In 2013, Mott MacDonald was a leading global engineering consulting firm for the infrastructure
industry, headquartered in the UK. Davide Stronati was their new Global Sustainability Leader.
As he entered head office in London on 20 July, Davide anticipated the hours ahead with
excitement. The Group Board would meet shortly to discuss the path they would be taking with
their sustainability strategy. Davide had done extensive groundwork and prepared three
possible scenarios. Would the Board embrace his radical vision of sustainability as core to
business strategy, or would they choose to keep things as they were?
This case is for educational purposes and is not intended to illustrate either effective or
ineffective management of an organisational situation. The situations and circumstances
described may have been dramatized or modified for instructional purposes and may not
accurately reflect actual events.
It was late in the autumn of 2010, and William Makant, CEO of Plumis Ltd., was sitting in his cramped London office asking himself what he and his co-founders could do to ramp up sales and reverse a flagging cash position. The company, which had started in 2008 with a £25k prize from a business plan competition and later raised £80k from an incubator programme, now had a cash balance of just £2,365. This would not go far even in the low-rent offices the company had taken, on a decommissioned battleship moored on the River Thames. Since launching its product Automist, a hassle-free fire safety device for the kitchen, onto the market early in the year, Plumis had sold just 3 demonstration units at an average price of £400 for a total revenue of £1,200, as compared with a sales plan of 27 units, in a price range of £500- £800 per unit, targeted for the year. The latter was the sales target announced to a group of angel investors who had agreed two months earlier to invest £100k, but the cash hadn’t yet arrived, and it looked as though more would be needed, sooner than planned.
After happening upon a customer whose problem of non-compliance with building regulations could be quickly and economically solved with Automist, Plumis did not completely turn its back on its old target markets, but it did shift its main focus to developing a new one. The company had to find a way to reach its new potential customers and learn about their tastes and needs at the same time.