Compass Group: The Ascension Health Decision
In 2012, Compass Group (Compass) was on the verge of closing a $2 billion deal with Ascension Health (Ascension), one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States. Under the deal, Compass would provide foodservice management and cleaning services for 86 of Ascension's hospitals. Compass employs a "sectorized" approach to deliver service through a portfolio of focused brands, each of which targets focused groups of customers with specific needs. After months of negotiating, the deal had come down to a single request: Could Compass provide these two services through a single operation? Compass must weigh the benefits of operational focus against the prospect of a very lucrative contract. The case details the strengths and limitations of a sectorized strategy. It also provides a window into the complicated and time-intensive supplier selection process inherent in many business-to-business service relationships. This case is accompanied by a Video Short that can be shown in class or included in a digital coursepack. Instructors should consider the timing of making the video available to students, as it may reveal key case details.