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The emergence of information technology business solutions have enabled Nairobi university library to be one of best libraries in Kenya offering support services to students. As a technology based institution there is therefore need to understand the library rules and regulations and come up with an amicable solution to the entire operations of the library. The corporate management has discussed the emerging issues and after finding the weakness of the overall operation noticed with great concern that information technology infrastructure and enterprise resource planning in particular would offer the following competitive edge if implemented.
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First, creation of new swap cards and services through the use of technology is one of the key competitive environments that forced the library from losing its books. In the introduction, Nairobi university library will be taken in to consideration on how it has applied the strategic management and find out what it should improve so that it can increase its clients. What the library needs to do is use the current technology to achieve competitive edge. This means that the services will be of higher quality than those of the competitors and hence maintain the clients. The other thing that should be taken into consideration here is the situational analysis. It is composed of environmental analysis both micro and macro. The aim of carrying out this analysis is for the library to identify the opportunities in the market. It is also important for a firm to identify its own strength and weaknesses so that it can per sue only those opportunities that it has the capability.
The elements of macro environment include political, social, environmental and technological issues. In this case the library should consider the political situation. This means if there is political stability there should be no reason to worry but if there is political instability things are likely to go from bad to worse. Incase economical, it should consider if there is inflation or recession. If there is inflation the cost of services will raise hence no good climate to do business. The last thing to consider here is technology. With technology the industry will be in a position to come up with novel services of high quality but of low prices.
The second component of the external environment is micro-environmental analysis. This affects the library providing similar services and is the same as the industry in which a firm is operating in. It is all about concerns of barriers to entry, rivalry, customers and suppliers. University library has to come up with a means of making its services different from those being provided by others. This is because as we have seen in the case study there is no barrier to entry and differentiating services is the only way it is going to survive. As far as customers are concerned they will obviously go for the best services but that cost less, so it is essential to make sure that your services are good but cheaper. It is obvious that rivalry among competing firms exists and finally substitutes are also there. The other type of environment that should be analyzed is internal environment of the business. This can be seen as strength and weakness of the business at large. This considers things that affect that particular business such as availability of labor, corporate culture, structure of the organization, awareness of the brand, whether the business has access to natural resources, access to finances e.g. capital and brand awareness. What this industry management should consider is brand, corporate culture and access to finances so as to deliver good services than the competitors.
Strategic planning is part and parcel of strategic management. It is developed by top executives then they pass it down to the organization at large. Strategic planning as mentioned earlier is a function of strategic management and so it is supposed to be a long term plan hence implement over a period of three to five years. These plans will affect the whole organization and not part of it. At this point this industry under analysis should use this plan to decide how it is going to allocate resources among its business departments and also decide if they are going to merge with other firms so as to defeat competition and increase the profit.
Among the strengths of the library in question is that the region is becoming popular for the students. This means more students will be visiting the library to and from the destinations mentioned above. Expectation of future technology enabling better products and services developments puts it at a better position. The weakness is that this region is experiencing a lot of unemployment. This in this context means consumers of products and services are price conscious since there is no money. Since we have been looking at strategic management it is important to also highlight some of its benefits and the demerits and reasons why it should be employed in the management. It is worth noting that strategic management makes it possible for an organization to be positive in determining how it will do in future. It gives an organization power and willingness to control its functions hence determines its destiny. It can be seen that the main reason to perform strategic management is to scrutinize the current position of the firm and that of the competitors and then come up with steps you should follow to adjust the situation if it is not good or pleasing. The following strategic management financial and non-financial benefits cannot be understated.
In order to have smooth running of the Nairobi University library distribution channels referred to as the pathways that the organization uses in order to promote its products are required. However, these channels may be divided into two for example: - Direct channel of distribution: This type of distribution channel mainly targets the clients directly for example; the library will directly deal with their clients through the internet, whereby the company will employ people as selling agents who will sell and advertise the importance of using library materials through an e-commerce website directly. Through this method the library will market its commodities in a very safe, fast and reliable means since the information will reach the students especially due to the introduction and the increase use of technology, however, the library will spend less through the advertisement. Also, in this method it is mainly capital intensive for example in establishing whereby you achieve a verse greater level of control over the channel.
The library therefore, will use the high technology differentiation method for example it will produce stickers to the organization website that will be written as unique features to the benefits of books, it will also provide manuals to help educate the clients and post it in the website. It will also market the books as they are of measurable benefits to the clients or an individual who will apply for the cards that if his or her book gets lost the library will cater for the same going by the organization rules and regulations. The library will also provide catalogue to help the consumer understand the importances of insurance and the remedies, it will also define about the newest and fastest methods to apply for the books online.
The other method will be the indirect channel of distribution: This type of distribution channel is whereby the library targets the clients indirectly, for example the library will employ people to frequently visit certain libraries and try marketing their books. The indirect channel therefore will includes agents, distributors, licensees, affiliates, franchisees and any other routes to market the available books, also in this method you do not need controlling it directly and thus achieving more significantly, In market strategy many factors have be put in to consideration for instance: - methods that will come before others unlike planning a program on the occasion; therefore it is reasonable to identify every factor at a standard level.
Some of these factors may be to define whether the market is attractive to the goods and the enterprise is very strong in the industry - in this case the library will spend more investing to the best resources. Or, if the market is thus attractive whereas the enterprise is weak in the industry – in this case the library will concentrate on strengthening the enterprise. In this method therefore the library will supply and sell their books through certain means for example it will sell them in small volumes to small retailer’s chops directly and bulk to the wholesalers headquarters. The library will also consult universities and colleges if they can supply the books and writing materials to them, it will also seek for a dealer who will buy directly from them and this may be a wholesaler or a retailer, it can opt to choose direct sales teams, this teams may for instance specialize in educating companies on the importance of registering in the library rather than buying books from the shops.
