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    For Your Comfort (FYC)

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    For Your Comfort (FYC), an ergonomic furniture manufacturing company was a dream founded by Ronald J. Dirksen and Richard Woodart in 1947, the year after World War II ended. War veterans were returning home and wanted to lead a life of material comfort; FYC's trademark Easy Couch was a seller! The company expanded its line of furniture into both residential and commercial office furniture but remained largely a small-town family-owned boutique for many years. In the early 1980s, FYC introduced "mail-order" selling which increased its revenues substantially. FYC gained gradual recognition with its introduction of an "ergonomically friendly" office and home furniture line in the late 1980s and opened 2 branches in different cities during the decade. It also started sourcing timber from Canada and South East Asia and some hardware, hinges, saws, and fasteners from China. The 1990s saw FYC branch out to new territories by owning and operating branch stores. There are currently 16 stores throughout the USA with the manufacturing plant at its base. The biggest store in each city is equipped with a clearance floor, which holds items that are rejects, used returns, or items that are simply out of style but are marked down consistently until they are sold. In 1999, Ronald J. Dirksen, CEO, passed away, leaving the business to his daughter, Donna Dirksen, a smart Berkeley-educated mechanical engineer.

    Donna had several challenging tasks on her hands: sorting out the operations and finances of the company; knowing her employees; riding through the recession of early 2000's; and getting the company out of the red. Before she took over, the company's sales had been slipping, and it even suffered a small loss one year due to increased competition. With Donna at the helm, the company's profitability and product line visibility grew but still functioned in an old-fashioned way. Both fixed and variable costs were very high in comparison to industry averages, and Donna had some concerns: high paper-based transaction volume; delayed processes (especially in invoicing and collections); expensive overhead costs in managing different locations (franchisees and employees), internal departments, ineffective marketing campaigns; and lack of latest technology (old POS systems and applications).

    Donna, who is quite technologically savvy, has analyzed many furniture and other retail organizations which have shown remarkable profitability through a well-managed technologically-upgraded IS strategy. She wants to invest in new technologies and a sound IT strategy aligned with FYC's business to turn the company around. She has hired you as the IT leader in the organization who will spearhead the alignment of IT and business goals; capitalize on the latest emerging technologies, e-business, and IT management; and harness that information to aid corporate growth.

    Deliverable Length: 6-7 paragraphs
    Details: Library research project

    Congratulations! Your retail strategy, which was implemented, has been a huge success. You have officially been inducted into the Executive Committee and now have a place of importance in the organization. You have Donna's support (and funds, of course) to develop an e-commerce plan for FYC not only as a new channel to sell but also to integrate into the rest of the organization.

    Donna and Debbie are both worried about how the others in the ECM will react to this huge investment, especially when Dan has been harping on the new laptops and higher travel budgets and Tom has been planning on replacing the EPABX systems. You have set up a special ECM meeting to discuss e-business and the advantages and pitfalls when fulfilling business transactions online. This calls for a management makeover!

    Choose one of the following successful (or one-time successful) e-biz companies: Netflix, Orbitz, Truste, Ofoto, or Etrade. Research articles in the Library and Internet, analyze your chosen company, and bring forth their successes and failures and what FYC can learn from them. (Note: all of these companies host websites that can be found by looking on the World Wide Web under the corporate name followed by .com. Some corporate websites include news, press releases, and strategy).

    After a thorough research of your chosen company, its business model, recent news articles, and analyst reports, please use the following to post your response to the Discussion Board. Comment on at least two other postings.

    1. Describe the company's primary business model, revenue model, and industry.
    2. Who are the competitors? What makes the company stand out from its "pure play" Internet as well as brick-and-mortar counterparts? [specific USPs, strengths, and weaknesses]
    3. What are the benefits and limitations to the user? What's the value proposition?
    4. Is it the industry's online bellwether? How has it changed the industry and the way business was transacted in the industry?
    5. Had the company's model failed before? If so, why and how did it turn around?
    6. What are the potential risks and challenges it faces now? Is it profitable?
    7. What's in the future? [plans/goals]
    8. What are your recommendations for competitive advantage/corporate strategy?
    9. In a brief capsule, what lesson did you learn?

    Please Show References

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    Solution Preview

    1. Describe the company's primary business model, revenue model, and industry.

    The company selected is Orbitz. This is essentially a travel company that makes bookings through the internet. The business model with which this company was formed was that five top airlines got together to form a website that would market their tickets. The airlines were American, United, Northwest, Delta, and Continental. The revenue model was that since internet based sales of tickets were increasing exponentially, the airlines would directly be able to market their tickets through one website. Since the customer would have the convenience of selecting among the flights offered by the five airlines the revenues through the website would higher than sales through competitive websites.
    The industry in which Orbitz operates is online travel services. The websites that provide airline bookings online and offer substantial discounts;

    2. Who are the competitors? What makes the company stand out from its "pure play" Internet as well as brick-and-mortar counterparts? [Specific USPs, strengths, and weaknesses]

    The competitors of Orbitz were Travelocity, Sabre, Galileo and Expedia. Orbitz stands out from its competitors because this was the company that was formed by the top five airlines that commanded 80% of air travel.
    The main competitor at that time was Travelocity. The online sales of these five airlines were increasing through Travelocity and this website was charging very high price from the airlines. This was ...

    Solution Summary

    This posting gives you the primary business model of For Your Comfort. It gives you a lot of other information like the competitors of FYC, the value proposition and potential risks.