Page 2: Fundamental values and company structure
A company's values are the guiding principles that determine the way it behaves. BIC's values relate to its products, which ensure they are:
- functional: designed to perform a specific function well e.g. to draw a line, produce a flame, shave hair. The key to achieving functionality is to adopt the most appropriate design, engineering and technology.
- affordable: achieved by using appropriate design, materials production and distribution channels.
- universal: capable of being used by anyone worldwide e.g. the ballpoint pen, the pocket lighter, the one-piece shaver.
Building on these fundamental values, BIC has established three core categories for products, based on a global range, designed for mass appeal. BIC then helps local retailers to select the products that best suit their own customers' needs from this range.
Each of the three product categories is managed by a Category General Manager, who has the overall responsibility for the marketing, development, and manufacturing worldwide. In recent years manufacturing operations have been simplified so that huge outputs can be produced from super-factories that serve very large geographical markets.
Product distribution is then organised by continent, with country managers reporting to their continental manager. The organisation thus has a matrix structure based on two main lines of communication - (1) by product category, (2) by geographical region. This means that an employee working, say, in a pen manufacturing plant in France would be accountable both within the Western European division and the stationery category.
This matrix structure allows combining the benefits of a strong product expertise, together with strong operational structures per geographic area.