Case Study

Unilever Ice Cream Europe (B): The in-home mwb market dive

6 pages
December 2009
Reference: IMD-3-2084

The B-case and video picks up the story of how Kees van der Graaf’s team started coming together to identify and tackle the key challenges ahead. The market dive for all the key decision-makers in ICE brought sharply into focus the issues of complexity which were hurting the company’s position, sales and profitability. While some were caused by market complexity, others were due to decisions made by the company itself such as product ranges, flavors and packaging formats. With all the key people in the room discussing the findings of the market dive, the radical solution, “Let’s double the business by halving the complexity”, was agreed as their target. To make it even more challenging, this target needed to be achieved in a little under one year if ICE was to be ready for the 2003 season.

Learning Objective

Each step in this case and video series builds on the previous one, introducing new challenges, discussion points and learning. Participants begin in the A-case by exploring the challenges of complexity facing Unilever Ice Cream, and can have useful discussions around the causes of complexity, the impact of complexity on the business and the challenges in reducing complexity. These issues and discussions can be directly related to similar challenges facing their own businesses. As the participants move on in the journey with subsequent cases and video footage, they are able to explore how the company successfully tackled complexity, the leadership and organizational challenges it faced in doing so and how these were overcome.

Complexity, Simplicity, Change, Growth, Profitability, Must-win Battles, Food
2001 – 2003
Field Research
© 2009
Available Languages
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