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The Macro Environment Analysis of Nestle in Switzerland

Nestle is the world largest Swiss multinational food and beverage company with sales of over 107 billion CHF in year 2009. The company has 135 year history and operations in virtually every country in the world (Scribd, n.d.). Nestle was founded in 1886 by Swiss pharmacist Henri Nestle in Vevey, Switzerland. Henri Nestle was a pharmacist who developed a food for those unable breastfeed babies. In year 1905, Nestle merged with the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company. With the successful product expansion and the business strategy that the company use, and now the company employs around 280000 people and has factories or operations in almost every country. Nestle owns several major consumer brands such as Stouffers, Nescafe, Kit-Kat, Carnation, PowerBar and others that dominated in different market by nestle.

Other than production, Research and Development (R&D) is also one of the competitive advantages for Nestle become the food industry leader in nutrition, health and wellness. Currently, Nestle has the largest R&D network of any food company together with local market application groups which employs over 5000 people (Nestle, n.d.). Furthermore, Nestle further strengthen its R&D capability through innovation partnerships like collaborations with biotech companies.

Nestle able to provide high quality, safe food solutions for consumers worldwide by collecting all the global R&D resources (Nestle, n.d.). Besides that, Nestle also able to launch new products efficient and effective in the global market by integrating regulatory affairs in all its R&D activities (Nestle, n.d.). Although Nestles have competitive advantage for sustaining in the market, the company still facing some dispute in the market. Just like in 1970s century, scandals plagued the company that brings huge damages to Nestlé’s reputation on its unethical marketing of official baby milk (Anon, n.d.).

Nestle Switzerland is the international headquarter of Nestle group. In year 2008, the total revenue that Nestle Switzerland contribute to the group around 1’521,00 in million SFr (Nestle Switzerland , n.d.). Although Nestle Switzerland is the headquarter for the group but there are only about 2% of the company’s sales are recorded in Switzerland and most of the Nestle staff and assets are located outside the country (Nestle South Africa, n.d.). Due to the low customer demand of the group in Switzerland market, the Switzerland branch work as headquarter and contribute in research and invent or improve for better product.

The Macro Environment Analysis of Nestle in Switzerland.

Macro environment analysis is the first step of a strategic analysis that referred to as an external analysis like PEST analysis (What Makes a Good Leader, n.d.). The purpose of the Macro Environment Analysis is to identify the possible opportunities and threats to the whole industry that is out of control (What Makes a Good Leader, n.d.). Basically, it has the same concept like SWOT analysis whereby identify the strength, weaknesses, opportunity and threat to the industry, but the difference is SWOT analysis is examine internal environment of the industry and PEST or PESTLE analysis is for examine the external environment of the industry.

PEST Analysis

PEST analysis is one of the macro analysis that highlight and categories the external environment into political, economic, social and technology.

Political

Political issues are one of the major concerns for the company to operate in the country. Political status in Switzerland is belongs to stability although there are existence of different language groups and cultural regions (Switzerland-4You, 2010). With the political stability in Switzerland, Nestle in Switzerland can actually maintain the sales in Switzerland or even boost up the sales, as the stability will actually bring economic growth in Switzerland, therefore, the consumer purchasing power in Switzerland will eventually growth due the improvement of living standard.

Other than political stability, taxation policies are one of the components in PEST analysis. The corporate tax rate in Switzerland is within the range of 12% to 24% which are much lower than those of the European neighbours (Switzerland-4You, 2010 & World Tax, 2010). Nestle can actually enjoy the tax benefit compare to most countries of the EU and USA, where the tax is between 30% and 55% on net income, and the total taxes in Switzerland amount to approximately 25% (Switzerland-4You, 2010).

Another benefit that can be enjoy by Nestle is the company can actually deduct the taxes from the income as an expense that relatively lower effective tax rate compare to most other countries where the taxes are not deductible(Switzerland-4You, 2010). According to the new VAT Act that implement in year 2010, Nestle as a holding company is allow the reclaim of input VAT, whereby entitled to an input tax reduction based on the taxable activity of its subsidiaries and enjoy the benefit from a higher input tax recovery rate (Taxand, 2010).

