Ignatov & Company Group - Business Consulting - Business StrategyWe assist our clients either to develop a new business strategy or to adopt the existing one to making business in the emerging markets. New strategy development is usually an option selected with the local companies that want to expand their business outside their native country or region. Strategy adoption is a value we bring to global companies that want to start or to expend their business in the emerging markets – or to western companies entering the emerging markets.

Our assistance refers different aspects of the company’s strategy – from market and product focus to competition policy; from corporate organization to management culture; from assets management to M&A strategy as well as many other things. Read the case study below to better understand our approach in strategy consulting. 

Case study 

Challenge

A chemical producer from the Eastern Europe decided to restructure its business – with the key goal to transform from commodity chemicals producer into a high added value chemicals supplier. They wanted to increase the role of a specialty chemicals division – in particular to redirect commodity chemicals (produced with the company) from market deliveries to captive use for specialty chemicals production. 

Approach

We suggested to a client a multi-stage approach for a new strategy development, assessment and implementation. 

Stage 1: Market research was done with the key goal to analyze the market drivers, limiters and trends that impact client’s current and prospective businesses. Our approach assumed that it was necessary to pay attention to research of the target product segments – but also to neighbors: other chemical products (mainly specialty), upstream (raw materials) and downstream (consuming markets). The market research stage covered such markets in CEE and those regions where a client distributes most of its products (Western Europe, Middle East, Northern Africa, and Southeast Asia). As the result of the stage we made market research for:

  • Target chemical markets (commodity chemicals; specialty chemicals)
  • Target upstream markets (raw materials used with a client)
  • Target downstream markets (industries consuming client’s current and prospective products)

Stage 2: A research was done with the key goal to analyze the “competitive background” for a client’s current and prospective businesses. Our approach assumed that it was vitally necessary to pay attention to research of the following items: competitive pressure provided with global and local players; potential interests of global and local players in the target segments; governmental interests and pressure in the target segments. Development strategy best practices analysis was done in particular – with the key goal to understand development strategies implemented with the customer’s comparable competitors – in the target markets – to find successful solutions/ideas as well as those leading to failures. As the result of the stage we made a report that provided the following information to a client:

  • Global players’ development strategies for the target markets (CEE, WE, ME, NA, APAC)
  • Local players’ development strategies for the target markets (CEE, WE, ME, NA, APAC)
  • Summary comparative analysis of the competitors’ strategies

Stage 3: M&A research was done with 2 key goals: a) to analyze competitive M&A activity (so this part of the research will be a continuation for the previous – “competition” – stage); and b) to analyze the M&A potential targets for a client. We considered that it was necessary to analyze M&A drivers in chemical industry in target markets as well as the M&A activity of the chemical players that may be aimed at chemical segments but also at neighboring industries. As the result of the stage we provided to a client report covering:

  • Global chemical players’ M&A activity in target markets
  • Local chemical players’ M&A activity in target markets
  • Analysis for M&A price dynamics & drivers

Stage 4: Client’s manufacturing assets have been analyzed – with the key goal to identify the Client’s existing abilities to enter the chemical business as the influential player and to successfully compete in target markets. Our approach assumes that it’s necessary to analyze each of the chemical facilities owned/co-owned with the Client from the following positions: its market positioning – products, solutions, target consumers and regional markets; its competitive positioning – abilities, advantages (strengths), disadvantages (weaknesses). As the next step the measures for full utilization of capacity were analyzed / developed for each facility, as well as the strategy for optimal investment process towards these facilities – so they can increase their effectiveness. As the result of the stage we provided to a client report covering:

  • Client’s current market positioning
  • Competitive analysis for client’s current business
  • Investment optimization analysis
  • Effectiveness increase analysis

Stage 5: Technology analysis & search was done – with the key goals: a) to split the client’s existing technologies into 2 categories – those that may be upgraded/modernized, and those out-of-date that have to be replaced completely; the split was done based on comparison of technologies with those used at competitors’ side as well as in terms of their economic efficiency and material costs; b) to find newer technologies for replacement of out-of-dates ones; to find suppliers of technologies/equipment as well as of upgrade solutions; c) preliminary assessments for new/upgrade technologies – in terms of the required investments, financial efficiency, timeframe required for replacement/upgrade

Stage 6: Our consultants discussed all these findings with the client’s shareholders; main strategic goals were re-formulated with the client: if initially the client looked only into ROI as the single strategic criteria – so at the stage 6 the client could add few “performance efficiency” values (KPI) as well as to formulate the requirement that chemical business would become a start point for penetration into other industries, countries or regions.

Stage 7:  Based on the results of stages 1-6 we could prepare development strategy for the client; a strategy document covered: a) recommendations for product portfolio that would be most beneficial in the target markets; b) recommendations for upgrade and replacement of the client’s technologies; c) recommendations for positioning of the client in each of the target markets; d) recommendations for the client’s competitive activities in the target markets; e) recommendations for modernization of the client’s existing assets, including feasibility study for such programs; f) recommendations to the client over M&A possibilities in the target markets – as alternative to modernization of existing assets; g) raw material supply strategy, including self-supply with bulk chemicals used in specialty chemicals production; h) recommendations for distribution of the client’s products in the target markets; i) recommendations over the client’s R&D activities, including R&D outsourcing, relations with compound/formulation designers, etc; j) recommendations for the client’s optimal structure – organizational, management, territorial and technological; k) general items like synergy effect, organic growth vs. M&A comparison, “tailing” strategy (penetration to neighboring, supplying, consuming and supplementary industries). 

Value 

A client started to restructure product portfolio in accordance with our recommendations; simultaneously a technology modernization program was launched in the facility – to fit a new product strategy. To penetrate one of the product segments a client decided to invest in acquisition of existing plant in another Central European country rather than to build a new facility. The share of specialty chemicals in total production grew from 22% to almost 41% per 3 years of the program implementation – making a client’s strategic goal (to become a specialty chemicals influential player) closer.