The following scenarios present a set of ethical dilemmas that

The following scenarios present a set of ethical dilemmas that might arise in marketing research. Your assignment is to decide what action to take in each instance. You should be prepared to justify your decision. Bear in mind that there are no uniquely right answers: Reasonable people may choose different courses of action.

1. You are the market research director of a pharmaceutical company, and the executive director suggests to you that company interviewers telephone physicians under the name of a fictitious market research agency. The purpose of the survey is to help assess the perceived quality of the company’s products, and it is felt that the suggested procedure will result in more objective responses.

What action would you take?

2. You are employed by a marketing research firm and have conducted an attitude study for a client. Your findings indicate that the product’s marketing efforts are not effective. This finding is badly received by the client’s product management team. They request that you omit that data from your formal report, which you know will be widely distributed, on the grounds that the oral presentation was adequate for their needs.

What do you do?

3. You are a study director for a research company undertaking a project for a regular client of your company. A study you are working on is about to go into the field when the questionnaire you sent to the client for final approval comes back drastically modified. The client has rewritten it, introducing leading questions and biased scales. An accompanying letter indicates that the questionnaire must be sent out as revised. You do not believe that valid information can be gathered using the revised instrument.

What action would you take?
4. A well-respected public figure is going to face trial on a charge of failing to report his part ownership of certain regulated companies while serving as a Canadian provincial minister. The defense lawyers have asked you, as a market research specialist, to do a research study to determine the characteristics of people most likely to sympathize with the defendant and hence to vote for acquittal. The defense lawyers have read newspaper accounts of how this approach has been used in a number of instances.

What action would you take?

5. You are the market research director for a large chemical company. Recent research indicates that many of your company’s customers are misusing one of its principal products. There is no danger resulting from this misuse, though customers are wasting money by using too much of the product at one time. You are shown the new advertising campaign by the advertising agency. The ads not only ignore this problem of misuse, they actually seem to encourage it.

What action would you take?

6. You show up your first day for a summer internship to meet your supervisor and get your first assignment. She gives you a questionnaire with specific marketing planning questions and tells you that she would like you to contact the company’s main three competitors and tell them you are a student doing a study on the industry and get the answers to the questions. She says you should not tell them you are working for the company over the summer and adds “there is nothing wrong with not telling them omitting the fact is not really lying.” You ask her what you should do if they ask, and she says “just tell them you are a student working on a paper and you don’t want to get a poor grade on the assignment.”

What action would you take?

1. Would you recommend that Roland accept the YKG Group

1. Would you recommend that Roland accept the YKG Group proposal?

2. If yes, what conclusions can be drawn from the data in Phase 3 of the research?

3. If the proposal is not accepted, what alternative designs should be considered?

Roland Development was a leading builder of homes in the western United States. Its emphasis was on condominiums and ownhouses, which were forecast to have an attractive future in these markets. These housing types lent themselves to standardization and cost-reduction possibilities. Further, rising land costs were causing the share of single-family detached houses to decline significantly. Meanwhile, the share of market for single-family attached houses (houses with common walls, floors, or roofs) was expected to double in the next five years.

Roland was well positioned to exploit these trends by following a strategy that differed from competition in three areas:

• Market segmentation. Roland typically segmented the market more finely than other home builders and then designed homes to meet the specific needs of these groups.

• Direct selling. Shoppers in some department stores could find full-scale, fully furnished Roland homes on display.

• Low prices for a complete housing package (including all the furnishings and necessary financing).

The company had begun to expand its limited line of condominiums and townhouses to provide design and squarefootage combinations that would appeal to higher-income households. The management was especially pleased with the elegance, convenience, and durability of the four new models they were planning to launch. Several problems remained to be solved. The first was the identification of a creative strategy that would position the new models and attract the largest number of purchases. That is, the company wanted to know what main ideas and themes should be used in the advertising of the new models. Another problem was to identify those segments of the market with the highest probability of purchasing the new models. The company asked the YKG Group, a large national research firm, to submit a written proposal for research which would provide Roland’s management with information useful in solving these two problems. Their proposal is summarized below.

