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Case Study Assignment on – The Lego Group: Building Strategy
Question Description ::
A) Draw a competency tree for Lego.
B) What is their core competency?
C) Does it pass the tests?
D) Are their markets – they are currently not in, that it could be applied?
Attached is the case.
On February 15, 2011, world-famous toy maker the LEGO Group (LEGO) assembled an internal
management team to create a strategic report on LEGO’s different product lines and business operations.
Over the past two years, numerous threats had emerged against LEGO in the toy industry: the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment by The Walt Disney Company created major implications for valuable toy license agreements; LEGO had lost a long legal battle with major competitor MEGA Brands — maker of MEGA Bloks — with a European Union court decision that removed the LEGO brick trademark; new competition was preparing to enter the marketplace from Hasbro — the second-largest toy maker in the world — with the company launching a new rival product line called Kre-O. It was critical for the management team to identify where to expand LEGO’s product lines and business operations in order to develop a competitive strategy to continue the organization’s financial success and dominance in the building toy market.
LEGO first began during the Great Depression in 1932, when Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen and
his sons started making wooden toys after the demand for building houses and furniture declined. Some
of the first toys they made included yo-yos, wooden blocks, pull-along animals and wooden vehicles. Kristiansen believed that “only the best is good enough” in manufacturing children’s toys; this motto was so important to him that it was carved on a sign and hung on the workshop wall to serve as a reminder to always produce top-quality products. He used the highest quality materials and workmanship to produce toys that were designed to last through years of play. In 1934, the company name LEGO was created when Kristiansen held a friendly competition among th
e workshop employees to help name the company, with a bottle of wine as the prize. Kristiansen won the competition himself by creatively combining the first two letters of the Danish words leg and godt, meaning “play well,” to form the name LEGO, which also meant “I put together” in Latin. In 1942, disaster hit the small company of only 12 employees as the entire workshop burned to the ground. Not willing to quit, Kristiansen rebuilt the factory and painstakingly remade all of the lost designs from memory in order to kee the company going.
Following the end of World War II, LEGO became the first company in Denmark to purchase a plastic-injection molding machine in 1947; however, the new machine came at a high cost, requiring the company to risk a large portion of revenues and face the additional financial risk of plastic toys being expensive to manufacture. With the acquisition of the new machine, one of the first plastic toys to be created by LEGO was a baby rattle that was shaped like a fish. It did not take long before the investment in the machine proved to be a success, as LEGO quickly expanded its business operations to produce over 200 varieties of plastic and wooden toys. Using the new technology, the first plastic LEGO bricks — named Automatic Binding Bricks — were created and sold in sets in 1949; however, this name did not last long as it was changed to LEGO Bricks in 1953, with the addition of the LEGO name being molded onto every brick manufactured.
The 1960s During the 1960s, LEGO had experienced rapid success with the new brick design, expanding sales to many European countries as well as new markets in the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia. After another fire destroyed the workshop where LEGO wooden toys were made, the company decided to stop selling wooden toys altogether and focus completely on the LEGO brick and System of Play. By 1967, more than 18 million LEGO sets had been sold in 42 different countries, with LEGO employing over 600 people. The company had also expanded the LEGO brick design to include over 200 different shapes such as wheels, flat bricks, train tracks, windows, doors and flags; this added further detail and allowed more creative possibilities to the System of Play sets. In an effort to help children and parents with the variety of bricks and the increased complexity of build
ing sets, LEGO introduced building instructions as a standard feature of each building set. The increased success and popularity of LEGO around the world lead to the development of the first LEGOLAND theme park, opening in LEGO’s home country of Denmark in 1968. During the same year, LEGO continued to experiment with new products, introducing a brick called DUPLO which was eight times the size of an original LEGO brick and safe for children under five.