Based on this limited information, what strengths may form the basis of capabilities

Answer the following questions regarding the passage below

1. Based on everything you’ve read, create a mission statement for Strictly Solar. Prepare a short justification for Mr. Jones.

2. Next, develop a minimum of two corporate objectives based on the information found in the case. You may very well be able to develop 3 or more.

3. While Strictly Solar is a very new company, there are some factors that can be analyzed within this framework. Discuss those factors in the context of the information provided (from the Strictly Solar case background)

4. Identify the specific strengths and weaknesses, as well as the potential causes (e.g., the types of resources that are available).

5. Based on this limited information, what strengths may form the basis of capabilities?

6. Now, switch gears. Think about the unique fabric and its patented solar ability. For what types of products and industries would the SOLAR aspect allow a manufactor to change the value curve? In other words, by adding the solar feature, what other product features could be eliminated, reduced, or expanded beyond the creation of the solar aspect to add value to the product, and appeal to an entirely new group of customers?

Strictly Solar

Mr. Robert Jones – NASA

An accomplished problem-solver, Mr. Jones formerly worked at NASA as an engineer in various capacities. He earned dual doctorates in mechanical engineering and astrophysics from prestigious institutions and continued his education by attending various academic and professional conferences.

Mr. Jones has a reputation as a fair, highly principled man, who has strong ethical values that guide his personal and work behavior. He was so deeply affected by the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle disaster that he asked for a transfer to the Space Shuttle program after the devastating incident. His personal goal was to ensure that nothing like that could ever happen again.

The vast majority of his co-workers and supervisors found Mr. Jones to be easy to get along with and quite charismatic and persuasive for an engineer. He seemed to have an innate ability to talk others into doing things they originally did not want to do. Even more amazingly, people seem to be happier for having done what Mr. Jones asked after the activity or task is complete. NASA was so impressed with his people skills that they encouraged him to pursue an MBA at the University of Houston and paid for his education. After earning his degree, Mr. Jones received a promotion to Department head, where he successfully managed over 80 engineers for several years. Later promotions with greater responsibility occurred over the years, and he ultimately joined the senior management team. Mr. Jones retired from NASA in December of 2017 after more than 38 years of service.

Mr. Robert Jones – Entrepreneur

Mr. Jones was widowed early in life and as a result, spent the majority of his free time in his massive personal workshop. Mr. Jones currently holds over 50 personal patents (not owned by NASA). Four of his inventions went on to become components in technical or consumer products. Rather than manufacturing the components himself, Mr. Jones licensed the technology to the product manufacturers. In return, he earned royalty income from each product that made use of one of his parts. Over time, foreign competitors began to offer components that provided similar benefits at a lower cost, and as of 2017, Mr. Jones’ royalty income has dwindled to a fraction of what it once was.

The Solar Fabric

Now that he is retired, Mr. Jones wants to start his own business as he believes he can devote the time and energy necessary to managing the engineering, development, and production of products related to his newest invention. He has already invested $400,00 in the development and testing of a solar fabric, and he has an additional $1,000,000 available to fund the launch of a single product during the first year of his firm’s operation.

The invention that Mr. Jones has just recently perfected and patented is a solar fabric. The threads within the cloth capture the solar power. The threads are not separate from the material; they cannot be seen or removed from the material. The solar threads and the material are both patent-protected. The technology to manufacture the threads and the composition of the threads is proprietary. The fabric does NOT contact solar panels or solar batteries, detachable or otherwise.

The solar fabric is NOT like a space blanket. It does not reflect the body’s heat back on a person. It is also NOT similar to a coffee warmer, meaning it cannot transfer heat to objects such as food containers, like a thermos.

The material most closely resembles felt, and the strength of the material is most similar to a thick piece of felt or a blanket. The cloth is soft and flexible, not hardened. It is not designed to stretch. You couldn’t create a stretcher out of the material alone. You have the option of altering the thickness or the coarseness of the material (within reason) at no additional cost, but you couldn’t make it thick enough to support the weight of a human being without it tearing. The fabric can be very light (16 ounces. per 6 ft x 8 ft piece of fabric) yet very warm. The material is machine washable. It is flame retardant, and UL approved. The material can also be waterproofed if desired. It is possible to manufacture the material in a variety of patterns and colors. The 8 x 6 ft material can easily have add-ons such as zippers, buttons, drawstrings, elastic and other little things at no additional cost. If cut, it does not require hemming, meaning the sides won’t fray, but you may want to hem it for aesthetic purposes.

Charging and Using the Solar Fabric

The fabric must be exposed to direct or indirect sunlight for at least an hour of charging before the fabric can be turned to release heat. Charging occurs in direct sunlight, and indirect sunlight (through clouds, through windows). Exposure to indoor lighting does NOT charge the fabric. Moonlight does NOT charge the fabric. The fabric can charge while in use if exposed to direct or indirect sunlight. The heat output will stay at 100% of the desired level until the charge expires, at which point the heat will simply stop until it is recharged.

