Essay Hawthorne Plastics Case

1970 Words Oct 24th, 2012 8 Pages
Harvard Business School

9-171-004
August 1, 1970

Hawthorne Plastics, Inc.
Hawthorne Plastics, located in Hawthorne, California, specialized in the fabrication of plastic parts as a subcontractor to companies marketing plastic products, such as toys, kitchenware, fishing tackle, etc. Most of its production involved the molding or extrusion of plastic raw materials and over half of its production was for two major manufacturers of toys, located nearby. The vast majority of its customers were located in southern California, with a few in Arizona, Nevada, and northern
California. In its market area the company was known for its high quality, low-cost products. Its low cost was based on extremely efficient production methods, so
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Plastic was rapidly displacing bailing wire in this segment of the strapping market. The cost of wire and plastic were comparable but plastic was more flexible than wire. Its use resulted in fewer newspapers or magazines being torn by the strapping material when the bundles were thrown during shipment.
Pynes had discovered that in spite of the obvious advantages of plastic strapping over bailing wire, few newspapers and magazines were aware of it. However, with an aggressive personal selling effort the company had succeeded in converting many users to plastic. So successful was its marketing effort that sales were running nearly twice what had been projected, with the result that
Pynes' plant was operating three shifts and orders were being turned down. Pynes had sought to advance the starting date on a plant expansion originally scheduled to be completed in a year, but the

This case was prepared by Assistant Professor John S. Hammond III as a basis for classroom discussion rather than to illustrate effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation.
Copyright © 1970 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Distributed by HBS Case Services, Harvard
Business School, Boston, Mass. 02163. All rights reserved to the contributors. Printed in the USA.
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Hawthorne Plastics, Inc.

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