Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2003 (Revised October 2003)

Cable Data Systems

by Paul W. Marshall and Todd H Thedinga


Describes the operating challenges of Cable Data Systems (CDS), a minority-owned cable installation company with a dual mission of maximizing profits and providing employment opportunities to minorities in urban markets. Following the merger of two cable installation companies in the Boston metro area, management at the combined entity (CDS) forecasts strong growth for its services. Accordingly, they build out the workforce and support infrastructure. But the company begins to lose cash in light of volatile customer demand and high labor costs. The latter is exacerbated by deteriorating and unresolved union issues. Examines the choices the CEO has to increase revenue and reduce labor costs. The decision is further complicated by outstanding issues with the previous owner, who has remained employed by the new company.

Keywords: Selection and Staffing; Employment; Forecasting and Prediction; Urban Scope; Cost Management; Infrastructure; Labor Unions; Demand and Consumers; Demographics; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Telecommunications Industry; Boston;


Marshall, Paul W., and Todd H Thedinga. "Cable Data Systems." Harvard Business School Case 803-132, February 2003. (Revised October 2003.)