CEMEX: Transforming a Basic Industry Company

By David Hoyt, Hau Lee
2005 | Case No. GS33
In early 2005, the market for cement in Mexico was changing. The market, particularly in northern Mexico, had traditionally consisted primarily of sales of bagged cement, which was common in developing economies. There appeared to be a shift to bulk cement, more typical of developed economies. CEMEX, the third largest cement company in the world, and the dominant company in Mexico, had developed a strong brand identity for its bagged cement. Bulk cement, however, was harder to differentiate. The case describes the Mexican cement industry, and dramatic changes that CEMEX had made in 2000-2005 to focus on customer needs, particularly the needs of its distributors. These changes involved a wide range of activities, including dramatic improvements in logistics, creating a retail network among its distributors, and developing a suite of software applications to ensure that the right product was delivered to the right place at the right time. What lessons could the company adopt from its branded business, and its success with building its distributor network, if the market turned more toward commodity bulk cement?
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