Abstract: An American Success Story: Keep It Simple—The Wiffle Ball®, Inc.

Eldon Bernstein and Fred Carstensen

Abstract

In an industry where the average toy has a life cycle measured in months, Wiffle® ball has thrived for more than fifty years. The Mullany family, creators and long-time managers of Wiffle®, explain their strategy: Keep it simple. The Mullanys have stressed this approach, together with an uncompromising dedication to high quality, low prices, and putting the customer first. While prices of most products and services have increased several hundred percent since the first balls came to market in 1953, priced at 39 cents, suggested retail for the baseball size Wiffle® had risen only to $1.39 by 2008. The Mullanys avoid complications in operations, management, finance, and marketing. The company achieved and maintains a strong competitive advantage living by a credo of not taking advantage of their suppliers or their customers. They also refuse to have customers take advantage of them: those who demand special concessions do not continue to be customers.

BEH On-Line Paper