industry contains 130 companies according to company.info. These companies are all located in the Dutch market. Indes is not even on this website, because its size is too small. The biggest company is Eur. Aeronautic Defence with a profit of 553,000,000 euro. Although it is the biggest company in the industry, it doesn't mean it is a threat for Indes. Because they offer a specific kind of product, it might not be conflicting between them. Also a lot of other companies are in the same industry, but they provide different kind of products and are therefore not all considered as a competitor. Examples are KLM and Damen Shipyards.
The geographical division is also interesting to take a look at. As you can see from the pie chart, in Zuid-Holland are the most companies in this industry located. This is not very remarkable, since the biggest harbor in Europe is in Rotterdam and therefore a great place to be located.
The second biggest province of companies in this market is Noord-Brabant. Noord-Brabant is close to both Belgium and Germany and therefore strategically a good place to manufacture.
2. Other relevant information
The electric kit is already available for bikes to make them electric and therefore faster. There is own effort needed, the e-kit only supports the driver. The company Indes might want to expand their sales in the same market, so in the biking industry. Although, this is an opportunity to look at, it might be more interesting to look at opportunities in other industries and the possibilities to apply this e-kit in those markets.
2.1 Business-to-business marketing information
* The development of purchases of bikes: Knowing what the trends in the biking industry are and who your customers are, is very important to know what to sell to whom. Thus, market research to stay up-to-date is important.
* Knowing the applications which already exist for other transport methods, such as electric cars. These methods all have their own technical requirements, and can be interesting for Indes to look at in order to collaborate or to compete with those producers.
New applicable options
* Wholesalers of wheelchairs: It might be an option to take a look at the development in the wheelchair industry. If it is a possibility to apply the e-kit on a wheelchair, then that will mean that there is a new market.
* Suppliers of buggies: Eventually, it can be an opportunity to take a look at what the buggy industry is doing. Faster transportation of children to the crиche by using an electric tool is an example to take a closer look at.
* Wholesalers of motorbikes: Cheaper production of motorbikes by using another method of integrating a motor, it might be a boost of the production and sales of motorbikes.
* Wholesalers of gardening equipment: Gardeners have a really heavy job to do. In order to decrease the heavy load it can be an option to install the e-kit on their equipment like wheelbarrows. To know if there is a market for this industry, we should know what the industry includes.
* Wholesalers of construction tools: to make the life of workers easier it might be an option to get in contact with wheelbarrow producers
* Postal market: there are a lot of postmen who use a bike, especially in Holland. By applying this e-kit, the post will be delivered faster and therefore cheaper. Interesting could it be to take a look at the interest of these companies into this product.
* Courier services: A lot of private post is delivered at the minimum price available. In stead of using bikes which takes a long time or cars which cost a lot of money, the delivery companies can add this on their bikes to get faster and therefore to deliver their products cheaper. An application on roller skates can also be an option for this market.
* Emergency transport (ambulance bikes): If we are going to look over the border, it can be an option to look at third world countries in order to apply the e-kit. People who live in Africa and are surrounded by desert, it is hard to be on time at the hospital. Since there is no money to buy a car, people have to use something else. Bikes are an option, but are not that fast. So, the application of the e-kit can be a good opportunity.
2.2 Business-to-customer marketing information
* Ageing: End-users can be elderly people who like to bike, but cannot use it anymore because of their age. If we know what the percentage of aged people are, then we will know if there is a need for these e-kits on bikes. This is important information to know when approaching the wholesalers of bikes and deciding where to sell the e-kit. From the internet we can see that the age structure of the Netherlands is 17% 0 - 14 year olds, 67.4% 15 to 64 year olds and 15.6% are over 65 years (2011).
* Percentage of disabled people: If we know what the amount of disabled people is, we can also estimate what the need for wheelchairs is. If we know that, it can be a reason to approach suppliers of these wheelchairs.
“The Sociaal Cultureel Planburo estimates the number of persons with some degree of a physical disability in the Netherlands to be 3,377,000 persons, or 22.5% of the population”.
