Bush Boake Allen Inc. is a company involved in the manufacture and distribution of fragrance and flavor chemicals and other aroma chemicals. Fragrances are used as primary raw materials for air fresheners, soaps, cleaners, toiletries, and detergents while aroma chemicals form major compounds in fragrances. Flavors and fragrances account for over 80% of the company’s total revenues. Major products from the company include spice extracts, seasonings, and oils that are essential in adding desired smell and tastes to different assortment of products. Bush Boake Allen Inc. supplies products primarily to pharmaceutical, beverage, food, and household product industries. Bush Boake Allen Inc. was incorporated in 1982 and listed in the New York Stock exchange.
Background to the Issue
Bush Boake Allen, the fragrance and flavor, is involved in a situation that calls for the implementation of strategic options aimed at integrating customers into its product developmental process such as the flavor developmental process through an internet-based design framework. The increase customer participation in the flavor innovation initiative is heavily reliant on a half-million dollar machine. However, Julien Boyden, the Chief Executive Officer of Bush Boake Allen, could face dramatic changes both to the nature of the business operating model and as well, relationships with customers in all operating market segments. Equally worrying are serious oppositions faced by the CEO from other senior management officials from the company due the need to introduce the new project into the company’s operational activities. As such, Bush Boake Allen is faced with a situation owing to the several changes in its operating environment and other operating activities.
Key Processes within the Company
Bush Boake Allen success factors in the industry has been influenced by several factors that include trade secrets, production of a diverse range of flavors and fragrances, creativity in the art flavor innovation, committed workers, purchasing suppliers, corporate structure, and customer relationships and brands. The introduction of the internet-based technology in the flavor production process will most likely bring changes the operational activities within these processes.
Bush Boake Allen has been invisible in the development of scents in the extent that it could only be rivaled by its on innovations. Most of players within the industry not only depend on intellectual rights to their innovative initiatives but also the maintenance of their trade secrets. These factors have been critical in enabling management executives to make decisions promptly and address challenges depending on the needs of large-scale buyers. Bush Boake Allen’s trade secrets cover a range of operational and management processes. First, the decentralized structure is a key factor in the facilitation of the decision-making processes within the company. The structure also plays a significant in the management of the centralized financial control, despite the existence of regional autonomies. Information sharing is facilitated by a centralized computer system. Second, customers purchased flavors from a segment of selected suppliers and interrupted supply was achieved by obtaining raw materials from diverse sources all over the world. Third, distribution of sales offices and open communication lines is another important point that ensured customers kept informed on matters related to flavor development. Finally, extensive research and development enabled Bush Boake Allen to remain ahead in new product development processes.
Range of Flavors and Fragrances
Dominance in the flavor and fragrance industry is dependent on a company’s ability to develop a diverse assortment of flavors and fragrances (Thomke 4). Clients from all over the world have different tastes that must be satisfied through the development of different varieties of flavors and fragrances. Different components must be mixed in varying concentrations to come up with a flavor that suits the needs of many a consumer. Even a single trace of elements is capable of delivering unrivalled difference (Thomke 4).
Government rules and regulations
Many countries have rules and regulations that govern flavor production processes and such regulations are specified in particular constitutions of the country in question. For instance, the Food and Drug Administration act provides rules and regulations to govern flavor production activities throughout the United States. Further, in some regions, it is a necessity to register all samples with the government to enable the process of ascertaining the safety of ingredients used in the flavor development process. The art of producing unique and innovative flavors entails a combination more than one ingredient through complex processes. These processes ought to be compliant with the rules and regulations governing production processes in such regions.
Flavorists play a critical role, in terms of creativity and imagination, to the process of blending ingredients. These individuals commit their creativity and innovative capabilities in the development and recreation of flavors through their creativities (Thomke 5). Additionally, flavorists hold accumulated experience that took time and resources to realize. The flavor and fragrance industry is also characterized by a shortage of flavorists given that the entire career of flavorists is risky in itself. This is partly due to the need to study and train for several years before ones’ fate can be determined and as well the increased cases of flavor rejection. The flavor making process is a subject to the development of substandard flavors due to low accuracy levels and poor formulae of mixing ingredients. Higher customer expectations also influence the flavor generation process.
Research and Development
Although the idea to develop particular flavors might be based on ideas from customers, majority of work in the flavor development process is obtained from research and development laboratories. The flavor producing company has to undertake research initiatives to test and design the flavors according to the parameters provided by the customer. Research and development expenses are footed by the flavor producing company and hence, the companies to should put in more efforts to ensure that research and development costs are reduced and higher profits margins are registered (Thomke 6).
