Category Archives: CIMA Case Study May 2023

CIMA OCS May 23: Tracs Europe

The CIMA Operational Case Study (OCS) pre-seen materials were released on the 24th March, so it’s given me time to go through the document and put together a SWOT analysis on the scenario.

Before we go into the pre-seen materials, I’d suggest to check out my May 2023 Case Studies blog post which gives you a reminder of your role in the case study and some general advice on how to approach and pass your CIMA case study exam first time.

The May 2023 OCS exam is based around a company called Tracs Europe – they manufacture and sell tractors for agricultural purposes.

You can find the official pre-seen materials for the May 2023 OCS here.

SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS – The Sales Team

We are told that the Tracs Europe sales team are very knowledgeable and they are given the authority to give discount’s up to 15% off the normal selling price if they deem it necessary.

The role of the sales team is very broad, it ranges from signing up new dealers to setting up trade stands at agricultural shows and everything in between.

They play a vital role in the front line of the business and they appear to be well equipped and well managed – as the Sales Director Reena has been in post for 8 years and in that time has increased the dealer network by over 20%.

WEAKNESSES – Global Appeal

We are told on page 4 of the pre-seen materials that the big five global players in the industry offer a full range of agricultural equipment, whereas Tracs Europe only focus and produce tractors only.

The global market for agricultural tractors is dominated by five large global specialist agricultural equipment companies which manufacture and sell the full range of agricultural equipment including tractors, combine harvesters, trailers and ploughs.

If the future strategy is branch outside of Europe and reach a global platform, they would need to expand the range of agricultural equipment.

That said, it might not be relevant in the short term as we are told that Tracs Europe is still behind G Trators and Lands Trax for market share in Europe. Their immediate focus may be gaining more market share in Europe before expanding.

OPPORTUNITIES – E-Commerce and Branded Stores

We are told Tracs Europe does not sell directly to the end consumer, their customers are the distributors and dealers who themselves will sell the tractors to the end consumers i.e. farmers.

However, this leads me to believe that there is an opportunity to sell directly to the farmers through their own website. The sales flow always leads the consumer to the distributer/dealer, but why not look at selling DIRECTLY to the consumer via their own website or even setting up a physical Tracs Europe branded store.

Farmers can physically look at all of the products at one of the Tracs Europe branded store and purchase directly from Tracs Europe either in person or via their website.

This negative side of this could be the current relationships with dealers and distributors would suffer as it would divert revenue from them.

However, there could still be room for a direct to consumer approach with spare parts and accessories only – another point that really caught my attention was the budgeted gross profit for “Parts” was a whopping 40.2% which eclipses the margins on the tractors themselves.

THREATS – Slim Profit Margins

For the year ended 31 December 2022 Tracs Europe Gross Profit margin was 25.9% and Operating Profit Margin was just 8.7%.

Which, to my mind, doesn’t leave much margin for error with either an increase in their cost of goods and there is a risk this could realistically happen.

We are told on page 25 in the Agricultural Times news article that;

There have also been production delays, with shutdowns in the Chinese market leading to shortages of semi conductors. In addition, there have also been increases in steel and aluminium costs, all of which are expected to raise prices and slow market development in coming months

We might already be able to increase those margins though with the opportunities mentioned above i.e. selling direct to consumers and looking to increase the revenue on Parts.

CIMA OCS May 2023: Astranti Case Study Course

I used the full Astranti OCS case study course to pass the OCS exam first time many years ago, they have improved the course even further since then. The course includes;

  • Pre seen materials pack (analysis, top 10 issues, industry examples & 30 questions)
  • 5 x mock exams with feedback
  • 3 x LIVE and recorded master classes
  • Syllabus theory revision series
  • Exam technique series
  • Ethics and questions packs
  • Tutor feedback
  • Pass guarantee & money back guarantee

CIMA Case Study: May 2023

For those students whose first taste of a case study will be in May 2023, what can you expect and how should you prepare?

The pre-seen materials release date is an obvious starting point for preparations, but from personal experience I found that using the weeks BEFORE the pre-seen materials are released as the perfect time to develop a exam strategy and look at the bigger picture on what CIMA expects of a student looking to pass the case study exams first time.

Here are three pieces advice I would give students sitting a May case study exam

Understand your Role

Each CIMA case study exam requires a different approach and mindset, it’s important to understand what role you are playing and how to react to the questions.

Bear this in mind when your answering questions on exam day.

For example, in the SCS exam don’t get drawn into answering a question from the point of view of a Finance Clerk or Manager, you role is Finance Director so you will be required to answer in that mindset – developing strategy and thinking long-term!

Exam Day: Have a Plan

Time management on exam day is crucial and having a plan when answering a question will give you a enough time to produce a full and well balanced answer.

You should have a plan on exam day on how you will answer your question.

Assuming you have 45 minutes for each question in the OCS and MCS (4 questions at 45 mins = 3 hours), I used the below as guideline for answer planning and time management.

  • 10-15 mins: read the question, identify requirements and plan your answer with 3 to 5 bullet points.
  • 25 minutes: add the detail and develop your answer (think about pre-seen materials, industry analysis and ethics)
  • 5-10 minutes: review your answer and adjust where needed.

It’s a natural tendency to rush straight in and start writing out your answering as you see the question, but this can lead to rambling, not answering the requirement and forgetting to add relevant points from the industry analysis or pre-seen materials.

Answer the Requirement

The most common trap students fall into is not understanding the requirement of the question asked, but instead trotting out a pre-rehearsed answer based on the subject.

While it’s important to understand the theory you have studied in the CIMA objective tests, practicing rehearsed statements is not a good idea.

Don’t fall into this trap!

If you identify the requirements of the question and plan your answer around the requirements, you will avoid this trap and maximise your chances of passing the CIMA case study first time.

May 2023 CIMA Case Study Resources

Astranti was the training provider I used to pass my CIMA case studies first time and they’ve recently put together an informative guide on how to crack the case studies!

It’s well worth a read before the pre-seen materials are released later this month.

In terms of the resources, the Astranti course for the November CIMA Case Studies is packed full of resources and tutor support and they have an early sale on their full courses.

  • Pre seen materials pack (analysis, top 10 issues, industry examples & 30 questions)
  • 5 x mock exams with feedback
  • Syllabus theory revision series
  • Exam technique series
  • Ethics and questions packs
  • Tutor feedback
  • Pass guarantee & money back guarantee