Meeting customer needs for competitive advantage
A Portakabin case study

Page 0: Introduction

Although the UK manufacturing and construction industry has contracted over recent years, there are still many UK companies operating in this sector. This Case Study demonstrates that it is possible to prosper in this sector by developing competitive advantage through new product and service development. It shows how the manufacturing of products can be combined with the provision of services to...
Read full page

Page 1: Sectors of the economy

Listen to page 1
[audio=http://download.businesscasestudies.co.uk/player.php?f=cG9ydGFrYWJpbi9tcDMvOS9wYWdlLTEubXAz&titles=Sectors of the economy]

Economic activity is usually divided into 3 sectors: 1. Primary industry - involves extracting raw materials. When economies first start growing they are heavily dependent on their own raw materials - e.g. coal, iron ore and other metals that are useful in manufacturing processes. 2. As economies industrialise, secondary industries grow - consisting of construction and manufacturing such as...
Read full page

Page 2: Who are Portakabin´s customers?

Listen to page 2
[audio=http://download.businesscasestudies.co.uk/player.php?f=cG9ydGFrYWJpbi9tcDMvOS9wYWdlLTIubXAz&titles=Who are Portakabin´s customers?]

Portakabin operates primarily in the B2B (Business to Business) market, and in the provision of buildings for the public sector. Examples of the products it offers include modular buildings i.e. offices, school and hospital buildings and local government offices. More organisations are recognising the need for building methods which are safe, clean, efficient, minimise disruption, save time and...
Read full page

Page 3: The sectors, their needs and expectations

Listen to page 3
[audio=http://download.businesscasestudies.co.uk/player.php?f=cG9ydGFrYWJpbi9tcDMvOS9wYWdlLTMubXAz&titles=The sectors, their needs and expectations]

Portakabin's private sector customers consist of business organisations such as insurance companies and airlines which are represented by Facilities Managers and/or Architects. These organisations are driven by a need to make a profit for their shareholders. This is best achieved by focusing on what they do best e.g. selling insurance policies or air tickets. Increasingly, these companies seek...
Read full page

Page 4: Communication with customers

Listen to page 4
[audio=http://download.businesscasestudies.co.uk/player.php?f=cG9ydGFrYWJpbi9tcDMvOS9wYWdlLTQubXAz&titles=Communication with customers]

Having developed a range of new products and services, it is important that everyone within the company is familiar with these developments (internal communication) so that they can better communicate with current and potential customers (external communication). Internal communications media include a newsletter that informs employees of new and ongoing projects and important events. Notice...
Read full page

Page 5: Conclusion

Listen to page 5
[audio=http://download.businesscasestudies.co.uk/player.php?f=cG9ydGFrYWJpbi9tcDMvOS9wYWdlLTUubXAz&titles=Conclusion]

The business saying that 'if you are green you are growing, if you are ripe you rot' is a message that rings loud and clear from Portakabin's growth strategy. Although the company operates in a maturing market in the UK, it is seizing the opportunity to grow with a range of product and service innovations. These developments are market driven, and throughout, the concern is to identify ways of...
Read full page

Teaching resources for this case study

  • Portakabin Logo

    These are the teaching resources associated with the case study: Meeting customer needs for competitive advantage

    As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: define the term competitive advantage, understand the importance of differentiation as a competitive strategy, distinguish between private and public sector customers.

    All teacher downloads and teaching aids relating to this Portakabin case study are free to download.

Related: Portakabin
Case studies in Business Case Studies