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This essay investigates the literature on strategic operations management. It provides a perfect overview of the management styles that have been adopted all over the world by world-class companies. Besides, it presents a review of those practices that Ricardo emphasizes on with regards to production and administration. In addition, it assesses the global capability of Ricardo and the real evidence of their competitive advantage in the global market in terms of products and services. Furthermore, it analyses the extent, to which Ricardo uses operation strategies to boost their efficiency and competitiveness. According to the literature, Ricardo is one of the leading global industries that deal in modern technology, product modification and extensive strategic consulting (Davidow & Uttal, 1990).
Strategic management encompasses the major initiatives that are always taken by the general managers of the concerned companies on behalf of the shareholders. These initiatives usually have much to do with how the company’s resources should be utilized in a way that would enhance the overall performance of the firms within their business environments. Basically, strategic management involves the company stating their missions and objectives that they wish to work towards. As such, all the projects, undertaken by the company, are often designed in a manner likely to achieve the set objectives. Ideally, the managing directors must commit more by allocating adequate funds towards a successful completion of these projects in line with the set objectives. In most cases, a balanced scorecard may be applied in the evaluation of the holistic success of the business projects. Further, the shareholders or the owners of the company must be made to understand what actions are being taken and why they have to be taken. This is the best way to set the ball rolling for a potentially successful world-class business (Davidow & Uttal, 1990).
According to the recent researches in this area, the whole idea of strategic management starts with the expectations of the stakeholders and how they should be modified to suit the professional assessment of the business environment. In most cases, it is viewed more as a form of managerial role of setting the goals. However, there is a little doubt that the views of the stakeholders, including the shareholders, are of very significant bearing on the goals that are eventually settled on. The overall analysis of strategic management must take care of the need to align the operations of the business with the business environment, in which it operates so as to achieve a great deal of consistency. All these must be taken very seriously by any business that aims at attaining success in the market in the form of competitive advantage. For instance, a foreign firm must be able to understand the desires of their stakeholders back at home as well as take into consideration the demands of the environment they serve. Besides, they must produce their goods and services with an eye to the immediate as well as foreign markets. This way, they will not only make good sales in the market but they will also stand the test of competitive business that has become the face of the economic world. Besides, this will greatly give them a competitive edge in the search for the best human resource in the world (Levinson, 1984).
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Ricardo, as a company, has always set its standards to meet the international levels of quality. As such, its operations involve as much innovative techniques as possible as this is the only way to ensure quality. They employ a good number of engineering experts who, occasionally, review the quality of their goods with regards to the market expectations. Although this may be quite expensive, it is worth the sacrifice in the sense that it wins the confidence of the customers. And once the loyalty of the market has been achieved, a lot of funds that would have been used for advertisements or demonstrations are saved or used for other things that could be more important for the company. Besides, Ricardo is largely focused on giving back to the society. Although this may not be in the sense of a direct charity work, the much that they do, concerning environmental conservation, perfectly endears them to the general public. In fact, this acts as a silent mode of advertisement for them. For instance, a mere mention of global effect would bring into everyone’s mind the forces behind this global conservation effort. And Ricardo, being one of the companies at the front of the rest, stands to benefit a lot with regards to the general perception of the public (Davidow & Uttal, 1990).
The adoption of high fuel efficiency technical approaches clearly sets the company above the rest. This is very relevant in the sense that energy has got to the international radar. For instance, the use of fossil fuels is globally discouraged as it serves to promote global warming. In fact, this idea has won them the support of several non-governmental organizations that promote clean energy. As such, they are almost certainly assured of the support of these organizations both in terms of policies and market. In the process, they make very good sales because they have many friends who also double up as their customers. Indeed, foreign governments also find it easy to license their business operations as they are perfectly well established in the global market in terms of quality and business ethics. Besides, their continued research enables high levels of innovativeness and, therefore, their ability to give well informed expert advice on issues to do with technology (Tichy, 1983).
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Evidence of Competitive Advantage
Ricardo is not only well established globally but also rates at the top wherever they set up business. This has been attributed to their superior policies in the areas of management and production. In particular, the management strategy that has been adopted in all the branches is the typical democratic form of business management. This is the type of management, where the managing directors give the employees a word on the fundamental decisions on how the firm should be run. For instance, the firm that is divided into several departments has the departmental heads, given a free hand to make decisions in their departments. They do this by consulting their subordinates to get their opinions before making the final decision. As such, every member of the firm feels part and parcel of the policies as they reflect their personal opinions. This is particularly important because the employees do not feel that something is being forced upon them. Although it often takes long to make major decisions with such kind of style, the decisions made are usually of sound value, considering the diversity (Levinson, 1984).
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They also greatly focus on their customer relations as this is the core of any successful business. The customers of a business are such an important component that can never be ignored. That is why all the employees at Ricardo receive a special training in public relations. Indeed, customers all over the world contend that the quality of services at Ricardo is way beyond expectation. However, much of this stems from the fact that they majorly employ a good number of local experts in all their foreign branches. As such, the local communities find it very easy to identify with the firm, considering that it appears less foreign by incorporating the people that the community is well conversant with. In addition, this helps to produce goods in a manner that perfectly complies with culture of the foreign communities. Although this often implies that the diversity of their employees may be limited, the fact that they occasionally train their staff raises the technical knowledge of their employees to fit the global standards. These are very important aspects that have kept Ricardo above the rest of the industries in the world (Davidow & Uttal, 1990).
