:: Case Studies


What Business Are We In?

The Challenge

The Baker Company is a manufacturer of “behind the wall” construction products for the home building market.  They also sell a line of commercial and industrial chemicals.  Products sold by these businesses were completely different in technology, manufacturing base and location.  But they had been put together because they shared some similar distribution channels on end users.  Originally a family-owned company incorporating multiple acquired brands and business units; currently operating from five locations in the US.  Business is stable and profitable, although a recent downturn in the housing industry will hurt results.  Sales are about $300MM.
Baker was recently purchased by a private buyer who wants to grow the business internally and by acquisition.  A new CEO was brought on board.  He has experience in the same kinds of products, but in a different industry and was looking for help in deciding how to focus the company.

OGSP® as a Solution

As preparation for Strategy choices, a SWOT analysis is often helpful.  SWOT is an acronym for Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats and the exercise is a structured discussion on each of these topics as they relate to the company's position in the marketplace relative to competition.

The Baker Company's management began their SWOT discussion and soon it was clear that there was broad disagreement about what business the company should be in.  Not surprisingly, view of the company and its potential differed widely by the business unit.  For example, a Strategic Fit Test among the top ten executives indicated there was no agreement on what kinds of new products should be sold by the company.


The OGSP process led management and the owners to conclude:

  • The construction supply and commercial chemical businesses should be thought of strategically as two different units with their own strategic plans.
  • Finance and HR services should be shared between the units.
  • The industrial chemical business should be sold off, as it had nothing in common with the other two.

While this may seem like a step back, actually these are the breakthrough decisions which enabled management to develop a winning strategy for the business.