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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Global Market Penetration Strategy for Defense Equipment Manufacturer


There are countless scenarios that require Organizational Design. Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Organizational Design to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. Let us analyze the following scenario.

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Consider this scenario: A leading defense equipment manufacturer is encountering significant challenges in expanding its global market presence, hindered by an outdated organizational design.

The company is experiencing a 20% decline in international sales due to intensified competition and evolving military procurement policies. Additionally, internal inefficiencies and a rigid organizational structure have led to prolonged product development cycles and a failure to meet emerging defense needs promptly. The primary strategic objective is to penetrate new international markets while streamlining operations and enhancing product innovation to meet the modern defense industry's demands.



The defense equipment manufacturer in question is facing stagnation in a rapidly evolving global defense market. The challenges suggest that the core issues may revolve around the company's slow response to changing market demands and an organizational structure that does not support agile decision-making or innovation. These factors are likely contributing to the company's declining performance and market share.

Industry Analysis

The global defense industry is characterized by high entry barriers, substantial government involvement, and a focus on technological innovation. It is a sector where strategic partnerships and geopolitical considerations significantly influence market dynamics.

Examining the competitive landscape reveals:

  • Internal Rivalry: High, due to the presence of several major players competing for limited government contracts and partnerships.
  • Supplier Power: Moderate, as manufacturers depend on a few suppliers for critical high-tech components, but alternatives are emerging.
  • Buyer Power: High, with buyers being national governments that have significant negotiating leverage and stringent requirements.
  • Threat of New Entrants: Low, given the high regulatory, capital, and technology barriers to entry.
  • Threat of Substitutes: Moderate, as innovation in defense technologies can make existing products obsolete.

Emergent trends include a shift towards autonomous systems, cyber defense capabilities, and increased emphasis on cost-efficiency and flexibility. Major changes in industry dynamics are:

  • Increase in demand for integrated defense systems offering opportunities for firms that can provide comprehensive solutions but posing risks for those specialized in single-product lines.
  • Rising importance of cyber and space domains, opening new revenue streams for companies that can innovate in these areas while challenging traditional defense manufacturers.
  • Greater emphasis on rapid prototyping and agile development methods, offering opportunities for operational improvement but requiring significant organizational adaptation.

A PESTLE analysis highlights geopolitical tensions, defense spending trends, technological advancements, and evolving regulatory frameworks as key external factors impacting the industry. These elements underscore the need for strategic agility and innovation in product development and market approach.

Learn more about Agile PEST Competitive Landscape Industry Analysis

For a deeper analysis, take a look at these Industry Analysis best practices:

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Internal Assessment

The organization boasts a strong reputation for quality and reliability in traditional defense equipment but faces challenges in operational agility and innovation. Its strengths lie in its established relationships with key defense departments and a deep understanding of conventional defense needs.

MOST Analysis reveals misalignments between the company's mission and its operational strategies, particularly in areas related to product development and market expansion. Opportunities to realign these elements through strategic planning are evident.

Core Competencies Analysis indicates that the company's expertise in traditional defense manufacturing is robust, but there is a gap in newer domains such as cyber defense and autonomous systems. Developing competencies in these areas could unlock significant competitive advantages.

McKinsey 7-S Analysis underscores that the company's structure, systems, and shared values are currently not conducive to fostering innovation or operational flexibility. Addressing these areas is critical for achieving strategic objectives.

Learn more about Strategic Planning Competitive Advantage

Strategic Initiatives

  • Organizational Design Overhaul: This initiative aims to restructure the company to improve agility and innovation. By flattening the hierarchy and fostering cross-functional teams, the company can accelerate decision-making and product development cycles. The value creation lies in enhanced responsiveness to market demands and faster time-to-market for new products. This will require changes in governance structures, talent management practices, and corporate culture.
  • Expansion into Cyber Defense and Autonomous Systems: Developing capabilities in these high-growth areas aims to diversify the product portfolio and meet emerging defense needs. The initiative's value stems from tapping into new revenue streams and strengthening the company's competitive position. Significant investments in R&D, talent acquisition, and strategic partnerships are required.
  • Strategic Partnerships for Market Entry: Forming alliances with local firms in target markets to facilitate entry and compliance with local regulations. This approach aims to leverage existing market knowledge and networks of partners to gain a foothold in new geographies. The value comes from reduced market entry barriers and accelerated growth in new regions. Resources needed include dedicated partnership management teams and market analysis capabilities.

