Strategic management is an area that is involved with mainly intended and new initiatives that are taken by top level managers, dealing with proper utilization of the available resources to improve a company’s performance in its peripheral environment. Business strategy looks at how the planning, developing and execution of the entire company’s goal is done (Chaffee, 1985.). Most of the time, a business strategy will have the company’s mission, vision as well as specific objectives that the company exists for. It will also incorporate the development of guiding principles often in relation to programs and projects which are particularly tailor made to achieve the objectives. A business strategy also allocates resources for the implementation of the plans, policies, programs and projects. An impartial scorecard is regularly used to assess the total performance of the business in addition to its progress towards reaching its set objectives. Management experts are advocating the necessity of incorporating the interest of all stakeholders and the use of a modified unbiased scorecard that embraces each and every stakeholder. In this case, we are going to create a ten year strategic plan for our company Swan Incorporated.
As already mentioned, a company progress and success in today’s highly competitive market is tied to its ability to plan and execute the plan (Nag, Hambrick and Chen, 2007). Swan Incorporated, in full knowledge of this fact is leaving nothing to chance and has made every effort to see that an award winning ten year plan including its execution process has been put in place. Let us first examine the company’s background in order to understand its history, current position in the market and its future endeavors. Swan Incorporated is a public limited company that started ten years ago and then got listed in the stock market. The shares of the company have been doing fairly well since its listing four years ago and right now, the sky is the limit for the company that manufactures and sells mobile phones. The company is situated in Kuala Lumpar, the capital City of Malaysia but it has branches in several nations across Asia. These include Indonesia, China, Thailand, Taiwan and the most recent one in Japan. Let us now examine the company’s mission, vision as well as its objectives.
We will persistently strive to implement the significant initiatives that are required to achieve our vision guided by relentless focus on customers needs. We aspire to deliver operational excellence in every product that we produce, geared to meet or exceed our commitments to millions of customers who use our products the world over. As cell phone makers, we are single-minded to offer the best choice, irrespective of the size, ancestry or proclivity of our competitors.
To be a world leader in mobile phone production with excellent unequalled performance that satisfies customers from all spheres of life.
To satisfy all our customers by giving them value for their money
To produce cellular phones that are dependable in terms of network reception and battery life.
To produce good cell phones that are affordable to every one.
To produce user friendly phones that meets the needs of our customers in every culture all over the world.
To continually make the cell phone a convenient tool by reducing its size and improving its usability.
To invest in research so that better and more affordable raw materials are discovered in order to keep the prices of our products at reasonable levels.
Customer oriented – the company is driven by a deep desire to satisfy all our customers.
Integrity and reliability – we believe in keeping our word about quality products.
Continuous improvement – our company seeks to improve our products progressively to meet the varying needs of our wide range of customers.
Affordability- we aspire to have our products always being affordable to everyone in the market. This we do by availing products of high quality but varying prices.
State of the art products- the company targets to always deliver good and high quality state-of-the-art products that meet the growing need for cell phones with more capabilities.
Helping make your life better.
We use our mission, vision and core values as building blocks for creating and improving organizational goals (Hubpages, 2011). Swan Incorporated has a desire to always develop cell phones that are faultless in terms of network reception, battery life and general appearance. We have discovered that most customers get disappointed after buying a cell phone that does not deliver as promised. We have therefore always given a 16 months warranty on all our products after realizing that our competitors give a warranty of not more than 12 months. This has given us an upper hand over our competitors and thus enabling us to make impressive sales. Our business model dictates that all our efforts must be geared towards improving our relationship with our customers for lasting loyalty. We have also realized that our internet marketing have been improving our sales every month. We have therefore gone into extensive online marketing to be able to reach more clients now that internet access have been liberalized in many parts of the world.
However, all these impressive results have not come without some challenges here and there. Our most serious challenge has been controlling expenses which we have tried to keep to the lowest amount. The current world economic crisis has not made things better for the company especially considering that we have been opening branch offices in many cities. Hiring of new employees as well as retaining them has become an economic nightmare to many corporations and Swan Incorporated is not exceptional. Nevertheless, we cannot afford to loose our employees who we consider our greatest resource in meeting our goals and therefore we have had to remain competitive enough in the job market.
