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A Solution to Camp Bowie Technologies


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Soon after his graduation, John Lane joined Camp Bowie Technologies (CBT) as a
purchasing agent. His first assignment was to procure 2,120 cell phones for field technicians of
the company. The upgrade from old phones was to save the company $1 million annually. The
phone is to have a set of essential features since these phones were used by CBT technicians to
receive job assignments, get directions and process payments. Such everyday tasks required the
phone software to be customized for CBT. Since these phones were to be different from any
phone available off-the-shelf, a detailed need-analysis was needed to be made in order to focus
on the key features needed. Since the best possible strike needed to be made between the features
and the cost, John was to evaluate a variety of Cell phones and Service Providers in order to
reach his decision.
John worked with field technicians, mobile resource managers and other stakeholders as
far as procuring cell phones are concerned and assigned priority weights to each feature. The
current cell phone platform, Nextel, has great customer service, fast delivery times and is
competitively priced. However, one major issue with Nextel is that their network coverage is not
as large as other players in the industry. John forwarded his working to the purchasing manager
who wanted him to forward his recommendation to her the next day.
When purchasing cell phones, the characteristics of this market that are unique to other
markets include the relative high-impact of any technological upgrade could render even the
most recent of the products obsolete within a short time-frame. Another unique feature could be
the high switching cost from one manufacturer to the other. The standard set of hardware and
software is at times quite different from one phone manufacturer to the other hence it needs time
before the user can get used to the change if they choose to switch to another vendor. The initial
cost of procuring the device is also high making the switch costly. The third unique feature could

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be the nearly perfect, competitive nature of the network-operator industry since the product
offered by them is quite identical. It only boils down to the price, strength of coverage and the
customer service when it comes to differentiation.
Cell phones themselves cannot be regarded as commodities however the service could be
categorized as a commodity. As per the definition, a commodity is a good or service that is
supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market. A cell phone could be packed with a
variety of features which creates differentiation hence making it a non-commodity good.
Purchasing equipment for a business is quite different from a purchase made by a
consumer. Firstly, the purchases made by businesses involve a huge quantity hence the
involvement of buyer during each transaction is quite high. Businesses need to purchase a good
keeping in mind the revenue-generating capacity of that item. For instance, a business might be
able to afford a better car for it’s salesperson provided that particular person generates a decent
multiple of revenue against the price of the car. Businesses purchase good for a longer time
frame hence they have to take into account customer service quite seriously. They cannot
experiment with the products purchased because it causes much delays and obstruction in the
operations hence they are bound make a longer-term commitment with the supplier. Considering
these factors the values assigned to competing offers will put more weight on the features of the
product that help ensure long-term sustainability of the relationship with the supplier. Such
factors would be customer service, price and quality of product or service.
John worked with the relevant people in order to come up with the weights he placed on
different features that need to be there for the optimal level of functionality of cell phones.
However I do have reservation on him placing a weight of 25 on speed-dial feature. I understand

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that it becomes really convenient for field technicians to not dial the desired number again and
again but placing the feature a weight more than much more important feature like GPS is not
justified. Moreover a weight of 4 for GPS, 1 for voice quality and 4 for ease of use do not seem
to be justified. The product research compiled by John lacks more specific information on the
durability. It needs to have a quantitative measure. Moreover some measure of ease of use of
device is lacking in the product description. The description also lacks information on service
provider quality. These factors combined will render John unable to make an optimal decision.
The problem presented in the case concerns everyone of us since the whole case revolved
around making an effective decision under the given level of restrictions. At times ideal choices
cannot be made, people need to prioritize something and compromise on others. This case helps
individuals filter information and reach to an effective decision that benefits an organization.

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Great content here. Definitely a returning customer.