This chapter deals with data collected from the managers of Intercos Asia Pacific in relation to the study’s research objectives. This chapter seeks to discuss the results of the structures questionnaires that were issued to 10 participants. Before the research was conducted, the interviewees were provided with a rationale and purpose of the study so that they could understand better why the questions posed to them were done in that manner.
Furthermore, interviewees had been assured that the information they would provide was strictly for academic use and the inclusion of their identities was requested, which they readily approved. The object of this study was to establish the problems facing Intercos Asia Pacific as a business entity, having split from Intercos group. This is the manner in which the study accounts for the factors and the perception of the company.
Conducting this study entails collection of a detailed account of the functioning of Intercos Asia Pacific as a business entity in the cosmetics and skincare industry. It is assumed that the competence, innovation and the persistence of the managers directly influences the natir and tenacity of the business. Of particular importance is the accomplishment of the study’s goals and objectives which are to be instrumental in the analysis of Intercos Asia Pacific as an institution. The objectives shall be used to gauge both the present and prospective future of the company and propose recommendations in cases that require change.
Intercos Asia Pacific is a privately owned Malaysian Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) that manufactures cosmetic and skincare products not limited to powders, emulsions and lipsticks. Following the separation of Intercos Asia Pacific from Intercos Group in 2013, Intercos Asia Pacific has sought to establish itself as a contender for the title of market leader in the cosmetics and skincare industry in Asia. The difference in opinions towards strategic planning for Intercos group was the main reason for the fallout and the opposing managers were given permission to break away. Since time immemorial, it has been paramount that businesses learn how to adapt to changing environments and preferences in order to remain profitable.
However, for young and budding companies like Intercos Asia Pacific, fierce competition from already established competitors poses a unique challenge in terms of growth and expansion. Therefore, Intercos Asia Pacific has had to battle a few problems in order to establish itself and at the same time provide the required services to the right clientele. This chapter seeks to analyze the problems and give recommendations on the way forward for Intercos Asia Pacific. Being a small company with limited resources, a new market and a strong leadership, Intercos Asia Pacific is bound to face a few hurdles along the way.
The study was conducted via the conducting of interviews to various top ranking officials of Intercos Asia Pacific. Time was taken to sit down and conduct interviews between the researcher and the managers of different departments at the times that were most convenient for the managers. For this reason alone, the method used for interviews was random. There were no criteria or sequence used for interviewing the managers because the number of managers was sizable and the managers were equally busy individuals. Eight managers were interviewed during the research; one assistant manager and the general manager were the participants of the interviews conducted. However, there was no need for follow ups primarily because the information obtained through the interviews was rigid and not subject to much change before the completion of the study.
4.3.1 Study Design.
As stated earlier, the mode of interviews was random because of the small number of interviewees in the company. The second reason why there was no planning in sequence of interviews was because of the extreme indulgence that the managers were in at the time of interviews. Their availability was impromptu and therefore, the researcher had to fit into the managers’ timetables. Another reason why random method of data collection was used was because it would trump bias and discrimination in terms of seniority within the company. By randomly selecting the interviewees, it ensured that no corporate hierarchical norms would be barriers for provision of information.
On the other hand, collection of data at this stage did not matter for criteria because all the data was later complied after the interviews were completed in readiness for the writing of this report. It is therefore important to understand that the information provided was not biased discriminatory or incorrect because of the method used to collect data from Intercos Asia Pacific managers.
The subjects used for the collection of data within Intercos Asia Pacific were the managers. Being a new company, it is only the managers that knew the workings of the company both in and out. The employees who were working at Intercos Asia Pacific at the time could provide biased information mainly because their views would only be limited to the department in which they work.
The interviews were conducted between March 24th and March 25th 2015 whereby the interviews were carried out within the company premises in order for provision of certain relevant documentations as proof. At the time of data collection, the company had been more labor intensive than technology intensive in terms of production. In the offices however, the company was up to code in terms of technology and technological expertise. Under the leadership of the general manager, the interviewees were very cooperative in terms of openness about the company and their readiness to assist where possible.
4.3.3 Data Collection.
The subjects for this study were the senior management personnel of Intercos Asia Pacific Company with the exception of one assistant manager. Managers were identified as the respondents to the interviews because they knew the company better than anybody else. Having split from Intercos Group, the managers came together and formed the Intercos Asia Pacific company. Although not built from the ground up, the disconnection with the mother company in Milan saw the reduction in resources as well as financial benefits that it would enjoy as a member of the Intercos Group.
