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Assessment details: Case Study Analysis Essay
You are required to analyse the Bennetts Boots case study and answer the questions at the end. Your analysis should be written in an essay format.

Boom and bust
It was 2005 when Melbournian Amanda Bennett came up with a new business idea. After continually being disappointed that new fashion boots would not fin her wider calves she wondered if other women suffered the same lack of choice. Amana undertook some market research and discovered that 62 per cent of the women she researched shared her frustration. They could not buy boots to fit. A gap in the market existed and so Amanda set about creating a company to design, manufacture and sell to this niche market-women wanting wider boots in fashionable style.

Amanda had previous experience working in China and was confident that she understood the local customs there.
China also had the right price and the right capabilities to manufacture footwear, so the newly created Bennetts Boots hired a Chinese-based manufacturing manager and began production in China. Its first range of boots was a huge success with customers, so much so that Bennetts could not keep up with the demand. In 2010, freshly opened Bennetts store in Melbourne sold AUD$700000 worth of boots in just six weeks. Bennett says of this time that ‘for every pair of boots we were selling, we could have sold two more pairs (Hendy, 2014); customers were even prepared to wait 12 weeks for a pair. Delighted and overwhelmed with orders and eager to establish themselves in this niche market, Bennett and her husband mortgaged their home in order to finance a larger shipment of stock from China.

In 2011 the market was hot and demand was high for a pair of Bennetts boots. Amanda had identified and unmet need and major retailers clamoured for stock. Stores eagerly awaited the arrival of new provisions but the quality of the new stock, when it arrived from China, shocked Amanda and began a downward spiral that ended in the company’s liquidation. Expensive zips that had been supplied for the new boots had been replaced with cheap imitations, the boot leather was of an inferior quality and the boots were poorly stitched. Out of one consignment, 80 per cent of the boots supplied were identified unsaleable.

Now in heavy debt and having no boots to sell (approximately $1 million dollars) Bennetts Boots continued to look at alternatives such as manufacturing in other regions and using different suppliers. It struggled on for a few more years but without any real success. After four years of cash flow challenges and manufacturing problems the company was unable to recover and closed in May 2014 (Hendy, 2014).

Amanda Bennett attributed the decline in the quality of the production of her boots to cultural differences with China (Hendy, 2014). She believes the drop in the quality resulted from a strategy common to Chinese manufactures where the first shipment arrives at expected standards the quality drops off as manufactures seek to recoup costs and profit.

The supplier’s concern for improving their own margins conflicted with Bennett’s concerns for her company’s brand image and sustainable business development.
Issues with product supply were certainly significant t the problems experienced by Bennetts Boots but its business model had other challenges. Boots are a seasonal product, which meant that, to be profitable, Bennetts was faced with several difficulties. Should it have invested its time are meagre funds into diversifying its product range? This was very difficult without a reliable supplier and with limited cash flow. What about the investment in brick and mortar stores? This gave the brand a presence and an opportunity to be seen and experienced by unfamiliar customers, but while it focused on paying rent (another drain on cash flow) customers in other regions of the globe were neglected due to the lack of managing an online presence.

1. Describe the entrepreneurial characteristics of Amanda Bennett as she built her innovative business. (300 words)
2. Which of the key tests of new idea/innovation created the problems in this company? (300 words)
3. What could have been done, if anything, to prevent these problems? (300 words)
4. If you were starting up an innovative garment business how would you preclude such instances of supply problems? (300 words)
5. What managerial lessons arise from this failed innovation? (300 words)

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