Category Archives: CIMA Feb 2021 Case Study

CIMA MCS Feb 2021: Prybloxx

The February 2021 MCS exam is based around a case study called Prybloxx – not the most imaginative or memorable of names – anyhow, on to the pre seen materials that were released some weeks ago.

You can find the official pre seen materials for the Prybloxx MCS exam from CIMA here – via their CIMA planner website.

The management case study (MCS) exam is clearly a tougher proposition than the operational level case study, looking back at how I passed the MCS first time, the main takeaway for me was the important of planning your answer.

As you will need to ensure you give a full and rounded answer that answers the specific requirements in the question. That’s not to say you didn’t need to do that in the OCS, but that exam is probably more forgiving than the MCS.

That said having the experience of the OCS will definitely help you when sitting the Prybloxx exam, for those students taking the gateway route the MCS exam will be your first case study exam so it’s crucial you get a lot of practice with answer planning and mock exam practice.

SWOT Analysis – Prybloxx

I believe one of the most valuable tools in preparing for the MCS exam can be a SWOT analysis based on the pre seen, the results will get you thinking about all areas of the company and potential questions on exam day.

There are of course more than one strength, weakness, opportunity and threat but having digested the pre seen materials these are my initial thoughts on Prybloxx.

Strengths – Corporate Social Responsibility

A topic that always come to mind when preparing for a CIMA case study is “Corporate Social Responsibility” and there are two triggers in the pre seen materials that makes me believe this is a significant strength of the company. In this day and age it’s critical for businesses to have a CSR strategy, not only for promoting the brand in a positive light but it’s key for attracting and retaining the best staff.

Employees don’t just want to to earning a good wage, they want to be proud and work for an ethical company.

Prybloxx operates around the world. Most of its staff are employed at its factory in Varanda, but the Group has distribution centres in several other countries. Varanda has a concept of a “living wage”, which is sufficient for an employee to achieve an acceptable standard of living and is higher than the statutory minimum wage.

Prybloxx has committed itself to pay at least the living wage, even though it is not compulsory to do so. Overseas workers are also paid sufficient to live comfortably

In the news report at the end of the pre seen materials, there is a readers question to Prybloxx about why do they use so many plastic bags in their packaging, the final sentence at the end of the response from Prybloxx is another good sign of CSR.

Prybloxx uses bags made out of corn starch that is friendly to the environment. It is biodegradable and does no harm when it decomposes.

While there is no mention of a CSR policy in place at Prybloxx, it’s clear by their actions that the company has a good ethical and corporate social responsible foundation in place, which they can leverage on to promote their brand as well as attracting the best staff.

Weaknesses – Limited Capacity

When I saw the sub heading “Pricing Issues” I thought there could be some good information here and I believe there is a weakness here that, if addressed, could leave to an increase in shareholder wealth.

Some prices are based on perceived added value rather than cost to Prybloxx.

For example, the Motor Builder Kit contains the same number of moulded parts as Basic Builder, but it also includes an electric motor. The Motor Builder Kit costs an additional V$2.74 to manufacture, but it retails for an additional V$15.00 because the motor offers much greater play value.

Prybloxx also has limited capacity to produce those “added value” parts, especially motors and lights.

The limited capacity of being able to produce added value parts could throw up several different scenaris on exam day, so it’s to explore these options. Pryblox could be making an extra $12.26 contribution per unit if they could produce endless supplies of these parts.

How could they achieve that? They could limit the production of other areas or even perhaps outsource the production of some areas to help with this? Think about how we can turn this weakness around into a opportunity.

Opportunities – Diversify Ranges

Ckonstro is their closet rival and we are presented with information about our nearest competitor that we can take as an opportunity. There are two specific ranges they produce that Prybloxx do not.

Ckonstruction Baby bricks are much larger than traditional bricks, which means that they can be played with by young children under the age of three. The larger bricks are easier to handle for small hands and none of the bricks are small enough for a toddler to swallow.

Ckonstruction Engineering sets include a range of parts that enable the construction of
more complicated mechanical models. They include cogs, gears and drive belts that make
it possible to drive moving parts with an electric motor.

There is also a mention of engineers using these models in the news articles at the back, so that’s two mentions of this type of product in the pre seen which leads me to believe it could be a subject that crops up on exam day.

Threats – Low Barrier To Entry

We are told at the very beginning that this type of toy/building brick has been around since the 1930’s but it cannot be specifically patented. So Prybloxx was founded in 2004 with an idea to imitate the continuing success of the brand.

