Burtons Snowboards

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Case study questions: Burton Snowboards
Q1) Analyze Burton using the competitive forces and value chain models.

When examining Burton Snowboards we can see how they considered factors of the competitive forces model in an attempt to expand globally.

Traditional customers

At its peak burtons controlled over 40 % of the US snowboarding market and remains the market leader despite growing competition.

One way Burtons has stayed market leader is by being adaptable and dynamic which is a competitive necessity.

Burtons take feedback from its customers very seriously and will move quickly to meet their needs. An example of this is if a rider tests a jacket and recommends re positioning a zipper, Burton’s production line must be able to make this adjustment quickly and easily.

New market entrants

Burtons designs manufactures and markets snowboarding equipment, one way they have taken steps to ensure that they don’t lose customers to new market entrants is by strengthening customer and supplier intimacy.

The available to promise process was taking hours to complete. (Available to promise, in response to customer order enquiries, reports on available quantities of a requested product and delivery due dates.) Burtons wanted to speed up this process so that its dealers and retail customers would have more precise information about the availability of items not in stock. Strengthening customer and supplier intimacy in this way forms strong ties with them, which reduces the likely hood of new market entrants taking customers from them.

If Burtons are considering expansion they must also take into consideration that they themselves will be new market entrants and consider possible ways to successfully gain a good customer base in these new areas.

They must consider if they can still access the same suppliers in those areas

They must research and understand the customers in those areas.

They must research any competition and ensure that they can provide competitive advantages to gain a good customer base.

Substitute products and services

Burtons used product differentiation to increase customer convenience. Burton found that the process of reporting inventory was inefficient and that customers and suppliers could not easily determine up to date information on which items were at stock at each warehouse.

SAP (enterprise resource planning ERP software.) and Burton worked together to improve communication between warehouses and supply chain efficiency.

A management dashboard that was developed with the help of SAP shows how smoothly a critical process is running at a certain point in time, information from which helps burtons key users discover inconsistencies, gaps or any other areas they should be monitoring more closely.

Customers

To reduce costs and offer an improved more efficient experience for its customers SAP helped Burton Gain proficiency, buy identifying unnecessary complicated processes, backlogs and design gaps in the flow of its business processes and making improvements.

Burtons take feedback from its customers very seriously and will move quickly to meet their needs. An example of this is if a rider tests a jacket and recommends re positioning a zipper, Burton’s production line must be able to make this adjustment quickly and easily.

Suppliers

Using Electronic Data Interchange systems (EDI) Burtons were able to improve dataflow of inventory data between warehouses. This meant that suppliers and customers could easily determine up to date information on which items were in stock at each warehouse.

One consideration that Burtons must have when looking to expand is if they can keep the same suppliers in new areas. Keeping the number of suppliers low is good for companies as it reduces work and usually means that the suppliers that are in place will offer a better price.

The Value Chain Model
When examining the value chain model we can see how Burton...
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