On the other hand, the relocation of the company from Milan to Malaysia saw the company undergo new structuring in terms of market, leadership and functioning. These reasons were the indication that managers should be the subjects of the study. They understood about the transition, how the company was fairing, and especially so, the projection for Intercos Asia Pacific as a company.
All managers were eligible for interviews except that the sales and marketing manager was not available at the time of data collection. For this reason, the assistant manager stepped in and provided the information that was required for the study. All managers who participated in the study signed consent of their willful participation in the collection of information for this study. Consequently, all the managers who provided information have been mentioned in the report outlining their views and opinions.
During the duration for the collection of interviews, all mangers had been interviewed and their responses recorded for the purpose of writing this report. All interviews were conducted to completion because the subjects provided ample time for the interviews that were enough for data collection as well as some highlights necessary for the research. They provided information to the best of their knowledge in the departments that they represented, thus making data collection easier.
4.3.4 Data Analysis.
There were three main objectives of the study. The first was to pin point the issues that were affecting the company at the time of the interviews. Following the separation of Intercos Asia Pacific from the mother company in Milan and the subsequent relocation to Milan, Intercos Asia Pacific faced some profound setbacks. The first setback was the amount of sales volumes that the company had. Although estimates show that they are about $2million, further information shows that there was potential for more. The lack of sales was primarily because of the amount of obsolete products in the company’s stores. Products imported from Italy had proved to be unfit for the Asian market and therefore the company had products that could not be sold. This amount of stock was huge hindrance to the amount of profits that the company would be making.
Another problem facing the company in general was the inability to retain customers. A problem as profound as such was caused by the amount of lead time for inventory from suppliers. As was evidenced from the managers interviewed, suppliers were taking a lot of time before they could deliver products, causing impatience among customers.
On the other hand the lead time was affecting the functioning of the company because suppliers took too long to send over samples that could be used for marketing and the subsequent acquisition of new customers. Since the company had not included the services of financial institutions like banks, the amount of finances in the company were limited. The company was not tenacious enough to get loans that would propel it to conduct more business.
The problem of pricing had become constant whereby Intercos Asia Pacific could not price their products lower than their competitors because of the cost of acquisition of raw materials. Imported materials had gotten more costly and the company had not had a solution besides scouting for new suppliers. These problems were pulling the company down with each financial period. From the data collected, it was evident that competitors like Korea, Japan and China were providing products at a much lower price than Intercos Asia Pacific.
The second objective of the study was to provide justifiable solutions to the major issues that Intercos Asia Pacific was facing at the time of the study. First of all, from the interviews conducted, it was evident that suppliers were the major cause of all problems faced by Intercos Asia Pacific. The first solution to the problems was to acquire new suppliers. It was evident that the products from Italy were of little use to the Malaysian market.
Furthermore, Intercos Asia Pacific was spending funds on shipping costs which in turn takes too long to be delivered, causing the company to lose valuable clients. If the suppliers, both Swiss and Italian would provide quick response to the needs of Intercos Asia Pacific, then it would be easier to conduct business. Having been separated from the mother company in Milan, Intercos Asia Pacific was bound to face some financial hiccups along the way. The integration of financial institutions like banks should have been the first order of business for Intercos Asia Pacific. If banks can lend money to the company, then Intercos Asia Pacific would not have issues like lack of inventory or obsolete products hindering the continuation of business.
According to the interviews conducted, Intercos Asia Pacific was expanding and in search of new markets for its products all around the world, not just in Asia. This would be a huge step fir the company in terms of market and customer base expansion. This would even prompt the expansion of the companies to new regions where new manufacturing facilities and offices could be located.
The third objective of the study was to weigh the potential of the proposed solutions to the company. As it was reiterated by the managers, most of the problems at Intercos Asia Pacific were caused by the suppliers. Therefore, a change from the existing suppliers to new ones would do the company much good. Moreover, the company would find a supplier whose products were fit for the Asian market and whose prices were better than those of the Italian suppliers. The new suppliers would have to have a shorter lead time as compared to the Swiss and Italian suppliers in order to facilitate a quick response time for samples and in turn keep the customers happy and satisfied.
As the finance manager proposed the integration of Intercos Asia Pacific with financial institutions like banks, the company would be able to increase the amount of resources at their disposal in terms of inventory, technology and personnel. This recommendation was financially sound in terms of the company’s future as a market player in the cosmetics and skincare industry. Managers were keen to be innovative in terms of technology and marketing trends in the economy and for this reason, the projected future of Intercos Asia Pacific is bright and promising. New marketing strategies like giving of samples, reduction in prices and education of customers is one of the most profound ways of acquiring and maintaining clients that Intercos Asia Pacific intends to adopt.