Waterford Wedgwood Case Study

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Waterford Wedgwood Case Study

Waterford Wedgwood plc is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of branded luxury home products including: high-end crystal, fine bone china, fine porcelain, earthenware, and premium cookware. Employing nearly 10,000 people, Waterford Wedgwood is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. Their primary operations, other than Ireland, include the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Germany, and Asia.

The company's primary brands include: Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood China, and Royal Doulton.

The three brands have come together to form one of the premier lifestyle product manufacturers in the world. This paper gives an analysis of Waterford Wedgwood, its internal and external environment and their strategies.

Waterford Wedgwood Case Study

Executive Summary:

Waterford Wedgwood plc is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of branded luxury home products including: high-end crystal, fine bone china, fine porcelain, earthenware, and premium cookware. Employing nearly 10,000 people, Waterford Wedgwood is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. Their primary operations, other than Ireland, include the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Germany, and Asia.

The company's primary brands include: Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood China, and Royal Doulton.

The three brands have come together to form one of the premier lifestyle product manufacturers in the world.

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Established in 1783, Waterford Crystal was first established in the heart of the Irish harbor town by the same name, by two brothers, William and George Penrose, to produce the finest crystal for the home. More than two centuries later, Waterford has merged with Wedgwood and Royal Doulton to form WWRD Holdings plc.

Josiah Wedgwood, known as the founder of pottery, founded his Wedgwood Company in 1759. In 1986, the company became a division of WWRD Holdings.

Case Study on Waterford Wedgwood Case Study Assignment

The youngest of the three partnering companies, Royal Doulton, was formed in 1815 and became known globally for their fine tableware, gifts and collectibles. Distributed through premium department stores, independent retailers and wholesalers, Royal Doulton is sold primarily in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Ireland.

Other product lines included under the WWRD Holdings umbrella include: Rosenthal, Coalport, Mason's, Johnson Bros., Franciscan, Thomas Rosenthal Group, Hutschenreuther, Minton, Royal Albert, Marquis, Stuart Crystal, Edinburgh Crystal, WC Designs, and Spring

. Rosenthal employs approximately 150 artists to manufacture their fine porcelain tableware and ornamental wares. Most of Rosenthal's products are sold in Central Europe. WC Designs is a manufacturer of luxury table and bedroom lines, as well as decorative accessories for the home. WC Designs brands include: Royal Palace, Waterford Linen, Wedgwood Linens, Wilton Court, and Susan and Sarah Collection. Lastly, Spring is a high-end manufacturer of serving ware, chafing dishes, and assorted cookware.

The company has not had a vision statement since its inception. However, the following is the recommended vision:

Waterford Wedgwood plc strives to design and manufacture the finest quality crystal, ceramics, and luxury lifestyle products to beautify the home and provide long lasting value to their customers around the globe. With the partnership of leading designers and celebrities and the highest commitment to customer service, Waterford Wedgwood stands apart from its competitors.

In addition, although there is a mission statement available, it is lacking many of the critical components necessary in an effective mission statement. As such, the following mission statement is recommended:

To continue to be the world's leading portfolio of luxury lifestyle products with particular emphasis on tabletop, gifting and the home, for global customers who appreciate the quality pieces to beautify their home. Manufacturing processes and technology are employed to ensure the highest levels of quality, to create high-end pieces that provide a lasting value. To this end, Waterford Wedgwood employees are the lifeblood of the organization and will be provided an environment in which they are motivated, informed and can work in a safe and healthy environment.

All in all, the company has achieved a remarkable level of success over the last two hundred years. However, like the missing vision and inadequate mission statement, there are components of the strategic puzzle that could be honed to fit better into the big picture. Waterford Wedgwood has developed strategies to address many of their opportunities and threats, specifically threats. Of particular importance is the companies lack of strategy change in response to the economic downturn not only the U.S. But the world itself know this. Weaknesses too seem to be lacking in strategic direction. As such, a strategy of developing a new product line, under the core brands umbrella, with a lower-priced protect it from many of the threats the company faces, while taking advantage of their strengths and opportunities and warding off their weaknesses.

