Sherif Mityas who was recently promoted as a project manager at A.T. Kearney is facing a customer service challenge in his very first project experience. Mityas had been working with the management team of the U.S. subsidiary of a Japan-headquartered consumer products company to identify ways to turn around the U.S. operations. Following the mid-project status meeting, executives from the Japanese parent company made an unexpected request that placed Mityas in a quandary.
Ashish Nanda; Kelley Morrell
Harvard Business Review (904031-PDF-ENG)
December 16, 2003
Case questions answered:
- Which approaches could Sherif Mityas have taken to improve the situation provided in the case?
- Please evaluate his recommendations with a focus on his capability gaps analysis.
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Case answers for Sherif Mityas at A.T. Kearney: Negotiating a Client Service Predicament (A)
This case is about Sherif Mityas, a manager in A.T. Kearney, providing a strategy service to Zen Products Worldwide (ZPW) which is a Japanese consumer goods manufacturer. ZPW had a U.S. operation, Zen U.S.A. (ZUSA), which was experiencing a rise in revenues but was still in the red. While Mityas had to work with ZUSA, he was asked to evaluate the capability of the executive team in ZUSA in the first meeting with the ZPW’s executives, who were the real clients Mityas had to address to.
ZPW sought for an answer to whether they should continue to keep ZUSA or not. As a result, Sherif Mityas provided recommendations in operations, brand and marketing, and pricing strategy. The recommendations are, more specifically, closing one of the product lines and unprofitable manufacturing plants, targeting the industrial customers and private labels, and pricing higher so that ZUSA will gain profits overall.
Then in the second phase, Sherif Mityas was to provide the implementation of the recommendations, which consists of cost, benefit, and timing analysis according to him. However, the implementation left out one crucial information, which is the feasibility. The real client, ZPW, pushed Mityas to address the feasibility of the recommendations during the final meeting. As a result, Mityas had to present his observations of the ZUSA’s management team in front of them as well as the ZPW’s representatives.
What Mityas did in the case was partially right as a consultant. He is not supposed to disclose the details of the capability gap analysis of the management team in ZUSA because they are not the clients. However, as a subject being observed by Sherif Mityas, it would have been better if…