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Rethinking Organisational Strategy - Wall of Sound Case Study

good evening, I am Clementia and these are my groupmates. Today we will be discussing about ‘Rethinking Organisational Strategy – Wall of Sound’ by author Ajay M. Pangarkar. 

The agenda for today’s presentation on this case study would be overview & introduction presented by myself, outline + problems faced by meta, analysis of major areas by junwei, thoughts as a strategic accountant by pinyang and Joel will be concluding on our presentation.

Rethinking Organisational Strategy – Wall of Sound is considered a semi-fiction bookcase study as it is based upon a successful audio retailer. But instead of the continuous success, the real company came to an abrupt end when they were too focused on the competition between other major retailers and ignored the changes in retail and music industry, such as a shift from physical to online stores. 

Wall of Sound, also known as WS, started when the founders, John and Maria, had a reputation for audio and video excellence. During that time, the market for music and audios were generic and low quality, thus business opportunity was seen to serve this latent segment of the market by bringing in products that are not offered by big-box retailers or easily accessible to the general public. However, there were several hurdles met throughout the whole business process, which will be mentioned later on during the presentation. Together with the rapid evolution in the audio-visual retail space, founders of WS had to employ a value-focused approach to strategic planning using a five-step approach.
The first step would be to determine organisational readiness for value-focused strategic plan to rethink the organisation’s strategy and align the value chain.  Followed on to developing a strategic value proposition to develop, access, adapt and embed sustainable value within mission objectives. The third step would be to develop key performance indicators to align performance expectations with the strategic value proposition. Fourth step is to formulate a risk management plan to reduce operational risk and lastly, embrace a change strategy.
I will be passing the time to Meta to talk about the issues raised in WS. Thank you.

Thank you Clementia. I am Meta and I will talk about the issues presented in the case study of Wall of Sound Company.

1). The first and major issue which was partly addressed by the author was the company’s exclusive focus on only the retail market as opposed to its original vision of reaching the mass population. The company seemed to concentrate on improving only its store sales, rather than selling the brand products to wholesalers and large scale companies.

Problems faced by Meta

2). Another major issue I felt of great concern is the maintenance of its core competence. High quality music was the reason for Wall of Sound’s success. To capitalize on it on a long run, selection of perfect music systems for recording, optimal artists etc., is quintessential.

3). Next, threats from competitors. When an industry looks profitable, there will be many new entrants. However, given the passion and knowledge of Wall of Sound, survival as a top player would be inevitable.

4) Next, adaptation of new technology. Traditional music players and audio devices are on their way to extinction in the digital era. So embracing the online streaming technology poses a serious challenge which needs to be addressed. Value chain has to be reframed from scratch and should be put into continuous monitoring and development to meet the ever evolving technology. Next slide.

1). Marketing. Product differentiation will be successful only if it reaches the customer base properly. Good marketing practices and advertising strategies are adapted at first. On introduction, robust marketing is a must. When quality is established, marketing may be reduced.

2). Next, creation of a loyal and niche customer base. Customers are kings. Catering to their demands and satisfying them is a must to grow and retain market leadership. Strategies and enterprise statements should have a main focus on customers.

3). Next, identification and maintenance of key performance indicators. Key performance indicators and Critical Success Factors to be identified and aligned with strategies and performance to achieve excellence in business. Every company has its own CSF and KPI. So, they are not to be copied from elsewhere. Rather, wholesome and strategic thinking should be deployed to create such pointers.

4). Last but not least, specialised after sale services. While sales is an important area, after sale services also play an equal role in maintaining the customers. Proper grievance redressal, provision of valuable advice, educating them regarding innovations in the industry, etc., should be focused on.

Now, I will be passing the time to Jun Wei to talk about the major issues faced. Thank you

Thank you Meta. I am JunWei and i will be talking about the major issues faced by WS. TheOne of the Major issue faced by Wall of sound is lack of knowledge in the marketing sector. WS wanted to serve the latent segment of the market, but they weren't able to determine the market size. So, they have to understand their target customer. Assess interest in product by looking at competitor sales and market share, and through individual interviews, focus groups or surveys. First, Wall of sound has to align its core competency by understanding the Audio/Visualideo knowledge and apply it to the potential market. Second, the company had to maintain and develop its core competency in audio/visual expertise, wall of sound believe this is the area in which the competitor or organization could not be matched. This advantage flowed through their support activities to deliver leading primary music and video offerings. Third, to identify the market trend, WS had to know their target customer value to spot the current market trend and capitalize it to gain advantage in the competitive market. Lastly, market research helps WS to facilitate strategic planning, it helps to create effective strategies and set up a sense of direction for compnay to benefit in the A/V market. With supplier research, partner alignment and other support, WS will be able to due with the limited resources that face by most of the small retailers. It provides a high quality supply chain for WS to strengthen its position in the market.