* Mobility: it can be important to know what the percentage of different kind of transport methods is. If that is clear, it is easier to realize what the need of customers is to get an e-kit. There are already studies on this topic available on the internet where we can see that still the majority of people uses bikes as mean to move from one place to another, but the older the people get the more difficult it is for them so alternatives are welcome and could be very profitable. (Mobility on Dutch road, 2010)
* Housewives: a lot of women have to do the shopping and tasks in the house in order to run a household. That means a lot of physical effort and to make it easier to them, it could be an option to implement e-kits on shopping carts, for example.
* Use of electronic devices with cables: it can be interesting to look at the spending of customers to electronic devices with cables. Lately, some electronic products have been changed in terms of wireless products. Developing products with an own battery can be very interesting to look at, because it will be something for the future. Televisions and fridges with an e-kit are economically very good in use.
* Leisure spending: an e-kit applied to a pedal boat or roller skates can be fun! Instead of putting a lot of energy in using these products, you can have the same speed without a lot of effort.
Segmentation needs to be done by differentiating the specific potential target groups. For the use of this e-kit, there are several interesting market segments to take a look at. For further analysis we used the nested approach from Shapiro and Bonoma (1984). The nested approach consists of 5 stages, from outer to inner nest: demographics, operating variables, purchasing approach, situational factors and buyers' personal characteristics.
When looking at demographics we see the usage of an e-kit for companies that produce bikes, or other carriages with wheels, so the customer need is to transport something (heavy). The next step is the operating variables of potential customers. The potential customers need a certain degree of financial and functional capabilities to apply the e-kit to their products, since Indes is more a designing company with little financial resources. The following nest is the purchasing approaches. For the application of an e-kit it is necessary to have a close buyer-seller relationship, because we are looking for new products and an early involvement of the buyer is necessary. Then the situational factors need to be considered, Indes is a small company so it might be a problem to fulfill large order sizes so concentrating on smaller orders and closer collaboration would be beneficial. The last nest are the buyers' personal characteristics where we would see a need of risk reception because it is a new application of the e-kit with unknown demand.
From this segmentation criteria we came up with the following segments:
* Ambulance bikes: Although the application is already on bikes, it is a new segment to focus on and would be an opportunity in terms of development and corporate social responsibility. This application can be an opportunity to save life in third world countries; considering our criteria above we especially need to find risk receptive buyers with a high motivation to close collaboration.
* (Pedal) boats: this application would not be that useful in the Netherlands, nevertheless it is considerable to segment this market. Countries with a lot of water and where a lot of boats are used by human force, the e-kit is a good alternative for the more expensive boats to transport people and cargo;
* Roller skates: especially for the busy streets in metropolis such as New York, it is an option for delivery men to use them to cross through the streets in order to deliver their deliveries fast, furthermore it could be a trend product so if Indes gets for example celebrities to use it there might be snowballeffect and many people that want to use them;
* Buggies: buggies can be used to apply the e-kit for running people, for example. It is interesting for sportive people with children.
* Wheelchairs: people who are disabled and really have to use a wheelchair can apply the e-kit to make their transport faster and easier, less own effort is needed to move. This product then will be between an electric wheelchair (which is very expensive) and a normal, manually used wheelchair.
* Wheelbarrow: an application of a wheelbarrow is interesting for gardeners and construction workers in order to make their work less intensive;
* Shopping cart: interesting for shopping people as housekeepers/housewives/housemen;
* Electronic devices: focusing on markets, which make electronic devices. Producers of televisions and fridges are options in order to develop products without cables and an application of the e-kit.
The next step after identifying possible markets is to decide which of these to target.