Advancement in technology has facilitated the process of process on analyzing within the shortest period. Technologies have also made it easier to reveal chemical formulations and gather data for relating to production costs. The incorporation of technologies in flavor producing processes at Bush Boake Allen calls for the change of the business model. Technologies would make it possible to do away with tedious and complex flavor producing processes related to dispensing, measuring ingredients and assortments, and mixing different fragrances and batches to obtain the desired flavor. Equally important, the majority of production processes can be automated. It is through technology that the need to include customer in flavor development processes whereby they will be involved in the development process in different stages. The internet-based technology will enable the company to manage raw ingredient inventory (Thomke 7).
The fragrance and flavor industry is very volatile due to the presence of more than 300 competitors in the industry. For instance, the International Flavors and Fragrance (IFF) from the US and Givaudan Roure from Switzerland are among the top competitors to Bush Boake Allen. The top nine companies control three-quarters of the market share of the industry. However, growth rates and market shares varied depending on the operating regions. This is evidenced by the ability of Bush Boake Allen to control substantial share in the Indian market due to capitalization of relationships that had already been developed during the British colonial times. Competition of flavor manufacturing industries in most markets is also dependent on a company’s ability to study and understand the needs, tastes, and preferences of the people, and instituting measures that facilitate the development of varied flavors and fragrances.
The success of technologies and fragrances in the market depend reactions from the customers within the industry. Flavors are developed depending on the needs and ideas of consumers and hence, all flavor-developing processes should consider the views and expressions of customers (Thomke 8). Concerning the Project Mercury initiative at Bush Boake Allen, majority of enthusiast customers who got the opportunity to visit the facility became very delighted. However, it is not yet clear whether customers will be willing to pay for utilizing the facility given that the Project Mercury Technology involves huge costs of installation.
Project Mercury Technology Objectives
Before Bush Boake Allen can implement the Project Mercury Technology that will involve customers in the flavor development process, it needs to address a few statement issues. The introduction and implementation of this technology should clarify these factors based on their contribution to the company. These issues cover different processes and operations within the company that include:
- Knowledge, innovation, and decision-making processes- will the new technology allow the company or customers to develop new products or will this initiative make customers to bring ideas that might affect the flavor production process negatively (Cairncross, Ch. 1). Similarly, assessment needs to be made to ascertain the extent with which the technology will be critical in shaping the entire innovation process (Cairncross, Ch. 2). Will the process of implementing the technology lead to knowledge accumulation?
- The community and corporate culture-given that Bush Boake Allen operates in an open culture, will the introduction of the technology affect this culture? This objective must be considered before the implementation of the project mercury technology (Cairncross, Ch. 5).
Customers and brands – customer relationships and reactions are fundamental factors in determining the competitive advantage within the industry. Will the new technology bring an impact to the nature of customer relationships or will it enable customers to expand their relationships as soon as the technology operates (Cairncross, Ch. 3). With regard to the company’s brand, can the Project Mercury Technology strengthen the brand of Bush Boake Allen? Will the technology bring threats or opportunities to the BBA brand?
Purchasing and corporate suppliers – supplier and customer relationships are essential for the flavor development process at BBA and hence, it is essential to consider the effects that might face BBA as a major supplier to its customers, and as well the role of the company as a purchaser from its suppliers (Cairncross, Ch. 6).
Recruiting, retaining, or training users – it is highly likely that the implementation of the Project Mercury Technology will bring an impact to the staffing activities of BBA. For instance, it is essential to consider whether the new technology will make it easy or difficult to retain key personnel such as flavorists (Cairncross, Ch. 6). Other things that must be considered are incentives that can be designed to encourage personnel to utilize the Project Mercury Technology and at the same time, enable Bush Boake Allen to recruit or retain the most essential personnel. Equally important is the assessment of whether the Project Mercury Technology can be used as an essential tool in training key individuals within the company.
Leadership and management processes – Majority of flavorists at Bush Boake Allen are virtuosi who are independent in their innovative strategies. Flavorists are often difficult to manage and hence, the Project Mercury Technology might bring different challenges with regard to their management. It is also evident that other senior executive members are opposed to the introduction of the new technology. To resolve these cases, top management officials need to identify ways of resolving this issue. What actions will BBA take to ensure that all personnel involved in management processes adopt agree to the Project Mercury Technology. Individuals that must participate in the decision making process to discuss matters concerning the deployment of the Project Mercury Technology (Cairncross, Ch. 9).
