Roger Palmer is Dean of the Business School at Bournemouth University, UK. Here, he explains why this case forms a central part of his teaching portfolio.
A classic case
This is a classic case that is well-established within the field of business-to-business marketing as an illustration of buying behaviour. I also had the opportunity to meet the author, Professor Kamran Kashani, on a course I attended some years ago and was able to benefit from his excellent insights into case teaching. Coincidentally, I also make extensive use of another of his cases and accompanying video published by The Case Centre, Value Selling at SKF.
Mediquip is a relatively short case, which is appealing to students and executives alike, and contains the major elements that are required but without excessive detail. The nature of the case also allows the opportunity for much more extensive discussion if time and opportunity allow. I have used this case many times on MBA programmes at schools around the world as well as on executive education courses, both open and in-company.
I find that my wide experience of teaching the case is useful in opening up more opportunities to use it in the classroom. With less experienced students it can be used to teach some of the fundamentals of organisational buyer behaviour and with more advanced students the discussion can extend to different perspectives of buyer behaviour, negotiations and relationship styles. On executive programmes, and particularly with delegates who have sales experience, this can lead to lively debate and the opportunity to relate the content of the case to the context of the company concerned.
Coincidentally, I have published in a field related to the topic of the case (magnetic resonance imaging) and have a lot of supplementary material that is useful for teaching on associated topics such as innovation and product/market management.
One of the interesting things in using a case with which one is so familiar is that surprising insights can always arise, and these in turn open up new opportunities to teach the case. The case is well-crafted in that it is underpinned by the theoretical principles it is used to teach, but also contains sufficient detail to give the case colour and context, enabling people to engage with the material. A teaching note is always useful as the case writer can use this to assist the tutor with their richness of understanding, allowing them to quickly feel confident in using the material. I would happily recommend this case to colleagues.
Downloaded by XanEdu User BMM420 on 5/29/2015. New York University, Anna Paley, Summer 2015I N T E R N A T I O N A LIMD048v. 16.09.2009MEDIQUIP S.A. (R) This case was prepared by Professor Kamran Kashani as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a business situation. All names and financial data have been disguised. On December 18, Kurt Thaldorf, a sales engineer for the German sales subsidiary of Mediquip, S.A., was informed by Lohmann University Hospital in Stuttgart that it had decided to place an order with Sigma, a Dutch competitor, for a CT scanner. The hospital’s decision came as disappointing news to Thaldorf, who had worked for nearly eight months on the account. The order, if obtained, would have meant a sale of €1.3 million for the sales engineer. He was convinced that Mediquip’s CT scanner was technologically superior to Sigma’s and, overall, a better product. Thaldorf began a review of his call reports in order to better understand the factors that had led to Lohmann University Hospital’s decision. He wanted to apply the lessons from this experience to future sales situations. BackgroundAt the time, the computer tomography (CT) scanner was a relatively recent product in the field of diagnostic imaging. This medical device, used for diagnostic purposes, allowed examination of cross sections of the human body through display of images. CT scanners combined sophisticated X-ray equipment with a computer to collect the necessary data and translate them into visual images. When computer tomography was first introduced in the late 1960s, radiologists had hailed it as a major technological breakthrough. Commenting on the advantages of CT scanners, a product specialist with Mediquip said, “The end product looks very much like an X-ray image. The only difference is that with scanners you can see sections of the body that were never seen before on a screen--like the pancreas. A radiologist, for example, can diagnose cancer of the pancreas in less than two weeks after it develops. This was not possible before CT scanners.” Copyright © 1998 by IMD-InternationalstituforManagementDevelopment, Lausanne, Switzerland. Not to be used or reproduced without written permission directly from IMD.