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Case
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Reference no. 9-515-S08
Spanish language
Subject category: Marketing
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Originally published in: 2009
Version: 10 July 2009
Revision date: 29-Apr-2019

Abstract

This is a Spanish version. In 2005, COFCO Ltd, one of China's largest and most successful companies, acquired Xinjiang Tunhe, a tomato processing firm, which had been, in recent years, poorly managed. COFCO changed Tunhe's management team and set out to create a culture of professionalism and impressed upon the employees that the customer came first. Qin Yelong, Tunhe president, had ambitious goals for the company. he wanted Tunhe to be the world's largest supplier of tomato products (primarily paste) within three years. To do so, Tunhe needed to secure relationships with top-of-the-line international customers, such as HJ Heinz and Unilever. These companies were interested in Tunhe as a supplier, but needed assurances that the company could provide a reliable supply of high quality, competitively priced, and safe tomato paste year in and year out before they would finalize long term contracts with Tunhe. Qin and his management team knew that to be number one, Tunhe would need to take a lead role in modernizing China's current 'peasant mode of agriculture.' Indeed, Tunhe's tomato supply came from 200,000 mainly uneducated farmers, working small parcels of land (less than 0.2 hectare on average) with little to no mechanization, scattered across the regions of Northwest China. The challenge: How to manage so many farmers (the number was expected to grow to 300,000 if Qin's revenue targets were achieved) so as to ensure consistent tomato quality and safety without dramatically increasing costs. Qin realized that Tunhe had an opportunity to create a new mode of agriculture, which could be the model for all agribusiness in China moving forward. On the other hand, a misstep could lead Heinz and other large international companies to look elsewhere for their supply requirements.
Location:
Size:
CNY2.9 billion, 8,000 employees
Other setting(s):
2008

About

Abstract

This is a Spanish version. In 2005, COFCO Ltd, one of China's largest and most successful companies, acquired Xinjiang Tunhe, a tomato processing firm, which had been, in recent years, poorly managed. COFCO changed Tunhe's management team and set out to create a culture of professionalism and impressed upon the employees that the customer came first. Qin Yelong, Tunhe president, had ambitious goals for the company. he wanted Tunhe to be the world's largest supplier of tomato products (primarily paste) within three years. To do so, Tunhe needed to secure relationships with top-of-the-line international customers, such as HJ Heinz and Unilever. These companies were interested in Tunhe as a supplier, but needed assurances that the company could provide a reliable supply of high quality, competitively priced, and safe tomato paste year in and year out before they would finalize long term contracts with Tunhe. Qin and his management team knew that to be number one, Tunhe would need to take a lead role in modernizing China's current 'peasant mode of agriculture.' Indeed, Tunhe's tomato supply came from 200,000 mainly uneducated farmers, working small parcels of land (less than 0.2 hectare on average) with little to no mechanization, scattered across the regions of Northwest China. The challenge: How to manage so many farmers (the number was expected to grow to 300,000 if Qin's revenue targets were achieved) so as to ensure consistent tomato quality and safety without dramatically increasing costs. Qin realized that Tunhe had an opportunity to create a new mode of agriculture, which could be the model for all agribusiness in China moving forward. On the other hand, a misstep could lead Heinz and other large international companies to look elsewhere for their supply requirements.

Settings

Location:
Size:
CNY2.9 billion, 8,000 employees
Other setting(s):
2008

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