These challenges coupled with many others have forced us to restructure and hence we have developed a ten year strategy that will help us continue doing a thriving business without compromising on quality and standard of our products. Swan Incorporated being a global company has to compete with other big companies for market share. To start creating the plan we start with doing what is commonly referred to as SWOT analysis. This involves examining our internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats. Without a proper understanding of each of these four items it is not possible to plan or execute a business strategy (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington, 2008).
The company boasts of several strengths that we intend to capitalize on to improve our productivity. One of our strengths is our presence in the major cities in Asia. We intend to use our presence to make people aware of our products and their availability. Another strength we possess is our online marketing and selling (Pine, and Gilmore, 1999). Since we have discovered that most of our customers came to know about our products through the internet, we have decided to open our website for online shopping. We believe that by availing our products online we could increase our sales by 40% due to the increased use of the internet by people today. We have come to this conclusion because when we started advertising on the internet our sales went up by nearly 50% in the first 6 months. This has made us believe that there is immense potential online and any company can only ignore it at its own peril. We also have the strength of our employees who we highly regard. We have decided to increase their wages by 20% in a span of the next three years. We have also decided to motivate our employees by rewarding them. Every employee that shows improvement in performance will receive a fully paid 1 week vacation to a destination of their choice at the end of the year. We have also decided to take our employees to a team building retreat every two months. We believe that though these steps may be expensive at the beginning, the results will be impressive in the long run once we have motivated and happy employees.
Even if we have much strength in the company, we cannot afford to ignore the weaknesses that we could be experiencing from within. One of our weaknesses is the lack of skills with some of our employees. In order to deal effectively with this challenge, we have decided to invest in training our staff and recruiting more qualified ones. We intend to do this since we understand that employees are the greatest resource that we have in our custody. In our next budget we have set aside money to hire 20 new engineers for our branch offices and 10 for our head office. We also intend to hire 5 more sales executives for every branch office. The other challenge we are dealing with is overdependence on cell phones. We intend to diversify our products to cover other small gadgets such as iPods and MP3 players. This will help us diversify our customer base (Jarillo, 1993). We understand that the greatest challenge is to convert these weaknesses into strengths and so we have decided to hire the global consultancy firm Dolomite that will help us execute our plans for expansive growth.
We believe that opportunities are numerous especially in the unreached markets. Through our progressive growth, we intend to open more branches in other parts of the world starting with the USA. In this financial year, we have set aside $20 million for expansion in major cities across the world. In cases where we are not able to open a branch, we intend to operate with agents who will helps us market our products to people in those places. This way, we will be able to expand our cover without overstretching our resources. We intend to carry out a large marketing campaign using the international media houses like CNN and Aljazeera. We believe that we can be able to reach the Arab world through Aljazeera and hence have set aside $ 5 million for advertisements with two international media companies.
Several threats are facing us and if we are to achieve our dreams, we must create ways of dealing with them. One of the most serious threats we have to deal with is counterfeit products. These products have flooded the market especially in the low income countries like in Africa and some parts of Asia. To be able to deal with this threat, we have come up with products that are affordable in such markets. In addition, some people have a special preference for cell phones that have the capability to receive signals from multiple service providers. This has made it easy for unscrupulous companies to manufacture such gadgets that come at a lower price. We are currently working on a project where we are partnering with the authorities in the third world countries on how to enforce the anti-counterfeit laws. This has borne some good fruits already and in Kenya for instance, the government has directed the service providers to switch off from coverage all counterfeit devices (CIO, East Africa, 2011).We are looking at all avenues to deal with counterfeit products including working together with our competitors whose business is being ruined by the vice.
