Use the Case Study presented here to answer the questions below. Your answers should be long
enough to answer each question fully and completely and typed below the individual question in this
document. Follow the instructions in the questions to determine the appropriate length of your
Your answers should demonstrate an understanding of the concept(s), should apply
critical thinking, and should provide analysis of the Case Study in light of the concepts(s).
You should not just re-iterate what has been presented in class, but integrate the
information and relate it to the Case Study.
Proper APA style must be used for any citations and references that you use.
Your exam will be graded on the completeness and accuracy of your responses and
whether you have appropriately tied your responses to the Case Study. Responses that
do not mention the Case Study will receive very few points, if any. Each question is
worth 10 points.
Virginia’s Finest Meat Distributors
Victor Constantine is owner of one of the few remaining privately owned meat distributors in the
Washington DC Metropolitan region. Independent butcher shops have decreased in number over the
last decade, since meat sales have fallen overall and restaurants have increasingly moved to large
wholesale distributors. However, this has created an opportunity for specialty butcher shops in markets
which provide only basic options through these larger retailers. Victor's market niche is providing
customized meat cuts for each client – clients are individual restaurants, chains, caterers and specialty
places such as country clubs.
Virginia’s Finest Meat Distributors (VFMD) operates a 40,000 square foot processing plant in
Winchester, Virginia. The company is doing very well with revenues steadily increasing over the last
several years and reaching $19 million in gross revenue last year, netting a modest but satisfactory net
profit. As would be expected, the largest expense is the cost of the meat itself, followed by labor costs
currently hovering around $2.5 million per year. Current debt includes approximately $4 million on its
Retail butchers have been replaced with grocery chains and big box stores. In addition, people are
eating more meals away from home. With an increasing percentage of food dollars spent in restaurants,
there is a growing need for sales of specialty meats to the niche market that can afford and desire them.
Caterers, especially those serving high-end corporate and private events, and upscale restaurants seek
high-quality specialty meats at Market Prices. VFMD sells to catering businesses and restaurants,
meeting their special timing needs and highly variable special demands, which puts VFMD in high
demand and provides them with an above average margin of profit.
VFMD treats its employees well and the labor costs include matching funds on employees 401K plans, a
very good medical plan, and bonuses for all employees. At this time, there are approximately 50
employees. The business began with Victor's father who originally sold meat to local families and
restaurants from a wagon and ran the business out of his home. Today’s business is quite different. In
addition to Victor, who has long-term relationships with the best suppliers of meat as well as an
understanding of the craft of butchering, the leadership team includes Victor’s son and daughter. His
son, who performed every job including receiving, shipping and cutting the beef, is currently the Vice
President and is expected to take the reins when his father retires; his formal education includes food
service management, state food hygiene laws, business to business sales, and finance. Victor's daughter
handles marketing and social media.
A typical day starts very early in the morning when employees receive carcasses, cut and grind the meat,
weigh, package and label it (if needed), and load the 8 refrigerated trucks owned by VFMD. These trucks
deliver on average 65,000 pounds of meat and poultry to their roughly 375 customers in the Washington
area each week. Deliveries consist of standing orders of specific cuts of meat, special orders to be
delivered on specific days, and expedited deliveries to meet unexpected demand.
At the operational level, orders are taken by the office clerk over the phone or Internet. The clerk works
with Victor and the customers to ensure their individual needs are met. For example, when a restaurant
client couldn’t get its nine-pound racks of lamb to cook equally from end to end, Victor reduced the size
of the cut he sold them to precisely 7.5 pounds; the problem was solved and a valuable customer was
pleased. Orders for immediate delivery of specific cuts are written down and carried from the clerk to
the butchers on duty who will prepare the cuts. They will be packaged, priced, and prepared for
delivery. While products can be replenished within a few days, there is the possibility of certain items
running out because of unexpected high demand, and VFMD may run out of stock on certain products
until new shipments arrive. In such cases, the sales staff will offer suggestions of substitutions or special
offers in order to make sure all customers are satisfied.
