Developing products and services to meet market demand
A Portakabin case study

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Summary

Concepts:

Portakabin, Portakabin WardSpace, buildings, healthcare, design, construction, market, environment, NHS, wards, modular, accommodation, customer, patient, hospitals.

Summary:

This case study examines how Portakabin has developed new products in response to growth in its existing markets.

In particular, it focuses on Portakabin WardSpace accommodation: an efficient way of meeting the increasingly demanding and highly specific requirements of the healthcare industry.

The Portakabin Group is a private company, owned 100by the Shepherd family.

The divisions within the Portakabin Group reflect client's needs e.g. Portakabin Hire supplies interim accommodation and fittings such as air-conditioning, on hire, whereas Yorkon manufactures complex, architecturally designed permanent buildings.

Portakabin Ltd specialises in producing modular buildings.

In modular construction, buildings are manufactured and fitted out in a controlled factory environment whilst the foundations are being prepared on-site.

Ansoff highlighted the importance of product development in situations where an organisation is able to develop new products for an existing market. This involves a company exploiting the strength of its relationship with customers and using its experience and creative ability to develop new products suited to their needs.

Recently, there has been an increasing demand for new high-quality healthcare buildings to relieve severe shortages of space in many hospitals.

The Portakabin WardSpace concept is a direct response to the National Health Service Plan (NHS), which is designed to improve care and service to patients so that they recover more quickly.

In setting out its plans for new building construction, the NHS is demanding a design solution that 'not only satisfies functional requirements but is also economical in both its capital and running costs i.e. cheap to build, use and maintain'.

Every patient has a generous area around the bed for visitors and personal belongings, a personal locker, a window view and access to entertainment services.

The wards are attractively decorated and fitted.

Strategic fit involves having the right sort of management (good at decision making) and the ability to recognise customer needs, the right resources (financial, human etc), appropriate technological capability (ability to work with new ideas and technologies), and the products that match customer demand.

Learning outcomes:

As a result of carefully reading this case study, students should be able to:

  • describe the organisational structure of the Portakabin Group
  • describe the ownership of a private company
  • know that an effective growth strategy is to match a company's products to its markets that are growing
  • explain new product development as a growth strategy, using the example of the Portakabin WardSpace product
  • identify key environmental factors (SLEPT components) that have led to a growing market for healthcare products
  • show how the development of the Portakabin WardSpace building was research driven
  • give examples of how the Portakabin WardSpace design was developed to meet the needs of the market
  • explain how Portakabin WardSpace accommodation provides a cost effective solution to healthcare provision
  • outline the benefits of batch production.

Portakabin | Developing products and services to meet market demand