Learn more about Corporate Culture Talent Management Value Creation

Organizational Design Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.
     – Lord Kelvin

  • Time-to-Market for New Products: Measures the effectiveness of organizational changes in speeding up product development and launch cycles.
  • Revenue from New Product Lines: Tracks the financial success of diversification into cyber defense and autonomous systems.
  • Market Share in Target Geographies: Assesses the impact of strategic partnerships and market entry strategies on expanding the company's global footprint.

These KPIs offer insights into the strategic plan's effectiveness in driving organizational change, product innovation, and market expansion. They will help in identifying areas of success and where further adjustments may be needed.

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Organizational Design Best Practices

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Organizational Design Deliverables

These are a selection of deliverables across all the strategic initiatives.

  • Organizational Design Framework (PPT)
  • Product Innovation Roadmap (PPT)
  • Market Expansion Plan (PPT)
  • Strategic Partnership Template (Excel)
  • Financial Impact Model (Excel)

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Organizational Design Overhaul

The strategic initiative to overhaul the organizational design was informed by the application of the Value Chain Analysis and the VRIO Framework. Value Chain Analysis, originally introduced by Michael Porter, was instrumental in understanding how the company's activities could be restructured to maximize value creation. It provided a clear view of primary and support activities that could be optimized for greater efficiency and effectiveness. The organization implemented this framework by:

  • Mapping out the entire value chain, from inbound logistics to after-sales services, identifying key activities that were critical to delivering value to the defense sector.
  • Assessing each activity for its contribution to competitive advantage, identifying areas of redundancy, and pinpointing opportunities for process improvement and cost reduction.
  • Realigning the organizational structure to better support the most valuable activities, ensuring resources were allocated to areas with the highest potential for value creation.

The VRIO Framework, which stands for Value, Rarity, Imitability, and Organization, was utilized to assess the company's resources and capabilities to ensure they were organized to capture the maximum value. The framework helped the company to:

  • Evaluate which resources and capabilities were truly valuable, rare, and costly to imitate, and then organize the company to exploit these assets.
  • Identify gaps in the organizational structure that prevented these resources from being fully leveraged and implement changes to address these issues.

The results of implementing these frameworks were transformative. The company achieved a more streamlined and efficient organizational design, with a clear focus on activities that directly contributed to competitive advantage. This realignment allowed for quicker decision-making processes and a more agile response to market changes, leading to an improved ability to meet the demands of the modern defense industry.

Learn more about Organizational Design Process Improvement Value Chain Analysis

Expansion into Cyber Defense and Autonomous Systems

For the strategic initiative focusing on expansion into cyber defense and autonomous systems, the Scenario Planning and Resource-Based View (RBV) frameworks were selected for their relevance and potential impact. Scenario Planning allowed the company to anticipate and prepare for multiple future states of the defense industry, especially in rapidly evolving areas like cyber defense. The framework was put into practice by:

  • Identifying key drivers of change in the global defense landscape, with a particular focus on technological advancements and geopolitical shifts.
  • Developing a range of plausible future scenarios that could impact the demand for cyber defense and autonomous systems.
  • Creating strategic options for each scenario, ensuring the company could navigate and succeed in various future markets.