The company is also looking at sponsoring activities like sports and other projects in its corporate social responsibility. We are planning to partner with local companies in providing free medical services to the poor people in the community once in a while in a bid to promote our brands. Currently we have sunk several boreholes in the arid horn of Africa and we intend to sink about 200 by the end of the year. In addition, we are intending to sponsor several races for peace among some tribes in Sudan which have been involved in internal conflicts for a long time. The races are also sponsored by other local and international companies which make it an ideal location for creating awareness about our products.
Due to the nature of our business, we must be able to establish our presence in every part of the world (Christensen, 1997). As we have pointed out already, plans are underway for expansion to every major city in the world and then eventually every country. We believe that by the year 2021, we shall have hit our target of selling about 1 billion handsets annually and accessing every part of the world. To be able to achieve such goals every person in the company must clearly understand their role and be ready to play their part in the best way possible. This is why we insist that team building activities must be prepared often.
Operational efficiency and policy are both essential to excellent performance which is the primary aim of every company with a desire to grow (Porter, 1996). A company can perform better than its competitors only if it can build a difference that it can maintain. The company must be able to deliver worth to its customers or create almost the same worth at a comparatively lower cost or even better, do both. Our company has full knowledge of this fact and it aspirers to make use of both. In order to execute our strategy, we have incorporated all the stakeholders. This includes the shareholders, directors, managers, all the other employees together with the clients. This is because strategic management system is seen as top-down, bottom-up procedures. By this we mean that employees give proposals to their top level managers who are expected to push the ideas to the directors. The directors are then supposed to share the ideas with the share holders after exhaustive discussions in their meetings (Chandler, 1982). The interests of each group have to be considered in order to motivate them and thus achieve optimum output.
Monitoring of the execution of this strategic plan must be done with close attention. This is because a plan is as good as its execution (Moore, 1995). The implementation of each step of the plan is essential to achieving the whole vision of the company. Most business strategies fail because of several reasons. Let us look into some of them.
Failure to implement the plan by conquering the four main organizational obstacles. These are cognitive, motivational, resource and political.
Inability to understand clients-why they buy, whether there is indeed a need for the product and insufficient research on the market.
Failure to predict environmental response such as the moves the competitor will make, price and brand wars and so on.
Over estimation of resource proficiency – sometimes we are not able determine whether we have the necessary resources for instance equipment or staff (Barney1991)
Inability to coordinate – sometimes the organizational structure is not flexible enough to allow free sharing of information.
These are just a few reasons why most strategies do not work. At Swan Incorporated we have full understanding of this fact and therefore have made our structures flexible enough and other failure factors have been looked into.
To be able to execute and monitor our 10 year structure we have invested heavily in systems of evaluation at the end of every six months. We have hired the services of the consultancy firm Dolomite which shall work hand in hand with the management team to monitor and evaluate the progress of implementation and execution of the plan. The company shall also audit our accounts at the end of every financial year so that we can minimize losses through unaccounted expenses. It is import to always prepare for unexpected or unpredictable crises and the management has set aside resources that would take care of such when they arise. This is to ensure that we curtail the impact of such crises as well as make arrangements on how to resume the regular operations thereafter.
What is the appropriateness of this strategy to the company? Drucker (1969) came up with the idea of Age of Discontinuity to depict the means by which change compels disturbance in to the stability of our lives. This is because in every day of our lives we witness changes that force us to change the way we do things. As people say change is the only thing that is constant. It is inevitable. Due to the ever-changing business environment, Swan Incorporated must be strategically positioned in order to maximally exploit the available opportunities. In addition, lack of planning or poor execution of a plan is a risk that the company cannot afford to take.
In conclusion, strategizing and management is crucial to business survival. This is because with the current trends in the business environment, a company that is not ready to organize its operations and plan its course of action is heading towards its grave. In business strategy, all stakeholders must be incorporated in the planning as well as execution for it to be successful. The bottom-up, top-down technique ensures that information and ideas are able to flow from the least in the company to the senior-most person. This technique seeks to appreciate the contribution of each and every person in enhancing the company’s growth and profitability. Every person must fully understand the mission, vision and objectives of the company so that all their efforts are geared towards reaching the corporate goal.