1. Analyze Firewire using the value chain and competitive forces models.
2. What strategies is Firewire using to differentiate its product, reach its customers, and persuade them to buy its products?
3. What is the role of CAD in Firewire’s business model?
4. How did the integration of online custom board design software (CBD), CAD, and computer numerical control (CNC) improve Firewire’s operations?
Nev Hyman had been building surfboards in Australia for 35 years. In 2005, he teamed up with Mark Price and a group of longtime surfing friends in Carlsbad, California, to form Firewire Surfboards. This company thrives on innovation and was responsible for the first major change in surfboard composition and assembly methods in 40 years. Rather than polyurethane resin and polyurethane foam, Firewire’s boards were composed of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam and epoxy resins. Hyman and Price believed that this composition for the surfboard core, along with aerospace composites for the deck skin and balsa wood rails (the out-side edge), created a more flexible and maneuver-able product that would attract top surfers and set Firewire apart from its competitors. Firewire is competing in a crowded field that includes Isle Surfboards, Surftech, Aviso Surf, Board works Surf, Channel Island, and Lost Enterprises. Firewire is alone in the reintroduction of balsa wood to the board rails for added flex response time and the ability to maintain speed during precarious maneuvers. Firewire believes it can compete success-fully because its surfboards are far lighter, stronger, and more flexible than those of its competitors.