The majority (about 85%) of VFMD’s product is boxed beef from the Midwest which arrives every other
day. Additionally pork, beef, lamb, and poultry are sourced from local farms. Victor insists on
purchasing from well-managed and supervised farms where no drugs or medicated feed are used. The
majority of beef is wet-aged – a common process where the meat is aged by sealing it in a bag with its
own juices. However, the real profit is in dry-aged beef that high-end restaurants require, and then sell,
at a substantial premium. Costs are considerably higher as a large percentage of weight (close to 50%) is
lost in the dry-aging process and the time to age is considerably longer. This process results in a more
tender and flavorful meat. The profit margin is higher than wet-aged beef as high-end restaurants are
willing to pay for this – which in turn their customers expect. VFMD operates a very busy dry-aging
facility where the dry-aging process takes from 15-28 days and the stock rotates continuously. Vincent
refers to his dry-aging facility as the “Money Room.”
While VCMD is doing well in today’s market, Victor is aware of the increased trends in healthy eating
and vegan lifestyles. In addition, he’s seen the number of producers shrinking as small, high quality
livestock farms and ranches struggle to stay competitive with large-scale commercial producers. He’s
also observed the impact to high-end restaurants when the economy dips. He has read the American
Meat Institute's analysis on why meat prices rise and fall:
"The meat industry is unique because it relies on live animals as its raw materials. Within livestock
production, there is a classic, livestock price cycle. Prices rise and fall as producers raise more
animals in response to high prices or low supply, and then cease producing when livestock
inventories become high and prices fall." (North American Meat Institute, p.1)
VFMD's primary competitor in this market is Maine Avenue Butchers, which was established fifteen
years ago and sells only high-quality beef products, both wet and dry-aged. Maine Avenue Butchers
charges high prices for its quality beef, and sells primarily to caterers and specialty restaurants. There
are a number of very large big box stores in the area who are competing for business from caterers by
offering one-stop shopping for all their catering needs. Neither Maine Avenue Butchers nor the large
box stores provide the level of service and expedited delivery as VFMD
Victor and his leadership team have identified the following Keys to Success as part of their business
1. Maintain high quality standards for its suppliers and continuously monitor this quality.
2. Provide unequaled customer service and delivery.
3. Preserve meats in optimal conditions to maintain freshness and minimize waste while in the
4. Maintain excellence in the skill of butchering meats through hiring, training, and supervision of
5. Listen carefully to customer needs and respond with custom-cut products, whether in person,
over the phone, or through Internet orders.
6. To the extent possible, make a profit on each item that passes through the facility.
7. Increase productivity, management of the business and profit margin through the use of
Victor is seeking your help to analyze his business and identify areas where information systems could
help him better manage and grow his business. Review the Instructions above and respond to the
questions that follow. Each is worth 10 points.
1. Analyze the Virginia’s Finest Meat Distributors business. This question has 2 parts.
a. Discuss each of Porter's Five Forces in relationship to VFMD.
List Porter's Five Forces
JUSTIFICATION of your selected impact
Minimum 3 good sentences that explain the impact of the force on VFDM
to demonstrate understanding of the force.
Refer to specific details from the business in the case study to support
your explanations. You must mention the case study to gain all
points for your submission.
b. Identify which one of the forces should be the primary factor in the development of future
business and their information technology strategy. Include the chosen force and your
explanation of why you chose that force using information you’ve learned in this course and
specifics from the case study in a minimum of 3 well-written sentences. Your explanation
must explicitly refer to the VFMD business in the case study.
2. Identify which of Porter's Generic Strategies is most appropriate to Virginia’s Finest Meat
Distributors and explain why you selected it in light of your Five Forces Analysis. You must
mention the case study to gain all points for your response.
3. Victor uses the three business processes listed below, and each of them could be improved using
technology. Identify and explain how a type of information technology system solution could
improve each one of the processes. Do not research a specific product (e.g., SalesForce) but do
include the type of solution (e.g., CRM, SCM, etc.).
a. Purchasing meat products from suppliers. How could a technology solution improve this
b. Creating and managing a schedule to deliver ordered products (standing orders and special
orders) to the right customers each day. How could a technology solution improve this
c. Managing inventory. How could a technology solution improve this process?
4. Using the three business processes listed in question #3, identify one step in the process, and
then list one input, one system processing action, and one output that would be part of that
step in the process. Note: these 3 pieces need to relate to each other.
