Why chocolate puns matter to TPE and TC students

mars bars
By Tutor Lauren O'Brien

25 February 2016

“All publicity is good publicity” – it’s a phrase that’s often used, but it doesn’t always hold true.

For example, the newspaper headlines on 24 February were full of puns relating to Mars chocolate, “Mars barred” being one of the most striking.

The chocolates were on the front pages because various ranges made by Mars chocolate have been recalled from 55 countries after a piece of plastic was discovered a Snickers bar being eaten in Germany. The manufacturers traced the problem to a factory in the Netherlands and decided to recall everything made in that plant over a certain period. For full details see this BBC story.

While chocolate fans will be checking which batch their treats come from, Business Management (BM) and TPE students need to pay attention too. They should be able to review and assess this situation from a business point of view.

Don’t just focus on the financial impacts – the practical, non-financial impacts are extremely important as well.

Module 12 in BM discusses various business improvement techniques that focus on getting the products “right first time” and minimising the cost and indeed reputational damage that large scale recalls can prompt.

This is a very good example to try to put some of the techniques discussed in BM in a practical and real context.

TPE students will be able to take these ideas and go much further. In fact, in a case taught in block 2 of TPE, “Milkco”, a product recall situation is covered. I’d recommend that TPE students try to think through all the different permutations of this situation for Mars. It’s the type of situation that we could easily ask you to advise on in a TPE scenario. (Hint: Don’t just focus on the financial impacts – the practical, non-financial impacts are extremely important as well.)

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