Corporate Structure – since the Project Mercury Technology involves customers in the flavor development process, it likely that customers will be granted with more power and control on matters regarding flavor development processes. Is there likelihood that the new technology will affect the corporate structure? How will issues relating to intellectual property rights handled given that customers will be involved in the development of products and flavors? Will patents affect development processes (Cairncross, Ch. 8)? Traditionally, Bush Boake Allen depended on trade secrets and trusts to enhance its competitive advantage other than depending on patents. Will the implementation of the technology affect this strategic capability? Lastly, will the implementation of the technology affect the decentralized corporate structure? Will it lead to the adoption of a centralized corporate structure?
Available Options to address the above objectives
Bush Boake Allen can find solutions to the objectives identified above through the implementation different options depending on the nature of the objective. Solutions should be designed to address the prevailing concepts within individual objectives. The following are possible options that can be undertaken by Bush Boake Allen.
- Management, Innovation, Knowledge, Information and Technology, Decision Making – The implementation of the project mercury technology identified the above factors as the essential factors that must be allocated significant consideration. Bush Boake Allen is an established company comprising of people and values and hence, its strategic capabilities lies in innovative ideas and knowledge. At this moment before the implementation of the Project Mercury Technology, it is crucial that the company involves intelligent individuals to communicate information, manage decision making processes, and set central standards to facilitate the knowledge management process1. Such processes will enable the BBA to assess the situation and maximize the value of knowledge and ideas from customers and employees.
- Community and Corporate Culture – Since the implementation of Project Mercury Technology might have an influence on the BBA’s corporate culture; it is advisable that BBA devise measures that will ensure customer’s participation in the development process does not have a direct influence on major processes within the company. This setting limits and specifying their contributions to ideas related to the flavor development process. BBA should organize and shape its corporate culture to match the aspects presented by the implementation of this technology.
- Customers and Brands – regarding this matter, BBA should not only concentrate in development processes that involve the identification of new markets but instead, it should consider the development and implementation of strategies that seek to strengthen the prevailing relationships with customers and suppliers. Internet-based technologies should be used to communicate information to customers and purchasers. This will be critical in creating a memorable brand within the company.
- Staffing Requirements – on matters regarding recruitment, retaining, and training of employees, BBA should consider finding the best personnel to manage objectives presented with the use of the technology. BBA can train or educate employees on emerging trends to ensure that their skills remain up-to-date.
- Purchasing and Suppliers – Since Internet Technologies have an effect of altering purchasing processes for most companies, the management of Bush Boake Allen has the option of developing clear and open relationships that will enable buyers and suppliers to gain extraordinary access to the flavor producing database and other integrated operations. BBA can also consider the development of a user-friendly technological kit for its customers to enhance their flexibility in the production process.
- Leadership and Management – BBA has the option of protecting the responsibilities of Flavorists and other personnel who are virtuosi must be recognized and their duties, responsibilities and ideas differentiated from those of the customers. BBA should also consider holder an executive meeting whereby all members of the executive board can reach a consensus and agree on the way forward for Project Mercury Technology.
- Corporate Structure and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)- BBA has the option of changing the traditional decentralized corporate structure because customers are now involved in the flavor development process. Trade secrets will no longer play a key role in development processes but rather patents should be used to protect ideas and innovations. Speaking of patents, Bush Boake Allen owns the Internet-based technology and hence, it should specify that all innovations that can be patented belong to the company. It might be critical to acknowledge the contributions of the involved customers and award them incentives that should be discussed within the company and the affected customers.
Evaluation of options
Involving Knowledgeable Personnel in Management and Information Sharing
The evaluation of options available for this objective will be dependent on the quality of the idea concerning the contribution of that idea in the flavor production process. First, the idea or ideas from customers or should be sampled efficiently and effectively to ascertain their viability or feasibility. This process should be undertaken by knowledgeable individuals who are selected on merit and experience basis. Second, the idea will be assessed to ascertain any negative or positive values that might arise with the implementation of the idea. Third, information should be shared among the executive management to determine the effects they might bring to virtuosi who are influential in the flavor development processes within BBA. Fourth, the effects of the idea will be ascertained to determine it contributions to the knowledge sharing process within the organization. Last, knowledgeable personnel will make the necessary decisions concerning the contribution of the idea into the internet-based technology of the flavor generation process. In turn, the knowledgeable individuals should provide a report regarding the knowledge sharing process.
Management and Leadership
The executive management and other senior officials should call an executive meeting that involves CEOs from all regions to discuss the issue of the implementation of the Project Mercury Technology. This will enable the executive management to iron out issues involving opposition with the implementation of the internet-based technology. Voting should be used to obtain to enable them reach a consensus. Still on management issues, the responsibilities and duties of flavorists should be discussed in the executive meeting. This should be done to prevent to erosion of their skills and talents.