Research Proposal

The recommended research design would use a consumer panel and employ both telephone interviews and mail questionnaires. The research firm felt that the needed information could be obtained only from that very small proportion of the population who might buy such a home. Each of several different market segments would be studied to determine how they positioned the new models in relation to competing homes already on the market. The likelihood of purchasing a Roland model would also be determined during the study for each of the three market segments and also for each of several different advertising themes. This information would help Roland identify the most promising market segments for the new models, as well as the creative advertising strategy that would most appeal to them. The proposed research design consisted of three phases:

(1) The members of a large consumer mail panel would be screened to locate qualified prospects for the new models; (2) a relatively small sample of qualified prospects would be interviewed “in depth” to identify possible advertising themes; and (3) a large sample of qualified respondents would be surveyed by mail to test their response to alternative creative strategies.

Phase 1. The YKG Group maintained a bank of over 200,000 families who agreed to cooperate in research projects undertaken by the firm. Considerable information existed about each family, including geographic location, occupation and age of male and female heads of family, total family income, and presence and age of children. Roland managers felt that the four new models would most likely appeal to middle- and upper-income families of size two, three, or four, with a household head 30 years of age or over. For this reason, the first phase of the proposed research involved mailing a short questionnaire to all panel members with those characteristics. 

The questionnaire asked panel members to indicate the likelihood of their purchasing a home in the next two to three years and also to report their attitude toward buying a townhouse or condominium. It was expected that this screening process would locate some 3,000–5,000 families who would be prospects to buy the new models over the next few years. To be considered a prospect, a family had to report being likely to purchase a home in the next two to three years, as well as having a favorable attitude toward a condominium or townhouse. Among these prospects, three market segments would be identified. A highincome family would be a “very good” prospect if it was “very likely” to buy a home; a medium-income family would be a “good” prospect if it was “very likely” to buy a new home; and a high-income family would be a “fair” prospect if it was “somewhat” likely to buy a new home. All other responses were considered to indicate nonprospects.

Phase 2. In this phase about 200 qualified prospects would be interviewed using a combination of telephone and mail. These families would be mailed pictures, specifications, and line drawings of the company’s new models of condos and townhouses, although they would not be identified by the Roland name. The line drawings would include front and rear views of each unit’s exterior as well as sketches of each room. The specifications would include the number of square feet, wall thickness, heating and cooling equipment capacities, appliance brands and models, slab thickness, type of roof covering, and other features.

After reviewing these materials, respondents’ reactions and impressions would be obtained through telephone interviews using open-ended questions. Interviewers would be told that the objective was to obtain qualitative data useful for ascertaining how potential buyers perceived the new models with respect to appearance, comfort, elegance, convenience, durability, ease and economy of maintenance, and other criteria. Interviewers would be instructed to record verbatim responses and were told that it was very important to do so because none of the responses would be tabulated or analyzed statistically.

Responses to the open questions would then be studied to identify four or five ideas of themes that might be considered for use as creative strategies in advertising the new models.

Phase 3. This phase would be undertaken after four of the best advertising themes had been identified. Some 2,400 families would be selected from the list of prospects obtained from Phase 1—approximately 800 “very good” prospects, 800 “good” prospects, and 800 “fair” prospects.

All of the families in each of the three market segments would be sent pictures, line drawings, and specifications (including prices) of the new Roland models as well as those of major competing models, all identified by brand name. Each of these three groups of prospects would then be randomly divided into four subsamples of 200, each of which would receive one, and only one, of the four advertising themes identified for the new models. Thus, the study design would consist of three samples of 800 families each. In turn, each sample would be broken into four subsamples, each of which would receive a different advertising theme.

Analysis. The effect of each advertising theme on each prospect segment would be evaluated on three measures: the degree to which it (1) resulted in the new line being rated as “most appealing,” (2) led respondents to request further information about the company’s products, and (3) led respondents to indicate that they would be most likely to select one of the company’s homes if they were to make such a purchase in the near future. For each advertising theme-prospect segment combination, the research would yield three percentages.

For example, for theme #1 and the “very good” prospects, the research might show that 38 percent of the respondents found a model in the new line “most appealing” among all the models reviewed; that 26 percent requested further information about the Roland models; and that 17 percent indicated that they “most likely would purchase” one of the new Roland models.

By comparing these three percentages for each advertising theme-prospect segment combination, it would be possible to identify the most promising combinations. These results could be weighed by the relative size of each prospect segment to decide which creative strategy would be most effective in generating sales interest in the new models.

