In the shoes of a Category Manager’s, the Leclerc-Ferrero case Study
Published on 05 October 2020 by NEOMA
- Innovative education
- Master in Management
Following the launch of the Leclerc-Ferrero case study in early March, attended by representatives of both companies, the students were given two months to get to grips with the complexity of the subject and present their professional recommendations.
For the different groups of final year Master in Management students following the Brand and Business Development specialisation, the case involved taking the position of Category Manager* and suggesting the best possible strategy that combines the commercial interests of both Leclerc and Ferrero, in the biscuit sector.
To help them carry out the task, the students were granted access to Ferrero’s and Leclerc’s biscuit category database, as if they were actually working for either company as a Purchasing or Category Manager. In addition, files containing information on the companies’ strategies, consumer trends and consumer profiles for the biscuit sector were also made available to help the students complete their task. The students had to consider each company’ priorities in the developing of their biscuit selection and merchandising proposals, particularly in the kids’ snack category.
Concerning the choice of products For Leclerc, students were requested to focus on the company’s positioning and social responsibility strategy. For Ferrero, the objective was to consolidate the company’s positioning concerning consumer pleasure and as a leading biscuit category innovator, following the launch of three new products in recent years: B-Ready, Nutella Biscuit and most recently, Kinder CARDS.
The students were able to ask any questions they had to the specialists at Leclerc and Ferrero and coaching sessions were held with their professors to help them prepare the final presentations.
“This was an incredible opportunity for our students to work alongside top-level managers from these two companies,” explains Daniele PEDERZOLI, Professor of Marketing and case study co-supervisor. “The students were quickly aware just how useful having access to the two partners’ databases and strategic plans really was. They were able to assume the role of a Ferrero Category Manager and a Leclerc Purchasing Manager,” adds Isabelle ULRICH, Professor of Marketing and Head of the specialisation. “From a learning perspective, we expected the different groups to develop a detailed operational strategy that included a variety of products, merchandising, promotions and the launch of a new product,” says Daniele PEDERZOLI.
A high-flying final
Three groups were selected to take part in the final where they presented their recommendations to a jury made up of representatives from both companies and School faculty members. From Ferrero : Jean-Baptiste SANTOUL, Chairman and CEO of Ferrero, France, Loïc LALLIER, Director of Trade Marketing & Business Development, Stephane SALOMONE, Customer Development Manager and Valérie SAVOYE, Head of Talent Management. From Leclerc: Bertrand NOMDEDEU, Commercial, Purchasing & Supply Chain Director, Nicolas GAUCH, Head of Groceries & Food Group and Catherine GARNIER, GALEC Food Director (Leclerc’s Purchasing centre). Isabelle ULRICH and Daniele PEDERZOLI made up the jury.
The teams who made it to the final went head to head with their analysis and creativity in uniting the manufacturer’s and the distributor’s visions. The students’ strategic and operational ideas for the development of a range of products, point-of-sale displays, recommendations for the Drive-thru operation and promotion, certainly succeeded in winning over the jury.
“Enormous know-how and very good analytical skills”.
The three presentations received unanimous congratulations from the jury: “The quality of your recommendations was excellent,” says Jean-Baptiste SANTOUL, “We were highly impressed by your understanding of the subject and your capacity to deal with the strategic issues of both Leclerc and Ferrero. You demonstrated enormous know-how and very good analytical skills“.
One of the groups really stood out by virtue of the quality of their analysis and proposals. “You managed to go beyond the data made available to you and bring genuine added value,” points out Stéphane Salomone. Nicolas GAUCH also states, “I was impressed by the quality of the analysis and the position taken on market trends.“
Finally, Bertrand NOMDEDEU concluded by explaining that “the winning group stood out for the way they got to grips with the mass of information provided at the start. They proposed realistic recommendations and a strategy that makes sense for the consumer. A truly professional job.“
“Combining these two visions at the heart of a company case study and turning it into something totally new was a formidable challenge,” say Isabelle ULRICH and Daniele PEDERZOLI. “We received enthusiastic feedback from the students who really enjoyed working on the case study’s positive learning experience. Both the French and the international students are fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on this case.“
- * A Category Manager is responsible for developing the turnover and profitability of one or more product lines. They define the product range, improve product visibility and coordinate in-store distribution. (Source APEC)