Economic

Basically, economics is one of PEST analysis component to analyze the economy environment of the company. This economic component relate to changes in the wider economy such as economic growth, interest rates, exchange rates, and inflation rate, and it will actually make an impacts on the business operate strategy and decision making.

(Source: Trading Economics, 2010)

From the graph above, it show the inflation rate within Jan 2008 till October 2010. As the graph it shows that in year 2010, the inflation rate is relative high compare to year 2009 which was under the deflation rate condition. Although there is inflation happen in year 2010, but it relatively low and steady, about around the average of 0.3% (U.S. Department of State, 2010) compare to the year 2008, which was around the average of 2.5% (Trading Economics, 2010). With the low and steady inflation rate, the consumer purchasing power relatively increase, therefore, it will indirectly boost up the Nestle sales in Switzerland because an increase in money value allow consumer to purchase more goods.

(Source: Trading Economic, 2010)

From the graph above, it shows the interest rate from year 2008 till year 2010. In year 2010, it shows a low and stable interest rate, which is about 0.25%. Nestle Switzerland can actually enjoy the low interest rate to expand the business or more investment in research and development through financing from bank. This is due to the company will enjoy low repayment during low interest rate (tutor2u, n.d.). Besides that, the low interest rate will also help to boost up the company sales. The reason is during the low interest rate, consumers tend to spend more than saving therefore, the consumer purchasing power is much higher and it will boost up the company sales performance (tutor2u, n.d.).

Exchange rate is also playing a vital role for business performance in Switzerland. Exchange rate will actually affect the export rate of the country. This is due to the strong currency exchange will bring the local product to become expensive when import to the low value currency country, therefore, the export rate will drop.

As for Switzerland, the currency in Switzerland is relative stable and often used as an international benchmark in the world of finance. Besides that, the exchange rates does not fluctuate greatly, this is due to the stability of the Switzerland’s currency (Kwintessential, n.d.). Therefore, Nestle able to enjoy a stable export performance because the consumers outside the Switzerland enjoy the stable price of product and export performance will not affected by the fluctuation of currency.

(Source: Trading Economics, 2010)

From the graph above, Switzerland growth rate is increasing after the deep economy depression happen in the year 2008 till 2009, which bring the low growth rate in Switzerland. As it can say that, Nestle in Switzerland’s business performance will look more positive because of the improvement in economy of the country. The improvement of growth rate will actually affect the purchasing power of consumer as well as increase in investor confidence.

(Trading Economics, 2010)

There are also some other good news for nestle, just like unemployment rate, during the recession period, other than low country growth rate, the unemployment rate also increasing, however in year 2010, the economy is on the progress of recovery, as the country growth rate is improving and the unemployment rate drops to 3.6% (Trading Economics, 2010).

Sociocultural

Sociocultural environment is analyze the demand and taste of the consumer market. There are some factors that make impacts on demand such as the changes in demographics like changes in population by ages, regions, affluence and numbers of working hours.

Switzerland offers a high quality of life with prosperity widely distributed and safe and reliable transportation (Switzerland-4You, 2010). Other than that, safety and health of Switzerland considered safe among the best in the world (Switzerland-4You, 2010). Furthermore, people in Switzerland demanding high quality for homes and apartments at reasonable price and leisure activities (Switzerland-4You, 2010).

In year 2010, Switzerland’s population aged above 65 is around 1294330 in the total population of 7,604,000 and consumer expenditure increase to US$284,434.74 million in year 2010 from US$279,149.71 million in year 2009 (EuroMonitor International, 2010). Among the consumer expenditure, there are around US$26,667.62 million that spend on food, which decrease around US$ 83.8 million (EuroMonitor International, 2010).

With the high living standard and drop in consumer food expenditure, it will actually affect Nestle business and marking strategy. Nestle Switzerland should aware of the changes in consumer demand and population in order to cater the right market segment. Furthermore, a high living standard in Switzerland will actually lead Nestle Switzerland to improve the quality of the product, as the consumers willing to pay more for high quality product.