Analysis:

Waterford Wedgwood has a long history of success; however, their strategic direction is not honed for the economic challenges of today's world. As a result, the company has experienced continuing revenue and profit decline. The company does not currently have a vision statement to inspire the organization as it moves forward through murky economic waters. Their mission statement is lacking in many important aspects. Their objectives are unaggressive and do not fully capitalize on the opportunities and strengths at their disposal. Lastly, their strategies are more focused on maintaining the status quo as opposed to growth, in a time when the previous status quo simply can no longer be profitable.

While evaluating the external factors affecting Waterford Wedgwood, it becomes clear that their strategies in this area are just about average. This moderate rating is negatively impacting their profitability and their growth. Although the company has implemented strategies to take advantage of the benefits of restructuring and continues to be a leader in new product development, there are still other areas where their strategies do not address these opportunities and threats. Partnerships with top designers and celebrities have boosted corporate sales; however, current strategies do not appear to be capitalizing on developing new partnerships to continue growth. Merging with complimentary companies too has proved successful, in the past, therefore it would seem logical that the company employ this strategy again. Yet, there are not plans to do so that have been released to the public. Brand repositioning, as a whole, simply would not work for the company, in that they entire company image and philosophy is centered on luxury goods; however, there may be a position for developing a new product line under an already established brand's umbrella.

Again, Waterford Wedgwood appears not to have taken the current economic turmoil into consideration when developing their strategies. Threats such as reduced availability of credit, reduced demand for luxury goods, and continued softness of the U.S. dollar are important to consider when formulating strategies. Yet, the company's 'business as usual' attitude seems to ignore these potentially devastating factors.

Internal factors, for the company, are taken more into account in their current strategies; however, there are still some of these factors that fail to make it into the organization's strategic planning.

After reviewing the variety of strategic analysis tools it is decided that one strategy Waterford Wedgwood should undertake is the development of a new product line, featuring lower prices. This one alternative takes advantage of many of the company's strengths, like their core business unit. It also wards off weaknesses and threats, including those caused by economic upheaval not only here in the United States, but around the globe as well. Although there are some potential risks to this strategy, such as poor acceptance by customers and low-priced products negatively affect other brand images as well, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Increased revenues, especially from a demographic that they may not have reached before, increased profitability and possible entry into new geographic markets all are reason why Waterford Wedgwood should adopt this strategy immediately.

Existing Vision, Mission, Objectives, and Strategies:

Waterford's first vision was to "create the finest quality crystal for drinking vessels and objects of beauty for the home."

Today, with the merger of the three companies, the mission statement is surprisingly similar. "To continue to be the world's leading portfolio of luxury lifestyle brands with particular emphasis on tabletop, gifting and the home."

Working with top designers including Versace, Vera Wang, and Marc Jacobs, Waterford Wedgwood has been able to transform a more than two hundred year old vision, to a guiding, multi-company mission statement that is still relevant today.

The organization's strategies to achieve the objective of being the world's leader in luxury lifestyle brands, has centered on the development of a portfolio of brands. This arsenal of high quality brands include: Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Rosenthal, Spring, and WC Designs. However it is the co-branding relationship that Waterford Wedgwood has developed that has really set it apart from other manufacturers of lifestyle products. Working with top designers and leading celebrities, Waterford Wedgwood has expanded their product lines to include a variety of well-known partners. These include: Emeril Lagasse, Versace, John Rocha, Terence Conran, Marc Jacobson, Jasper Conran, Zandra Rhodes, Vera Wang, Martha Stewart, Barbara Barry, Gordon Ramsay, Dr. Andrew Weil and the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Yet, these current strategies are being enacted in a time unlike anything else the company has ever experienced.

The economic challenges faced today… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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