CLS: Digging in For the Long Haul
(7 pages of text)
CLS Landscape Supply was an established firm facing flat sales growth and declining profitability. Founded as a student-run business by a young couple in 2009 in Cochrane, Alberta, the company had grown to 33 seasonal employees, with sales exceeding $4 million annually. It operated two locations that supplied landscape products and materials to both retail and commercial customers, as well as a landscape construction division that provided both landscape design and installation services. The local economy was highly reliant on the oil and gas sector and had been struggling for several years. Price cutting was also common in the company’s highly competitive industry. How could the co-founders address the issues of flat sales growth, declining profit margins, and the competing time commitments of running the business while starting a family? They wanted to best position the company for long-term success. How could they focus on developing a more formal human resource plan for staffing and scheduling work in addition to developing budgets and policies for managing expenses?
The case is suitable for use in undergraduate- and graduate-level programs in courses on strategy, marketing, or entrepreneurship. The case also provides a detailed overview of the company and the current business environment including the firm’s background, marketing strategy, human resource strategy, and financial statements. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- conduct Porter’s Five Forces analysis of the landscape industry to determine industry attractiveness;
- conduct a SWOT analysis of the company;
- use basic financial and qualitative analyses in choosing among various strategic alternatives; and
- gain insights into the challenges of operating a small entrepreneurial service firm.
Canada, Small, 2018
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