A. Awareness and Usage of Competitive Telecommunications Equipment1. What departments

A. Awareness and Usage of Competitive Telecommunications Equipment

1. What departments presently use non-Bell voice communications equipment (paging, intercom, message recording, etc.)? What were the main considerations in selecting this equipment?

2. What departments use non-Bell data terminals (CRTs)? What are the major functions/activities that this equipment is used for? What were the main considerations in selecting this equipment?

3. How do you view the capabilities of Bell System voicecommunications equipment to meet your operations needs?

4. How do you view the capabilities of Bell System data terminals to meet your records- and information retrieval needs?

5. What do you feel are Mountain Bell’s main strengths and/ or weaknesses in meeting your hospital’s overall telecommunications needs?

B. Perceptions of the Mountain Bell Sales Force

1. What should a telecommunications specialist know about the hospital industry in order to adequately address your voice-communications and data-processing needs?

2. Have you ever worked with any Mountain Bell marketing people in terms of your communications needs? If so, how knowledgeable do you perceive the Mountain Bell sales force to be with respect to both the health-care
industry and their telecommunications equipment? How

C. Purchasing Decision

1. What is the standard procedure for selecting and authorizing a telecommunications purchase? Is this based primarily on the dollar amount involved or type of technology?

2. Who has the greatest input on the telecommunications decision (department manager, administrator, physicians, and so on)?

3. What are the most important considerations in evaluating a potential telecommunications purchase (equipment price, cost-savings potential, available budget, and so on)?

4. What supplier information is most important in facilitating the purchasing decision? How effective has the Mountain Bell sales force been in providing such information?

D. Specification of the Most Important Problems or Concerns Relating to Effective Hospital Management

1. What are the most important problems or concerns confronting you in managing the hospital?

2. What type of management data is required in order to deal effectively with these problems or concerns?

3. How are these data presently recorded, updated, and transmitted? How effective would you say your current information-retrieval system is?

4. Do you have any dollar amount specifically budgeted for data or telecommunications improvements in 2004–2005? What specific information or communication functions are you most interested in upgrading?

E. Achieving Maximum Utilization of Hospital Facilities

1. Do you experience any problems in obtaining accurate, up-to-date information on the availability of bed space, operating rooms, or lab services?
2. Do you see __________ hospitals as competing with other area hospitals or HMOs in the provision of healthcare services? If so, with which hospitals? Do you have a marketing plan to deal with this situation?

F. Efficient Use of Labor Resources

1. How variable is the typical daily departmental workload, and what factors most influence this variance?

2. How do you document and forecast workload fluctuations? Is this done for each hospital department?

3. To what extent (if any) do you use outside consulting firms to work with you in improving the delivery of hospital services?

G. Reimbursement and Cash Flow

1. Which insurer is the primary provider of funds? How is reimbursement made by the major insurers?
2. What information do you need to verify the existence and type of insurance coverage when an individual is being processed for admission or outpatient hospital services? What, if any, problems are experienced in the verification and communication of insurance information?

Jim Martin, marketing research manager for Mountain Bell, studied the final research design for the hospital administrator study that had been prepared by Industrial Surveys, a marketing research firm in Denver. He realized that he needed to formulate some recommendations with respect to some very specific questions. Should individual personal interviewers be used as suggested by Industrial Surveys, or should a series of one to six focus-group interviews be used instead? Was the questionnaire satisfactory? Should individual questions be added, deleted, or modified? Should the flow be changed? Exactly who should be sampled, and what should the sample size be?

Research Setting

About 20 field salespeople at Mountain Bell Telephone Company were involved in sales of communication equipment and services to the health-care industry. Because of job rotations and reorganizations, few salespeople had been in their present positions for more than three years. They were expected to determine customer needs and problems and to design responsive communication systems. In addition, there was a health-care industry manager, Andy Smyth, who had overall responsibility for the health-care industry marketing effort at Mountain Bell, although none of the sales personnel reported directly to him. He prepared a marketing action plan and worked to see that it was implemented. The marketing action plan covered:

Andy Smyth was appointed only recently to his current position, although he had worked in the health-care market for several years while with the Eastern Bell Telephone Company. Thus, he did have some first-hand knowledge of customer concerns. Further, there was an AT&T marketing plan for the health-care industry which included an industry profile; however, it lacked the detailed information needed, especially at the local level. It also lacked current information as to competitive products and strategies.

