Each Case Study assignment is designed to help the student make application of course content to a real world situation. Read the assigned case study and connect the key issues in the case to assigned readings and presentations. Respond to the questions with direct, thorough responses.
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Each case study assignment should include the following:
· Title Page in APA format
· Introduction to the case summarizing the situation
· Questions converted to sub-headings – responses to each question
· Strong conclusion that summarizes the ideas
· APA Style Reference page (as needed)
Submit each Case Study by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of the assigned module/week, except for Case Study 7, which is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday of Module/Week 8.
Jackson Ultima Case Study
Highly competitive and professional figure skaters are finding that some of the best figure skating blades are manufactured in the United States. Ultima Skates LTD (www.jacksonultima.com), a division of Jackson Ultima Skates Inc., has become one of the most popular names in the figure skating blade industry. The company was founded in 1994 by Dan Nicholson and his partner Larry James; it produced its first skate blade in 1998. To learn more about Jackson Ultima Skates and its products, visit its website at (www.jacksonultima.com) or its Facebook page at Jackson Ultimate Skates.
Dan Nicholson is the president of Ultima Skates. He is originally from Blackpool, England. Nicholson competed nationally and then skated professionally for a number of years. His ice skating experience convinced him that ice skating blades were not performing as well as he thought they could; Nicholson believed that skate blades could be made better and yield better performance.
“After I stopped skating professionally, I was a distributor for one of our competitors. I then went on to design skates,” says Nicholson. “It was when I started designing skates that I really decided I could make a better ice skate.”
Ultima Skates began blade production in July of 1998 and launched its first blade at the National Figure Skating Championships in January 1999. What makes the blades unique is the manufacturing process. “We use modern machines and laser cutting, whereas our competitors are still making skates the way they always have, with stamping and making them by hand,” says Nicholson. “At Ultima Skates, we are really trying to take full advantage of all of the new technologies. We use a much harder steel, and we computer-profile all of our blades. By using computers to profile our blades, we are able to make blades that are exactly the same, last longer, and hold their edges better. Others still profile by hand, which is not very accurate,” he says.
Nicholson points out that these blades are not for everyone. When skaters get into championship level competition, most wear custom boots and pick specific blades to fit their needs on the ice. “We make blades for a very specific market of high-level competitors and professionals, who need more from a skate than you can buy from a store,” says Nicholson. Top skaters, including Tara Lipinski and three-time World Champion and Olympic silver medalist Elvis Stojko, skate on Ultima Blades.
The prices for the blades vary but are often upwards of $100, sometimes approaching $500 for customized blades with graphics. “Skate blades are kind of like cars, in that depending on what you want, you may pay a lot or a little. We are making the Mercedes Benz of skate blades,” Nicholson explains.
Ultima Skates is also the only skate manufacturing company that holds a patent on black skate blades. “We are the only company that can make black skate blades, which is a really sharp-looking blade,” he says.
Ultima Skates is the only skate blade manufacturer located in the United States; the only other two manufacturers are located in England. Ultima Skates is in DeKalb, Illinois, sixty miles west of Chicago. “While DeKalb may not seem like a hotbed of skating activity,” Nicholson says, “the location has worked out very well. The Chicagoland area is seeing a huge growth in the terms of skating rinks and skaters. There is at least $100 million worth of new ice and facilities within one hour of DeKalb.”
The next time you watch figure skating on TV, check to see if the skaters may be skating on Ultima skate blades manufactured in the United States—you’ll know they are if the skates are black.
1. What are the organizational attributes of Ultima Skates? Explain the organizational attributes that could be improved.
2. How has technology aided the development of Ultima Skates? What is the role of innovation in Ultima Skates future? How would you classify the Jackson Ultima Skates company?
3. Review the Jackson Ultima Skates website. Does it do an effective job of marketing and promoting the company and its products? How might you improve the website?
4. What are some tactics and techniques that you could used to market and sell Ultima Skates?