SCENARIO: Harrison-Keyes, Inc.
A global publisher of print products, Harrison-Keyes specializes in scientific, technical and business books and journals, professional and consumer books, textbooks and other educational materials for all levels of study. The company holds about 22,700 active titles and publishes about 2,000 new titles each year.
Over a century old, Harrison-Keyes was founded in 1899 and made its early money publishing the works of literary giants. Throughout the years, the company's focus shifted to meet demand and by the mid-1950s, it was regarded as a leading publisher of business, scientific and technical information.
In recent years, Harrison-Keyes has suffered the woes plaguing the entire industry. As competition from low-cost retailers eats into profits, publishing companies are finding success -- or even survival -- a challenge. In an effort to revitalize the company, the Harrison-Keyes Board of Directors recently hired a new CEO.
William Guardo, CEO: William is the complete opposite of the recently fired Meg McGill, who strongly support e-publishing. Though he's been in publishing for more than 30 years -- most recently as the President of a competing publisher -- he favors traditional publishing, has little high-tech experience and is not a big fan of e-books.
Robert Smith, CFO: A talented CPA who's been with the company for 10 years, Robert is focused on the company's bottom line. He's a bit uncomfortable with the financial projections for William's strategic initiative.
Jan Peters, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Head of the Implementation Team: Jan has been with the company for two years and is eager to be promoted.
Hays Michaels, Senior Vice President, Editorial: An editor with more than 30 years experience, Hays has been with Harrison-Keyes for 10, and oversees editorial functions for both print and e-books.
Dharma Joyce, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy: Before joining Harrison-Keyes five years ago, Dharma worked for a major consulting firm. She is in charge of seeking and developing global expansion opportunities for the company.
Mary Smith, Senior Vice President, Human Resources: In the five years she's been with the company, Mary has instituted several employee morale improvement programs. As a result, she's viewed as someone who truly cares about employees and staff members feel comfortable approaching her with problems and concerns.
Marsha Goldfarb, Senior Vice President, Marketing: Marsha is a talented, creative marketer who has been with the company for five years.
Mack Evans, CIO: Though he's been with the company for 10 years, Mack has no formal education in technology and now, it appears that the skill set he does have is slightly outdated.
Pete Ross, Production Manager: Pete has been at Harrison-Keyes just two years, but he's been in publishing for more than 25. Creative and cooperative, he has little tolerance for dealing with people from overseas.
SEPTEMBER 28, 2004
CHANNEL 6 NEWS ON-LINE
Floods deal heavy blow to industry in South Asia
CHENNAI, India -- Monday's massive coastal floods have not only claimed hundreds of lives in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, but may also have claimed a significant portion of the region's burgeoning business community, business leaders said Tuesday.
EXCERPT FROM PHONE CALL WITH PETE ROSS AND JAN PETERS
Jan: Jan Peters.
Pete: Hey. We've got a major problem.
Pete: I finally heard from Asia Digital; Radhika called me from her cell phone. It seems that the company is actually under five feet of water. In effect, Asia Digital is out of business for the foreseeable future.
Jan: Geez. Meg's not going to want to hear this. What's the back-up?
Pete: We don't have one.
Jan: What do you mean?!
Pete: Well, that was an idea that we tossed around about six months ago but we never did anything about it.
Jan: Pete, we've got a stack of deadlines that are critical. Go out there and find us someone.
Pete: I'll look but it's going to take some time to get back on-line.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2004
FROM: Meg P. McGill
TO: Robert Smith; Mark Simmons; Marsha Goldfarb; Mack Evans; Dharma Joyce; Jan Peters
RE: My resignation
I'm sure by now you've all heard the rumors that I will be leaving the company. Unfortunately, the rumors are true; today is my last day at Harrison-Keyes. My replacement, Bill Guardo, should be on board within a week and I believe you'll be in fine hands with him. Show him what you're made of by making a success out of our e-publishing initiative.
I'm not sure what my next venture will be, but I do know that before I start it, I'll be taking a much-needed vacation. I so appreciate all of the hard work and loyalty you've shown me; I certainly won't forget it. Best of luck to all of you,
OCTOBER 1, 2004
FROM: Hays Michaels
TO: Jan Peters
I'm getting a bunch of noise from my staff about using Asia Digital. While my folks know that we're just off-shoring the digital design to these guys, they say they see the handwriting on the wall for editorial. Evidently, quite a few of the major trade mags are doing this so my people are getting a bit scared for their jobs. Jaclyn and Tim have been threatening to defect to the competition; it seems that they've assured their staff that no layoffs are in the works due to outsourcing. I need your help stop the uprising!
OCTOBER 4, 2004
FROM: Marsha Goldfarb
TO: Jan Peters
RE: e-book marketing
Here's the information you asked for on the e-books marketing campaign. The year one budget for this was originally $3 million but, as you recall, budgets were reduced across the board by 20 percent this year so we wound up having substantially less to work with.
So far, we've spent about a third of that. Some of that went toward hiring a consultant to give us some advice on how to market this thing, because our traditional marketing methodology was not really a good fit for this. Since e-books are not sold in bookstores, our usual purchase of side aisle and counter displays wasn't really feasible. We also weren't quite sure whether doing a mailing or advertising in the major trades and dailies would work. The consultant indicated that we should use e-marketing tactics such as pop-ups, e-mail mailings to opt-in e-mail lists and banner ads on portal sites. We've been measuring the results and they aren't as good as I expected. I think we have a bit of tweaking to do. I do have to admit that we got off to a slow start since we simultaneously launched that major book campaign, which ate into my available resources.
