Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cumberland Metal Industries: Engineered Product Division, 1980

Executive Summary

Cumberland Metal Industries (CMI), a company specialized in making of curled metal products, has develop a new product, metal cushion pad with health safety and long durability, to help contractors drive piles faster. Based on the successful tests, CMI now wants to launch this new product to the market. The main challenge CMI is facing is to price its new pads. Since the pad is totally new in the market, CMI should use perceived value pricing method and apply marketing mix programs comprised of advertising, education, and distribution channels to launch this product as well as develop it to get full market share in the future.

Perceived Value Pricing – strategy for future success

CMI should set the objective of this new business to be the monopoly and to maximize profits. However, the prerequisite for this objective is to get a patent to prevent this product from being copied and imitated. As long as CMI did not get patent for this product, CMI should not sell it as it would invite the entry of competitors because this cushion pad is not a high technology product and easy to be copied. Thus the following pricing strategy will be based on the scenario of getting patent protection.

To price the new product, CMI should apply perceived value pricing method to deliver its value to customers and CMI must make them perceive this value. CMI also needs to apply several marketing-mix programs such as advertising and roles of influencers to communicate and enhance perceived value in customers’ minds. The price calculation is as follow:

Normal a price of an 11 ½ inch asbestos pad is $3. A CMI’s pad lasts longer than asbestos pads 10 times (conservative estimate: p4). Thus speed and efficiency will be the top priority for marketing and pricing this pad. Based on product life, the pad will only have $30 value. However, based on the data from Colerick test, Corelick spent $1000 for asbestos pads; they use 6 CMI’s pads for the same job. So, it took $1000/6 = $166.67 worth of albestos pads to complete the same work by CMI’s pads. From the Fazio test, it took $400 worth of albestos pads. This has not take efficiency into consideration yet. Assuming that the users do care about speed and efficiency, CMI can charge additional price.

From the Colerick test, the job is to drive 50 feet in to the ground using 300 piles. The albestos pads spend 20mins (150ft/hrs: p.3) on driving and 400mins on set changing. The CMI’s pads spend only 15mins (200ft/hrs: p.3) on driving and 4mins on set changing. We do not need to take the hidden costs into consideration because it is not affected by reducing the driving time or pad changing time. So (420–19)min /60min = 6 hrs 41 min time saving. Because the contractors have to spend $100 per hour, Colerick probably save about $668/6 pads =$111.33 on equipment rental, labor and overhead costs for this work by using CMI’s pads. So the worth of CMI’s pad is $166.67+$111.33 = $278.00

CMI should choose the option to purchase the $50000 permanent tooling, because it will reduce cost per unit by $78.94. By this cost saving alone we can get back the money we invested in the tooling in less than 3 months. This will maximize profit in the long run. The total manufacturing cost will be $69.18/pad. The management wants 40%-50% contributing margin after all manufacturing costs, the price will be about $115 ~ $140 to satisfy the management’s profit expectation. Thus CMI’s should price the pads at $149.00, as this price will have 50% saving for the contractors.

Each CMI’s pad can save a huge among of costs for the contractors. If CMI can get the patent then no competitor can enter the market with the same product. CMI can charge the monopoly profit maximized price, but initially they should give promotional discount of 15% during the introductory phase, that is the first 2 purchases to make customers adopt the new pads because the price can look intimidating. (asbestos pad $3, CMI pad $149).

Marketing-mix strategy to launch and explore market share for new cushion pads

First, CMI needs to get the patent of this new product to protect from competitor entry. As CMI’s objectives is to be monopoly, patent is crucial.

Second, CMI needs to develop distribution channels. Direct channels to contractors who own pile hammers as they contributed high quantity and demand (50% of estimated market share). Also by having direct channels, CMI has more control on the education and monitoring of its clients. After that, CMI should sell to wholesalers and hardware stores to cover the small contractor. CMI should not be too concern about the equipment rental because as CMI’s pads gain popularity in the industry, customers will pressure the rental company to use CMI’s pads.

Third, CMI needs to develop promotional and advertising programs to make customers perceive the value of new pads. CMI needs to educate its consumers in terms of health benefits (no asbestos) and safety (no heating problem) and to add the brand quality by advertising in professional journals. CMI also needs to make the function and merit of the new product to be known by customers, especially the value the new product can create the aspect of health concern.

Fourth, CMI needs to establish a network of influencers or increase public relations. To do so, CMI needs to established networks in a new industry to the company and key influencers to endorse its product. The result from Professor McCormack will be of high value to gain endorsement from consulting firm.

Fifth, CMI needs to do market research, estimate the price elasticity of the new pad and the demand function and then adapt the initial price to the profit maximized price.


CMI’s pads definitely will be the market leader in the industry as it is innovative with high efficiency. Getting patent for this pad will ensure the growth profitability of CMI. In this case, perceived value pricing is used as the pad has more to offer than conventional asbestos. In line with this pricing strategy, marketing mix of advertising, education and distribution play a role in ensuring the success of this product.


michael said...


I read your case study and it was very Helpful.
I am a second year student and have to analyze this event.
I'd be happy if you could help me with more material.

my email is :

Thank you very much


michael said...

hi again,
the case study that i got is abut Heineken...
and my post was for that case.


Raghav said...


I am a masters student doing revenue management. Your case analysis of Cumberland Metal Industries (CMI) was quite interesting. I am trying to work out the right model for its pricing strategy. Could you please help me with some more material/excel sheet on this case w.r.t pricing.

email id:


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