Analysis of major areas by Junwei

Another issue faced by Wall of Sound is the highly competitive market involved in the Audio/Visual industry. As technology advances, a lot of people tend to spend their free time in video entertainment. Hence, It attracts a lot of major retailers that go into this profitable market to seek for advantagesbusinesses. Medium and smaller retailers like WS are hard to get beneficial in this competitive market. So, Instead of competing with major retailers, companies have to focus on what customer needs are and invest further to develop their a/v leadership. This helped the company in reducing competitive challenges and mitigated the risk of losing sales. WS’ status as a product leader through its initial growth phase differentiated the company from generic A/V competitors who were filling a mass market need. This mitigated WS’ risk exposure since competitors weren’t threatened by WS’s market focus of highly quality audio and video. With WS’ competitors employing a conventional strategic approach, addressing the needs of a mass market, their market share and profit margins eroded over time. Focusing on strategic value, as WS did with product leadership, creates an inimitable advantage over competitors. I will be passing the time to Pin Yang to talk about his thoughts as a strategic accountant. Thank you.

Thank you Jun Wei for the hand over. I am Pin Yang and I will be sharing my thoughts as a strategic accountant. As mentioned before in the previous slides. The 5 step approach has it’s own strategies to cater to Wall of Sound, evaluate and rebuild their process and systems. With that in mind, as a strategic account, various techniques or tools are used to relook into the Wall sound value chain where the company used the 5 step approach to rebuild their value chain. This led to their success today. Within the 5 steps approach, strategic techinquestechniques and tools are used such as the Balanced scorecard, Swot analysis, and MIS, management information system.

These techniques are found to be used by Wall of sound in the case study. KPIs for suppliers, technologies, and infrastructure were discussed on how they managed to incorporate key performance indicators into their rebuild strategies. A balanced scorecard was used for the multiple categories of KPIs a proper evaluation. This gave them the ability to access it’s position in the market internally and externally as well as the flexibility for strategic decisions with many key performance indicators.

Thoughts as a strategic accountant by Pinyang

On the right, SWOT analysis was indirectly discussed in the case about their journey to success with the pointers discussed on the right being examples among the various factors analysed. They were passionate and knowledgeable about their AV’s products and their internal process and systems. There was market demand for AV during their earlier days of operations where they believe that a change is required to meet the market demands. There was also a low market competition as competitors did not foresee the market demands besides wall of sound. in the early days of their operations as compared to competitors who were able foresee the demands of the market years later. However, despite the opportunities and strengths, they had a low supplier support or relationship with their suppliers as they did not have the competitive advantage or power over their suppliers yet during their early days of operations.

With this information from balanced scorecard and swot analysis, wall of sound was able to gather different information internally and externally and managed to categorize them into management information systems. This allows them to have the flexibility of accessing and reviewing internal and external information as well as it supports various approaches of wall of sound strategic re-evaluation. Next

With such approaches, there are bound to have disadvantages and advantages. With the right techniques and tools, the right attitude towards change, and adaptive and flexibility to changes. In the long-run, wall of sound will be able to gain competitive advantage in the market as well as having power over their partners as they are able to re-evaluate and rebuild their value chain as well as creating a unique strategic value to its own. It has also led to the position of what wall of sound is today. Next

However, with these successes, there will be difficulties or disadvantages as well. The approaches for the rebuilding of their value chain are difficult to implement as risk is involved and may incur high costs due to continuous change or failures. As a position of an strategic accountant, wall of sound did incredibly well in managing risk and cost. Wall of sound’s success could be an example of how other organizations can improve or re-evaluate their value chain in order to gain market competitiveness as well as finding their own unique strategic value as part of their success stories. With that, I will hand it over to Joel to talk about the conclusion. Thank you Joel

Thank you Pin Yang,

I am Joel and I will be endingconcluding the presentation by telling youstating to you my overall interpretation of the case study and my assessment of the meaning of the case study with both positive and negative. 
Firstly, from the start the company had already planned that they will only be selling high-end products and will not be competing with major retailers. They even express that if any consumer is not able to find any high end A/V products or accessories in their stores, they will not be able to find it anywhere.
Secondly, the company had good ideaideas from the start. But Wall of Sound ignore the changes in music and retail which lead to them having to close down their business. If Wall of Sound had adapted to changes, they would most probably be able to continue their business and not end up closing down.

Moving on to the next slide.

Next i will be concluding the assessment on meaning for both positive and negative of the case study. I will start with the positive factors.

Firstly, it is good to have new ideas for starting a business as new idea will be able to catch the attention of consumers and people will tend to be interested in new products and services.

Second positive point is that, any company that embraces a strategic value will be a formidable opponent and will be able to last much longer in the market compared to a company which does not follow the value. This point was previously covered more in depth by groupmate.

Next I will be talking about the negative point.

Firstly, companies should focus on what they are doing best rather than competing with major retailers. This was covered by my groupmate previously as well as one of the things the company should do.

Secondly, all companies should be able to adapt to changes. If a company is not able to adapt they will not be able to catch up with companies that adapt to changes.

This brings me towill be  the end of our presentation.

Thank you for your time and have a nice day ahead.

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