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Reference no. IMD-6-0315
Prize winner
Published by:
Institute for Management Development (IMD) (2008)
14 pages
Data source:
Field research


This is the first of a two-case series (IMD-6-0315 and IMD-6-0316). Two years after joining the LEGO Group as their Logistics Manager for Europe and Asia, Egil Moeller Nielsen finds himself fighting several battles at different fronts; the most difficult one on his home turf against his own management team. He is half-way implementing a bold plan: close down all existing local and regional logistics operations and consolidate all logistics and distribution activities from a central location in the Czech Republic, managed by an external partner - DHL. Outsourcing logistics services on a scale like this - in East-Europe - had never been done before by any other European company. The stakes are high as LEGO, struggling for survival, is also trying to re-invent itself. Should Nielsen push through his plan - in which he firmly believes - or give in to the mounting pressure from home and relax his efforts? Learning objectives: we observe two new partners, both active on new, unexplored territory in the early stages of their partnership. The relationship is strained; both companies are under tremendous pressure from their corporate headquarters to show results while there is a general distrust in each others capacity and motivation. In this first case we learn that building a relationship that is based only on a contractual agreement can be a painful experience. Cost accounting in general and cost drivers in specific are mentioned to illustrate their importance in key decision making.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate and executive education courses.


Distribution / logistics consolidation / transformation; Outsourcing; Costs of complexity; Turnaround burning platform; Change management; Partnership; Shared values


The events covered by this item took place in 2003-2008.

Geographical setting


Featured company

Company name:
LEGO Group (The)
EUR 1.2 Billion

Featured protagonist

  • Egil Moeller Nielsen (male), Logistics Manager

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Awards, prizes & competitions

2014 - The Case Centre best selling case
2013 - The Case Centre best selling case
2011 - ecch Case Awards - category winner
Classic case collection - Production and Operations Management
2009 - EFMD Case Writing Competition - category winner

Reviews & usage