Technology

Switzerland faced scarcity of raw materials and inability to produce enough food (All about Switzerland, 2010). One of the Switzerland mature economies is machine and electrical manufactures, pharmaceutical product and many innovative high-tech products (All about Switzerland, 2010).

Switzerland encourages technology transfer to be carried out and it run by Swiss Association of Technology Transfer Professionals swiTT (SwissWorld, n.d.). Technology transfer is about transfer the technology from public sector research and development association and non-profit research organizations to the private sector (swiTT, 2010).

Although Switzerland encourages technology transfer, Switzerland government is still supply low tax subsidy rate to businesses for R&D and low government expenditure on R&D (Center for Global Development, 2010).

Other than swiTT, swiss medtech is also one of the centres doing R&D in medical product, food and health improvement. According to swiss medtech, researchers in Switzerland are eligible to participate at the European Framework Programme for research and development whereby a framework that guide the European researchers doing the R&D and gather and share among the member of the Europe country (swissmedtech, n.d.).

With the availability of several research centre and association in Switzerland, it become benefit for Nestle in Switzerland to do more R&D for the better product even though with low tax subsidy for R&D (Center for Global Development, 2010). Furthermore, R&D is the key of competitive advantage strategy for Nestle (Castelar Articles, 2005). Other than that, Nestlé own the largest R&D network of any food company (Nestle, n.d.). By gathering all the research resource available in Switzerland, it brings Nestle to become the leader of the world food and beverage company.

The International Consideration

The successfulness of Nestle S.A had brought the business expand rapidly and involve in international business. Currently, Nestle operate in 100 countries across the globe. Usually, Nestle expand the business into international market through export, foreign direct investment, joint venture, merger and indirect export. For example, Nestle expand business into China market through joint venture plant in 1990 (Nestle, n.d.) and as for Europe, Nestle enter in to the market through foreign direct investment by opened first UK factory in year 1901.

Moreover, nestle expand business not only expand more avenue in geographical, but Nestle also expand the business through alliance, acquisition and merger. For example, Nestle alliance with Coca-cola in early 1990s, nestle merged with Alimentana S.A, the manufacturer of Maggi seasonings and soups, nestle acquired Crosse&Blackwell who are the british manufacturer of the preserved and canned foods, Nestle also acquired L’Oreal become the major shareholder in year 1974, Nestle Acquired Alcon Laboratories which is manufacturer of pharmaceutical and ophthalmic products, in 2002 nestle acquired U.S based hand-held frozen food product business, and also joint venture with Dairy partners Americas (Nestle, n.d.).

Nestle S.A also expands business into India through export in year 1912. After India independence in 1914, Nestle expands business through foreign direct investment by forming a company and set up its first factory in India during the year 1961 at Moga Punjab.

Nestle Consideration

Generally, doing international business in India, there are a lot of issues that need to be considered by the company. The issues are languages, culture, religion, consumer trend, and political issues (DocShare, n.d.). All these issues should be taking into consideration account.

Just like languages, it is important identify the languages different when enter into new country, language is the mean of communication for business. For example, under the constitution, English shall be the official language however languages become political issues are mainly connected to language problem, as the government have decided Hindi as the official language after the independence, but there are at least 13 different dialects in India (Anon, 2000 & iloveindia.com, n.d.).

Therefore, language become consideration of nestle in doing international business in India if the Nestle does not understand the Hindi dialect and also write in Hindi letter when dealing with the government although English is the official language under the country constitutions, it will cause lead time when official documentary is in progress.

In addition, Nestle consider culture when doing the international business at India. As the different culture determine different behavior and perspective, so it is important to take note, if Nestle did not take note about the difference in culture, crash of culture between India culture and company culture will bring failure in management as well as business performance.

For example, India prefer to do business with those they know which similar with China whereby relationship is built by trust and respect and prefer to have long-standing personal relationships when doing business (kwintessential, n.d.). Therefore, it is advisable doing business through third party introduction if India market is too new for the business (kwintessential, n.d.).

Other than that, Nestle also consider consumer trend like the preference, taste and purchasing power in the market. With the clear picture of this, Nestle can actually capture the consumer behavior and purchasing power in order to plan out a good and effective business and marketing plan from production till promotion.