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The quality of goods, produced by Ricardo, is no doubt very high. This has been made possible by the technical teams that they employ to carry out continuous research in order to keep pace with the ever increasing demand in global technology. For instance, the technical team of engineers does a lot of research that eventually enables them to offer the kind of quality advice that has become a brand for Ricardo. Besides, the firm actively engages the global community in various environmental projects. For instance, the use of green energy has become their Brand in Asia. The fact that they were among the very first companies to talk seriously about environmental conservation has perfectly endeared them to the Asian market, especially those communities that are already feeling the pinch of global warming. Although these adventures of supporting environmental conservation were very expensive at the initial stages, it is finally paying of the dividends. For instance, the production reports of the firm indicate that over a third of its sales globally were made to institutions that are in some way associated with the environment. This could be largely true, considering that these institutions know that most companies prefer the economic benefits over the benefits to humanity. As such, it would be very appropriate that they support the few ones that value the sanctity of human life by supporting environmental conservation (Levinson, 1984).
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In addition, this company is very focused on retaining as well as acquiring quality man power. As such, they pay their workers good salaries besides taking good care of their general welfare. For instance, their employees in the foreign branches are paid, according to international standards. As a result, there are a lot of people that run away from their former employers to seek employment with Ricardo. Besides, it is an advantage in the job market to be a former employee of Ricardo due to their good reputation in the market. As such, the very ambitious people who want to quickly progress in their careers rush to Ricardo to work for them as a stepping stone to bigger things ahead. Ideally, the experience that they get at Ricardo is very valuable to any other potential employers. This is particularly due to the fact that their operations incorporate a great deal of researched ideas and implement production methods that are tested (Tichy, 1983).
The managing directors of Ricardo are properly trained to walk through the political interferences. This is very important, considering that politicians are the major policy shapers in the world. As such, the moment the company loses their support it loses half of the business. For instance, the global economic recession has seen many companies lay off a significant number of their employees. However, Ricardo has engaged the staff in a dialogue that yielded a resolution that their salaries cut by a certain percentage till the economy stabilizes instead of sending people home. This deal was largely accepted, although it raised some tensions at the initial stages. These are potential loopholes that politicians could exploit to bring down a company, especially when they view your operations to disregard the aspect of humanity (Kearney, 1992).
Besides, the company has, over the years, silently supported political operations. However, this is keenly done so that they don’t end up on the wrong side of power. Indeed, before they decide to align themselves to any particular political party in any political environment, they first employ research firms to conduct a survey so that they can make informed decisions. This is a potentially risky affair, especially in cases; where political competition is too close to call. However, having been in business for a long time, the company understands the political dynamics that would eventually shape the political landscape. As such, they hardly go wrong in as far as their preferred choices are concerned. Besides, the firm often seeks the advice of prominent political scientists and opinion leaders to help them choose the best out of the crowded field of political ideologies. This strategy has always ensured that the company remains on the right side of politics (Levinson, 1984).
Ricardo’s Use of Operations Strategy
The company Ricardo sets its short and long term objectives, based on solid advice from business experts. For instance, the part that deals in engineering technology is known worldwide for the quality of expertise that it injects into its operations. This is based on extensive and continuous research that helps them keep up with the global trends in technology. However, these decisions take into account the expectations of the stakeholders. For instance, the Board of Directors meets every month to review the progress of the business operations. In such a meeting, the Board recommends the extent of additional funding that should be considered and the type of technology that should be used to achieve the set goals. This has been largely successful because the Board of Directors itself is composed of highly qualified individuals who understand the market trends very well. As such, they are able to detect possible errors in their strategies much earlier before it becomes a mistake (Davidow & Uttal, 1990).
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Besides, the company management involves the employees in making adjustments to their strategic operations. This is based on the understanding that it is the employees who finally implement a significant proportion of the policies. As such, the policies can only be effective if the final implementers accept them and, therefore, implement them to the latter without being followed up. Besides, the firm engages research companies to enable it make adjustments to its products and services so that they meet the international standards. Besides, this kind of research gives them a competitive edge over rival companies as they get to know early enough what their competitors are up to. As a result, the company is able set their goals, make the necessary adjustments and eventually give the kind of services that essentially keep them afloat in the market (Levinson, 1984).
In conclusion, businesses must seek to conform to the strategic operations, adopted by Ricardo, if they wish to succeed in the increasingly competitive economic world. These must include the kind of management style that they adopt as well as the kind of services they provide to the market. Besides, it must consider the potential harm that can result from the prevailing political situation. The standards for these ideals must be set early enough and reviewed consistently to ensure that they remain relevant in the dynamic global market. Besides, the stakeholders must always be kept abreast so that they prepare for any eventualities that could arise from the strategies adopted. This is the only secret that has enabled Ricardo to remain an effective and competitive player in the global market (Tichy, 1983).
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