To find a suitable and profitable segment we need to go along the step-wise segment selection process (adapted from Freytag and Clarke, 2001, Brennan et al. 2011). The first step is to evaluate the relative attractiveness with criteria like segment size, growth rate and customer needs. Then we need to look at the resource demands (finances, HR, technology etc.). Management demands are the next thing to evaluate and last are the organizational demands. If all this are acceptable we consider the segment as suitable for targeting. Since this is all part of a big research project and also considered in the last part, we just chose for some criteria to evaluate the segments discussed above. In the following table we compare the ideas in 5 different criteria: realistic, costs, demand, implementation based on geographical factors and safety. When considering a new product costs should be always evaluated and if the project is realistic, meaning that the firm has the capabilities in resources to produce and successfully sell the new product. We considered demand to think about because a firm always needs to see whether there are potential customers in the market that would buy the product. Geographical factors was considered important by us because Indes is a small Dutch company so it does not have that much reach and resources to operate abroad. Safety was an important issue for us since the e-kit speeds up the devices chosen so in some cases there need to be some arrangements to ensure the safety of the user.
After considering all points like costs, demand etc. We came to the conclusion to choose for targeting the ambulance bike and the wheelbarrows, which will be discussed in more detail in the following.
The ambulance bike
The ambulance bike, with an e-kit on board, would be a substitute for the already existing ambulance bike without any kind of electrical help. In third world countries, ambulance bikes are the transportation tool to transport people living at the country side to a nearby hospital. Since these trips normally take hours, a bike with an e-kit can reduce the travel time and might save lives.
The ambulance bikes belong to a sub industry of `Manufacture of other Transport Equipment', namely `Manufacture of bicycles and invalid carriages'. Since the concept is quite rare, there's no real market for this product. Therefore we deal with a niche market which we think could be quite profitable.
Third world countries are in desperately need of such products as ambulance bikes. To be able to transport people which need medical care in a proper way, third world countries are almost obliged to think of products as the ambulance bike to offer medical care and to increase demographic health care numbers. However, we don't think governments will invest in ambulance bikes since there's no money. To be able to sell the ambulance bike with e-kit on board, Indes should collaborate with a few organizations (charities) that stimulate health care in third world countries, like the United Nations.
To produce such a product as an ambulance bike with electric endorsement, Indes is operating on the periphery of all its current markets. Indes should think of a save bike design with the opportunity for patients to lay down while driving to the hospital. Basis equipment for medical care should be implemented in the ambulance bike as well and Indes should think of an electric kit with a very long battery capacity, since there are not many electric points to recharge the energy kit in third world countries. We think collaborating with a firm experienced in making ambulance bikes (without e-kit) would be a wise decision. In this way, Indes could use their experience on the design and the medical equipment that has to be on board and combine this with its own knowledge on electric kits and the implementation of this. Indes can profit from such a project, not only because of the financial revenues, but it also can boost Indes' reputation and brand awareness. The project is very ethical and sustainable responsible and this will positively influence Indes' image.
There are a few drawbacks to this plan. At first, Indes has to find investors that are willing to buy these ambulance bikes for third world countries, since it's likely that local governments cannot invest in such innovative ways of medical transportation. Besides the fact to find investors, Indes should think of a company to collaborate on this project. It might be that Indes is too small to work on this project by itself. At third, the costs of an electronic ambulance bike are higher than of a normal ambulance bike of course. To make sure that Indes can sell the project, it has to think of its profit margin. Since these ambulance bikes are sold to charities and not for profit organizations, Indes should keep costs as low as possible. Last, the transportation costs of the ambulance bikes are going to be very high, this will increase the product price as well.
In addition to the high investment project of ambulance bikes we think entering in the wheelbarrows industry could be a profitable and maybe also more realistic idea for the small company Indes. Our suggestion is a Wheelbarrow with e-kit. This product would be in the industry of Manufacture of electrical equipment.
Wheelbarrows are mainly used on construction sites. The workers have to do a physical hard work and an electric wheelbarrow could help them in getting things faster from one place to another with less effort. Especially since construction workers often have back problems, this could be a helpful tool for them. Thus, we expect high demand in the construction tools industry. Furthermore we thought about safety issues, but those are very low for the user.
To implement the idea we see relatively low implementation costs, of course there has to be some research on how exactly to implement the e-kit on the wheelbarrows but they do not need to develop a completely new concept, the concept of the e-bike only has to be adjusted. For doing this we suggest a partnership with a wheelbarrow producer, for example ALTRAD FORT B.V.
This project could not only be successful in the Netherlands but we see a need for such a product worldwide so it would also be an opportunity for Indes to expand.
