Schoolstuff, Inc. is a manufacturing company located in the South of the USA. Its product lines, which are geared to the school market, include marketboards, chalkboards, tackboards, presentation cabinets, bulletin board cabinets, and display cases. Schoolstuff is recognized for the high quality of its products.
Schoolstuff does not sell directly to schools but through a network of dealers who call on contractors whose part of their business is to build or remodel schools. These contractors compete for projects through a bidding process. In order to prepare their bids, contractors request proposals from all their suppliers including from Schoolstuff and its competitors. Once all the supplier information is compiled, contractors prepare a bid hoping to beat everyone else on price.
Lately, Schoolstuff has been losing business to a Chinese competitor whose price is 30-40% lower. That has been putting a lot of financial pressure on the company to the extent that this year they may just break even. The future does not look better.
Discuss how you would approach the problems being faced by Schoolwork. Ask questions if you think you need further information. This case is based on a real company.