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Case Study

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Risk Management: Competitor Espionage

Background

A manufacturer of automotive components who had a dominate position in the market was concerned about loss of corporate assets to local competitors. The task was to review and assess company internal prevention processes & procedures, identify areas of weakness and to develop improvements to company security and asset protection programs.

Approach

Step 1: Definition of 4 core areas of investigation
  • Physical Security – offices, factories, physical access control, guard force effectiveness, etc.
  • HR Issues – clear expectations, recruiting due diligence, proper access control, leadership/”tone at the top”
  • IT Systems, laptops, and mobile devices
  • Security policies and procedures, control & monitoring
Step 2: Conducted a 2 month audit of internal processes & procedures
Step 3: Recommendations for corrective action with a particular focus upon Physical Security and Control & Monitoring
Step 4: Implementation of numerous corrective programs including
  • CCTV, IT server access control, intrusion detection, firewall and anti-spyware, vetting of vendors, visitor security, access control, data storage & disposal procedures

Results

  • No new acts of corporate espionage or theft

Risk Management: Investigation and Correction of Employee Trade Secrets Theft

Background

  • A manufacturer of specialty chemicals had lost 70% of company customer base due to TS theft
  • The previous Operations Director in China had removed electronic drawings and other IP over a 2-year period, set up a competing company and bribed the purchasing managers to move their purchases to his new company.
  • EWA was engaged to investigate the claim and develop counter-actions

Approach

Step 1: Risk Identification
  • Investigation and confirmation of the existence of the new company and the individual’s equity ownership
  • EWA obtained product samples and verified a trademark violation
Step 2: Risk Mitigation
  • Recruitment of local Chinese attorneys and the filing of a legal claim against both the company and the individual
  • The competitive office, workforce, sub-contractors and customer base visitors were investigated
  • EWA contacted the client’s original customer base to inform them of the various illegal actions and acts of corporate espionage
  • Legal proceedings cannot be disclosed due to confidentiality restrictions
Step 3: Long-Term Risk Prevention
  • Development of a comprehensive asset protection program

Results

  • 75% of the lost customer base returned to the client within 7 months
  • No new acts of corporate espionage or theft

Risk Management: Joint Venture 360° Asset Protection Training

Background

A US Chemical company was negotiating a major joint venture with a local Chinese business partner and very concerned that asset theft could compromise sensitive merger negotiations.

Approach

  • Development and implementation of a comprehensive training program outlining the various aspects of domestic, foreign and state sponsored industrial espionage.
  • The training provided in-depth explanation of the following methods of corporate industrial espionage:
    • Office – physical and IT areas of exposure
    • Traveler’s computer/laptop/mobile device security
    • Areas of exposure – immigration, hotels, meeting rooms, etc.
    • Techniques imploded – Blackmail, Elicitation, Indigenous recruiting, Listening devices
    • Technical surveillance operations
  • Specific mitigation actions and tactics divided into before, during and after visit segments were presented to in-country staff and executive travelers

Results

The joint venture negotiations team implemented asset theft prevention measures and the negotiations proceeded without complications

Strategic Business Planning: Brand Development

Background

A US manufacturer of large construction components for the Chinese market was interested in exploring the growing portable construction products industry. EWA was engaged to develop a strategic vision & implementation action plan to drive company growth.

Approach

Step 1: Comprehensive growth potential assessment
  • Market
  • Industry
  • Competitors
  • Customer base
  • Product offers
  • Technical requirements
  • Etc.
Step 2: Analysis to determine
  • The most profitable product segments
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the players in the end-product competitive environment
  • The end customer purchase behavior and decision-making influencers
  • The customer perceptions with regards to brands, products, service, post-sales support, distribution, sales channels, etc.
    • Finding: Significant growth potential…but various market specifics could present severe challenges to a successful company internal production approach
Step 3: Recommendation to produce end-products in cooperation with a local non-industry Chinese assembly company
  • Identification and qualification of a suitable Chinese assembly company
  • R&D briefing and consultation during product development
Step 4: Recommendation to conduct a test market in several key regions
  • Identification and qualification of distribution partner for test market launch

Results

  • After the successful completion of the test market, the client launched nationwide
  • 6% increase in company revenue within the first 24 months