Category Archives : Case Studies

Case Study: HR and SG&A Benchmarking of Leading APAC Electronics Distributors

Client Situation:

Emerging Strategy was approached by one of the world’s largest electronics components distributors to conduct a detailed benchmarking study targeting organizational structure, cost and operations across APAC. Our client had a track record of successful M&A over the previous 5 years and believed that their organizational and cost structures could be improved by leveraging synergies from the assets acquired in these transactions. To inform this course of action, they sought to better understand organizational structures in their industry, design best practices as well as adopt the leading cost structures used by their main competitors in APAC.

Methodology:

Emerging Strategy leveraged its established geographic presence in APAC countries to conduct extensive primary research interviews as well as secondary research in local languages over the course of several months. For this study, we agreed to benchmark three competitor companies and one non-competitor company. For each company, our team mapped out detailed organizational, operational and cost structures. We analyzed the APAC regional operations within each of the targeted companies with the aim to determine the Asian-based cost structure and headcount of the targets, including an understanding for key cost drivers.

Result:

Our research yielded a comprehensive breakdown of the following:
• Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses by headcount (including by location, function and discipline),
• Facilities (both fixed and variable costs associated with warehouses, offices etc.)
• Organizational structure and philosophy. This was done in detail across organizations in China, India, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia.

Our client’s board of directors used the information provided from this study to inform the business process optimization strategy for their global operations.


Case Study: Global Trends in Education Technology and their Impact on Test Administration across Education Segments

Client Situation:

On behalf of a client in education services, Emerging Strategy conducted an analysis on the short and long term impact of technology trends on test administration. Our client needed to anticipate the potential for disruption to its business posed by emerging technology trends such as adaptive technology, data analytics, remote proctoring and gaming. Additionally, the proliferation of mobile devices in education and learners bringing their own devices to use in class or the workplace was also researched. Our client has a wide range of interests in education services across major market segments including K-12, higher education, English language learning and workforce training. To kick off the project, Emerging Strategy’s consulting team worked with our clients to craft a project scope that included specific areas of inquiry in select markets around the world.

Methodology:

To gain the deep level of insight required for our client to understand these trends, we conducted primary research with experts in these fields as well as knowledgeable stakeholders also managing the effects of these trends in competitor firms and customer institutions. To support this effort, Emerging Strategy’s team also reached out its education expert panel members.

Our research methodology comprised two central missions. We provided a broad-based understanding of these trends and their level of impact on test administration by collecting and analyzing information available from secondary research sources. To tackle the toughest questions left unanswered after extensive secondary research into the technology trends, we leveraged the expertise of experts, thought leaders and other relevant stakeholders through primary research. Over the three-month duration of this project over a hundred industry experts were interviewed. Utilizing this combination allowed us to provide a big picture analysis with targeted focus on questions most critical to our client’s business interests.

Result:

Each emerging technology included in our study has the potential to impact these business interests in myriad ways and timely, insightful market intelligence can provide a big value add to the business units at our client organization who need to stay ahead of competitors in the rapidly evolving education services market. We provided our client’s team with research-backed insight and analysis in a crisp, concise deliverable format easily shared with internal customers. The project delivered answers to the key intelligence questions our client needed answers to regarding the current and future impact technology would have on test administration.


Case Study: Graduate Student Enrollment Trends and Issues for U.S. Market

Brief:

Our client wanted to identify market trends and issues that have affected or that may in the future affect enrollment for graduate-level studies in the United States.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

Emerging Strategy researched the top three markets or origin for graduate studies of the US: US, China and India. Secondary sources were exhausted and complemented by a series of primary interviews in the three geographies. Market leading test prep providers and study abroad agencies were consulted in order to identify topics that have and may lead prospective graduate students to defer studies or target a destination other than the United States. Language and entrance/ admissions exams and prep courses volumes were used as indicator of intention and potential convergence to graduate level study. Historic trends and future expectations based on findings were essential to client needs.

Result:

Outputs enabled client to program expected demand for the coming 3 years and key trends that may influence the target market.


Case Study: e-Learning Tools and Market Analysis

Brief:

Our client was evaluating business development opportunities within Mainland China’s e-Learning market, and needed to understand the landscape, players and product offerings available.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

Emerging Strategy’s consultants drew on a mix of domestic and international sources, beginning with secondary research to find e-Learning products and services in mainland markets using industry reports, trade publications and general media. Afterwards, extensive primary research and site visits were conducted to triangulate, validate and further elaborate on findings. Research also characterized the different user and buyer segments, making the identification of coverage gaps possible. Industry specialists, educational institution directors, and MoE officials were amongst the primary contacts consulted.

Result:

Valuable insights into the e-Learning tools available to the Chinese market, both current and forecast, helped our client plan their BD/partnership strategy, target profile and product mix.


Case Study: The Impact of Macro Trends and Innovations on the Education Sector

Brief:

In order to improve their strategic planning process, our client sought actionable intelligence on near-term (3-5 years) and long-term (10 years) macro trends and disruptors in the education and training sector in a number of countries.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

We created an analytic framework including a PEST analysis, opportunities and threats presented by each trend, and the potential level of impact and certainty for each. For the PEST analysis, we conducted detailed secondary research complemented by interviews with members of an expert panel assembled for this project, to elicit hypotheses on political, economic, social and technological trends. We tested these hypotheses using additional primary and secondary research. We created a ‘disruption factor matrix’ to segment those trends that had the greatest level of certainty as well as the highest potential for impacting our client’s business. We also deeply analyzed each resultant opportunity and threat facing the client.

