Seeing Beyond the Loss: Strategic Insights and Decision-Making

Despite previous successes with similar products, the company made significant repeated investments in a product, only to lose a Ministry of Defence contract it was relying on. The company sought evidence to determine whether the product should continue to be developed and invested in, or if divestment of the entire business unit was the optimal course of action. By conducting a comprehensive analysis of the home and export markets, and mapping potential utilisation areas, key recommendations were provided to the board. These recommendations suggested no reinvestment should be made for the single primary customer, but instead resources should be redirected to adapt the product to a minimised exportable version. This was accompanied by addressable market forecasts for short and long-term opportunities in adjacent and export markets.

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Significant investment in single product only to lose bid the product had been crafted for

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Customer need was thought to be well understood

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Large business unit dependant on these sales

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Complicated and secretive sector

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Stakeholder management was key issue

Situation

The company faced a critical situation wherein a product, despite substantial investments, failed to secure a Ministry of Defence contract that was anticipated to be a significant opportunity. 

  • This necessitated an evaluation of whether the product should continue to be developed and invested in, or if divestment, including the entire business unit, was the best strategic decision. 
  • Objective evidence and insights were needed to guide the company’s future course of action.

       

      Approach

      A two-pronged approach was employed, focusing on both the home market and the export market. Initial discussions were held with engineers to assess whether the product could be simplified for potential export. This approach essentially treated the project as two separate initiatives, one for the home market and the other for the export market.

      For the home market, a detailed analysis was conducted to explore potential partnering opportunities with the prime contractor that won the bid. Although it was unlikely that the product would be included in such partnerships, other UK-based users of similar products were identified, albeit in limited numbers.

      Additionally, insights were gained from a similar bid made three years prior for the majority of required units, which had been fulfilled by a competitor. 

      This provided valuable timelines for future requirements.

      The export market presented greater complexity, as it was characterised by limited freely available information due to its secretive nature. To navigate this challenge, an innovative approach was adopted. An OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) database of terrorist attacks was utilised to map out areas where the equipment could be optimally utilised. This involved analysing the frequency of IED attacks, defence expenditures, and paramilitary activities.

      The company’s existing relationships and competitor partnerships were also taken into account to identify potential market entry points. Using the expertise of the original bid and engineering team, the team assessed likelihood of success in markets, and based on the device used.

      Impact

      Based on the comprehensive analysis conducted, key recommendations were provided to the company’s board. It was determined that divestment would only be necessary if they continued to restrict this product to just one (or two) customers, and in fact, reinvestment in the product should be pursued, albeit with specific types of customers in mind. 

      The development of a minimised exportable version of the product was recommended to cater to potential customers in the export market.

       

       Addressable market forecasts were provided for both the short-term (0-5 years) and medium-term (5-10 years) horizons. These forecasts were based on the reduced version of the product and targeted the export market where there were no incumbent suppliers, but the need was great and the budget was available. This information allowed the company to make strategic decisions regarding resource allocation and expansion plans, aligned with market demands and growth opportunities.

       

      Furthermore, a 3-10 year timetable of opportunities in adjacent non-MoD UK markets was also established. This provided the company with valuable insights into potential areas for diversification and future growth beyond the MoD market. These insights contributed to the company’s ability to adapt, seize new opportunities, and navigate a changing market landscape.

       

      • Stakeholder Engagement 90% 90%
      • Problem-Solving 90% 90%
      • Strategy 85% 85%
      • Research 95% 95%
      • Analysis 85% 85%
      • Workshop Facilitation 50% 50%
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