Mountain Bell had long been a quasi-monopoly, but during the past decade had seen vigorous aggressive competitors appear. Andy Smyth thought it imperative to learn exactly what competitive products were making inroads, in what applications, and the basis of their competitive appeal. He also felt the need for some objective in-depth information as to how major Mountain Bell customers in the health-care industry perceived the company’s product line and its sales force. He hypothesized that the sales force was generally weak in terms of understanding customers’ communication needs and problems. He felt that such information would be particularly helpful in understanding customers’ concerns and in developing an effective sales training program. He hoped that the end result would be to make the sales force more customer oriented and to increase revenues from the health-care market.

While at Eastern Bell, Andy Smyth had initiated a mail survey of hospital administrators that had been of some value. Several months before, he had approached Jim Martin with the idea of doing something similar at Mountain. Jim’s reaction was that the questionnaire previously used was too general (that is one question was: What basic issues confront the health-care area?) or too difficult to answer (How much do you budget monthly for telecommunications equipment or service? 0–$1,000; $1,000–$2,000; etc.) Further, he felt that in-depth individual interviews would be more fruitful. Thus, he
contacted Industrial Surveys, which, after considerable discussion with both Jim and Andy, created the research design. They were guided by the following research objectives:

1. What are the awareness and usage levels of competitive telecommunications products by the hospital?

2. What is the perception of Mountain Bell’s sales force capabilities as compared to other telecommunications vendors?

3. What is the decision-making process as it pertains to the identification, selection, and purchase of telecommunications equipment?

4. What concerns/problems impact most directly upon the hospital’s (department’s) daily operations?

5. What are the perceived deficiencies and suggestions for improvement of work/information flow?

Research Design

Research interviews will be conducted in seven Denver area hospitals with the hospital administrator and, where possible, with the financial officer and the telecommunications manager. A total of 14 interviews are planned. Interviews will be held by appointment, and each respondent will be probed relative to those questions that are most appropriate for his or her position and relevant to the study’s overall objectives. The cost will be from $6,500 to $8,500, depending on the time involved to complete the interviews.

Judy Ryerson, the head of the windmill power section of

Judy Ryerson, the head of the windmill power section of the U.S. Department of Energy, was considering what types of qualitative marketing research would be useful to address a host of research questions.

The U.S. Department of Energy was formed to deal with the national energy problem. One of its goals was to encourage the development of a variety of energy sources, including the use of windmill power. One difficulty was that almost nothing was known about the current use of windmill power and the public reaction to it as a power source. Before developing windmill power programs, it seemed prudent to address several research questions to obtain background information and to formulate testable hypotheses.

Current Use of Windmills in the United States

How many power-generating windmills are there? Who owns them? What power-generating performance is being achieved? What designs are being used? What applications are involved?

Public Reaction

What are the public attitudes to various power sources? How much premium would the public be willing to pay for windmill power sources, both in terms of money and in terms of “visual pollution?” What is the relative acceptance of six different windmill designs ranging from the “old Dutch windmill” design to an egg-beater design?

Design one or more qualitative research designs to address the search questions and to develop hypotheses for future testing. If focus-group interviews are considered, provide a set of questions to guide the moderator.

In late May of 1996, the research manager for Kerry

In late May of 1996, the research manager for Kerry Gold Products met with the product manager for margarine to review the company’s first experience with Nielsen scanner data.

A year-long test in a single chain organization, which began in April 1995, had been completed recently. The first purpose of their review was to interpret the findings. They decided to concentrate on the results of the first 18 weeks of the tests, which are summarized in Figure 6.3. The size of the bars represents the weekly unit sales for Kerry Gold brand and the three competing brands also sold by the chain organization. In addition to the weekly data, there were summary data on share of total sales for the first and second halves of the year. This distinction was important because Kerry Gold had spent relatively little on promotion in the second half of the year. Since Nielsen had full records of all sales, they were also able to examine their share of sales during weeks when no brands offered price-reduction promotions. These data are shown in the two right-hand columns in Table 6.6.

While reviewing these results, the research manager also was wondering whether scanner data would be useful for other grocery products sold by Kerry Gold. Many of them were as heavily promoted as margarine. Judgments on the desirability of consumer promotions for these products usually were based on a combination of store audit data plus periodic controlled experiments.