Result:

Our study enabled the client to gain an understanding of future trends and outlooks in the target market and to tailor their products to the anticipated changes in the education and workplace sectors.


Case Study: Downstream Oil and Gas Market Analysis

Brief:

In order to develop a robust market entry strategy for the Chinese downstream petroleum and gas market, our client wanted to develop an understanding of the market landscape so that they could identify and target the most promising segments of the downstream value chain.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

To develop a detailed understanding of the competitive landscape, the influence of government regulations and incentives on consumer demand, and the possibilities for partnerships and joint ventures, Emerging Strategy conducted over thirty in-depth interviews with executives and high-ranking employees at international and Chinese oil and gas companies, industry analysts, and experts from leading universities. The interviews provided valuable insight into: the current structure of the Chinese market, the strengths and weaknesses of the major players, cultural and regulatory situations, and the market entry history and development of major oil & gas companies. Conversations with government contacts enabled us to gain insights on the impact of government regulations.

Result:

The client gained an understanding of the opportunities and the risks involved in entering the Chinese downstream O&G sector, and were able to identify opportunities that matched their business scope and scale.


Case Study: New Site Location and Construction Benchmarking of Leading Petrol Station Brands

Brief:

The client requested detailed benchmarking and analysis of the new petrol station set-up process used by key competitors in Australia and Malaysia, so that opportunities to improve the client’s process could be identified, as well as to generate a set of industry KPIs.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

We mapped the entire process from site identification and acquisition to operational start-up and then benchmarked the process. The benchmarking included detailed insights on the investment approval process within the company, acquisition of building permits, the construction process and project management, and the opening of the new petrol station for commercial activity. Tracked topics of particular interest included the level of outsourcing, business model, the structure of project teams, and performance metrics to evaluate the new site set-up process. We benchmarked competitors’ strategy as well as operational measures taken to optimize their business performance, and future planning around geographic footprint and expansion. The study relied heavily on primary research, with a total of over 30 in-depth interviews with mid and senior level contacts.

Result:

We identified opportunities for improving the client’s own new site set-up process, as well as understand competitors’ current capabilities and expansion plans.


Case Study: Identifying Opportunities in the Drug Registration and Reimbursement Approval Process

Brief:

Our client faced delays in China’s new drug registration and reimbursement approval process and wanted to reduce time-to-market for new products.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

Emerging Strategy conducted detailed interviews with our client’s regulatory affairs staff in China to learn about specific bottlenecks at various stages of the process. To gain a clear understanding of pain points and how to address them, we mapped the entire registration and reimbursement approval process, including key stakeholders. We interviewed regulators in departments. responsible for registration and reimbursement to understand their attitude to various disease areas, and to identify attitudes or policy changes that may affect our client. We interviewed health care professionals and key opinion leaders within the medical community to understand perspective and support for various drug categories and therapies when state drug registration authorities turn to them for expert advice. We also assessed the experience and time optimization methods used by other foreign pharmaceutical companies.

Result:

The client relied on analysis as decision support tool for optimizing their registration process, what new products and disease areas would be received favorably by Chinese regulators, and tactics for listing as reimbursable drugs.


Case Study: Top Messaging and Online Gaming Company

Brief:

In order to look for ways to expand the online gaming platform, our client wanted to understand the detailed business profile of a top Chinese messaging and online gaming service provider and form a complete picture of how they acquire, engage and retain customers.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

Our consultants conducted over thirty in-depth interviews as original, primary research. Interviewees included current employees, former employees (recent departures), partners (service providers, technology partners, etc.) of the target competitor, as well as industry observers and analysts. This was in addition to leveraging any online secondary research, trade publications and other published sources, company financial statements, national and international press etc. We compiled a clear understanding of the organizational structure, business models and practices, service features, technologies, and partnerships of the target company.

Result:

Due to our analysis, the client had fresh insights from the market about the target company’s detailed profile and business models, which helped them develop customer strategies for their expanding online gaming services.


Case Study: Fractional Horsepower Motors and Components

Brief:

The client wanted to evaluate market opportunities for fractional horsepower motors (FHM), as well as to identify potential partnership opportunities with Chinese companies to ease the client’s market entry and expansion.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

Emerging Strategy identified the leading manufacturers of FHM in China, and gained an understanding of their business scale and customer segmentation. Then, we looked at component suppliers to FHM manufacturers, and mapped the FHM component-supplier to FHM end-use customer segments. Emerging Strategy’s project team conducted over thirty interviews with market participants including FHM manufacturers, FHM component suppliers, and relevant industry associations. A bottom-up market sizing model was constructed based on primary research, which was then checked against high-level market data provided by industry associations. Through our in-depth research, we gained insights on the current and projected business scale, customer relationships, and industry-vertical alignment of a number of Chinese companies operating in this sector.

Result:

We enabled the client to understand the competitive landscape, the current and near-term market opportunity for their products, and intermediary and end-use customer segments. We also provided a short list of Chinese companies with a strong growth trajectory who may be potential partners or M&A targets, for further evaluation.