BUS 401 Strategic Management

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BUS 401 Strategic Management

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BUS 401 Strategic Management

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Course Code: BUS401
University: Washington College

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Country: United States

Five major strategic approaches to set a business apart from its competitors. Major considerations for sustainability, time management, evolving marketing conditions and management response.

A business can set itself apart from its competitors by providing superior value to its customers (Henry). There are a few basic strategies which can be used to generate competitive advantage. One of these strategies is cost leadership. Under this strategy firms generates cost advantage by lowering costs of operations (Bamford and West). This can be done through bulk buying or cutting cost of transport, warehousing or superior production techniques.
Second strategy is differentiation, wherein firms create some uniqueness in their products or services (Evens). Differentiation can be created through creation of brand identity, better quality or lower prices.
Under Innovation strategy companies find new ways of doing their business. They create new products or product features (Bamford and West). Under operational efficiency strategy companies use effective techniques of production and distribution to create competitive advantage (Henry). Fifth strategy is technology based competitive strategy where companies create competitive advantage through adopting new techniques of production, sales or distribution.
 Firms need to take into account certain considerations while formulating strategy. The major consideration for sustainability is whether a business can cover its costs in the long term and reduce waste and consumption of natural resources (Henry). Major considerations for time management are setting of business goals, planning, control and evaluation.
Another consideration is evolving market conditions. Firms need to consider the various changing factors like demand, demographics or economics (Hiriyappa). It also needs to consider its own strengths to evolve with the evolving market conditions.
While creating the final realised strategy it is very important to get a positive response from the management (Hiriyappa). Budget and manpower allocation by the management are major considerations while seeking positive response.
Importance of vision, steps and coordination
The vision statement gives orientation to a firm’s goals. In other words, it shows the path to achieve goals of the firm. (Sminia). Setting a strategic vision statement is important for the organisation because it gives direction to the management, employees and other stakeholders. Without a vision statement there would be chaos and confusion.
There are various steps involved in the process of formulating a vision (Ungson and Wong). The first step is to pinpoint the focus area of the organisation. Next step is to formulate a time frame in which vision needs to be realised. Next step is to ponder on the goals that the company has regarding its stakeholders and customers. Further, the firm must make a mission for the company with regards to what all it wants to achieve. Final step is to write down all the aims, objectives, values and goals for which the company is operating and create a vision statement which is clear, precise, achievable and timebound.
Management can coordinate all the steps of creating a vision statement by having periodic meetings, creating drafts based on where they see the company in the future and what all they want to achieve with regard to customers and other stakeholders (Ungson and Wong).
Crucial factors involved in a company’s macro environment. There measurement tools advantages and limitations.
Macro environment of a business consist of the factors which affect the entire market or industry in which the firm operates (Henry). Therefore, these factors play a crucial role in success or failure of a firm. Some of these factors are the market demographics like income groups, gender dynamics, family size etc; Social factors like trends and fashion; political and legal factors like regulations and political stability; environmental factors like waste disposal and impact on environment.
One of the major tools to assess the macro environment of a business is PESTLE analysis (Hill and Jones). Under this analysis the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors affecting an industry or a market are deeply analysed to ascertain the effects of these factors on the firm.
The benefits of PESTLE analysis are that it is cost effective, provides deep analysis of each factor and is easy to use.  Limitations of this tool are that it does not help in assessment of rapid changes in the industry (Hill and Jones). Additionally, it does not pay attention to demographic factors
Factors involved in evaluating a company’s resources, capabilities and competitiveness.
Resources are strategically most important asset of a company (Bamford and West). The factors involved in assessment of a company’s resources are efficiency of production process and effective use of raw material, use of infrastructure, equipment and machinery and effective use of human capital.
Capabilities are the skills which utilise various resources to attain business objectives (Alkhafaji). While assessing capabilities various factors involved are assessment of strategy, marketing efficiency, technological efficiency, managerial skills and research and innovation.
Competitiveness is the ability to provide products and services in a better or effective way than the competitor (Bamford and West). Factors which are involved in assessment of competitiveness are the company strategies, resources, capabilities, brand strength and research capacities.
Input each cost driver can have on cost control of an organisation
According to Michael Porter’s value chain analysis there are 10 cost drivers which can be controlled to generate cost advantage for an organisation (Wiedemann) These are-
Economies of scale- A firm can increase its scale of production and reduce cost per unit of product produced.
Learning- through learning, techniques of production and efficiency can be increased which in turn will reduce costs.
Capacity utilization- by using all resources to optimum capacity, the firm can reduce waste and increase efficiency; thereby reducing cost.
Linkages among activities- if all activities like marketing, human resources and operations are linked with common goals no wasteful activity will take place resulting in cost control
Interrelationships between business units- interrelationship among business units due to common buyers, channels or technology can allow these units to share resources leading to reduction of per unit cost.
Degree of vertical integration- vertical integration occurs when a firm acquires its suppliers, venders or distribution channels. Vertical integration helps in reduction of supplier or distribution costs
Timing of market entry- If the firm is first to enter the market it will be able to forge customer relationships. Therefore, expense on marketing will reduce.
Firms policy on costs or differentiation- differentiation can lead to brand identity which can lead to long term reduction of marketing costs.
Geographic location- If the firm is located near to raw materials it can reduce transportation costs
Institutional factors- certain tax rebates and Government subsidies to promote certain sectors etc can also lead to cost control
Alkhafaji, Abbass. Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation, and Control in a Dynamic Environment. New York: Routledge, 2013.
Bamford, Charles E and Page G West. Strategic Management : value creation, sustaínability, and performance. New York: Cengage Learning, 2012.
Evens, Nigel. Strategic Management for Tourism, Hospitality and Events. New York: Routledge, 2015.
Henry, Anthony. Understanding Strategic Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Hill, Charles and Garesth Jones. Strategic Management: An Integrated Approach. New York: Cengage Learning, 2012.
Hiriyappa, B. Strategic Management and Business Policy. bloomington: Booktango, 2013.
Hitt, Michael A, Ireland, Duane and Robert Hoskisson. Strategic Management: Concepts: Competitiveness and Globalization. London: Cengage Learning, 2014.
Sminia, Harry. The Strategic Manager. New York: Routledge, 2014.
Ungson, Gerardo R and Yim-Yu Wong. Global Strategic Management. Mew York: M.E. Sharpe, 2012.
Wiedemann, Lucas. Business Strategies and Value Chain Management. Bloomington: Author House, 2013.

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