As for religion and political issues, it plays a vital role for business to run in new country. Political issues can be the stability of politics, the internal politic war and others. With the political problems exist it bring a lot red tape in carrying business operation in India, it can be bribery and corruption involve and time consuming in the business progress.

Religion is also an issue that needs to be aware of especially for food industry. For example, Islamic country required the food industry to apply the halal permit in order to precede sales activities carry out in the country. Besides that, with the awareness of religion requirement like prayer time and religion special day, Nestle need to be aware of in order not to create conflict happen such as abuse workers right in religion.

Last but not least, the availability of raw materials in India also one of the Nestle consideration when doing international business. This is due to Nestle use locally available raw material either they purchase directly from producers or through existing trade channels (Scribd, n.d.).

Problem and solution

There are several problem faced by Nestle when doing international business in India. Recently, Nestle faced declining in operating margin even though the net sales including domestic sales and export sales growth beyond the speculation by the company. There are several assumptions for such decline in operating margin such as, retirement benefits, higher branding costs and surge in milk solids and sugar prices (livemint.com, 2010).

In order to solve this problem, it is suggested to plan some cost cutting in Nestle operation such as revalue the retirement pension scheme in the company, plan for new low cost marketing plan that create and maintaining the brand in the consumer market and figure new production strategy in order to maintain current cost of production or ease the pain in production cost due to the surge in milk solids and sugar prices or examine the current product price and set a new product which will not harm the company margin and not affect the consumer demand in the market.

Secondly, Nestle faces some infrastructure problems in India which is the reason Nestle does not active involve in frozen food and ice-cream business in India (Rediff India Abroad, 2009). Nestle should run an analysis about the infrastructure in India, an analysis about the sustainable strategy of the competitors in this frozen categories such like Hindustan Lever Ltd, a major player in India for Ice-cream category and figure out the government involvement in improvement for infrastructure in the country (Anon, n.d.).

Besides that, Nestle can also make an agreement on sharing the infrastructure such as distribution and power supply with the competitors. In addition, Nestle can also do R&D for frozen to improve the quality of the food and improve the time of the food so that it can sustain for more hours when power shortage happen.

Last but not least, Nestle Purina faced hassle for importing the product to the India market due to the government restrictions because of bird flu disease spread in the country (Rediff India Abroad, 2009). In order to solve this problem, Nestle can make an agreement with the government about promising on the quality of the product proved by quality testing standard board so that it can eliminate the trade barriers for bring Purina product into the market.

The growth of the business

Ansoff’s Product-Market Matrix

There are four growth strategies under the Ansoff product market matrix. There are market penetration, market development, product development and diversification.

The growth strategies that suitable for Nestle in Switzerland are market penetration and market development. Market penetration is about the existing product in existing market which is the current market (12Manage, 2010). The objective of this strategy is to capture consumer loyalty, from incidental client to regular client, and regular client into heavy clients (12Manage, 2010).

Usually, this strategy achieves economies of scale through efficient planning like manufacturing, distribution and efficient distribution (12Manage, 2010). This strategy can be the volume discounts, bonus cards and other promotion on existing product to enhance the product awareness and product loyalty (12Manage, 2010).

It is suggested that Nestle should apply this strategy on current famous product and fundamental product like Nespresso and baby product. As for Nespresso, due to Nespresso is one of the best selling products in Switzerland, so it is an opportunity to keep the trend on Nespresso and enhance the consumer awareness and loyalty (Nestlé, 2009).

Nestle can offer more promotion plan by enroll more benefit for those who join the Nespresso club other than the existing benefit like service assistance on Nespresso Machine, Quick and Fast order and track the order status as well as gift service that allow the customer send gift directly to the person of your choice through Nespresso service (Nespresso, n.d.). The new benefit can be discount for member, point collection when purchasing the product, refilling and maintenance service and the point collection can used to exchange for cash rebate and other types of voucher like restaurant voucher.

