Case Study: URHere Co.
In late March 20xx, executives of the URHere Co. of Santiago, Chile, were
reviewing the marketing plans for their three main divisions before adjusting
their corporate plans for the following year. e three main divisions for this
multinational manufacturer of GPS (global positioning systems) included
1. Government and military
2. Industrial and large commercial
3. Residential and light commercial
Of key interest to the executives were questions such as—
◾ What can we do to drive our competencies?
◾ How can we increase protability—drive costs down, increase eciencies?
◾ What new processes should be developed to take advantage of the newest
technologies and our partnerships?
URHere was founded in 1967 by Owen Trikum, who built and tested his rst
device with an approved Chilean government satellite linkage. Previous electro-
mechanical equipment was potentially less reliable, bulkier, and less accurate
than the solid- state mechanism designed by the entrepreneurial engineer Trikum.
2 ◾ Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual
By 20xx, company sales were divided approximately as follows:
◾ Government (eg, trac control), 27 percent
◾ Military (eg, equipment tracking), 22 percent
◾ Industrial (eg, drilling support), 19 percent
◾ Large commercial (eg, cargo tracking), 16 percent
◾ Residential (eg, hand- held devices), 12 percent
◾ Light commercial (eg, in- store product tracking), 4 percent
Selected nancial data are shown in Tables1.1 and 1.2 as millions of Chilean
Table1.2 URHere Annual Data
Net sales 267, 529 239,855 201,496 188,469 174,877 171,405 159,603
Table1.1 URHere Select Financial Data
Selected Financial Data from Annual Consolidated
Statements for URHere Co. (CLP $000,000)
Year Ending March 31
20xx 20xx (–1 yr)
Net sales $322,249 $293,245
Other income 434 547
Total Income 322,683 293,792
Manufacturing and engineering $194,223 $175,976
Depreciation and amortization 2,345 1,567
Sales and administration 11,238 9,462
Taxes other than federal income 3,786 2,957
Interest 956 679
Total Expenses 212,548 190,641
Earnings $110,135 $103,151
Provision for federal income taxes 21,486 16,875
Net Earnings 88,649 86,276
Case Study: URHere Co. ◾ 3
The GPS Industry
e global positioning industry grew into one of the fastest- growing manu-
facturing industries by the turn of the millennium. Various estimates placed the
total quantity of GPS receivers that are operational worldwide at more than one
At least seven companies manufactured global positioning systems equip-
ment worldwide, including two major US competitors and one signicant
Given its early adaptor advantage and strong technology focus, URHere Co.
managed to remain number one in market share, but prots and share had
been eroding. e company was very reliant on traditional processes, focused
on building the next best “widget,” and failed to keep up with the competi-
tion with its nonengineering- or nonmanufacturing- related activities. us, its
ine ciency elsewhere in the organization (accounting, customer service, ship-
ping, etc) caused it to bear increasing costs and become far less protable than
its nearby competitors. A summary of nancial capacity is shown in Table1.1.
With manufacturing, support equipment, and geo services, URHere can be
found on every continent, including Antarctica. However, its recent nancial
erosion was generating a very cold shoulder among existing and potential inves-
tors. Something had to change.
e strategy map displayed in Figure1.1 was built during an o- site strate-
gic planning session. It captures the primary components that drive the unique
aspects of their industry and corporate personality.
In reviewing current operations, URHere executives decided to allocate addi-
tional resources to improve nonmanufacturing- and nonengineering- related
functions and activities. ey hoped to solicit the voice of employees and cus-
tomers to help them become more eective with ancillary support and services
and more ecient with typical operations. With a solid product and an ener-
getic sales and marketing group, the company realized that they could grow
further by strengthening their infrastructure. ey feared losing customers to
nonproduct- related issues, knowing that it was a lot more expensive to obtain a
new customer than to keep an existing customer delighted. ey realized that
4 ◾ Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual
they had become the perfect candidate for improved policies, methods, proce-
dures, and activities—known by many as business process improvement.
Structure of URHere
e following groups and their relationships are referred to throughout the
book. e purpose here is to provide a graphic reference. Narrative discussions
are found in various topics of the workbook that may refer to Figures1.2, 1.3,
1.4, 1.5, 1.6, or 1.7.
Figure 1.1 URHere strategy map.