Business - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Operational effectiveness in cellulose fibers business of Weyerhaeuser Company: can the cost trends of 2005 be reversed?

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

The Cellulose Fibers Business of Weyerhaeuser Company sells market pulp produced at manufacturing facilities located in North America. The Company has sought to operate utilizing a differentiation strategy. A proportion of its product offering is ruled by a commodity market. The Company must recognize the need to compete on cost. This project defines a strategy for operational effectiveness improvements at Weyerhaeuser. This strategy impacts the notion of differentiated products that must be produced cost effectively. The Company experienced unusual cost increases in 2005. Analysis in this paper found they resulted from weather related incidents and world economic events. Expectations of cost reductions may therefore be unrealistic. To regain some ground lost focus should be placed on areas where management can exert control. This analysis suggests Weyerhaeuser must lower it costs by reducing waste and maximize efficiency in the short term, and effective deployment of capital in the longer term

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)

Strategic analysis of a western Canadian softwood lumber manufacturer

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This project presents a strategic analysis for a Western Canadian based lumber manufacturing company. The industry produces a commodity product and firms use cost advantages in fibre or manufacturing to compete. The company has had success because of access to low fibre costs but the future is threatened by fierce industry rivalry and substitute products. In the future the softwood lumber trade agreement will disadvantage the company relative to its competitors in the United States. To make economic rents the company will need to expand market channel flexibility, drive costs out of the supply chain and leverage company core competencies to create new differentiated products.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)

SmartTech: Development of a rapid transformation framework for a knowledge intensive company.

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Smart Consulting and Tech Consulting recently merged to form a global IT Consulting company named SmartTech Consulting. SmartTech (a pseudonym) is looking for a transformation solution to unify their recently formed company, reduce duplication of skill sets, and improve revenues. As a ‘knowledge intensive’ company that generates most of its revenues through the utilization of its main assets -- the knowledge, skills and experience of its employees – SmartTech needs a transformation framework that accounts for specific needs and circumstances of such a company. In particular, the sensitivities of the knowledge worker need t o be respected for any transformation to be successful. We propose such a framework, which we call Rapid Transformation, for knowledge intensive companies using a variety of methodologies: secondary research, interviews and surveys, and SmartTech’s past transformation experiences. Implementation issues are explored in detail using SmartTech as a test case.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)

Feasibility study and strategic launch plan for a new venture in an integrated medical clinic/ retail store

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This paper outlines a plan for the strategic launch of a new venture in eyecare services and eyewear retailing. To determine the best strategy, an industry analysis is done on the optometry and optical dispensary industries. The marketing analysis section of this paper investigates the firm’s location and the demographic and psychographic characteristics of prospect customers. This paper also outlines the strategy of the nearby competitors. Based on the performed market analysis, estimates of the customers were projected and expenses, incomes, and breakeven volumes are prepared. The firm must follow a differentiation strategy, planning a high-end and professional clinic and retail firm, while placing a high value on customers and their needs. In addition, the firm can attract customers by implementing innovative promotional strategies. In conclusion, the firm can easily survive under normal sales projections, but if the actual sales volumes drop, the firm needs to look at alternative financing and withholding premise rents and owners’ salaries during the beginning of the operation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)

A strategic analysis of a Credit Union's technology outsourcing

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Envision Credit Union, the third largest credit union in British Columbia, operates in a highly competitive banking industry and attempts to differentiate itself through superior face-to-face customer service and employee satisfaction. Many low-cost competitors leverage technology to electronically simulate face-to-face service to become a virtual differentiator. To compete with low-cost rivals, Envision developed the Pathways partnership with First Calgary Savings Credit Union. This allows Envision to enter new markets and improve cost effectiveness by merging technology departments into one service provider called ITCo. This paper focuses on the implementation of ITCo by first performing an exte rnal industry analysis to validate the ITCo strategy and then conducting an internal analysis of ITCo’s capability to implement the strategy. This paper proposes an action plan that fills ITCo’s capability gaps to successfully transform into a technology services organization, with focus on cultural change management processes, customizing performance management standards, and reconfiguring organization structure.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)