It is the duty of the librarian to ensure that the books are brought back to the library and that it is not lost. This can successfully be done by employing strategic management properly, formulating a strategy, implementing it and controlling it. To formulate a strategy means that specific strategic alternatives can be developed. There are generic strategies that can be applied to any library and they include product differentiation, focus and cost leadership. The lower level of management is very important and everything possible should be done to make sure that they understand the strategy before it is implemented. To control a strategy means that the outcome of the strategy needs to be measured and analyzed and adjustment made as appropriate. This will ensure that the plan is kept on track. To make sure that after doing all this you will yield success it is important to come up with system to control and implement so as to ensure that there is monitoring.
Several factors have to be considered when segmenting a base as part of marketing strategy. For instance by choosing descriptive bases it means you intend to take them because of their easy measurements and the fact that they always serve as the potential values to the needs of the consumer. The other method is the behavioral bases, this is a kind of method unlike the descriptive bases behavioral bases are often considered powerful determinants to the students towards registering of certain books and also due to their factors such as their degree of brand loyalty. Moreover, factors such as that of benefit bases are always used since they help in identifying the primary advantages that students require in the universities.
Planning and management
One of the methods is the growth stage, whereby it is characterized by rapid growth of book taking where the reading of say novels increases, and the book taking in an library rise, the increase in competition of the students will be reduced to the librarian due to economic of scale. The other method is the market introduction stage. This is a situation where demand for certain books are created, i.e. the library will not make money at this particular stage, and thus there will be slow supply in the library and no competition and the students will be convinced to try and use the available books.
The other method is the maturity stage, this refers to the cost of the product lowering because of increase in curve effects, and thus causing profits to go down at the company level, due to increase in competition. The consumer on the other hand buys the commodities in large volume because it is cheap in the market. Another method is the introduction of saturation and decline stage, this is where the cost of the product becomes counter optimal, and thus the company gets challenges of profits because of production, the sales in the market decreases and the consumer buys them expensively.
Enterprise analysis or company analysis
Analyzing the Libraries product will involve pricing where the following methods are will be used to price books as per requirements and agency for example, Premium pricing; this is a process whereby price of a book is priced consistently at or near the possible price range so that it can help attract the status. The other method is goldilocks pricing, this is pricing a book at a premium level i.e. a lower priced commodity to look more reasonably priced. Finally there is demand-based pricing, It is a method of pricing a book that normally uses student demand, apparently based on the desired worth as the centre element.
Normally, prices are always done so that the library can achieve the financial goals the organization has targeted. Also the commodities are also priced so that they can reach and fit the realities of the market place. Furthermore, commodities are also priced so that the product can be in a better position and be of consistence with other valuables in the market. Product launch strategies can be defined as the views that any organization check before it market or locate its books. It is always advisable before launching a product strategy to differentiate tradeoff and product quality and the price so that equal measures can be taken at a time.
When developing marketing strategy. This includes performing market analysis, positioning targeting and segmentation. Apart from that it is important while setting objectives to chose a situation that stabilizes the price of the commodity, maximizing the profits and maximizing revenue. Moreover, it is always necessary to estimate the demand curve this is met to comprehend the quality demanded by the customers verses the price of that commodity.
The following advantages are important when selecting promotional tools, the reliability of these tools i.e. choosing what suit the library for example the use of internet and the media since they are more reliable and fast. It is also important to note the best methods of contacting through the rise of technology. While choosing promotional tool it is appropriate to be wise so that you don’t choose services that can distort the information’s such as use of the media. The other reason is that of competition whereby it is important to think before competing with other organization since the methods they are using can be very expensive than what you intend to invest.
By targeting the universities is one stage of targeting the students whereby, combination of persons for example those who use books, those who decides what books will be bought and those who normally influence purchasing of the books. Therefore, the library will have to relate with all of them in getting a solution. Apart from the targeting method, communication media can be used since it’s a means of advertisement i.e. the channel of advertising good to the students. The advertiser needs to consider on the appropriate channel of advertising his/her commodities.
Solution assessment and validation
In conclusion the library after focusing on the pricing strategy, i.e. through developing marketing strategy, performing analysis, segmentation and positioning, it has made marketing mix decisions by defining the best distribution channel. Nevertheless, the library has estimated the demand curve of supplying and delivering of books to certain universities, depending on the facts that the students are able to read the books. The library through calculating prices of expenditure through transport, labor and infrastructure it has evaluated that indirect method of distribution is very easy to reach to the students through the use of internet and also since it is very fast, cheap and reliable. Apart from being cheap the library has chosen it since many libraries will tend to reach it through access from internet unlike through seeking the students directly.
Apart from these, the library will market itself even in book directories so that other universities and colleges can access it very easily. Also the library will look for intermediaries who will be responsible for delivering the books to the students for example; Josephs Sales & Transport Company Ltd. The library will hire this company to deliver their books to these universities and neighboring schools. While considering the direct method it will be the difficult method since the library will spend more hiring sale staff whereby they will have a direct trade-off between the libraries supplying the same kinds of books. Also the direct distribution channel is very costly since it will require extra budget whereby the library will have a control of the books they will be delivering.
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