1. Use the Internet to corroborate the findings of Dr

1. Use the Internet to corroborate the findings of Dr K.

2. Prepare a report based on the information that you have collected.

3. What are your recommendations to Mary based on your findings?

Mary Beth, President of Caring Children’s Hospitals (CCH), always looked forward to New Years. New Years were meant for family reunions and holidays for her. But this New Year had something totally different in store for her. The previous year had not been good for the hospital revenues. The number of patients served by the hospital had gone down, and the costs of health care were rising. The balance sheet presented a very sorry picture to her. But there was a glimmer of hope in the gloomy balance sheet.

About two years ago, Mary had started a small division within CCH that provided health care for disabled children in their houses. This division resembled a home health-care facility, but Mary was wary about developing this division into a full-fledged home health-care organization within CCH. This division had been doing well for the past two years. It was the only division in CCH with a positive picture in the balance sheet. Mary decided to develop the home health-care division in the hospital to get around the problems facing the hospital’s financial situation.

But there were a lot of issues to be addressed, such as the kind of expansion plan to adopt, the kind of services to be provided by the home health-care facility, the kind of insurance plans that the patients would be able to use, and the type of publicity to use. Mary decided to use the services of Innovative Marketing Consultants (IMC), a top-notch local marketing consulting firm, for addressing these issues and suggesting an expansion plan. A meeting was set up with Dr K, president of IMC, to discuss the issues involved and to explain the details of a home health-care program. Dr K suggested using the Internet to analyze the scope for a new player in the industry, the trends in the industry, the common modes of payment available, the costs involved per patient, the profit margins possible, and the kinds of diseases requiring home health care. The Internet was selected for secondary data analysis because of its speed and availability of up-to-date information.

Dr. K used several search engines available in the Internet, such as Lycos, Infoseek, and AltaVista, to get a wide and varied coverage of the Internet. The information collected from the Internet suggested that the home health-care industry was booming and that pediatric home health care had a significant share in the market. The results also suggested that given a choice, people would prefer to receive the needed care in their homes. Also, the cost involved in serving patients at their houses was significantly less and it was fully covered by Medicare. Home health care was also found to be the fastest growing health-care segment in the nineties. The diagnoses most often referred to home health care were found to be favorable to CCH. These results formed the base for conducting primary research in the market. The use of the Internet allowed Dr K to analyze a wide range of issues within a short time frame.

A snack-food manufacturer used a leading consumer behavior tracking service

A snack-food manufacturer used a leading consumer behavior tracking service to discover that viewers of two daytime serials had varying consumption preferences. Soap Opera A viewers bought 27 percent more of their potato chips than average, but 22 percent less of their trail-mix nuts. In contrast, viewers of Soap Opera B bought 10 percent less potato chips than average, but purchased 46 percent more trail-mix nuts than the norm for all viewers. How would you go about explaining the differences between these two programs that led to the consumption differences? What action would you recommend to the snack-food manufacturer?

1. What secondary data sources would be useful? What types

1. What secondary data sources would be useful? What types of questions might be answered by each?

2. Identify one piece of information from the library that would be helpful and relevant. How did you locate it?

3. What other mechanisms would you use to gather information?

Joyce Stevenson, the manager of marketing research for Barkley Foods, had just left an emergency meeting with the firm’s president. An opportunity to buy an established line of gourmet (high-quality/high-priced) frozen dinners had arisen.

Because there were other interested buyers, a decision had to be made within three or four weeks. This decision depended on judgments about the future prospects of the gourmet frozen dinner market and whether Barkley could achieve a competitive advantage. The marketing research group was asked to provide as much useful information as possible within a 10-day period.

Although uncomfortable with the time pressure involved, Joyce was pleased that marketing had finally been asked to participate in the analysis of acquisition prospects. She had pressed for such participation and now she had to deliver. Because of prior work on frozen fruit juices, Joyce had some knowledge of the gourmet frozen market. It was pioneered by Stouffer, who introduced the Lean Cuisine line of entrees in 1981. Since then, other firms have entered the industry with complete gourmet dinners (including Swanson’s Le Menu and Armour’s Dinner Classics). The distinction between entrees, dinners, and the three main types of food offered—conventional, ethnic (i.e., Benihana Restaurant Classics), or low-calorie (i.e., Weight Watchers or Light & Elegant)—define relevant submarkets. Joyce hypothesized that the gourmet frozen food buyer differs from the buyer of conventional “TV dinners” in several respects. The gourmet frozen food buyers are generally young, upper-socioeconomic-group people who probably have microwaves, are more health conscious, and are likely to be working women and others who want sophisticated cuisine but lack the time to prepare it.

