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FedEx has gained competitive advantage by aligning its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and simplifying the IT asset, consolidating server, storage, networks, support automation and software license. Aligning IT and entrepreneurial business strategy remains the number one and number two business IT issue year after year. Focusing on this subject matter is of vital to any organization, especially an organization with IT infrastructure that is to be optimized.
The recommendations that are executed through this study is that, firms must first measure the entrepreneurial alignment of IT infrastructure and this alignment is more important and the entrepreneurial objectives are analyzed by using the entrepreneurial business strategic map and second this should be communicated to all the stake holders. A picture is worth thousand words thus, this study builds a picture of IT strategic objectives that gains competitive advantage and which make it easier to communicate and drive alignment in FedEx business strategy. This study follows the analytical research were researcher has to use facts or information already available and analyze those to make a critical evaluation of the material fact. Thus the data collected for this study are secondary data from various sources that are already available.
Always, competition is very much essential for growth of any firm. It is no competition then the verge for the growth will reduce and According to Harland (1996) Supply Chain Management is defined as managing relationships and the activities of the business, not only within the organization but also with the suppliers directly associated with the business activities and also the so called tier two suppliers besides maintaining relationship with the customers along the various segment of the supply chain. Scott and Westbrook (1991) defines supply chain as an linking element wherein supply chain ensures that every element in manufacturing and the supply of raw materials from the extraction till the raw material reaches the end user in the form desired by the customer are connected effectively so that the entire process runs smoothly. It is clearly evident that the role of logistics which is seen as transporting raw materials from source to destination at the appropriate time has changed over the time into a function which created value to the business activities, The modern supply chain is seen as a function that when employed creates value to all the stake holders.
A firm can gain competitor advantage in several ways by focusing on improving the specific functions.
Aim of the study
The aim of the study is to develop a practical entrepreneurial business plan on how to use information technology focusing towards entrepreneurial business strategy and invent efficient methods to turn it in to a more successful business.
To evaluate the competitive advantage of aligning information technology with entrepreneurial business strategy.
To suggest how new and fascinating areas of technology can be applied in FedEx
To leverage short term IT expenditures for lasting entrepreneurial gains
To identify the services that helps to turn supply chain management into competitive entrepreneurial strategy.
To find the various IT entrepreneurial strategies followed in FedEx.
To find the role Information Technology/Information System in moving the goods from one end of supply chain to other thus gaining competitive advantage.
This study has systematically and constantly gone through the exercise of identifying FedEx competitive advantage of aligning IT and the factors which produce this advantage. This study has applied the strength ââ‚¬" weakness analysis and the analysis of firms competition by using porters five force model to identify the functions that differentiate FedEx from its competitors and also explain how FedEx has attained competitor advantage over its competitors. Thus the study reveals that the strength of wireless technology exploitation is the factor that gains competitive advantage of aligning Information Technology/Information system with entrepreneurial business strategy. Apart from the wireless and wireless network it has its competitive advantage over other competitors with its services world wide, supply chain services, operating units at different location. If the FedEx efficiently deploy is the use of technology to differentiate itself and it uses automated enterprise resource planning software, customer relationship management software, advanced databases, high-speed networks, powerful electronics integrated with software like RFID to uniquely differentiate its service and achieve its objective of high quality service at a low cost.
Researchers have posited the concept of an organizational life cycle for decades (Downs, 1967; Greiner, 1972; Miller & Friesen, 1984; Penrose, 1952; Quinn & Cameron, 1983). Organizations progress through various stages of growth and development over the course of their 'lives' (Dodge, Fullerton, & Robbins, 1994; Mintzberg, 1984; Torbert, 1974). Yet, research has demonstrated that this progression need not be evolutionary nor deterministic (Kimberly & Miles, 1980; Lester & Parnell, 1999; Lohdal & Mitchell, 1980; Miller & Friesen, 1984). It is not inevitable that all firms will follow a natural progression from birth to growth to maturity to decline.
A more realistic perspective is that large firms do eventually reach a mature stage of development (Miller & Friesen, 1984), yet smaller organizations that may be decades old never leave the first or second stage of the life cycle (Churchill & Lewis, 1983). This perspective reveals a somewhat more strategic view of the life cycle (Lester & Parnell, 1999) indicating that strategic choice (Child, 1972) plays an important role in organizational development. The life cycle is actually a collective interpretation of the organization's environment based on an assessment by top management. As noted in the literature (Drazin & Kazanjian, 1990; Miller & Friesen, 1984) through proactive strategic choice, organizations can revert back to an earlier stage, remain in one particular stage for a very long time (Miller & Friesen, 1984), or fail to progress past an early stage, regressing to decline or death without experiencing a maturity stage (Churchill & Lewis, 1983). This last option seems prevalent in today's environment due to the high failure rate of small businesses due to a lack of professional management (Kuratko & Hodgetts, 2003).
The second stream of relevant literature concerns the role of the founder as a start-up begins to grow into a more mature organization (Aluetta, 1998; Willard, Krueger, & Feeser, 1992). Daily and Dalton (1992) have described the need for professional management in maturing organizations as inevitable. Conventional wisdom is mat entrepreneurs are very adept at founding and building organizations, whereas a focus on earnings or profitability requires a professional management approach (Boeker, 1992; Boeker & Karichalil, 2002).
Empirical research has confirmed that not all successful firms that began as new start-up ventures have had to replace their founders (Hambrick & Crazier, 1985). This study details the personal involvement and leadership of one such successful, mature organization by its founder from its inception to the present. That founder is Fred Smith, and his successful company is FedEx.
Sources of data
In this study the Analytical Research type has been followed and here the researcher has to use the information that exists previously. That is it is based on the previous histories. Using this available information a critical evaluation of the material is done. Analytical research, as a style of qualitative inquiry, draws from the discipline of philosophy, history, and biography. It describes and interprets the past or recent past from selected sources. The sources used for research may be the old documents collected, and/or oral testimonies of interviews.
THE FIRM AND THE ENTREPRENEUR
FedEx is a global logistics and supply-chain management company (Ng & Farhoomand, 2002) that began operations in 1973 as an overnight package delivery company. In 2003, annual revenues exceeded $20 billion and 24-48 hour delivery is available to well over 200 countries. In 2001, Fortune named FedEx one of the top ten most admired corporations in America (Boyle 2002).
FedEx, known as Federal Express for many years, has the distinction of being 'first' among American businesses in several categories, including:
* The first American company to reach $1 billion in revenue within ten years of startup without acquisitions;
* The first service company to win the Malcolm Baldrige Award;
* The largest venture capital start-up, approximately $90 million, in the history of American business at the time of its inception;
* And, the first company to develop the hub-and-spokes system (Hill, 1998).
Most importantly, FedEx invented the air express package delivery business, remaining at the forefront throughout its history.
To understand the influence on and leadership of FedEx by Fred Smith, and to dissect why he has been able to survive as the unabashed leader of the FedEx organization for thirtyyears, a qualitative study was undertaken. The qualitative study was exploratory, utilizing the nonparticipative observer methodology.