In the word processing industry, Wang Laboratories, Inc. has been the forerunner. It has revolutionized the process of preparing documents and expedited its flow. However, with its colossal success and profits, the company has become cataleptic to an apparent threat in its environment - the existence of competition. As a result, since 1988, the company sustained losses that eventually led for it to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
What measures should Wang Laboratories adopt to avert this disaster that befell the company?
The company has filed bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Under provisions of this code, companies 'reorganize' its business and try to become profitable again. Management continues to run the day-to-day business operations but a bankruptcy court must approve all significant business decisions. Thus, it provides the company some time to rehabilitate its faltering business. Two possibilities though may result from this situation - the company may successfully work out a plan to regain profitability or else end in liquidation.
Wang Laboratories, Inc. came into the picture pioneering a new technology that exploited an untapped market. As a result, the company did not have to go through the usual marketing hullabaloos in establishing and promoting its products. With less competitors and high demand for its products, the company had, in no time, instilled a niche for its reputable name in innovating high-technology hassle-free computing and word processing.
In the long run, complacency took over the company's top management resulting to an adverse effect. Little by little, the company has lost its brand capital. With its decline in research and development innovations which brought in obsolete and narrow product lines, it has become easy for the company to be toppled down by its rivals and for customer goodwill to be lost. The latter, in addition, has also resulted with the company to bypass threats such as the changing preference of the customers which ensued a rise in new and/or substitute products and for industry rivalry to increase.
Within the time the company existed, potential environmental opportunities unfolded. Applying its research and development expertise, and brand capital, the possibility for the company to expand its core business and exploit new market segments through wider product range has become within reach. Furthermore, the likelihood of entering into a new related business was also evident. Diversifying into new growth businesses was also perceptible with the onset of the 'Apple proposal'. However, the company failed to answer these visible chances to the company to grow better. As a result, the company fell into a dilemma of losing corporate direction in its growth.
(refer to attachment for the SWOT Matrix)
With the company's environment laid out and the bankruptcy case at hand, the following proposals are being recommended:
First, the company must not go into the process of liquidation. Terminating the company's operation through filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be a tedious and costly work. Tedious in the sense that plea bargainings will be held with company employees, trade creditors, and shareholders to settle these aggravated parties. The fact that marketability of company tangible assets is uncertain makes it costly. In addition, closing shop would result to pay out separation fees for employees; thus, company losses would be of greater heights.
And second, the company must work out a plan for it to revive and sustain. Given the fact that the company has already incurred insurmountable losses in the previous years and has resulted in customer's loss of trust, the company cannot anymore go into market. Even though the company rides with the bandwagon of its competitors, still, there is no strong evidence that could ascertain that the company could regain its niche. Besides, it would be impracticable for an ailed company to kick off a new product with less financing and a scarred reputation.
With financing and reputation at stake, the company must attract investors. Since companies that file under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code are generally unable to meet the listing standards to continue to trade in the stock exchange and its marketability in OTCBB (over-the-counter exchange or the pink sheets) uncertain, a new set of investors must be drawn in - its industry rivals. A tie-up with an established company in the industry through merger, consolidation, or sale of the company will prevent losses and may even call in pay-out to company shareholders. The company may call in Apple, for example, and propose the failed venture.
Financially unattractive Wang Industries may be, yet it possesses assets that no other rivals may have - its research and development experts. They may create new products or discover technological breakthroughs that could foster new developments and advancements. The latter's capacity is unquestionable since they are experienced in developing such innovations. Stagnant they may seem for the lack of product lines brought by the company but such state has been a reason for lack of management support and planning. In addition, tying-up with Wang Laboratories would not only bring in new ideas and innovations. It would bring the knowledge which the company have found out in the course of the development of their technology.
For a company to survive, it must not only scrutinize itself in front of a mirror, but also the background reflected in it. A successful company with its profitability and an imputed reputation in the market is not enough to be complaisant. Knowing what one is made of and harnessing it is not enough. There is an external environment to be considered as it is with a coin having a head and a tail.
Proper analysis and evaluation of a company's external environment may aid you to success or may pull you down. It may aid you in ways of triggering threats and grabbing opportunities or falling into threats and loose opportunities.
Just like in the case of Wang Laboratories, should it have answered to the call of dynamic change, it may have sustained its growth in its industry. It may not have closed shopped as what it had eventually turned to be.
? Wang Laboratories have had numerous patent and licensing related cases with its registered discoveries. Thus, with this attractive asset of the company, a tie-up would promote the free flow of information and trade secrets.