Ross Product division traces its beginnings to 1903, when Harry C. Moores and Stanely M. Ross founded the Moores and Ross Milk Company in Columbus, Ohio. Establishing what would become a company tradition of customer services, the entrepreneurs wanted to do more than process milk. In seeking unique ways to fulfill customer needs and distinguish themselves from the competition, they began using the first stand-and drive milk truck and the first glass bottle for home delivery. Over the next 20 years, their business prospered. In 1924, the partners took the daring step of producing and marketing a then-new concept milk based infant formula. As the product grew in popularity, Moore and Ross sold its dairy, ice cream and milk processing operation to another prominent Columbus firm, the Borden Company, and focused solely on producing the infant formula.
In 1928, the company was renamed M&R Dietetics Laboratories. Free to concentrate fully on the merging field of pediatric nutrition, M&R Dietetic Laboratories became known for one of the most respected and successful infant formulas Similac. Similac was first available in powder form. After extensive research, similac concentrated liquid was introduced in 1951, as the first infant formula available in a form other than powder. Concentrated liquid was easier to prepare than powder and soon became the most popular product in the U.S. infant-formula market.
In 1959, the company introduced Similac with Iron to help prevent iron deficiency in infants. Today, iron-fortified infant formula is considered to be preferred source of nutrition during the first year of life if breastfeeding is not chosen. In 1963, the company launched an innovative system, the first pre-bottled, pre-sterilized formulas for feeding infants in hospital. In 1964, the company was renamed Ross Laboratories after merging with one of the worlds largest healthcare corporation, North Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories. Today, as one of Abbotts six operating units, the Ross Product Division with division headquarters and a manufacturing facility in Columbus Ohio, and other U.S. manufacturing facilities in Arizona, Michigan and Virginia is a leading worldwide producer of scientifically formulated nutrition to meet normal and special dietary needs from infancy through adulthood. Rosss philosophy strongly believe in the idea that good nutrition can improve and even saves lives while helping to reduce overall medical costs. The attached marketing study was initiated at the request of Rosss top management to evaluate the companys marketing practices and strategies to support the companys philosophy to improve the quality of life through good nutrition.
Philosophy of Marketing Management
Today marketing can be defined as the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services, organization, and events to create and maintain relationships that satisfy individual and organizational objectives. In order to compete, companies must continually search for the most efficient manufacturing sites and most lucrative markets for products. The global economy is continuing to expand as standards of living rises, especially in Europe and Asia, customers demand for the latest goods and services increases.
There are five alternative concepts under which organizations conduct their marketing activities: the production, product, and selling, marketing and societal marketing concept. Ross uses the marketing management philosophy known as marketing concept. Marketing concept states that achieving organizational goals depends on determining the needs and wants of target markets and delivering the desire satisfactions more effectively and efficiently than competition do. One best way Ross practices the marketing concept is through their web site, which is designed to help acquaint a consumer with Ensure. The site also gives the toll free number for customer service and offers programs such as nutrition recipes (made with Ensure), Ensure home delivery system and Ensure health connection unique e-mail health news letter informing about latest health prevention tips and new products development.
Strategic Business Units/Mission Statement
Managements first step is to identify the key businesses making up the company. These are called the strategic business units. A strategic business (SBU) is a unit of the company that has a separate mission and objective and that can be planned independently from other company business. An SBU can be a company division, a product line within a company or sometimes a single product or brand.
Ross offers a number of pediatric and adult nutritional products, pharmaceuticals, entral feeding devices and other products. One can get more information of any of these products by clinking on the links on their web page.
The Boston Consulting Group Approach
Using the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) approach, a company classifies all of its SBUs according to the growth-share matrix. On the vertical axis, market growth rate, provides a measure of market attractiveness. On the horizontal axis, relative market share serves as a measure of company strength in the market. By dividing the growth-share matrix in the market, four types of SBUs can be distinguished stars, cash cows, questions and dogs.
Ensure supplements are located in the cash cow division. Cash cows are low-growth, high-share business or products. These established and successful SBUs need less investing to hold their market share. Thus they produce a lot of cash that the company uses to pay its bills and support other SBUs that need investment.