DKSH in 2012: Preparing For Continued Rapid Growth

By Robert Burgelman, Martina Ludescher
2013 | Case No. SM204B | Length 31 pgs.
The case discusses the post-IPO strategies, opportunities and challenges for Swiss global trading company DKSH, the leading market expansion (MES) provider with a focus on Asia. DKSH was well positioned to capitalize on three key MES industry trends: 1) Asia as the growth market per se, driven by the thriving middle classes of the emerging economies, 2) growing inner-Asian trade, and 3) the tendency of companies to outsource, stemming from the continuing focus on core competencies. DKSH wanted to use the tailwind of its very successful IPO and its strong growth potential to forcefully extend its number one market position while staying focused on implementing a sharply defined strategy for growth. From a strategic point of view, the company had to address multiple key issues: optimizing its business portfolio; further developing and centralizing corporate-level core competencies; choosing the right level of strategic integration of its four business units; strengthening its service innovation capability; ensuring the right resource allocation to sustain the company’s growth engine; and sustaining its strategic entrepreneurial leadership culture.

Learning Objective

1. Familiarize students with the often ill-understood functioning of major trading companies 2. Provide a vehicle for studying the strategic management challenges of multi-business corporations: (1) corporate portfolio decision-making, (2) corporate core competence development, (3) cross-business strategic integration, and (4) managing the corporate growth engine (resource allocation among businesses with different growth potential).
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