JACR is a publication of the Southwest Case Research Association (SWCRA). JACR publishes teaching cases in all business disciplines. Cases may be grounded in primary and/or secondary data sources. Whether primary or secondary, sources must be well documented.
Joe Whitehead, a sole proprietor entrepreneur, had a thriving business repairing personal electronic devices in his hometown of Huntsville, Texas. Joe’s Business, Tech-ER, earned an outstanding reputation among the community for timely, low-cost repairs of computers, smart phones, and tablets. His reputation was earned in no small measure due to his decades of experience and technical knowledge. Ironically, Tech-ER did not utilize an information system to manage supply chain or other business processes. Instead Joe kept all of the inventory and business information in his head. In the year leading up to 2019, his business had grown exponentially and he was struggling with the growing demands of his business in the supply chain, production, marketing, and customer service areas. He experienced several instances where he was out of the supplies needed for timely repairs and overwhelmed with customer relationship management. These problems threatened his reputation and therefore his business’ future. To save his business, keep his outstanding reputation and keep the growth going, something had to be done. Joe knew he would have to fix the inefficiencies of his current processes which were holding him back and fix them quickly, but how?
The case chronicles the experience of Jeff Gerke, a writer, editor, and veteran of the Christian publishing industry who decided to launch a company dedicated to the science fiction, fantasy, and supernatural segment of the Christian market. Jeff chose to market his books online rather than through bookstores and to print his books on demand rather than printing large quantities of books at a time. When Amazon’s Kindle was launched, Jeff’s company entered the eBook market. Even though Jeff’s books received awards in the Speculative Fiction niche of the Christian market and were positively reviewed by industry journals, he was unable to generate enough sales to make Marcher Lord Press a self-supporting company. After five years, a literary agent offered to purchase the company. Jeff was faced with the decision of whether to keep struggling or to accept the agent’s offer.