BIC produces and commercializes stationery products, lighters, shavers, water sports items (BIC sports), and services with promotional items (BIC GRAPHICS). It is a multinational group established in 160 countries, with more than 8400 employees and 24 manufacturing facilities. More than 3,200,000 retail outlets offer BIC products.
BIC was founded in 1953 after Marcel BICH bought and improved a license which led to the creation of a disposable pen. From 1954 to 1957 the company entered foreign markets, primarily by creating subsidiaries and acquiring companies. BIC Italy and BIC Brazil were established in 1954 and 1956, and the company acquired England's Biro Swan Company in 1957. In 1958 BIC bought the Waterman Pen Company in Connecticut, marking BIC's first entry into North America. The company introduced its BIC pens to the US market in the following year. BIC diversified in 1971 when it bought Flaminaire, a French maker of traditional lighters.
In 1973, the company introduced its first disposable BIC lighters with the popular advertising slogan Flick your BIC'. Disposable razors entered BIC's product basket by its single blade razor in 1975. Fashion house Guy Laroche joined the BIC family in 1979. In 1992 the company acquired White-Out Products, a US based manufacturer of correction fluid. Marcel Bich stepped down as chairman and CEO in 1993, and was succeed by Bruno his son. BIC added the Tipp-Ex brand, Europe's leading correction fluid products, in 1997. In the same year the company also acquired Sheaffer, a worldwide manufacturer of upscale writing instruments.
[...] Strategic clock The strategic clock analysis applied to BIC's five business units BIC's three main business units (Razors, stationery and lighters) have a hybrid differentiation strategy. Their prices are low whereas their quality and perceived benefits are high. Its two subsidiary business units (BIC Graphic and BIC sport) are more based on ‘differentiation'. Their prices are neither low nor high, but BIC uses their core competences to add perceived benefits to its products. BIC Lighters As mentioned in the PESTEL framework (socio-cultural and legal factors), the lighter industry is characterized by having particular safety issues and legal constraints. [...]
[...] - cost reduction - revenue enhancement Competitive advantage is created if the following criteria are met: - valuable - rare - costly to imitate The Value Chain Support activities Firm infrastructure BIC has a combination of structures that operate in tandem which take the form of: - product divisions (stationery, lighters, shavers and water sports equipment), - geographical divisions (North America, Oceania, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America), - Functional structures (finance, marketing, legal, human resources and audit). The structure of the BIC Group is a matrix that aligns its three major businesses with its geographical markets. [...]
[...] Finally, the dominant strategic group gathers producers of disposable, high quality razors. These products have high R&D costs and compete to gain consumers trust. In this strategic group one can count Gillette, Wilkinson and BIC. Where does the pressure come from? Porter's Five Forces framework The Five Force framework's objective is better to analyze direct and indirect competition, potential entrants, as well as the pressures in the sector, coming from suppliers or consumers. The Five Forces framework applied to BIC's three business units Competitive rivalry: BIC's direct competition can be found by analyzing its different strategic groups, depending on which SBU is being analyzed. [...]
[...] At this time BIC will have already gained in fuel cell battery knowledge 2010: following R&D developments on recyclable materials, BIC will have a clear view on its final product and define its design and specificities. At this point, BIC will also be able to plan its production processes and study perfect financial feasibility. 2010-2011: Product specificities and financial planning is over. Implementing production processes in new or current factories, depending on costs, operational considerations and synergy possibilities with other business units. [...]
[...] It plays a major role in BIC's branding opportunities, as BIC was the first producer to fabricate them. They had already started in the United States. - Existing markets/existing products BIC improves its market shares in developing economies by better segmenting its demand as these economies become more prosperous. Starting with traditional products, BIC slowly offers more innovative products through better segmentation. In developed countries, hard discount stores opened (economical factors). These hard discount stores, by the volumes bought, can offer BIC products at even lower prices to the end consumer and can play a major role as retailer. [...]
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