Custom Research to Fit Your Situation
IRN specializes in providing information that addresses the unique issues confronting a specific company. We do not do ‘off-the-shelf’ research like many other firms, although that type of information can be one of the building blocks that we use in putting together a market picture. Where we are unique is in dealing with the questions that cannot be answered by commodity research. Some examples of IRN research in action are outlined below.
Due Diligence Support / Market Validation
A financial group planned to acquire a maker of high-precision, high-quality fineblanked components. The buyer had some questions about the market as part of its due diligence, and it particularly wanted the input of an objective third party. IRN assessed how well the market understands fineblanking, the size of the market, the growth potential for new applications, threats to the process, and the supplier’s pool of competitors. This is an instance where IRN’s ability to work with non-straightforward issues was essential; estimating the market size was somewhat difficult because the components using this process are dispersed across the vehicle and fineblanking is one of several processes employed. The IRN report was shared with prospective investors and IRN participated in conference calls to respond to their questions. The acquisition was finalized shortly thereafter.
Due Diligence Support / Market Validation
A maker of test equipment was considering the acquisition of a three-year-old start-up with proprietary technology. The client asked IRN to generally validate the market information provided by the seller. Upon further discussion with the client, it became clear that a key concern was what the level of sales would be in the near term. Through a combination of research using published materials and telephone interviews with industry participants, IRN was able to verify the customers’ views on the benefits of the new technology, evaluate the recent performance of the start-up within the context of market conditions, and describe how the future sales of the technology were likely to roll out. Although the sales pipeline appeared to be full, the potential for near-term sales was quite low. This information was taken into consideration in the financial terms of the offer.
An equipment supplier felt that its products had some potential in the aerospace industry. One of its salespeople had some relevant background there, but the company needed market information to make the case to its corporate parent that this was a viable opportunity. IRN put together a “smart pill” - a concise report to bring company management up to speed on how that industry works – the state of the defense budget, unique issues faced by defense contractors, the defense product development process, the manufacturing environment, and so on. Then we prepared overviews of selected aircraft programs, describing the aircraft background, major contractors, program acquisition costs, manufacturing technology, and program timing. Further profiles on the major contractors and a comparison of known competitors rounded out the package and enabled the client to put together a plan targeting prospective customers at the right time. The best compliment to IRN came from the company’s aerospace salesperson. Initially, he outsourced the project because he did not have time to do it, but when he saw the end result, he said he could never have put something that good together even if he had had the time.
Product Market Entry
The North American arm of a European automotive component supplier had exited a particular product market under unfavorable terms five years earlier, but the supplier was reconsidering that move. IRN was contacted to help the company make a decision about whether to try to re-enter the business. Among the key questions were the trends in applications for this engineered component, the willingness of the OEM customers to consider new sources, and whether the client had left any legacy of ill will because of its abrupt departure previously. IRN’s research found that use of the component was growing, that some suppliers had entered the market but these were mainly Japanese-owned companies serving the New Domestics, the small number of suppliers did not satisfy all the OE requirements, and there did not seem to be any residual effects from the prior experience with IRN’s client. Based on this information, the client was able to plan how to increase its business with a new foray into this product area.