A strategic analysis of an enterprise software company

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

CRMCo is a software provider that had a clear and distinctive differentiated-value proposition. As the industry grew rapidly in the nineties, CRMCo sought to capitalize by evolving its differentiation to encompass new dimensions of value. The severe downturn following the technology bubble affected CRMCo’s financial position and caused it to start cutting costs. The strategic fit deteriorated, as cost pressures put CRMCo’s expanded differentiation strategy under increasing strain. The industry matured and consolidated to create dominant players, while software-as-a-service competitors and Microsoft also emerged as disruptive and growing threats. Now a business un it of a larger concern, CRMCo is trying to focus its internal capabilities on narrower vertical markets to address its strategic vulnerability. This paper assesses CRMCo’s evolving strategy by analyzing the industry and CRMCo’s internal capabilities. The goal is to identify a sustainable strategy for growth that increases strategic fit and aligns with market opportunities.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)

Strategic analysis of a semiconductor company’s migration into consumer markets

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

SemiconInc is a Canadian fabless semiconductor company, who has been successful developing innovative, high-margin semiconductor devices for the telecom industry. The company was affected by the slowdown in telecom spending that followed the crash of the technology sector in 2000/2001, but has since recovered and is pursuing new areas for growth. The rapidly growing consumer electronics industry is one potential market that SemiconInc should explore, as SemiconInc’s core competencies in semiconductor design and integration will help create sustainable competitive advantage. Despite these core compete ncies, entering the consumer electronics industry will be a challenge. SemiconInc’s current products, processes, cost structure, and culture are that of a differentiator. In order to compete in the high-volume, low-margin consumer electronics industry, the company will need to develop a lower cost strategy, develop new core competencies, and optimize development costs wherever possible. This paper analyzes several of these strategic issues, and recommends solutions to help address them.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)

Strategic Implementation of an anticoagulation management service in a community-based pharmacy practice setting

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

The drug warfarin is used for the prevention or treatment of arterial and venous thrombosis. Managing this drug is challenging due to its narrow therapeutic window, as well as, ongoing, time-consuming, laboratory blood tests to avoid potentially life-threatening complications. With the introduction of point-of-care testing technology, pharmacists have an opportunity to provide an alternative and more effective anticoagulation management solution to this monitoring process. Through physician-pharmacist-patient collaboration, pharmacists can provide a differentiated service involving on-site INR blood tests, medication management, and disease management. External forces, such as health reform due to rising costs, increase utilization of prescriptions, and a growing demand for better health services from an aging population, opens the door for pharmacists to take a leadership role in primary health care. The timing has never been better for community pharmacists to offer anticoagulation services. Business leaders must decide what level of involvement is best for their organization. Three differentiated anticoagulation management strategies exist, depending on the firm’s internal capabilities. Factors such as organizational culture, management preferences and resource commitments are integral to supporting the appropriate strategy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)

Disruption calling: Strategic implications of disruptive innovations on the Canadian telecommunications industry

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Disruptive forces are impacting the telecommunications industry. In the near-term, these innovations will spur competition from alternative network providers seeking to provide equivalent services at a lower cost and a lower price. Medium term threats include service, content and application providers that seek to relegate telecom firms to being “pipe providers”. Longer term implications come from the fact that service and content providers will begin to reach through the network and take ownership of the customer. This paper discusses the technological and business innovations impacting the industry an d compares it with the current state of the industry and the current strategic focus of TELUS. It then provides strategic recommendations that TELUS can use to effectively meet the key success factors crucial to succeeding in the changing telecommunications industry and secure its role in the communications domain of the future.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)

A geographic market valuation for micro fuel cell technology in portable power applications

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Increasing demand for portable power has created a run-time gap with conventional batteries opening the door for leading edge technologies such as micro fuel cells. Emerging companies like Tekion attempting to enter the market face psychological and economical adoption barriers to commercialization. Examining innovation adoptive characteristics allows Tekion to identify niche markets. Fuel cell technology has capacity to displace current battery applications where more power and mobility are desired. Penetration into mainstream portable power market requires the ability to meet consumer power needs and establish standardized technologies. Firms that establish themselves as leaders in the target market and provide product integration will flourish. New markets have the highest potential for micro fuel cell adoption when targeting consumers with no access to power grids. The potential for dominance and availability of non-consumers makes Country X attractive. However the presence of adoption deterrents and lack of augmenters make acceptance low. Tekion should benchmark Country X’s valuation with other regions before developing a marketing plan.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.B.A.)