Easy: Business Case Analysis Format and Guidelines for Students

This case analysis guideline will help you to have an idea of how to analyze a business case properly. This will also give you pointers on how to construct and what to include in the different parts of your analysis from point of view, problem statement, down to the decision making, and plan of action.

May this post be of help to all of you, so you can come up with a better analysis of your group’s homework such as thesis or projects.

Case Analysis Guidelines – PLM Format

I. Point of View

This is any decision-maker or person who is in the position to make the final recommendations as mentioned in the case.

For example, the problem is related to the manufacturing division. It can be about Engineering, manufacturing processes, quality assurance, and warehousing. The possible decision-maker or point of view is the Vice President for the Manufacturing division.

If the concern or problem is relating to product quality which is under a Quality Department within the manufacturing division,  then it is possible to put the ‘Manager of Quality Department’ at the Point of View.

If you are unsure about which position to place in the point of view. I suggest that you take a look at the company’s organizational chart (if given). The reason is organizational chart is unique per company. You can compare the organizational chart of a government agency and a private corporation. I am pretty sure you can notice the differences. business case analysis point of view sample

II. Time Context

This is the time in the case where you will start your analysis. It can be an imaginary time or the last-mentioned date in the case. Make sure that you can justify the reason behind your given time context. Because if your stated time is not relevant, it is possible that your analysis is also not relevant.

Assuming that the problem arises during the summer / dry season in the Philippines. You cannot put June to November in the time context as it is usually the rainy/wet season in PH.

If the problem arises in 2021, you can use that year in time context. For example, ‘First Quarter of 2021’ or ‘February 2021.’

III. Statement of the Problem

This defines the perceived problem in the case which becomes the subject of the analysis. You can present this in declarative or in question format.

IV. Statement of the Objectives

These are the goals that the case analysis hopes to achieve. It should basically satisfy the test of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound)

For example: To improve the company’s performance in terms of product quality in 12 months. Or to increase the company’s sales for its dog food product lines in 6 months.

IV. Areas of Consideration

For the areas of consideration in your case study, you have to state the internal and external environment of the company/firm through SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis.

You can indicate in the internal environment the facts relating to the company’s financial situation, manufacturing, marketing, and human resources.

For example, does the business have a high employee turnover rate? Does the business’ revenue continuously increasing year after year? How about product quality, can it keep up with the industry competition? You should focus on the factors that can help solve the issues and problems that the business is facing.

For the external environment, indicate the economic situation of the city or country. If the government policy affects your business then you can also state it. Indicate here also your competition which company it is or which product. If your chosen company sells dog food or mobile phone, state your competitor.

Now that you have the list of the internal and external environment. You should now list your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Under ‘Strengths,’ of course, depending on what is stated in the case. You can indicate if the company is prominent in the industry, awards such as ‘Best Manpower Agency for 10 years,’ ‘Best Hotel in terms of service.’

For ‘Weakness,’ include if the company has a high manpower turnover ratio, lowest quality in the market, low budget for marketing/advertisement.

Under Opportunities, indicate if the country the company is located in a ‘Free Trade Zone,’ rising population which can equate to increasing product consumption. For example, increasing toothpaste consumption. The Philippine Government has a build build build program which means they will need an increase in cement usage.

For Threats, input if the consumers are starting to buy online stores. Your company has hundreds of competition and they are launching new products every quarter of the year. sample swot analysis format for case analysis

VI. Assumptions

These are the factors that are not clear or not specifically stated in the case. You need to clarify these factors and state them as assumptions to limit the analysis.

In layman’s terms, the assumptions you will list here will be the boundaries of your analysis. It will also help the panelist to understand the reason behind the items you list in your case analysis.

VII. Alternative Courses of Action (ACA)

These are the possible solutions to the identified problem. Each of the ACA must stand alone and must be able to solve the stated problem and achieve the objectives. The ACA must be mutually exclusive. In this regard, the student must choose an ACA to the exclusion of the others.

