Case Assignment 1
L.L Bean as a company has been very successful in current and past business operations, management , sales and growth. It all started from one man in his brother’s basement, where out of the 100 products he first sold, 90 were fully refunded because of work defects. That is in 1912. From that is has gone, to about 1.2 billion dollars in sales in the 1980s. As a business, it has constantly grown (never showing a setback) to the giant it is today, so L.L Bean is and will be very successful.
To track how L.L Bean has been successful you have to track the changes, opinions and attitudes introduced by each phase of the business. We start with the entrepreneurial phase. Unlike most businesses, L.L made his hunting and sporting apparel to the belief that if he would use it , then the general public would use it (rather ...view middle of the document...
This was opposite to his grandfather’s way of doing of business which didn’t seem to change with the times. Examples of that was when Leon had to convince his grandfather to give out free catalogues during a recreational boom and computerizing inventory systems. It was hard to balance these changes to accommodate consumers who were used to the more “traditional” L.L Bean. Leon solves this problem by stressing to his employees the importance to keeping a “informal” attitude towards customers in stores.
Now heading to the final stage, which is still happening today, is the professional stage.
Their the first “big decision” was made, which was to get outside help from people holding college degrees. The first was William T. End, who was hired as a marketing director and greatly increased their marketing performance. In 1961, Leon was the only person holding a college degree but in 1981, 66 people in the management team held college degrees including 15 MBAs. Between 1975 and 1980 the sales increased by $120 million and the buyer’s list rose to 2.1 million. These changes came around because the changes in management.
All the changes and results brough forward by each phase corresponds to one or both of L.L Bean’s key competencies. Which was the lowest price for mail-order sporting goods and a quality product every time. The entrepreneurial stage brought the founder’s philsophy to the business which produced a quality product everytime. During the transitional stage, when quality was slipping, Leon introduced new technology to manage the internal systems better, expanded the business to better accomodate it’s growth and constantly. Which drove down costs. Also, he took special care to take advantage of marketing oppurtunites that his grandfather wouldn’t. In the professional stage, Leon introduced college educated people to the marketing team that drove sales and the customer base to very impressive lengths.