Navigating Local Politics: Zūm in Coronado

By Saumitra Jha
2020 | Case No. P100 | Length 9 pgs.

Zūm Services, Inc., a children-focused transportation company, was looking to expand into Coronado, an island community near San Diego. The company’s initial model in the San Francisco Bay area was to offer families trusted transportation options for their children, but Zūm had since expanded in several U.S. markets by contracting directly with school districts to provide supplemental or alternative transportation for students. By 2019, Zūm operated in more than 140 school districts, and had transported more than 750,000 students.

Bidding for a contract with the Coronado Unified School District, Zūm found itself in competition with Care A Van, which had been the district’s sole transport provider for special needs students. The next step was to convince the School Board to sign a contract with Zūm. The case invites in-depth discussion of strategies to convince local officials, and asks business students to consider the strategy Zūm and Care A Van should pursue in dealing with the local school board, which will make a determination.

Learning Objective

This case is designed to help students prepare convincing arguments in a competitive bidding situation, taking into account the needs and priorities of local officials. Students will analyze the details in this case and decide how to argue convincingly for both Zūm and its competitor, Care A Van. The case asks students to prepare for a public school board meeting to decide which firm will meet the Coronado schools’ transportation needs.
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