Barkley Foods was a diversified food company with sales of $2.3 billion. Over 80 percent of its sales came from branded packaged food products sold nationally through grocery stores. Its largest product areas were canned tomato products, frozen orange juice, cake mixes, and yogurt. Barkley was known to have strengths in operations (product preparation), distribution (obtaining distribution and managing the shelves), and advertising. Their brands typically held a solid second-place position in the supermarket. There was no effort at umbrella brand identification, so each product area was carried by its own brand.

Joyce Stevenson had previously been in strategic planning, and reviewed the type of information and analysis that would be required to support a strategic decision like this one. She wrote down the following four sets of questions to guide the thinking of the research group:

1. Market analysis

• What are the size, current growth rate, and projected growth rate of the industry and its relevant subsets (such as ethnic dinners) for the next five and ten years?

• What are the important industry trends?

• What are the emerging production technologies?

• What are the distribution trends?

• What are current and future success factors (a competitive skill or asset needed to  compete successfully)?

2. Environmental analysis

• What demographic, cultural, economic, or governmental trends or events could create strategic threats or opportunities?

• What major environmental scenarios (plausible stories about the future) can be conceived?

3. Customer analysis

• What are the major segments?

• What are their motivations and unmet needs?

4. Competitor analysis

• Who are the existing and potential competitors?

• What are their current or forecasted levels of sales, market shares, and profits?

• What are their strengths and weaknesses?

• What strategies are they following, and how are they differentiating themselves in the market?

NaturaSkin, Inc., a small U.S.-based manufacturer of vegan skincare products

NaturaSkin, Inc., a small U.S.-based manufacturer of vegan skincare products with natural ingredients, feels that a market exists for its product in foreign markets. However, the company’s managers have no experience in the international environment and do not know how to proceed in forming a marketing strategy for international markets. They have decided to contact a marketing research firm to help with the process. The researchers recommend a “foreign market opportunity analysis” as a starting point for the company’s internationalization.

(a) What is the aim of a foreign market opportunity analysis?

(b) Which questions might a researcher ask to gather information for the analysis?

(c) What is the most probable cause of failure for a business or marketing research project in a foreign environment?

1. What are the issues concerning the Latin American market

1. What are the issues concerning the Latin American market that Dell should address before it enters into Brazil?

2. What kind of information is needed to address the issues identified in question 1? What are the possible sources of the required information?

3. What are your recommendations to Dell regarding the steps for expanding its operations in Latin America?

Dell, which thrived while other PC makers stumbled in 1998, reported a 53 percent jump in profit and a 50 percent jump in revenue for its fiscal second quarter, which ended in July 1998. Unlike most of its rivals, Dell deals directly with customers and builds PCs only after receiving an order. However, all is not well for Dell. While Dell continues to blow away the competition and Wall Street with enormous increases in personal computer sales, it is continually scrambling to bring in and train enough people to keep up with its orders.

The company’s employment had grown 56 percent in 1997, to 20,800, and within a span of three months Dell added 225 people a week—about the same it added every six weeks in 1996. To manage this expansion, Dell has aggressively recruited experienced outsiders and tried to standardize training of new employees. It has also created a culture where managers are rewarded for seeing their divisions split into smaller units and their responsibilities cut back.

Incidentally, Dell Computer Corp. is expected to announce a major foray into Brazil, in a bid to boost its share of Latin America’s fast-growing personal-computer market. Foreign companies with local production plants dominate Latin America’s estimated $6.5 billion personal-computer market.

Compaq Computer Corp., International Business Machines Corp., Acer Inc., and Hewlett-Packard Co. together accounted for 42 percent of desktop and notebook sales in 1997, according to IDC Latin America, a market-research firm. Dell ranked ninth with 1.2 percent of the market. At the company’s annual meeting in July 1998, Vice Chairman Morton Topfer said Dell aimed to open a plant in Latin America in 1999 and noted that Latin America is key to its international expansion. The company already operates regional production plants in Malaysia, Ireland, the United States, and China.