This case describes a business opportunity for B+L, a German firm that forecasts demand for construction materials. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a large infrastructure building program, could allow B+L to broaden both its product range and its client base.
The protagonist is Martin Langen, the founder and chief executive officer of B+L. His firm produces forecasts for a range of construction materials in particular geographies. The forecasts are based on publicly available data. B+L adds value by creating models that contain a variety of factors and adjustments to produce forecasts that are standard and directly comparable across regions. This kind of forecast is unavailable elsewhere, and is highly valued by construction materials makers.
When China announced the BRI, a plan to build infrastructure along the old silk routes through central Asia, Martin believed B+L could create new forecast products to estimate demand for construction materials in BRI affected markets. Since these markets were not always well developed, and there was a high degree of uncertainty surrounding the BRI projects, B+L would have to develop new techniques to create the new forecasts.
- To explore issues related to market expansion, especially into new markets that differ from a company’s existing ones.
- To build a framework for assessing risk and evaluating feasibility.
- To gain insight into development realities, business practices, and risk assessments along the BRI.
- To lay the foundation for designing quantitative modelling and forecasting.