Other than club benefit, Nestle can use Nespresso brand name to do more corporate social responsibility (CSR) in order to create the awareness of the brand name and create healthy image for regular and non regular consumer. This can consider as psychology marketing strategy for capture the consumer behavior. As for certain type of consumer, they are supportive to those companies that doing a lot CSR project that contribute back to social world and help those needed people. By through this, this group of consumer will indirectly help Nestlé to do some free advertising like word of mouth spreading brand name and increasing the brand awareness.

Moreover, Nestle Baby products can also comply with the market penetration strategy. Nestle baby product especially milk powder is the root product of the company, the very own first product in the company. Therefore, the reputation of this product already exists and owns some consumer market share, however, due to some problems like nestle boycott, growth of competitors exist and global recession, Nestle had lost some market share on baby product (nzherald.co.nz, 2010) .

A new marketing plan required to promote the baby product in order to gain more market share. The marketing plans include campaign, road show, advertisement and some competition to be carried out. The competition can be drawing contest, slogan competition, and public speaking competition. As for the campaign, it can be carrying out lucky draw campaign when customers entitle to participate after purchasing the milk powder product. Besides that, other promotion plan like stamp collecting. For example, when customer purchase one baby product, the customer will get one stamp chop, after finish collect 15 stamp chop, customer will get one free milk powder.

For product development strategy, the main objective is to sell new product either accessory, add-ons, or completely new products in current market through existing communication channels (12Manage, 2010). Nestle can extend milk powder product range from infant target segment to senior citizen milk powder. The demographic in Switzerland, there 15.6% of the population are 0-14 years old, 68.1% of the populations are 15-64 years old and 16.3% of the populations are above age 65 years old and nestle only offer milk powder product for infant group which up to 12 month plus (indexmundi, 2010 & Nestle, n.d.).

Therefore, there is a huge market segment for milk powder to category beyond the infant stage. Nestle can expand the business on the existing product range with value added product just like a value added product of senior citizen milk powder from infant milk powder. The nutrition content in the milk powder will do some adjustment based on the age group of their health nutrition development in order to cater the new market segment on existing product range.

New Venture

Maldives is a country that located in Southern Asia, a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean and south-south west of India. The population in the country is 395,650 with negative growth rate about 0.178% (Indexmundi, 2010).

In order to understand the strength of the new investment market which is Maldives, Nestle in Switzerland need to run porter’s five forces analysis for the new market before moving into the market.

Porter’s five forces analysis is industry analysis that enables the company to understand the industry which the firm operates or plan to operate. The analysis components are threats of new entrants, threats of substitutes, bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of buyers and rivalry among existing firms (Wall & Rees, 2004).

Threats of new entrants

This is referring to the barriers for entering the industry in Maldives. If the barriers for a new firms enter the industry is low, therefore, the company may face competitive market as the new firm can easily enter and exit from the industry. With the competitive market exist, the company market share is low and the profit will be nominal. Therefore, it is important for Nestle to identify the freedom of new entrant, so that the company can identify whether Maldives is sustainable for the company to invest.

In Maldives, the barriers of entry are consider low, whereby the government offer a lot benefit to the foreign investor to invest the country. The government policy including the incentives offered by the government such as exemption of import duty on raw material, right to 100% foreign ownership whereby some other country restrict the ownership of investment 100% belong to the foreign ownership, legally backed investment guarantee, overseas arbitration of disputes, freedom to repatriate profits and capital proceeds, freedom to use foreign managerial, technical and unskilled workers and no exchange restrictions (this is Maldives, 2010).

Besides that, the guidelines, laws and regulations are provided for the foreign investors to highlight the term of investment, duty exemption, dispute settlement and levies and fees (this is Maldives, 2010). Furthermore, Maldives is a tax haven country for income tax and corporate tax (this is Maldives, 2010).

Although the barriers of entry are low, nestle does not faced threats of new entrants in Maldives. This is because of the limitation on natural resources and technical skills for food industry available in Maldives (this is Maldives, 2010). Besides that, the new entrants must capital intensive to invest in Maldives as Maldives lack of technology, knowledge, skill labour, raw material and others that will affect the cost of the company operations (this is Maldives, 2010).

