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Introduction to Porter Value Chain

EMBA Pro Porter Value Chain Solution for Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo case study


Famous for the hit game 'Angry Birds', game developer and entertainment company Rovio is an example of outstanding entrepreneurship. This case analyses the factors that made its base in Espoo, Finland, an attractive place and contributed to the start-up's overall success as it became a world leader in mobile gaming.


Case Authors : Sami Mahroum, Elizabeth Scott

Topic : Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Related Areas : Entrepreneurship, Ethics, Influence, Technology

EMBA Pro Porter Value Chain Analysis Approach for Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo


At EMBA PRO, we provide corporate level professional Marketing Mix and Marketing Strategy solutions. Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Sami Mahroum, Elizabeth Scott. The Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo (referred as “Rovio Espoo” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. It also touches upon business topics such as - Marketing Mix, Product, Price, Place, Promotion, 4P, Entrepreneurship, Ethics, Influence, Technology.
Our immersive learning methodology from – case study discussions to simulations tools help MBA and EMBA professionals to - gain new insight, deepen their knowledge of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship field, competitive advantage, steps to value chain analysis,industry analysis,primary activities, support activities, inbound outbound logitics,marketing & services, and more.


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Porter Value Chain Framework


Value Chain is developed by management guru Michael E. Porter and it was a major breakthrough in business world for analyzing a firm’s relative cost and value. Value Chain was first introduced in 1985 in Harvard Business Review article and Porter’s book “Competitive Advantage”. Value Chain is also known as “Porter’s Value Chain Framework” and it is extensively used to analyze relevant activities of a firm to shed light on the sources of competitive advantage. According to Michael Porter – Competitive Advantage is a relative term and has to be understood in the context of rivalry within an industry.

Porter Five Forces & Porter Value Chain


Porter started with the quintessential question – “Why are some companies more profitable than others?” He answered the question in two parts – How companies benefit or limited by the structure of their industry, and second a firm’s relative position within that industry.
To conduct industry structure analysis Porter developed Five Forces Model, and to understand the sources of competitive advantage of the firm in relation to competitors in that industry Porter developed Value Chain Analysis Method.
The strengths of the Porter’s Value Chain Analysis are - how it disaggregates various activities within the firm and how it put value to value creating activities in an industry wide context.


Industry StructureRelative Position
Porter's FrameworkFive ForcesValue Chain
The Analysis focuses onDrivers of Industry ProfitabilityDifferences in activities
The Analysis explainsIndustry average price and costRelative Price and Cost

What is Competitive Advantage?


According to Michael Porter – “If a strategy is to have real meaning then it should reflect directly into a company’s financial performance”. If Rovio Espoo have a real competitive advantage, it means that compared to its rivals Rovio Espoo is - operating at lower costs, commanding a premium price, or doing both. Competitive advantage is about superior performance and it is a relative term. When all rivals in the Rovio Espoo’s industry try to compete on the same dimension, no one firm gains a competitive advantage.

Key Steps in Porter's Value Chain Analysis


Step 1 - Start by laying out the industry value chain

How far upstream or downstream do the industry’s activities extend?

Compare the value chains of rivals in an industry to understand differences in prices and costs

What are the key value-creating activities at each step in the chain?


Step 2 - Compare firm in Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo case study value chain to the industry’s value chain

Present vs Alternative Value Chain - You should design an alternative value chain and map out areas where improvements can be made. Comparing two or more alternative value chains can provide a good insight into bottlenecks within the industry.


Step 3 - Zero in on price drivers, those activities that have a high current or potential impact on differentiation

Align price drivers in the value chain. Often price drivers are customer expectations that customers are willing to pay more for. For example customers are willing to pay more for flawless uniform experience in Apple products even though Apple products are not the cutting edge products.


Step 4 - Zero in on cost drivers, paying special attention to activities that represent a large or growing percentage of costs

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If the strategy dictates cutting cost to be profitable then Rovio Espoo should focus on areas that are not adding value to customers' expectations, and costs that are there because of operational inefficiencies.


Value Chain Analysis of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo Case Study


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Value Chain and Value System


Rovio Espoo value chain is part of a larger value system of the industry that includes companies either upstream (suppliers) or downstream (distribution channels), or both. Manager at Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo needs to see each activity as part of that value system and how adding each activity or reducing each activity impact the Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo value chain. The decision is regarding where to sit in the value system.


Value Chain Activities – Primary Activities & Support Activities


As per the Value Chain model there are broadly two generic categories of activities – Primary Activities and Supporting Activities.


