Le Petite Essay

749 Words3 Pages
Background A European high-end microwave oven manufacturer at its inception, by 1999, Le Petit Chef (LPC) diversified production to include myriad kitchen counter-top appliances. Microwaves, however, continued to be the mainstay of the company, comprising over 85% of revenues. In recent years, competitors have been able match the high quality and performance levels of LPC microwaves. This, coupled with heavy competition in the low-end microwave oven segment, LPC’s margins have diminished. By the end of 1999, the company projected the first unprofitable quarter in its history. Brigitte Gagne, the Director of R&D for the Microwave Division, needed to find a solution to remedy the situation. LPC Project Current Selection Strategy LPC began manufacturing microwaves under a “simple and informal” procedure of a limited line of Libert combi-ovens. Eventually, though, the company began to consider new R&D-heavy projects: mid-range line, Elegante; user-interface upgrades to Liberte, and a self-cleaning Liberte microwave. To tackle these new endeavors, LPC created a three-stage process: 1. Opportunity Development: R&D would lead meetings with sales, technical development and manufacturing to determine consumer trends, technical advancements and process enhancements. 2. Opportunity Refinement: R&D would engage in a screening process to determine project viability and develop formal proposals. 3. Opportunity Selection: Director of R&D would finally select the projects to fund after considering project returns and resource availability. If however, PreQuip’s Development Process is applied to the current list of proposed and ongoing microwave oven R&D projects, it is clear that LPC is engaging in far too many platform and derivative projects, and over-extending R&D. When evaluated under these parameters, LPC can eliminate many projects that would continue to

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