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How to best structure for comparison with competitors to have a MECE approach?

Anonymous A asked on Aug 12, 2019 - 2 answers

Hello,

I often see myself juggling with "drawing a comparison with competitors' in my case structure. I tend to cover Competition as a separate bucket under Market bucket but then I realise that it overlaps with the product, price, customer part- for comparison questions. Infact, it goes beyond that and at times the competition comes back again when we see how they are selling/ sourcing/ manufacturing/ branding etc the product or service we are evaluating for the client.

Other way, is to not have competition as a separate tab and cover it under Market Attractiveness and ask about #competitors, individual share, USP, etc in market size- share bucket. But this will make us to use Competition related questions across all the other buckets eg: Product, Price, Distribution, Revenue, Cost, Customers, etc etc (depending on the case).

As you can see that none of the above fit into MECE scheme of things. Any suggestions on how to go about incorporating COMPETITION related part in an effective MECE Case structure?

Thank you very much!

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John
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replied on Aug 12, 2019
Ex Bain Case Team Leader I Focus on Private Equity I +80 interviews conducted at Bain I All cases based on real life cases
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Hey,

a few remarks on this from my point of view (there is no wrong or right here).

1) Comparing the client/target with competitors should not fall under market. The only competition related issue that should be looked at in market is competitive intensity, i.e. how strong is competition between the different players.

2) After you have asked about competitors and shar developments, you might want to evaluate compettiveness of a company, I would recommend to not draw up various standard buckets (e.g. product, price, distribution, etc.) and try to ask the right questions in each of those. I would structure it along Key Purchasing Criteria (KPCs) so that your questions will be 100% relevant and not hit or miss for factors that are not relevant to the client.

  • Step 1) Evaluate with your interviewers what could be the most important KPCs for your client's/target's customers and rank them. Be careful - they might be different depending on the customer segment. (e.g. rank 1: rrice, rank 2: speed of delivery, rank 3: quality, rank 4: customer service, etc.)
  • Step 2) Evaluate your client's/ target's performance against competition on these KPCs. (e.g. client performs well on all KPCs apart from price which is the most important one)
  • Step 3) Deduct what the client/target has to do in order to influence their performance on the KPCs. (e.g. reduce cost in order to lower prices).

I hope this helps. You can also PM me, if you have further questions.

Best,

John

Vlad replied on Aug 12, 2019
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Hi!

First of all and most important - your initial structure should not be necessarily MECE. This is one of the most common misconceptions. If you look at the consulting client proposals - the structures there are not MECE most of the time. However, your structures during the case the should be MECE all the time.

Secondly - I would put competition separately from the market branch.

In the market you look at:

  • size
  • growth rates
  • segmentation, growth rates of the segments
  • regulation
  • trends

In the competition you look at:

  • Market shares
  • Growth rates
  • Profits
  • Unit economics (products, price, cost per unit)
  • Key capabilities

As you can imagine you can't look at 12 bullet points simply under the market bucket

Thirdly - it's totally fine to compare things with the competitors in any other bucket. It's called benchmarking and it's just one of the consulting tools. In reality, the numbers you get will simply depend on the tables / charts that the interviewer has. It can be the case that you get the information about the company in the competitor's bucket if that's the comparison the interviewer has printed in his table

Best

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