What are Primary Activities in Porter’s Value Chain?


As illustrated in the Value Chain diagram, Rovio Espoo has five generic categories of primary activities –


Inbound Logistics


These activities of Rovio Espoo are associated with receiving, storing and disseminating the inputs of the products. It can include material handling, warehousing of physical products, as well as architecture to receive and store customer information for digital media company. Rovio Espoo at present has outsourced most of its inbound logistics activities.


Operations


Activities that help the organization to transform raw material into finished products. For the purpose of this article the definition is broad – it can mean moulding plastic to make products, using customer data to serve advertisements based on usage behavior to clients etc.


Outbound Logistics


Rovio Espoo under takes these activities to distribute the finished products to channel partners and final buyers. Outbound logistics activities include – processing, warehousing, scheduling, distribution network, and wholesalers and retailers order fulfillment.


Marketing and Sales


These activities are undertaken by Rovio Espoo to create means through which the buyer can buy a firm’s products. These activities include – advertising and promotion, pricing, sales force management, channel selection, marketing etc.


Services


Rovio Espoo needs to provide after sales services and maintenance for successful usage of the product. Service activities of Rovio Espoo can include – post sales maintenance, installation services, part supply, product forward and backend alignment of software, and training.


What are Support Activities in Rovio Espoo Value Chain?


As the name explains, Support Activities of Rovio Espoo are the one that supports the firm’s Primary Activities. Porter divided the Support Activities into four broad categories and each category of support activities is divisible into a number of distinct value activities that are specific to the industry in which Rovio Espoo operates. The four generic support activities are –


Firm Infrastructure


Firm infrastructure support activities at Rovio Espoo consists activities such as – quality management, planning, general management, finance and accounting and legal services.
Firm infrastructure activities at Rovio Espoo supports entire value chain though the scope varies given that Rovio Espoo is a diversified company even within the industry. For example the finance and planning at Rovio Espoo are managed at corporate level while quality management, accounting and legal issues are managed at business unit level.


Human Resources Management


In an environment where each organization is striving to become a learning organization, Human Resources Management is key to the success of any organization. HRM support activities include – Recruiting, Hiring, Selection, Training & Development, People Planning, Skill Assessment and Compensation at both business unit level and corporate level.
Human resource management affects competitive advantage in any firm, but in some industries it is defining factor. For example in the consulting companies HR is the main source of competitive advantage.


Technology Development


Technology supports almost all activities in modern day organization. In the technology industry, technology development has become a source of competitive advantage. Technology development at Rovio Espoo may include activities such as - technology selection, feature design, component design, process engineering, and field-testing.


Procurement Activities at Rovio Espoo


Procurement activities at Rovio Espoo include activities that are undertaken to purchase inputs that are used by Rovio Espoo’s value chain. It doesn’t include purchase inputs themselves. Purchased inputs may include - raw materials, supplies, machinery, laboratory equipment, office equipment, and buildings.
Like all other value chain activities procurement also employs technology for things such as – procedures, vendor management, information system, and supply chain partner qualification rules and ongoing performance evaluation.


Metrics and KPIs to Avoid while Analyzing Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo Value Chain


Growth in sales is not a good goal for value chain analysis as every managers know that boosting sales is easy to do by reducing the prices dramatically.

Growth or market share is also not a very reliable goal as often firms end up pursuing market share at the cost of profitability.

Shareholder value, measured by stock price, is not a good barometer to analyze value chain. It is preferred by top management but it is only useful in long run rather than competitive strategy in short to medium terms.

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5C Marketing Analysis of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

4P Marketing Analysis of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo
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Porter Five Forces Analysis and Solution of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

Porter Value Chain Analysis and Solution of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

Case Memo & Recommendation Memo of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

Blue Ocean Analysis and Solution of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

Marketing Strategy and Analysis Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

VRIO /VRIN Analysis & Solution of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

PESTEL / STEP / PEST Analysis of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

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Case Study Solution of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

SWOT Analysis and Solution of Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo

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References & Further Readings

M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy(New York: Free Press, 1980)
Sami Mahroum, Elizabeth Scott (2018), 'Rovio Entertainment: A Case Study of How Rovio Derived 'Place Surplus' in the Finnish City of Espoo Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.
O. E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies(New York: Free Press, 1975)

Kotler & Armstrong (2017) 'Principles of Marketing Management Management', Published by Pearson Publications.