* The strategy- benefits and value creation
The segments we have decided to target are within the two sub-industries previously mentioned.
In order to create a strategy for both segments we look at the benefits and value adding elements both products have to offer. We suggest to take an network approach to strategy. For both products there needs to be some research and development work thus close collaboration with a company seems to be necessary.
The first product we are focusing on is the ambulance bike, which is a totally new approach for Indes and will imply a lot of additional cost and work, but will also lead to a lot of opportunities of expanding themselves.
In order to be successful within the industry of special transportation Indes has to think about creating a partnership with a company which already operates in the field of ambulance bikes in the specific countries, in our case Africa. Furthermore this attempt will lead to a high implementation cost which has to be funded by the government and charities for example. In order to design, produce and sell the product there has to be communication between the government and Indes to exchange ideas and argue the importance and usability of the ambulance bikes in the specific countries. This network approach can be embedded in the view of strategy as the management of relationships and networks (Brennan et al. 2011). It says that “organizations interact with identifiable networks of heterogeneous suppliers and customers”. Important in this approach is that resources are allocated and structured internally and then related to activities and resources of other parties in the network. Thus, Indes needs to bundle its creative resources and ideas about the e-kit and communicate those to the partners and develop the product further together. Especially communication is important for the ambulance bike application to get the financial resources needed to conduct the project.
Once implemented, the ambulance bike will be of additional value to the users and the patients who are being transported. The user will save valuable time, because with the same amount of effort a higher speed will be reached. And the patient will appreciate it due to the fact that he or she will reach the hospital quicker and can be treated faster. In some cases the reduction of time can also be live saving.
Of course the safety of the user and the patient are of great importance. There will be specific protective clothing for the rider and special secruity for the patient. The increased speed is a safety issue which can be solved by implementing stronger and better breaks to the bike.
All in all the ambulance bike will be a great success if the funding can be provided and the safety issues can be removed.
The second product we focus on is the electric wheelbarrow.
This includes that Indes has to find a wheelbarrow producer to closely align their design and ideas to create the best product for their customers.
The electronic kit which will be inserted in the traditional wheelbarrow would be able to pull a significant load because it will be easier to push. The electrical kit will show its effects in speed and will help in the forward and backward movement. The electric wheelbarrow will still look like a regular wheelbarrow so it will still attract the same costumers and will not `scare' them by an unwieldy outer appearance.
Of course there are also some safety issues which have to be solved. The wheelbarrow has increased speed as well which will not require special clothing but certain guidelines in the usage of the product.
The maintenance of such wheelbarrows would be simple. As we know, no customer would buy a product that required extended or skilled work to upkeep the product when a simpler design would be satisfactory. As a consequence, the customers would not have the need to go to an engineer in order to keep the wheelbarrow up and running as it would be possible for most of the people to maintain it themselves.
Altogether, the benefits that the e-wheelbarrow has will create higher demand in the industry because the usage of the product will stay simple and increase its efficiency and there are no additional safety regulations one has to apply.
For both products partnerships are important. Indes needs to build cross-functional teams with employees from both sides to create a good collaboration. Because such innovative products are only possible to implement if the customer works with the producer, only then an ideal product can be designed.
In conclusion we can say that we want to develop the idea of the ambulance bike with an e-kit and the wheelbarrow with e-kit further. The ambulance bike because of the high social value and the wheelbarrow seems to be a very realistic idea helping the construction industry.
The next step is to conduct more research in the two segments to see whether there are the resources and potential clients as seen by us.
5. Research Proposal
5.1 0 Introduction
Indes is a company which has been focusing on innovation of products and processes for already more than 20 years. It is located in Enschede which is in the East of the Netherlands. Most of their services are therefore offered in the Netherlands. The focus goes to the users of products in order to satisfy their needs and requirements. These needs and requirements are developed with several important values, namely comfort, simplicity, clarity and safety.
The 35 employees of Indes make sure that they offer the latest knowledge in the area of products and services innovation. Actually, it is not only about the product innovation, but also about the process and organizational innovation, since that makes it possible to innovate products. Most of the products and services are offered in the human care, medical cure and user comfort markets. That occurs that they also work together with several companies in the medical industry.
