Chattanooga case study
Industrial Marketing and Organization:
Competence and leadership
Supervisor: Markus Fellesson
Examiner: Markus Fellesson
About the company
Chattanooga Ice Cream Division is one of the three branches of Chattanooga Food Corporation, a family business founded in 1936, it represents a quarter of the group activity. Settled in the South East of America, Chattanooga Ice Cream is one of the largest regional manufacturers of mid-priced basic ice creams which deliver its products to the local supermarket.
For the last five years, even if the consumption of ice creams per capita seems to be quite stable, the demand moves toward higher quality products. Customers are enticed by new flavors and textures; the demand is more diversified. Besides, the division has to face the arrival on the market of new luxury brands such as Haagen-Dazs which offers the kind of products expected by customers.
Thereby, to remain competitive, Chattanooga Ice Cream has to manage with this new moving environment even if it is not easy. Indeed, the firm is a traditional company producing for over sixty years, basic ice creams in a well organized production line which had remained quite unchanged since the beginning.
The scene takes place in 1995 when the firm has already entered a difficult phase of adaptation. The changes began two years ago with the departure of three of seven members of the top management. The new headmaster of the division, Charles Moore, has replaced a 50-year veteran of Chattanooga. His predecessor was a strong leader, making decisions on his own and dealing easily with his customers’ network. Charles Moore’s working habits are far from that, he is less confident, prefers a participative management approach and has no network over ice creams market. He needs to prove himself before his employees could trust him...