Vice President of the United States and Task Force

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9-494-015 REV: OCTOBER 15, 2004 JOHN J. GABARRO Aston-Blair, Inc. Bringing Aston-Blair 's June 12 executive committee meeting to a close Wynn Aston, III, chief executive officer and chairman of the board, asked Peter Casey, vice president of marketing, and Chris Trott, vice president of corporate planning, to seriously reexamine the company 's procedures for forecasting sales. Aston hoped that improved product demand projections would lead to better inventory control, financial planning, and production scheduling. Aston-Blair had suffered significant losses in the first quarter of 2004 and expected even greater losses in the second quarter (the first losses the company had experienced since 1975). Aston felt that poor forecasting…show more content…
The success of Aston-Blair’s other films often depended upon the timing and popularity of major new releases by its rivals, making accurate forecasting difficult. Moreover, as the firm has tried to increase sales growth, it has introduced more completely new titles and relied less on sequels to past hits. The increasing emphasis on new titles has further complicated forecasting efforts. The combination of declining demand and Aston’s Blair’s overly optimistic sales forecasts for the first two quarters of 2004 had resulted in excessive inventories and sizable losses. Aston-Blair 's current problems stood in dramatic contrast with the company 's recent record of outstanding growth and profitability. Aston 's great grandfather founded the company in 1910 as a producer of children’s books, and as the company evolved into multimedia, it had always enjoyed a reputation for being a premiere supplier. During Aston 's 10-year stewardship as chief executive officer, the firm had quadrupled in size and had become the most profitable firm in the industry. Aston attributed this recent success to the company 's aggressive marketing efforts and to its ability to identify potential multimedia users and to work with them in developing products tailored to their requirements. Under Aston 's and Pack 's direction, the company was the first firm in the industry to develop a marketing organization where market
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