7. Message Strategies: Rejecting Suggestions and Proposals [LO-5]: Lee Valley Tools ( www.leevalley.com ) sells high quality woodworking tools across Canada through its retail stores and around the world through its website and catalogs. While weekend hobbyists can pick up a mass-produced hand plane (a tool for smoothing wood) for $20 or $30 at the local hardware store, serious woodworkers pay fi ve or ten times that much for one of Lee Valley’s precision Veritas planes. For the price, they get top-quality materials, precision manufacturing, and innovative designs that help them do better work in less time. Lee Valley sells both its own Veritas brand tools as well as 5,000 tools made by other manufacturers. One of those companies has just emailed you to ask if Lee Valley would like to carry a new line of midrange hand planes that would cost more than the mass-market, hardware-store models but less than Lee Valley’s own Veritas models. Your job is to fi lter requests such as this, rejecting those that don’t meet Lee Valley’s criteria and forwarding those that do to the product selection committee for further analysis. Aft er one quick read of this incoming email message, you realize there is no need to send this idea to the committee. While these planes are certainly of decent quality, they achieve their lower cost through lower-quality steel that won’t hold an edge as long and through thinner irons (the element that holds the cutting edge) that will be more prone to vibrate during use and thus produce a rougher fi nish. Th ese planes have a market, to be sure, but they’re not a good fi t for Lee Valley’s top-of-the-line product portfolio. Moreover, the planes don’t off er any innovations in terms of ease of use or any other product attribute.
Your task: Reply to this email message, explaining that the planes appear to be decent tools, but they don’t fi t Lee Valley’s strategy of off ering only the best and most innovative tools. Support your decision with the three criteria described above. Choose the direct or indirect approach carefully, taking into consideration your company’s relationship with this other company.