The GfK Group is the 4th market research organization worldwide. Its activities cover five business divisions Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and HealthCare. The Group has approximately 130 companies located in more than 70 countries and a current total of approximately 7 700 employees.
Since its creation in 1925, the company had always based its strategy on combining knowledge of methods and technology used in modern market research with local expertise and knowledge of customer' specificities.
In 2005, the sales represented 937.3 million EUR with an increase of 40% comparing to the previous year.
The geographical core markets are situated in Western and Southern Europe, Germany and USA.
The company had set itself the ambitious target of becoming the number 3 in the market research industry.
I worked for 4 months in the International Department in the office of Madrid. This department belongs to the Custom Research service and is in charge of the positioning and strategic surveys, tests products, consultancy on communication, customer's habits…
The Team Manager, Mr Leon Ezcurra, is responsible for the results of his department and allocates the surveys to the 5 employees specialized on different sectors.
[...] Around GfK you find firstly the customers, the shareholders and the employees. Customers Each customer appeals an individualizing relationship with a high availability of the partner. The customer management is orientated to big accounts by sectors and the major risk is a loss of confidence by their part. During all the process of the survey both partner work together to adjust the investigation and the client can, at any moment, consult the evolution of the research in Internet. The image of the group can be damaged by the non-fulfillment of management of some structures. [...]
[...] In this way, the global economy is highly linked to the economy of the USA but the risk is low. Signs: economical indicators Likeliness: low except major fact (war, oil crisis ) Damages: decrease of the whole activity Impact: High for GfK and its competitors (key markets: retail, mass products - Risk of modification of the market' structure: concentration of the market and increase of the power of the competitors. Signs: Partnerships, negotiations . Likeliness: low because market highly concentrated. [...]
[...] In general, the main external risks concerning the department are the same than for the whole group. The dynamism of the department depends of the capacity to generate new business. Insufficient prospecting: Signs: diminution of the turnover Likeliness: depending of the employees Damages: less resources and danger of reorganization Impact: fatal Countermeasure: system of scalable salary function of the results Delay in supplying the survey: Signs: complain and juridical appeal Likeliness: medium Damages: additional costs (damages) Impact: very high Countermeasure: system of sanction Issues concerning international requirements: Signs : problems of communication and of culture Likeliness: high Damages: misunderstandings and maybe loss of contract Impact: high Countermeasure: formation 5. [...]
[...] A high decrease in the bourse market would be a high damage for GfK . The impact could be high. Countermeasures: policy of control of the costs or expansion. Media The communication of the group is mostly assured by: specialized press, specialized fairs and prospecting. The risk could be not to adapt to specific cultures and not to reach the targets: Signs: no return on investment of the advertising campaigns, loss of profitability, negative reporting Likelihood: medium Damages: Fixed costs penalizing the company/ loss of market shares. [...]
[...] Damages: loss of market and major capacity of investment of the competitors. Impact: High. Countermeasures: increase the size and maintain the financial asset. Staff/employees - Risk to key staff being unavailable/transferred - Risk to staff undertaking engagement Signs: departures/ transfers. Likeliness: medium or high (high qualified workers expecting for strong culture and financial benefits). Damages: High (loss hiring costs, training costs ) Impact: High. Countermeasures: - Consider continuity of key skilled staff and availability of back-up personnel in case of unforeseen circumstances. [...]
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