This case study explains the triggering event that leads to a product strategy change within Minnesota Biolabs (MB). This case study will also predict the success of Europe and Japan country general managers on adopting the new product strategy by presenting explanations of the given predictions. Lastly, changes about MB’s design in order to better promote the product strategy transfer across national borders will be discussed as well in this case study.
Sepsis infection is very common in hospitals across the United States and in other countries. Sepsis infection according to Spector (2013) is known as “an overwhelming infection of the blood stream resulting from toxin-producing bacteria (endotoxins)” (p. 96). This infection is passed to patients through injectables. An injectable could be a needle, IV drip and so forth. Due to the rise of sepsis infections in hospitals the National Health Regulatory Agencies began to seek ways to test the injectables before administering to patients or distributing them to health facilities. Conventionally, sepsis infections tests are performed on rabbits mostly and at times would lead to the death of that animal. Minnesota Biolabs would supply rabbits to these companies for testing. This company was headquartered in suburban Minnesota and served companies in over 20 countries. In Europe, the national units were MB-France, MB-Germany, and MB-United Kingdom. The fourth unit served Asian Markets and was called MB-Japan.
As animal rights became more prevalent in the early years of the 21st century, MB had to seek other methods to test for sepsis infections in injectables. This triggered the executives to look for an alternative method. Belfast Telegraph’s (2017) publication found the following:
Not only is it unethical for mice, rabbits, cats, dogs, and other animals — who feel pain and fear just like humans do — to be locked inside cages and deliberately brain-damaged, drugged, cut open, or infected with diseases that cause extensive suffering, it’s also bad science. (p.1)
Even though some animal experimentation is required by law, in this case, it was not. In fact, there are several countries that have banned testing on of consumer goods on animals. Therefore, the company began looking for alternative testing that didn’t harm the lives of animals.
Due to the growth of Minnesota Biolabs over the years, they had come accustomed to purchasing other businesses and integrating their products into the company’s contributions. An opportunity ascended in Rhode Island, a small company received funding from the government for a test called Sepsis Detection Test (SDT). Spector (2013) stated, “Instead of conducting tests in live rabbits, SDT used blood extraction from horseshoe crabs for the tests” (p. 96). This process was harmless and the crabs were returned to the ocean to regenerate the blood that was taken. This company was purchased by MB and horseshoe crab testing became the norm for the United States.
Predictions on how to adopt the new product
A successful product requires a great deal of attention. Even though MB had found the perfect testing method they had to incorporate the other entities of MB into this new testing method as well. Each of the other four units of MB is managed by a country general manager. These managers typically operate their unit independently, but strategies, product decisions, and acquisitions come from executives in the US. Due to the rights of animals, MB had no other choice but to adopt, and the other units must follow. Mutual engagement is now needed to bring the other countries on board. A dialogue between the US executives and the general managers should be held to discuss the current issues that the company is facing and why this new testing method is needed.
The goal has to be aligned among all the managers by providing training and support and making employees accountable. The managers of France, Germany, UK, and Japan are going to need an ample amount of training so that their staff feels comfortable about adopting this new method of testing. Without proper training and support, employees cannot be held accountable if the implementation fails. Also, constant communication such as shared diagnosis is a must with the outside countries. MB has to make sure feedback is being shared among all entities and that it is returned as well. MB could also inspire the innovation through an egalitarian culture, similar to how they allow the country managers to autonomously manage their units.
Changes needed to promote the transfer of the new product
Therefore, MB is now tasked with implementing this new product to France, Germany, the United Kingdon, and Japan. This is where a product strategy is needed to carry out this change. A product strategy helps manage the implementation of the product proactively and effectively. Several studies suggest that organizations should have a product strategy that supports the direction and goals of the organization. According to Sharma (2017), “the product strategy should be developed to bridge a gap between business strategy and product plan (operation)” (p.4).
Now that the horseshoe crab testing has been tested and embraced in the US. MB has to launch this product in his other four units. Launching a new product can be a huge and risky undertaking. Executives of Minnesota Biolabs (MB) will have to meet with the country’s general managers to layout the new vision and business goals of the company. They also have to verify how the units will acquire the crabs and how the crabs will be released back to the ocean. However, before getting that far they have to shut down the current testing methods and place any rabbits that are left in a safe environment. The country managers need to check guidelines and laws for performing a test on horseshoe crabs in their countries so that they are not breaking any laws or demising any cultural beliefs. A thorough test of the process must be done in each unit to verify that this new strategy works for everyone.
In conclusion, changing the culture of an organization can be a tough task. Everyone does not embrace change the same. MB was forced to make a change in their testing processes in order to respect animal rights, and the laws that come along with protecting animals. By aligning the goals of the company with MB- France, MB- Germany, MB-United Kingdon, and MB-Japan, positive results can be obtained. Lines of communication have to be opened and remain open from the executive level all the way down to every department as well. This ensures that staff among the organization will continue moving in the same direction, without any type of confusion. The shift from testing on rabbits to horseshoe crabs was the best strategy for the company. If implemented correctly by aligning goals and objectives, MB will have a successful transfer of innovation across national borders.
The Bible extols the new approaches in the culture; “ Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 New International Version). This verse expresses how we should not be conformed to this world, but instead, change how we think. Then, you will see what is good and acceptable to him. Minnesota Biolabs could no longer practice testing in a manner that was harming animals. As a result, Executives had to renew the company’s strategy to operate in a manner that was good and pleasing.