The case traces the growth of Asian Paints Limited (“APL”) from being a small paint manufacturer in 1942 into the undisputed leader of the Indian paints industry. The case invites students to analyze the strategic decisions made by APL’s management over its 75+ year journey and identify key factors that enabled the company to dominate this industry for the last five decades. The case enables students to unpack how a firm’s strategy that is hidden in plain sight affords sustainable competitive advantage
Learning Objective (Maximum of 500 Characters): Briefly describes teaching goals of case.
The case serves to demonstrate how a well-aligned set of strategic choices and the attendant activity system afford sustainable competitive advantage. Specifically, it helps illustrate how the firm’s competitive advantage increases when its activities are not only aligned (first-order fit) and self-reinforcing (second-order fit), but also facilitate optimization of effort (third-order fit). The resultant virtuous cycle for APL imposes difficult tradeoffs for its competitors and enables APL to sustain its leadership in the industry.