Also, you have to analyze each ACA in the light of the SWOT analysis and assumptions that is if there are any. You have to state clearly the advantages and disadvantages of each ACA. If the case contains enough information or data. Your stated advantages and disadvantages should be supported quantitatively to minimize bias.

VIII. Analysis of ACAs

I have here examples of the courses of action. Again, these ACAs should be mutually exclusive and should solve the issues of the company. If the ACAs are somewhat related to the other it is best to combine them then think of a new one that is totally independent.

ACA 1. Increasing the Salary of the Employees

  • Advantages of this course of action
  • Disadvantages of this course of action

ACA 2. Reduce the Price of the Products Sold

  • Advantages of this course of action
  • Disadvantages of this course of action

ACA 3. Buyout the Competition

  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages

IX. Conclusion/Recommendation

After the analysis of the different Alternative Courses of Action (ACAs), you can now come up with the conclusion, recommendations, and decisions. You do not need to repeat the analysis which you have done in the ACA section of the analysis.

To make this part clearer, it is best to come up with a decision matrix similar to the photo.

Decision Matrix Sample

case analysis alternative courses of action sample format decision matrix

Legend:

  • 1 – Least Favorable
  • 2 – Favorable
  • 3 – Most Favorable

Here are the examples of criteria that you can use in the decision matrix.

  • Ease of Implementation – refers to the effort required to implement the ACA, the least number of people involved or lesser process in implementing the ACA is the highest score
  • Time Frame – This is the time that you required to implement the ACA, the highest score means the least amount of time needed
  • Cost-Efficient – This is the amount of capital requirement, the highest score means the least amount of capital needed to implement the task

Recommendation:

Based on the decision matrix, ‘ACA 3 which is Buying out the competition is the best course of action to solve the problem.

X. Plan of Action

The plan of action delineates the series of actions to be undertaken to operationalize the adopted ACA.

This is a sample of the plan of action. As you can see, the plan of action should include the activities that you have to do, persons in charge or spearhead, time frame, and the budget. A plan of action is necessary when doing a case analysis. The reason is it can promote certainty in terms of Man, Method, Moment, and Money or the resources of the company.      plan of action format sample in business case analysis

ACTIVITIES PERSON IN CHARGE             TIME FRAME and  Budget
1. Meeting with the supervisors in the quality department Quality Manager, and Supervisors 1 day

Budget: Php 500 for Coffee and Snacks

2.  Meeting with the QA Supervisors and the quality rank and file personnel for the planned improvement Supervisors and Rank and File Staffs 3 days

Budget: PHP 1,000 for new equipment, food, and clothing

3.    Implementation of Improvement 1 Rank and File Staffs Day 4 onwards / Continuous

Budget: Php 500 per day for 1 additional manpower

4. Implementation of Improvement 2 Rank and File Staffs Day 5 onwards / Continuous

Budget: Php 1000 per day for 2 additional manpower

5. Monitoring of the Result Supervisors Day 6 onwards / Continuous

Budget: PHP 10,000 for new computers and CCTV

6. Update the Quality checking process manual Quality Manager and Supervisors Day 15 to Day 20

Budget: PHP 500 for additional writing materials, paper, printer, and photocopy machine

To ensure that you have done the analysis comprehensively, it would be best to program the plan according to the basic functional areas. You should present the plan by having column headings for activity, person/unit responsible/ time frame, and budget.

There you have it! May this business case analysis format and guidelines will be able to help students like you in coming up with a logical solution to business-related cases that your teacher gave your group. Good luck!!!

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6 comments… add one
  • kate

    Hi Matt! do you have an example of case study applying this format?

    • Matt

      Hi Kate, I have but it I still have to search for it in my files.

  • Hi Matt,

    Thanks for this! Been looking for this since yesterday :)

    Just like Kate, do you have a sample case study? for us to use us a guideline?

    Thanks!

    • Matt

      Hi Ann, sorry but I do not have sample case study.

  • Ron R

    Thank you!!
    A great info/ idea to start with

  • Junever

    Thanks for this man! Really helped a lot!

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