Choose a step in the
process listed and
write it in the space
entered into the
system as part of this
(input needed for the
Processing or action
the system must
perform for this
(what the system will
do with the input)
displayed or printed out
for the user in this
(what the system will
Briefly describe the
step in the process
Briefly describe the
step in the process
Briefly describe the
step in the process
5. Victor has decided to use technology to improve one of the business processes identified in
question #4 above. Select one of the processes and analyze the IT requirements as they apply
to that process using the table below. Type the name of the process you selected on the line
Business Process for Virginia’s Finest Meat Distributors
Type the name the business process that you selected from #4 here: ______________
Low, or Not
(each must have a
Explanation for Ranking Including N/A
(Write a minimum of 3 good sentences for each.
Include why/how the IT requirement applies to
the process you selected.
In your explanation, identify the data or type of
data used, where applicable.
Specifically mention and relate your answer to
the Case Study Virginia’s Finest Meat
6. Using a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, list and briefly explain three specific
quantifiable (measurable) business benefits. These should reflect measurable benefits
achieved by using a SaaS solution – not general benefits. Your explanation must explicitly refer
to a SaaS solution and the VFMD business in the case study.
a. Business Benefit #1 and explanation:
b. Business Benefit #2 and explanation:
c. Business Benefit #3 and explanation:
7. Victor has decided to implement a cloud-based SaaS solution to improve the process of shipping
products to his customers. Identify one important activity that Victor would need to do during
each of the following phases of the system development life cycle (SDLC) to implement his
solution. Your answers should demonstrate an understanding of the phase of the SDLC and
implementation of a SaaS solution. (An example answer is provided for the Programming phase—
all other phases are applicable to this solution.) . Your explanation must explicitly refer to the
VFMD business in the case study.
b. Analysis and Design:
c. Programming: Since the system has already been developed by the SaaS vendor, Victor is
not required to take any action regarding the Programming Phase.
f. Implementation and Continued Use:
8. Victor would like to increase the profit margins on his products – increasing the volume on those
products that yield higher profits. He wants to analyze the data he will be collecting in his new
information system to help him do this.
Identify three questions that Victor would want answers to in order to determine ways
to increase sales of the more profitable products.
Then, identify what information Victor would need to answer each question.
Finally, explain how that information and the answers to the questions would help
Victor with data-driven decision making.
For example, to solve a different problem: If Victor wanted to know when he could schedule his
delivery trucks for maintenance, he might ask: On average, how many delivery trucks have been
sent out each day of the week (over the past 6 months)? He would need to know this so he
could figure out when his trucks are least in demand. Using this information, he might see that
he makes very few deliveries on Sundays. But, his maintenance shop is not open on Sundays, so
he would have to look at the next least busy day. If he found that Tuesdays generally require
the next fewer delivery vehicles, he could schedule his trucks for maintenance on Tuesdays on a
rotating cycle. Victor can then use that information to ensure his trucks are in good working
order without impacting his ability to deliver the products to his customers.
a. Question, information needed and explanation #1:
b. Question, information needed and explanation #2:
c. Question, information needed and explanation #3:
9. Victor has asked you to explain how e-commerce could help him in dealing with his current and
new commercial customers. (He is not interested in taking orders from just anyone ordering on
Identify two different categories of e-commerce (as defined in the Week 2 Learning
Resource "Categories of Electronic Commerce") that VFMD could use to improve their
Explain how each e-commerce category would be used and what business process
changes would be needed to implement it. Your explanations should include the name
of Victor's business and demonstrate your understanding of each of the two ecommerce categories.
a. E-Commerce category #1, how it would be used, and what business changes are needed:
b. E-Commerce category #2 how it would be used and what business changes are needed:
10. Explain how each of the following could benefit Victor’s Virginia’s Finest Meat Distributors
business. Use 2-3 sentences for each and be sure your explanations demonstrate that you
understand each of the types of systems. Your explanation must explicitly refer to the VFMD
business in the case study.
a. Supply Chain Management System
b. Customer Relationship Management System
c. Enterprise Resource Planning System
These solutions may offer step-by-step problem-solving explanations or good writing examples that include modern styles of formatting and construction
of bibliographies out of text citations and references. Students may use these solutions for personal skill-building and practice.
Unethical use is strictly forbidden.