The case outlines the development of Boston-based start-up Rethink Robotics Inc., a leader in a rapidly growing part of the booming robotics market: collaborative robots (cobots), which work side by side with humans. This case also traces the moves of a mid-sized German hardware engineering company, HAHN Automation, a leader in integrated automation systems. With a keen interest in cobots, HAHN Automation had invested in the start-up and acquired the rights to distribute, sell and service Rethink Robotics’ products globally. This had made HAHN Automation a leader in the growing global market for cobots. When Rethink Robotics suddenly announced that it was liquidating, HAHN’s leaders needed to act. They saw three options: acquire, develop IP in-house or find another solution.
- Highlight the importance of business fundamentals, even for firms that are well aligned with macro trends.
- Show the limitations of classic concepts, such as growth strategies, when a more nuanced and integrative approach is called for.
- Illustrate the difference between organic and inorganic growth and between technological expertise and market knowledge.
- Discover how a company manages an organizational transformation that involves the acquisition of external assets.
- Illustrate how progressive changes in technologies and markets affect companies.
Rethink Robotics, Manufacturing, Industrial Automation
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