The Resource-Based View (RBV) was employed to ensure the company's internal capabilities were aligned with the strategic goal of entering new markets. The RBV framework guided the company to:

  • Conduct an internal audit of resources and capabilities to identify strengths that could be leveraged in the cyber defense and autonomous systems markets.
  • Invest in developing unique resources and capabilities that would provide a competitive edge in these new areas.
  • Align resource allocation with strategic priorities, ensuring the necessary investments in R&D and talent acquisition were made.

The combination of Scenario Planning and RBV enabled the company to strategically navigate the complexities of entering new, high-tech markets. The frameworks provided a structured approach to anticipating future industry dynamics and aligning internal capabilities with market opportunities. As a result, the company successfully expanded its product portfolio into cyber defense and autonomous systems, positioning itself as a leader in these cutting-edge domains.

Learn more about Scenario Planning

Strategic Partnerships for Market Entry

The strategic initiative to form strategic partnerships for market entry was supported by the use of the Strategic Alliance Framework and the Market Entry Strategy Framework. The Strategic Alliance Framework was pivotal in identifying, evaluating, and selecting the right partners for entering new geographical markets. It guided the company through the process by:

  • Defining the strategic objectives for each target market and identifying potential partners with aligned goals and complementary capabilities.
  • Conducting thorough due diligence to assess the strengths and weaknesses of potential partners, as well as the synergies that could be achieved through collaboration.
  • Negotiating and structuring alliances that balanced risk and reward, ensuring mutual benefits and a strong foundation for long-term cooperation.

The Market Entry Strategy Framework was essential in choosing the most appropriate entry modes for different markets, considering the unique challenges and opportunities in each. The company implemented this framework by:

  • Analyzing market conditions, regulatory environments, and competitive landscapes to determine the optimal entry strategy for each target geography.
  • Deciding between direct investment, joint ventures, and strategic alliances based on the analysis, aligning the choice of entry mode with the company’s overall strategic objectives.

Through the application of these frameworks, the company was able to establish successful strategic partnerships that facilitated smooth entry into new markets. These alliances not only accelerated market penetration but also enhanced the company's understanding of local market dynamics and regulatory requirements. The strategic partnerships significantly contributed to the company's global expansion efforts, demonstrating the value of a structured and strategic approach to forming and managing alliances.

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Streamlined organizational structure, reducing product development and launch cycles by 30%.
  • Generated a 15% increase in revenue from new product lines in cyber defense and autonomous systems within the first year.
  • Expanded market share in target geographies by 20%, attributed to successful strategic partnerships.
  • Improved operational efficiency, leading to a 10% reduction in overhead costs.
  • Established the company as a leader in cutting-edge domains, notably in cyber defense and autonomous systems.

The strategic initiatives undertaken by the defense equipment manufacturer have yielded significant results, demonstrating the effectiveness of the organizational design overhaul, expansion into new product lines, and strategic partnerships for market entry. The reduction in product development and launch cycles by 30% is particularly noteworthy, as it directly addresses the initial challenge of slow response to market demands. The 15% revenue increase from new product lines and a 20% expansion in market share in target geographies are clear indicators of successful diversification and market penetration strategies. However, while these results are commendable, the 10% reduction in overhead costs, though beneficial, suggests there may be further opportunities for cost optimization. The success in establishing leadership in cyber defense and autonomous systems is a strategic win, but continuous investment in R&D and talent will be crucial to maintaining this position, especially given the rapid pace of technological advancement in these areas.

Given the achievements and areas for improvement identified, the next steps should focus on continuous improvement and strategic vigilance. First, further streamlining of operational processes through the adoption of advanced technologies like AI and machine learning could enhance efficiency and innovation. Second, ongoing investment in R&D and talent acquisition, particularly in emerging technologies, is essential to sustain leadership in cyber defense and autonomous systems. Third, expanding the strategic partnership model to include technology and innovation collaborations could open new avenues for growth and competitiveness. Lastly, implementing a more dynamic and continuous strategic planning process will enable the company to adapt more swiftly to changing market conditions and emerging opportunities.

Source: Global Market Penetration Strategy for Defense Equipment Manufacturer, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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