FROM: Jan Peters
TO: Implementation Team
Thank you for attending our meeting today. I'd like to reiterate what we discussed:
There are quite a few staffers who seem unhappy with our e-publishing plan. Whether this is due to lack of understanding about what we're trying to accomplish or it's just a matter of miscommunication is something that needs to be determined and acted on.
A few of the departments that are part of the e-publishing process cycle seem to lack integration. Either they don't understand the process or they just don't want to cooperate.
We've had more than our share of production hiccups leading to missed deadlines. The biggest of these is the loss of Asia Digital to the floods. We've yet to find an alternative.
Our rather tepid marketing campaign failed to drum up enthusiasm for our product. Although this needs some study, I think that the major problem lies in the interfaces between copyediting and typesetting, and typesetting and proofreading.
Please get back to me with your ideas for resolving these problems by Friday. Thanks,
OCTOBER 6, 2004
MEMO TO: Robert Smith; Mark Simmons; Marsha Goldfarb; Dharma Joyce; Jan Peters
FROM: William Guardo
My apologies for not meeting personally with each of you. As you might expect, I've been trying to get up to speed on all Harrison-Keyes strategic initiatives. My first week here has been quite hectic, but I did want to set up a meeting about our e-publishing effort. I have just been briefed about it -- including all of the recurring implementation problems -- and would like to meet first thing tomorrow morning in the boardroom to discuss it.
OCTOBER 7, 2004
BOARD ROOM MEETING WITH WILLIAM GUARDO SELECTED EXECUTIVES
William: I appreciate everyone getting up bright and early for this meeting. It's a real pleasure to meet all of you in person. I've heard many good things about you and all of the effort you're putting into this e-publishing initiative. To be fair, I should tell you all up front that I'm not really a fan of e-publishing and the Board has been expressing some reservations about it as well. However, I am open to the idea - if you can prove to me that it works and that it will be profitable. Bob, what do the financials look like?
Robert: The group's original projections were for half-year sales around $16 million. Unfortunately, we only realized $3 million.
William: That's a pretty big gap. What happened?
Jan: I think one of the biggest reasons was a weak marketing campaign; it just didn't cut it.
Marsha: Oh, I don't agree. It was a standard Harrison-Keyes marketing campaign - very professional and very targeted.
William: So are you saying, Marsha, that our traditional marketing techniques aren't working or just not working for this type of customer? Do our customers actually want to read e-books?
Marsha: Our initial market research indicated wide adoption by business and tech users and we geared our campaign towards this skew. I think that our campaign was right on target, but our slow sales seem to suggest that either this wasn't the case or our initial market research on customer adoption of the e-publishing model was wrong.
Dharma: Bill, I don't think we can overlook the loss of Asia Digital, the folks who were digitizing our e-books in the typesetting process. The floods wiped them out of business. As a result, some critical deadlines were missed and we're off our schedule by about four weeks - so far.
William: What about a back-up plan? I'm presuming you wouldn't outsource and not plan for contingencies? ..... Well?
Jan: Eh...this was a major oversight. We didn't plan on once in a millennium floods in Asia wiping out our supplier.
Mary: Although I'm sorry for their business losses, maybe it's better that Asia Digital's out of the picture. The use of this company was causing all sorts of morale problems at a time when employee morale is already at an all-time low. I think I'm getting an employee a day coming over to Human Resources to complain about the general confusion about job functions or the possibility of layoffs. Fear, uncertainty and doubt are ruling the day lately.
William: From what I hear, these difficulties have been going on for the better part of half a year. What kinds of performance management checks and balances did you put in place at the beginning of this implementation? How have you been measuring all of this and what have you been doing to resolve all of these problems?... Someone can jump in any time...
Robert: Well, I did bring all of this up to Meg McGill and this group more than six months ago. Nothing much was done about it.
William: Okay, let me think about all of this. I've got another meeting right now so I'll have to get back to you. Thanks for coming.
FROM: Mary Smith
TO: Jan Peters
Jaclyn Crighton and Tim Dorn just left my office. Both have resigned to take jobs with Brighton House Publishing. I'm not sure why they resigned to me rather than Hays. There was nothing I could do to talk them out of it, but I just wanted to let you know. Talk to Hays about this.
OCTOBER 8, 2004
OFFICE MEETING WITH WILLIAM GUARDO AND JAN PETERS
William: Thanks for stopping by on such short notice. I've been thinking about e-publishing -- a lot. I've looked at what our competitors are doing and I don't see why we're having all of these continuing problems. You've been at this for six months and have already fixed the plan several times.
Jan: Sir, there were quite a few issues that we simply didn't count on when we wrote our original implementation plan. It just wasn't thorough and now we're paying the price.
William: In reviewing everything that's gone on, I'd say that there was no oversight planning and definitely no disaster planning. I simply can't understand all of these omissions; it's just sloppy work.
Jan: To be fair to my staff, I'm really the one to blame. It was a lot of work in a small amount of time. Meg was pressuring us on a daily basis; I know that's no excuse. I agree we were sloppy to have left out the contingency plan and not do a thorough job on the implementation, but Meg did approve everything that we did.
William: A CEO should not have to be concerned with the minutia; that's what we hired you for. I'm really considering pulling the plug. I'm not all that excited by e-books in the first place. Though I could be wrong, I don't see much demand for these. Then again, even if I am wrong, I'm not sure I want to keep throwing money at this. I'm going to give you one more month to whip this thing into shape. If I don't see progress by then, I will terminate this effort and reallocate funds and resources. Understood?© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com June 3, 2020, 11:14 pm ad1c9bdddf
Harrison Keyes Inc. is a global publisher in the field of science, technology, business and education. The company was facing certain problems in the recent times from its retailers and had been ...
Well illustrated GAP analysis of Harrison-Keyes are examined. The efforts to revitalized company is examined.