Classic Case - Managing for Competiveness: The Improved Microwave Landing System Avionics

Managing for Competiveness: The Improved Microwave Landing System Avionics


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  • Product Description

    This disguised case recounts, step by step, a small but representative competitive purchase by the US Air Force--the acquisition of an aircraft landing system by the Electronics Systems Division (ESD). The case traces the experiences of a novice program manager, Lt. Chris Martin, as he encountered complex federal acquisition procedures from preparing the request for proposals to debriefing the loser of the contract competition. The Air Force had planned to purchase a system already available commercially, but, to Martin, only one manufacturer offered equipment which met ESD's specifications. Faced with the possibility of a single-source, non-competitive acquisition, Martin's superiors directed him to re-examine the original specifications. ESD eventually amended its requirements to reduce the differences between equipment built to military specifications and equipment built for civilian use. Two firms remained in competition until the end.

    Learning Objective:
    The case is designed as an overview of the stages of the defense acquisition process. It illustrates differences between commercial and military expectations in marketing and purchasing. It may also be used to discuss the organizational strategies available to an inexperienced manager.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1988
    HKS Case Number: 842.0
    Case Author: Schuyler Houser
    Faculty Lead: Ron Fox
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 18
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Pew Charitable Trusts
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 16-25
    _geography: US & Canada
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