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Sperry/MacLennan Architects and Planners are architectural practice that although being registered in its province wants to take advantage of free trade and export their services outside their region. S/M specializes in recreational facilities with one of the partners Sperry having won national recognition for its sports facility expertise. The company comprises two senior partners Drew Sperry and John Maclennan and one junior partner. Since its incorporation in 1972, S/M has developed through up and downs with the practice growing rapidly in 1970's. In 1980's, S/M business went slow forcing the company to lay down its workers. The company was revived in 1983 when Sperry won the competition for aquatic facility for Canada games that were to be held in Saint John. Sperry one of the partners, together with company partners found recreational facility work exciting and fun. In 1984, they commenced the project and with the help of declining interest rates, the business became productive in the following years.
Mitch brooks besides joining the company in 1987 was made a junior partner after proving himself as good production architect. He was good in supervision, completing projects on budget and on time. The company motto included providing quality work for quality clients. Mitch brooks, the brain behind exporting their activities outside their province was optimistic on the idea. First, the company had made great revenues in the 1987 fiscal year approximately 1.2 million dollars. Secondly, the company had secured its reputation in the Canadian sports facility market. More over the company had received prestigious awards for their work in Canada. These achievements inspired Mitch brooks to look further and seek exportations of their services outside Canada. Besides Bitch brooks ambitions, the other partners anticipated a slowdown in the business in 1988 while economists anticipated recession the following year.
The Architecture industry has many issues that affect business including licensing of Architects, where licenses are not transferable from one province to another. Because of this, joint ventures are common it architecture practice. From the experience of S/M, they have found that larger projects require a lot of time spent with the client at local level even though design could be imported. There are different ways to get job or business in the architecture industry, and the S/Ms get projects through, referral from satisfied clients, a juried design competition, client calling for proposals or call for expression of interest forming part of selection process. Moreover, M/S may get business through potential client invites that require submission of qualifications from a limited number of architectural firms. Lastly, the firm may get their projects after hearing a potential building and contacts of a client and then present their qualifications. The last two processes are common with S/M since their work involve building of institutions and large corporations. Upon securing a contract, there are a number of meetings and continuation contact with the client forming part of service sold.
Precision, planning and perseverance report, that required exporting of Architectural service to US acted as an eye opener to Mitch Brook who felt that S/M had the capabilities to export services. The opportunity had its own benefits and challenges; first, the niche that Brook felt was conversant with their capabilities was under the control of governments and private organizations. According to the report, Brook saw opportunity in universities, which did not trust local firms. Post secondary institutions also required new designs and competence. The report also identified Athletic facilities as a possible niche and finally there was backlog of capital maintenance and new building requirement in many higher education institutions. Although, Canadian firms had good reputation internationally, Brooks was concerned that American firms were ahead in relation to computer-assisted design and drafting (CADD) which they were yet to adopt since it required financial assistance.
On a positive note, the era of free trade enables trade of services freely from one country to another without having to be qualified under American Institute of Architects. Nevertheless, they must be members of their respective provincial association meeting all licensing exams and apprenticeship requirement. In order to get started, S/M had to target its potential market, which included the New England due to its geographic proximity to its home base at Halifax/Dartmouth. Moreover, the new target had population density as well as similar climatic condition as that in Canada. The New England was a good opportunity because of its small universities and colleges. Many universities and colleges recreational facilities were outdated and poorly maintained. Despite the focus, Brooks was concerned about other potential and lucrative markets that they might have been overlooking. Among his other targets included other parts of United States as well as countries of Europe where recreational facilities were regular and their design was taken seriously. This was based on reputation that S/M had created in their home country where, it had successfully designed and created recreational facilities gaining international recognition. Another Brook's concern was that close markets were not the best choice for long-run profits maximization or for the best market share.
The best ways for the M/S to export their operations is by first doing a thorough market research to determine the areas of competitive advantage. Mitch Brooks should take time and research and analysis since many corporate decisions require facts in order to determine measures to take. Going offshore would mean changing the way the company works and without good market research, operational efficiency might be difficult to achieve in the long run. M/S has the capacity to expand in the New England given its geographical location and requirement of the clients. Moreover the company does not have the large number of workers to work abroad, thus starting at the proximity of their old offices is not only beneficial but also cost effective given the size of S/M Company. The clients require day-to-day results and being near and having the best workforce at disposal increases reputation and professionalism thus opening doors for other opportunities.
From the case study, there are many resemblances between the markets in Canada and United States including expectations and cultures of the population. Factors that Brook need to put in to consideration and include when setting his proposal include short and long-term goals of the organization. First, the personnel available to undertake the job, management of organization outside their normal area of existence, customer's availability and capital availability to set up institutions to start up new investments. This will enable him to convince other partners and stakeholders to adapt his ideas. One issue includes profitability of the organization. External issues affecting exportation of M/S services as discussed above are favoring the endeavor since adoption of free trade areas between Canada and United states. Other issues that need more scrutiny include, potentiality of market including market size, competitive intensity and market growth. From the analysis of the case study, M/S has the capability to export its services in the New England since it fulfills most of requirements.