Akshay Menon, head of SRI’s Dallas operations, was reviewing proposals from three companies for a new scanner.

Akshay Menon, head of SRI’s Dallas operations, was reviewing proposals from three companies for a new scanner. The company had recently been awarded a contract to scan and electronically store the paper files of a large state government agency, and Menon knew he would have to add three to five new scanners. The contract called for the agency to begin shipping files in a week. Menon had to make a decision today.

Margie Cabellero, the production manager, had obtained three proposals at Menon’s request, one for five moderate speed scanners, one for three high speed scanners, and one for three moderate speed scanners and one high speed scanner. She was pushing for five scanners, because she felt that more scanners meant greater protection in case one broke down. She also believed she had greater flexibility in assigning work if there were more scanners. Currently, her group operated twelve paper scanners, two microfiche scanners, and a microfilm scanner 24 hours per day.

George Whitaker, the chief financial officer, want Menon to buy three high speed scanners. Whitaker thought that the higher cost would be offset by hiring fewer operators, and besides, the company was more likely to have trouble hiring and retaining operators than keeping the machines working. Further, when Whitaker factored in service costs, the higher speed scanners were cheaper to operate. He recommended to Akshay that he buy the high speed scanners and run only one shift on the new equipment for now.

Gloria Sigel, human resource manager, agreed that the local employment market made hiring more difficult. She really didn’t care what was bought. She just knew that it was tough to hire new employees. She also told Menon the current operators thought that the high speed scanners were too unreliable and that paper jams had to be cleared too often. Since their pay was tied to productivity, they didn’t like working the high speed scanners.

Menon wondered what to do.

  1. List the roles that each person is playing in this buying center. Can you identify where Menon is making a decision, and what he should do next? Who do you think is most important, other than Menon, and why?
  2. Identify sources of risk for each member of the buying center. What are they risking? How important does that risk seem to be? How would you reduce that risk if you were a scanner salesperson?
  3. Assume that you make scanners and this situation is pretty typical of what you would find. How would this information influence your marketing activities? Be as specific as possible.

This should be roughly 2-3 pages long (or 600-800 words; Times New Roman, 12 pt font); try to make your paper concise.

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