Threats of substitutes

This is referring to the availability of the substitutes product in the market will make an impact for the competitive environment of the company (Wall & Rees, 2004). In order to minimize the risk from substitutes, company should plan for product differentiation or gain economies of scale in the market.

Nestle does not faced substitutes problems, as there are nearly on competitors in food and dairy product industry. In Maldives, all the food and dairy product are import into country through indirect exporter. Therefore, the price of the food and dairy product is expensive than the Nestle product in Maldives, as the imported product are charged with the imported duty and other hidden charge on the product, so it is relative expensive than Nestle product that locally made (Maldives Customs Service, 2008).

Besides that, Nestle own a competitive advantage as Nestle owns a R&D centre that help the company to be more sustainable and maintaining the competitive position in the market. Therefore, substitution exist does not becoming the threat for Nestle corporation because Nestle gain a competitive advantage in innovative product and process for production.

Bargaining power of suppliers

Under this context, it refers to the bargaining power of the suppliers with the company. Suppliers have certain serious impact to the company profit, if the suppliers have strong bargaining power it can squeeze the company profits by raising prices or reducing the quality of the product that will affect the production input of the company (Wall & Rees, 2004).

Although Maldives has limit on raw material but Maldives government offer tax exemption for foreign investor on importing the raw materials into Maldives. Nestle can import raw material from India, whereby India is the biggest exporter country in the world that import the raw material (Companyb2b, 2007). With the existing supplier relationship that owned by Nestle India, Nestle in Maldives will not faced bargaining power because the India business culture are cultivated by trust and long term relationship. Besides that, availability of suppliers in India is competitive, therefore, the suppliers bargaining power is minimize and it will not affect the company production operation.

Bargaining power of buyers

It refers to how the buyers affect the company profit through their bargaining power. The buyers power is determine through the types of product and the target consumer segment on the product (Wall & Rees, 2004). If the buyers’ power is strong, it will affect the company profit (QuickMBA, 2010). So, it is important for Nestle to identify the buyers’ power in Maldives.

Nestle is the company produce food and dairy product which consider as consumer product. Therefore, buyers’ powers are weak as it is necessity product for consumer. Besides that, the price for Nestle product is relatively low compare to the other substitutions product which import from other country.

Furthermore, the brand name and reputation of Nestle have helped the company to gain more bargaining power with buyers. With good product reputation, the buyers tends to more easy increased brand loyalty, therefore the company have more bargains power with buyers as the loyalty of buyers make them hard to switch for other brands of product. As a result, Nestle have more bargaining power than buyers in Maldives, due to the less competition environment, nature of the business and the brand name.

Rivalry among existing firms

It refers to the competitors for food industry in Maldives (Wall & Rees, 2004). Basically, there are no big competitors for Nestle in Maldives, all the food and dairy product in the Maldives market are through the center persons which can also known as distributors. Furthermore, the industry concentration in Maldives is on tourism industry and fishing industry (this is Maldives, 2010). Therefore, food industry does not faced competitive environment compare to tourism and fishing industry.

The entry mode for new venture

As a result, throughout the Porter’s five forces analysis, it shows the strength for Nestle to invest in Maldives, even though Maldives lack of resource. Other than that, it is suggest that Nestle should use foreign direct investment (FDI) for entering into Maldives, by running Nestle shop and factory in Maldives. The reason is there are lacks of food manufacturer in Maldives other than fishing industry and all the food stuff in Maldives is through intermediary agent to sell in Maldives (this is Maldives, 2010). Furthermore, Maldives is a tax haven country and Maldives government is strongly encouraged foreign investor by offered some incentive for operating in Maldives. Therefore, with the existing intermediary agent and foreign investment incentive offered by Maldives government, foreign direct investment is the most effective way to move into new venture.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, it is important to analyze the business environment in order to run the business efficiently and effectively. Besides that, it is also important to analyze new environment before entering, so that, the company can identify the strength and threats for the business and allow the company to use the right method for entering the market and proper strategy to capture the new market share. Furthermore, the growth strategies also play an important role for a company to maintain the competitive position in the market and recapture the consumer loyalty. Last but not least, it is also important to identify the factors like culture, language and others when involve in international business.

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