Essendon Food Solutions Case Study

Essendon Food Solutions Case Study

Jonathan Jacob and Henry Shultz started Essendon Food Solutions (EFS) forty years ago. Both were working for a multinational food ingredient company and felt that the company’s systems and processes were inhibiting creativity and innovation. Jonathan was a microbiologist, and Jacob was a Food technologist.Today, EFS employs more than 800 people with combined revenue of $ 1.6 Billion. EFS is a holding company with two subsidiaries; EnzymeTech and Essendon Emulsifiers. Each subsidiary is headed by a General Manager (GM), and they report to the EFS CEO (Jonathan) and the Board of Directors. The two GMs have significant autonomy and tightly control each business unit. The managerial structure is topdown; all decisions such as project appraisals and selections are made by the GM and senior executive team of each business. Both companies compete for resources from the holding company EFS, which is listed in the stock exchange. According to one insider “, each unit is trying to outdo the other, and I feel the Board likes it that way, competitive, secretive, divide and rule. Ironically, Jonathan and Henry created a company similar to what they left 40 years ago, bureaucratic and toxic.”

The company culture is such they believe senior executives should come up through the ranks. Therefore, most of the top executives have worked at EFS for an extended period and worked at only one business unit. The average age of the senior management team (the executive committee – fifteen executives) is 53 years, and the next level of leadership is also not far behind. Junior executives call the executive committee, the senior citizens club. Experience at EFS is seen as one of the critical criteria for promotions irrespective of your experience elsewhere.

Most of the senior staff (60%) have a Degree in Microbiology. Even those who head the marketing functions have been scientists first and then moved into marketing and sales. It is a standard practice that the Human Resources department when hiring staff, considers anyone coming from a Microbiology background as having an advantage. According to an executive who joined recently “first few months at EFS can be difficult, but after you learn to ask fewer questions and follow orders, life becomes easier, and honestly, you can stick around for a long time.”

Your Task
You are required to review an organisation case study including information about the organisation’s internal structure, market research techniques, and R&D methodology. You are also required to analyse strategic leadership related aspects while identifying leadership challenges and opportunities.

Assessment Description

Disruptive Innovation capabilities
You must record a Disruptive Innovation Video Presentation reflecting on the organisation’s capacity to innovate from the following perspectives:A. Internal perspective
Prepare an analysis of the key internal structures impacting the organisation’s innovative capacity and offer recommendations.

B. External perspective
Prepare an analysis of the key external factors impacting the organisation’s innovative capacity and offer recommendations.

C. Marketing perspective
Prepare an analysis of the key marketing and customer related factors impacting the organisation’s innovative capacity and offer recommendations.

D. Technology perspective                                                                                                                                                        Prepare an analysis of the organisation’s innovative processes and whether they enhance the organisation’s innovative capacity and offer recommendations.

Strategic Leadership
The video recording should involve an analysis of leaders within the organization based on strategic leadership related criteria discussed in workshop 12.

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