Implementation of Measures to govern the corporate culture and Community
The participation of customers in the flavor development process is likely to affect the development process. Measures should be put in place to prevent customers having a direct influence on the flavor development process. Limits should be placed with the extent of their contributions in the process. The evaluation process followed in the implementation of such measures will be based on the benefits that will be derived from the ideas.
Strengthen Relationships between brands and customers
This will involve the identification of existing relationships among customers and integrate internet related measures that will strengthen or enhance relationships. Once the relations are identified, the Project Mercury Technology can be designed to incorporate flexibilities that will facilitate flexibility and user friendliness with customers. Speaking of the BBA brand, the internet-based technology should be tooled, and redesigned with information features to enhance the information sharing process among consumers and as such, it will lead to the creation of a memorable brand.
Training and educating users
The implementation of the internet-based technological project will mean that employees will need to update their skills and application. The management of the entire project also needs knowledgeable individuals. In light of this needs, flavorists and customers with feasible ideas should be trained to facilitate their understanding of the framework and as well to improve their contributions in the flavor generation process. Equally important would be the need to use merit in the process of selecting talented individuals to manage the entire internet based technological platform.
Developing open relationships with buyers and suppliers
These individuals will be largely involved in the flavor development process and hence, it would be advisable to design the technology to fit their needs. This process will involve the development of a user-friendly technology for them, increasing the flexibility of their contribution to the flavor development process, conducting a careful selection of customers and suppliers who will be selected to utilize the internet based technology. Others measures that will be implemented to enhance this process include rapid and continuous evolvement of the technology to satisfy the needs and requirements of customers, and teaching them to adopt BBA’s new business model.
Changing the corporate structure and management of Intellectual Property Rights
The change from the traditional corporate structure to a new corporate structure will be critical during the adoption of the new technological platform of flavor development. The change of the corporate structure will be a decision that will involve members of the management executive who will in turn communicate the changes to other employees within the organization. On matters regarding Intellectual Property Rights, legal advice can be sought from the legal authorities regarding the manner with which the situation should be handled and/or managed.
Recommendations for the Bush Boake Allen
After assessment and evaluation of critical factors determining the feasibility and implementation of the internet-based flavor development process at Bush Boake Allen, the following recommendations can be offered:
- The situational analysis revealed the need for implementing strategic decisions and process following the integration of the internet-based “Project Mercury” flavor development process. Trade secrets, the people, creativity and innovation, and technological advancement were all found to be strategic factors in development initiatives for the project.
- First, Bush Boake Allen should consider strengthening its information sharing, innovation, and decision-making process by hiring knowledgeable individuals to manage operations that fall under this segment. These individuals would oversee the idea generation and incorporation process into the flavor development process and make critical decisions regarding how the ideas and relationships should be incorporated into the Project Mercury Technology process
- Second, BBA should allocate resources into strengthening its management structure to ensure that all individuals with authority or those who hold significant powers agree in unison on developmental projects within the organization.
- Third, BBA should implement measures that implementation of measures to govern the corporate culture and community. This will entail putting measures in place to determine the extent with which contributions from suppliers and customers will bring an impact on operational processes within the organization. Specific rules and guidelines should be implemented to limit the effects of contributions and ideas of customers in the flavor development process.
- Fourth, relationships between BBA’s brands and customers the customers should be strengthened through communicating new developmental initiatives with the respective customers. Improved communications has an effect of creating a memorable brand in the minds of customers.
- Fifth, BBA should consider training and/or educating users of the new technology to facilitate the use of the technology in developmental processes within the organization. Users such as flavorists and customers with feasible ideas should be trained to facilitate their understanding of the framework and as well to improve their contributions in the flavor generation process. These individuals will also get a chance to update their skills and talents.
- Sixth, BBA should encourage the process of developing open relationships between buyers and suppliers. This process can be realized through the development of a user-friendly technology for them, increasing the flexibility of their contribution to the flavor development process, conducting a careful selection of customers and suppliers who will be selected to utilize the internet based technology. Additionally, their contributions can be enhanced by implementing measures such as rapid and continuous evolvement of the technology to satisfy the needs and requirements of customers, and teaching them to adopt BBA’s new business model.
- Finally yet import, Bush Boake Allen should change its corporate structure to suit the needs of the new business model. The new business model is not based on trade secret but rather it depends on patents due to the involvement of customers in the flavor development process. This measure will be…