Prybloxx was founded in 2004 by Brendan Lee, an entrepreneur who wished to imitate the continuing success of the leading brand’s sales of sets and model kits. Mr Lee developed a range of generic bricks that were compatible with those of the leading brand.

You can see how quickly the company has grown revenues in such a short space of time, so what’s to stop a rival company starting from starting from scratch and doing the same as Prybloxx in 2004?

CIMA MCS Case Study Course

The full Astranti MCS case study course has recently been revamped and contains more resources than ever to help your pass the OCS exam first time.

  • 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

Good Luck!

CIMA OCS Feb 2021: Amazzzing beds

The CIMA February 2021 OCS exam is based around a company called “Amazzzing Beds” and given the fact the pre-seen materials were released some time ago, students who are planning on the taking the exam in February 2021 can already start their preparation.

You can find the official pre-seen from CIMA here.

OCS Focus Areas

26 pages of pre-seen materials can be overwhelming but you need to be smart with your pre exam studies. It’s important to remember your role in the exam is that of a “Finance Officer” – or assissant.

“You are principally involved in the preparation of management accounting information and providing information to managers to assist with decision making.

At times you are also expected to assist with the preparation of the financial statements and answer queries
regarding financial reporting and other financial matters.”

CIMA Pre-Seen Materials guidance on your role in the OCS exam

So don’t think too much outside of these boundaries, you won’t be asked questions on strategy, people management or complex accounting standards at this stage.

The focus of the OCS exam really comes from the P1 Management Accounting paper, for a reminder of the hot topics on the OCS exam I wrote a blog post in conjunction with CSSC Tuition here.

Amazzzing Beds Manufacturing

Having read the pre-seen materials a couple of times and thought it in context of what’s expected in your role as Finance Officer, the below extract caught my eye as a potential trigger for a question on exam day.

Here we find out that the company manufactures beds for inventory and not for customer orders, if this was my company I would be concerned that we are not holding unnecessary while we wait for the orders to come in. It would be costly to hold these units for any longer than needed, think of all of the associated costs with storing them and are we making the best use of our productions facilities?

Back to the Operational Level syllabus;

  • Inventory EOQ
  • Just-In-Time
  • Total Quality Management

The above areas immediately came to my mind after reading the “Manufacturing” paragraph in the pre seen materials, so you could be faced with a scenario in the exam where amazzzing beds are considering changing to a Just-In-Time manufacturing process and the finance manager has asked if you can explain the advantages and disadvantages on this process.

Likewise, they could ask a similar question on Total Quality Management (TQM), all of these subjects will be familiar from your P1 studies so make sure you know the theory behind them and can relate them to the Amazzzing Beds scenario.

The Finance Department

Being accountants, the finance department section of the pre-seen materials will make for interesting reading but more importantly will give you context on the processes, resources and culture of the department. Usually this section is short and concise but it’s packed full of useful information.

You can also begin to paint a picture of the whole company and how it operates.

The green paragraph I have highlighted above tells us that the company uses an integrated ERP system (which is great if the company does want to move to a JIT manufacturing method) but perhaps more importantly from an OCS exam perspective, it tells us the company operates a standard absorption costing system.

Again, we should be well aware of the different types of costing system (variable, absorption, activity based and digital costing) from our P1 studies, so we should be able to explain the differences, advantages and disadvantages of all of these methods and apply it to the Amazzzing Beds scenario.

Given that Amazzzing Beds are focused on sustainable and ethical methods of production and sourcing their materials there might also be questions around Environmental Costing.

Budgeting also crops up in this section. Very much similar the costing information we have been presented we should be able to explain the different methods of budgeting and the associated advantages and disadvantages of them.

News Articles – Sleep Science!

The final pages of pre seen materials can often be seen as the most valuable, so try not to tie yourself up in knots with the financial and production you have been provided.

The article “Lifestyle Today” at the end of the Amazzzing Beds pre-seen materials paints us a picture of technology and the fact one of our competitors “Gordons Beds” have opened a commercial sleep clinic. I would suggest not to neglect this information and to do some research and think how can CIMA question me on this?

For example, you might be presented with some information in the exam that Amazzing Beds are considering opening a commercial sleep clinic, but to do so they are considering the associated risks. i.e questions on sensitivity and what if analysis? or perhaps decision tress?

CIMA OCS Case Study Course

The full Astranti OCS case study course has recently been revamped and contains more resources than ever to help your pass the OCS exam first time.

  • 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

Good Luck!