Charging the fabric requires the ON button to be active. Turning the button OFF stops charging and stores the energy. The energy stays stored in the fabric for several days (like a cell phone), though it will eventually dissipate if not used. It doesn’t stay charged for months like a Duracell battery. You cannot damage the fabric by overcharging. Four hours of charging equals eight hours of warmth. When charging, 1 square foot of an 8 ‘ x 6’ piece of fabric must be fully exposed to the direct or indirect sunlight. Smaller fabric pieces require less fabric exposure.

Temperature Control

An on-off switch and temperature regulator are combined into a single unit. Your firm determines the specifications and can make it any size, and locate it anywhere on the item. The on-off temperature regulator can be detachable. The default mode of fabric when the regulator is detached is “ON” (meaning that the fabric is dispensing heat).

With the on-off switch, there are three temperature settings, low, medium and high. Your firm decides what temperature to assign to each setting. Generally, though, the temperature range will mimic that of an electric blanket. Higher temperature settings do not use more energy than lower temperature settings, so the setting chosen does not impact the amount of time the fabric produces warmth.

When fully charged, the material stays warm at 100% of whatever level is selected for 8 hours, no matter if it is 30 degrees or -20 degrees outside. Think of the solar charge as working similar to a phone battery. It works fully until the charge runs out, then it simply stops working.


Patents last for 20 years. Once the product is available on the market, technology firms may reverse engineer our product and determine a way to make a similar technology just different enough to skate by copyright infringement charges. Competitors who create a variation of our technology would likely create different products than what we sell. Assume that you have ten years before a direct competitor for whatever you make emerges into the marketplace.

Company Background

Mr. Robert Jones has hired you to work at his start-up company as his chief marketing officer (CMO). Mr. Jones has incorporated his business and name his firm Strictly Solar . He has trademarked the name, and has bought the URL rights to, and, though he does not have an active website yet. Currently, there are no other company employees. However, he does have extensive connections among retired military, government, and NASA individuals who may help in the areas of operations and finance as the firm grows.

Now that he is retired, Mr. Jones believes he can devote the time and energy necessary to manage the development, and production of products related to his newest invention. He has already invested $400,000 in the development and testing of a solar fabric, and he has an additional $1,000,000 available to fund the launch of a single product during the first year of his firm’s operation.

Mr. Jones is working out of his home. He has asked you to work closely with him at his home office until he leases a business space. As part of his plan to minimize costs, he has already negotiated a very favorable manufacturing contract with a U.S. manufacturer in Chicago, Illinois. The terms are much more favorable than outsourcing to Mexico when one considers the potential for intellectual property theft, and all of the “freebies” the manufacturer has conceded to include with the manufacturing process. For example, small items such as elastic, drawstrings, zippers, the temperature/controller gauge, cutting/sewing are all built into the manufacturing price. (See Table 1). The manufacturer has signed a non-disclosure agreement as they will be working with Mr. Jones proprietary product. The Project Instructions will provide information related to some of the expenses that will influence the marketing plan (part 2). All materials are made in the U.S.A. All suppliers are highly rated by the sustainable purchasing leadership council and were accredited by the Ethical Company Organisation.

Strategic Planning and Product Development

Despite being a top-notched engineer and a strong leader, Mr. Jones hired you for a reason. He has no experience in many aspects of strategic planning, much less marketing and branding or consumer goods. Originally, he just wanted to see if he could make a solar powered fabric as he enjoyed the intellectual challenge this problem presented. He’s not certain how to capitalize upon this invention. After talking with a few people, he realized that the material he created could be used to develop many different types of products. Now he isn’t certain what product to create as his first venture, though he is adamant that the product must be targeted at consumers, rather than industrial clients or businesses, and he expects you to do the research and propose the product idea with the most potential for year one. Only one product concept can be produced and marketed during 2019 given his limited budget of 1,000,000. However, He is also interested in hearing your ideas for the long-term, so developing some ideas for long-term new product development are also of interested.

Ideally, Mr. Jones would like the full marketing plan (Project Part 2) to cover costs, recoup his original $400,000 investment, and earn a 10% return within the first 12 months. Mr. Jones also is a strong advocate of eco-friendly products and believes that offering products that enhance sustainability should be an important goal for his business. Transparency and ethical conduct are very important to Mr. Jones. Currently, he doesn’t have a vision, mission, fully developed a product concept, a brand name for the product, a logo for his company, or any relationships with retailers. In fact, one of the first things he has asked you to help with is to formalize a mission for the firm as well as corporate goals.

Table 1

Manufacturing Terms (Based on the quantity of 8’ x 6’ pieces of fabric manufactured)

Less than 10,000 10,000-50,000 More than 50,000

$ 4.75/unit $ 4.25 unit $ 3.95/unit

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