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CASE 3-3: FLETCHER ELECTRIC, INC. Developing a Strategic Partnership

Fletcher Electric manufacturers a line of pumps, electric motors, and controls that are sold to
manufacturers who use these products as components in all kinds of equipment. Tymco, a
maker of street sweepers and other specialized industrial products,, had been purchasing
Fletcher controls for the last five years, but also purchased from several other small
distributors when Fletcher could not meet the specifications. Recently Tymco had also been
purchasing 30 percent of their motors from Fletcher. Some engineers at Tymco are
considering the idea of purchasing the motors and controls as a combined assembled unit.
This would require some redesign by Tymco, but the savings over the long run would out
weigh the redesign costs. This would result in Fletcher doubling their electric motor business
with Tymco. However several engineers at Tymco pointed out that Fletcher was unwilling to
manufacture controls for all of Fletchers needs and therefore, they were uncertain as to
whether they wanted to make the design changes with a company that was not willing to work
more closely with them.

In what stage of partnering is the relationship between Fletcher and Tymco?

Some students will say that the relationship will be in dissolution if Molly isnt able to
overcome the defect rate issue, and convince Fletcher to manufacture controls that
meet all of Tymcos specifications. Those issues must certainly be resolved before
Tymco will be willing to move to the next stage.
Molly has been able to cross-sell (selling motors after selling the controls) and she was
able to follow up on a request to improve productivity by joining the two products
together. An argument can be made that Tymco was simply exploring Fletchers
potential for partnering. Tymco has tested the products and Fletchers service, and
right now, finds them to be wanting.
Other students will say that the cross-selling and proposal indicate that Tymco would
like to expand the relationship. As the chapter says, the salesperson can focus on
identifying additional needs and providing solutions. This is probably the more
correct answer, although either answer is acceptable with proper justification.




Is there anything Molly could have done to set the stage for better acceptance of
her proposal?
She could have visited with engineering to determine what their needs were. The
defect rate issue should not have been a surprise. In addition, she should have
gathered specifications for controls Tymco needs but are not manufactured by
Fletcher, and have begun selling internally (to decision makers at Fletcher) on the need
to product those controls. One method of selling internally would have been to have
Fletcher and Tymco engineers get together and discuss the issues directly. This
meeting would certainly resolve Tymcos perceptions that Fletcher was unwilling to
work with them.


What should she do right now? If her visionary objective is to develop a strategic
partnership with Tymco, is it still realistic? What should she do to achieve that
visionary objective?
Getting the two engineering departments together would be a good first step. Fletcher
engineers should sk What are the reasons for the high reject rate? Solving that
problem should go a long way to building a partnership. Having a partnership,
though, is not realistic in the short-term. It is not because Tymco doesnt want to
partner, but because Fletcher hasnt proven itself worthy of partnering with. She needs
to prove Fletchers commitment to Tymco, as well as solve the problems with reject
rates and the incomplete product line.