Indes Enschede has asked the second year students of International Business Administration of University of Twente to do a market research in order to find out the market opportunities for a new product, the e-kit. Indes has put a lot of effort and time in the development of this product, but it would also like to know more about the possible users and buyers of the product. That is the reason why this research proposal has been developed and presented in this document.
5.1.1 Research Question and Objectives
The main focus for the research proposal is formulated in the following research question:
“How should the Research Agency research the new sub-industry in order to find out if the potential new product of Indes, the Electronic Ambulance Bike, could be a good investment and a worthwhile business opportunity?”
The objectives for our research proposal are as follows:
By making the research proposal, we strive to provide the research agency with:
* Some background information of Indes and a clear idea of the current business activities of Indes
* An overview of the literature which we used as the fundament for our recommendations
* Recommendations on how to research the new sub-industry of Indes' potential new product, the Electronic Ambulance Bike
The electric kit that Indes want to offer to the manufacturers of ambulance bikes refers to the derived demand of the product from the end-customer side. So, Indes as the supplier of electric kit need to find the potential producers of such transport equipment. As we have already indicated we want to target the electric kit to the manufacturers of ambulance bikes to third world countries. What the Indes need to make now is implementation of primary research. In our case, the most significant information about the potential customers can be derived from the probability sampling of stratified random sampling where the Indes is able to make the stratified random sampling by dividing the organizations, that could be potential clients for the Indes, into meaningful groups or `strata` and then samples can be taken from each of the strata according to their representation in the population. In the case of Indes, it the most beneficial technique in collaborating with the potential customers of e-kit as it also avoid the doubts about the whether the organization is a representative or not. As a consequence of implementing the stratified random sampling, Indes would be able to divide all the organizations by industry sector or company size which is a typical strata in our case. Next, Indes need to pay a significant attention to the concept of response rate as it gives an implication of whether to consider the given outcome from the survey substantial or not. In order to make the response rate as high as possible, Indes should offer non-monetary incentives to the organizations. For instance, the respondents would be offered a summary`s of the potential outcomes of the manufacturing the ambulance bikes with an e-kit on board so that to demonstrate the added values that the e-kit will offer to the ambulance bikes and the organizations would perceive the values that they would get from manufacturing such transport vehicle. In this case, it is reduced travel time and possibility of safety of lives. This technique would be able to increase the response rate as the organizations would be aware of the advantages of utilizing this transport vehicle in third world countries. Also, we think that the secondary research is also helpful in finding the potential partners for manufacturing the ambulance bikes assisted with electric kit. For instance, the information from the Internet could give the Indes the information about the organizations which produce ambulance bikes and which are regarded as innovative and profitable companies. However, the secondary research is less reliable in our case as the project of creating and developing the ambulance bike with an e-kit on board is a very innovative product that has not been invented before. So, we think that the primary research is more relevant in this case as it gives the information which almost exist nowhere before.
References - Brennan R., Canning, L. & McDowell, R. (2011). Business-to-Business Marketing
Indes, http://www.indes.nl/Pagina.aspx?Paginacategorie=1 (Retrieved on December 5, 2011)
Industry information, www.company.info (Retrieved on December 8, 2011)
Altrad Fort B.V., http://www.altradfort.nl/NL/landtuinbouw.html (Retrieved on December 8, 2011)
Article on Mobility, http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheets/UK/FS_Mobility.pdf (Retrieved on December 11,2011)
Age structure Netherlands: http://www.indexmundi.com/netherlands/demographics_profile.html (Retrievend on December 29,2011)
Disabled People Netherlands:
Brennan R., L. Canning and R. McDowell (2011) Business-to-Business Marketing Sage. Los Angeles. Chapter 4-6
Lindgreen, A. & Wynstra, F. (2005). Value in business markets: what do we know? Where are we going? Industrial Marketing Management, 34, 732-748.
Shapiro&Bonoma (1984) How to segment industrial markets Harvard Business Review May-June 1984
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