Blue Ribbon Case Study

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Case study Bleu riBBon CHoColates: How Can small Businesses aDaPt to a CHanGinG environment? Dawn r. Deeter-schmelz, rosemary P. ramsey, and Jule B. Gassenheimer Bleu Ribbon Chocolates is a small regional manufacturer of high-quality chocolate that sells its products via trade accounts, corporate-owned stores, and online/mail. Historically, the company has not engaged in strategic planning, as demand was greater than manufacturing capabilities. The trend toward healthier foods and the poor economy, however, has hurt sales. The owners must determine their new strategic direction. Should they change the product line, in-source manufacturing, reduce the number of companyowned stores, increase sales to retail outlets, lay off workers,…show more content…
Bleu stayed focused on the quality of the product. The key to quality, in her mind, was the ingredients. She strongly believed that the use of all-natural chocolate, cream, and butter made the difference in her chocolates, so only the finest ingredients were used. Preservatives were not added to the candies, thereby enhancing the high-quality taste. To control the quality, candies were made at the single manufacturing location. Candies were made by hand, the old-fashioned way, and packaged in a distinctive silver box with a blue ribbon in a bow. The silver box with a blue-ribbon bow became a well-recognized symbol of Bleu Ribbon Chocolates and the quality candies they produced; indeed, the box became synonymous with the brand. Mrs. Bleu ran her business until the 1970s, when she decided to move to Florida with her ailing husband. She sold the business to a group of local businessmen. The new owners were committed to retaining the quality and brand reputation that Mrs. Bleu had established throughout her long career. As revenue fluctuated over the past several years, gross profits consistently declined while costs increased. Revenue and profit had remained relatively stable, although in 2010 (see Table 1), costs increased, revenue fell somewhat, and gross profit decreased. Through this turbulent time, Bleu Ribbon has vowed not to increase its
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