IIBMS MBA CASE STUDY ANSWER SHEETS – Ashwin Kumar, who had recently joined System, as a training manager, was feeling uneasy at the end of his first meeting with Pesu Shroff, the managing director of the company.

Ashwin Kumar, who had recently joined System, as a training manager, was feeling uneasy at the end of his first meeting with Pesu Shroff, the managing director of the company.
Ashwin Kumar, who had recently joined System, as a training manager, was feeling uneasy at the end of his first meeting with Pesu Shroff, the managing director of the company.

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Human Resource Management

Ashwin Kumar, who had recently joined System, as a training manager, was feeling uneasy at the end of his first meeting with Pesu Shroff, the managing director of the company.
            Systems was a ten-year old unit employing 300 people.  It had a turnover of Rs. 25 crore the previous year.  The company traded in several products – both domestic and imported.  Nearly 80 percent of its turnover came from selling electronic component products which were assembled locally from imports of semi knocked – down kits.  The landed cost of its imports was about Rs. 10 crore last year.  The products had an assured demand in the country, with smuggled goods from Taiwan and Korea providing whatever little competition there was.  The company had been operating in a seller’s market for years and, as a result, most of its activities were production oriented rather than market oriented.
            Early during the current financial year, the Government of India had announced, as a part of its economic liberalization strategy, several policy measures which made imports costlier.  All imports had to be financed by exports – there were restrictions on margin money and interest rates for working capital had shot up at one stroke.  With little export income in its account, Systems had no choice but to discontinue importing SKD kits.
            The company management had three option before it. First, to build up its domestic trading activity rapidly ; second, to assemble at least a few of the component products from raw materials sourced locally and third, pursue after-sales service aggressively both to generate revenue in the short run and to establish an enduring client-base for the company’s products in the long run.
            Invariably, this meant that the survival of Systems depended on how quickly it could train its people – beginning from a handful of sales engineers – to become  market – centred and customer – friendly in their approach to business.
            “ The days of easy revenue money are over for us,” Shroff had told Kumar, who had a formal training in HRD and had been an officer in the training cell of a multinational firm before signing up with Systems.  “ We have to compete now in the marketplace and sell hard to be able to secure orders.  Times are changing.  We have to change too.  And that is where you come in.  It will be your responsibility, as the training manager, to ensure that people here acquire marketing skills,” he said, adding, as a clincher, “Frankly, have always felt that a salesman is born, not trained.  I have had no belief in non-technical training.  In fact, have found no need so far for a training manager at Systems.  But I am prepared to do anything to get more sales.”
            That punching was what had made Kumar uneasy.  But he decided to let it pass.  Over the next few days, Kumar got busy evolving specific training packages for workers, shop – floor supervisors, administrative staff and senior functional executives and an intensive module for field salesman.  Deciding to start with the salesman first, he met the sales manager to ask him to depute 10 salesmen for a training session the next day.  The sales manager was skeptical and only half – heartedly consented to release people for the two – day training.
            The session was a disaster.  No one showed any interest in the proceedings. In fact, one of the salesmen came up to him during the coffee break and said, “You see, all this is a waste of time.  Take the client for a drink and you get the sale. It is as simple as that.  It has worked in the past and it will work in the future.” Kumar laughed it off but the message had been delivered. 
            The attendance for the second day session was thin.  This lack of interest was again obvious at the session for workers next day.  The works manager who had originally agreed to the idea was vague about the absence of so many workers at the training session.  “They are sick, I believe,” he said, making no attempts to hide his feeling that to him to whole thing was a big joke.
            Kumar had encountered such resistance in the company where he had worked earlier.  He also knew that his training capsule was very effective.  He was aware that training needs were universal for all companies and so were the training techniques which were also easily transferable from one set of working conditions to another and from one industry to another.  He also knew that he had the aptitude and interest to become a professional trainer.
            But Kumar began to realize that he had made a few tactical errors in his particular case.  He should have perhaps asked Shroff to personally inaugurate the training session to give the whole exercise an air of formality and, more importantly, of authority.  He should have perhaps started with the module for senior executives first.
            “I must find a way out of this and bring everyone round.  There is simply no way I am going to accept failure. Whatever damage there has been must be undone.  I must do something,” he said to himself.
1)  What should he do?


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