Research background and motivation of ANSA

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ANSA Automotive Limited (AAL) comprises four (4) main divisions, namely: Mc Enearney Motors, Diamond Motors, Classic Motors and Burmac Machinery.

AAL represents the Automotive Sector of ANSA McAL Limited, one of the largest conglomerates in the Caribbean. This sector is one of five (5) key business sectors of ANSA McAL. The others are Brewery; Manufacturing and Distribution; Financial Services; and Media.

Mc Enearney Motors is in fact the oldest of the companies, having been established around 1918 under the name of Charles McEnearney - the first distributor of motor vehicles in Trinidad.

In 1989 Charles McEnearney merged with H. E. Robinson Limited and the name was changed to McEnearney Robinson. In 1992 ANSA McAL bought out the interest in McEnearney Robinson and subsequently traded as Diamond Motors.

Classic Motors was formed in 1992 to represent the Honda agency, and introduced the Accord, Civic, Legend, Prelude and CR-V to the local market, and has since acquired the Jaguar and Land Rover franchises.

Burmac Machinery currently markets agricultural and industrial equipment, namely the Yale and New Holland line of heavy construction equipment.

They are strategically located in Port of Spain, Chaguanas, San Fernando and Tobago, with a total staff complement of approximately three hundred and ninety (390) employees, which can be classified as permanent, temporary, contract and casual labor.

These employees are categorized mainly into Technical Staff (Mechanics, Electricians etc.); Administrative/Support Staff; Sales Executives; Supervisory and Management. This can be further broken down into, as outlined in the Organization Chart of the Sector. See Appendix 1 - ANSA Automotive Limited, Organizational Chart.

As evident by the aforementioned Organizational Chart, each division is spearheaded by a General Manager, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of their respective organizations. At the helm of the Sector is a Managing Director who has overarching responsibility for AAL.

A Board of Directors, chaired by a Chairman - Automotive Division, governs the strategic direction of the sector.

Additionally, the brand principals namely, Mitsubishi Corporation, Honda International and Ford - USA maintain a close working relationship with the local dealers to ensure that product and operating standards are maintained.

Each division is structured into three core business units, namely, Sales, Service and Spare Parts Department. All of these business units are serviced by other core functional units, which are centralized to all four divisions. These core services include Information Technology; Finance; Internal Audit; Customs; and Human Resource Management.

Key to maintaining its market position as one of the leading motor vehicle companies in Trinidad and Tobago is superior corporate growth. It is also one of its major challenges.

1.1.2 Motivation:

The author has been fascinated with marketing since the late 90s. Since 1999 I have worked together with marketing in the Automobile Industry and it has always bubble my mind that the rich empirical and theoretical base which marketing rests on is not leveraged to its full potential. In my experience, marketing is often reduced to producing corporate brochures and customer seminars. Although this is important in the day-to-day operations I believe marketing has so much more to offer corporations and shareholders.

1.1.3 Rationale for the study

1.1.3.1 What is the research issue?

The research issue is that marketing is not always considered of being capable of corporate growth and growth gurus, including Richard Foster, Clay Christensen, Gary Hamel and C.K Prahalad think not. In their views, marketing is too close to the immediate demands and requirements of current customers and competitors to contribute breakthrough sources for growth.

However, marketing gurus Kotler & Armstrong argue that there are several environmental factors pointing towards an increased importance of marketing as the driver and creator of competitive advantages and shareholder value.

Doyle (2000) says that marketing-led growth is at the heart of value creation and Kumar (2004) says that managers must see marketing strategy as the driver of corporate strategy, because all value begins and ends with customers.

1.1.3.2 Why is it an issue?

It is an issue because growth strategists don't see marketing in the automotive industry is capable of corporate growth.

1.1.3.3 Why is it an issue now?

It is an issue now because with the economics crisis marketing managers are asked to perform and television adds now are being advertise on how advertising on TV increase corporate growth and profit.

1.1.3.4 What could this research shed light on?

This research would shed light on marketing is it capable to driving an organisation to corporate growth. Is it also an opportunity for me to develop this interest and seek ways to unlock the value of marketing in areas that are critical importance to the CEO's of today corporations.

1.2 Research Topic:

This research is designed with the topic statement:

"An analysis and evaluation of marketing in driving corporate growth in the Automotive Industry"

1.3 Aims:

The aim of this paper is to offer an insight into the challenges and opportunities for leveraging marketing in achieving and sustaining competitive advantages in the automotive industry. It further seeks to unlock the value of marketing in areas that are critically important to managers.

1.4 Objectives:

The objectives are to further investigate the marketing paradigm and its role in the corporate growth discussion in order to prove or disprove the dissertation hypothesis.

This would be done by:

To analyse the marketing strategies and its role in competitive advantages

To evaluate the roles of marketing strategies in the automotive industry

To provide a strategic comparison for gap analysis and

To provide some strategic recommendations for corporate growth.

For the Automotive Industry this dissertation will offer insights into the challenges and opportunities for leveraging marketing in achieving and sustaining competitive advantages for corporate growth.

1.5 Key Words:

The key words for this proposal are corporate growth, strategic marketing and innovation.

1.6 Hypothesis

Contemporary marketing and management thinkers believe that marketing should play a crucial role in driving corporate growth.

This proposal is set out to evaluate the hypothesis:

Marketing in the Automotive Industry: is capable of driving long term corporate growth.

1.7 Research Questions

The hypothesis gives rise to the following primary research questions:

What are the key strategic roles that marketing should perform in order to drive corporate growth.

What are the critical success factors for marketing's success in driving corporate growth?

How well is marketing performing these roles?

How well is marketing adhering to the critical success factors?

Literature Review & Conceptual Framework:

Introduction

This chapter examine the literature covering the topics of sustaining competitive advantages, marketing and corporate growth. The purpose of this review is to draw out the key theories, concepts and ideas around the subject marketing growth and innovation and to assess how various commentators and academics have reviewed this in the light of the changing business environment. Critical

The output will be the literatures view on the key strategic roles that marketing must perform in order to drive corporate growth as well as a concrete set of critical success factors for achieving this.

Corporate growth is on the top of every CEO's agenda. Executives are facing increased pressure for sustained growth while the markets are saturating and becoming more contested than ever. Most business leaders agree that growth is critical to long-term corporate success and to society at large. It is considered the most effective way of creating shareholder value, and growth also unleashes benefits beyond the economic. It revitalizes organisations and invigorates the people within them and finally it creates jobs in the community. However, only very few companies are able to achieve sustainable, profitable growth.

"Starting and sustaining profitable sales growth is a tough task. The reality is that only 10% of companies with above-average growth will sustain it for more than 10 years", Baghar et al. (1996).

While the focus on the growth challenge has spurred a lot of attention in the management literature, there is one area which the author wishes to explore and that is the role of strategic marketing in the overall corporate growth discussion: Is marketing capable of driving long-term corporate growth?

The marketing literature often does not hesitate to underline the importance of marketing as a discipline, and promotes the impact that marketing should have on the strategy formulation as well as on the strategic-direction ( Kerin and Varadarajan 1992).

However, if it is so obvious that marketing must play the lead role in shaping corporate strategy and hereunder the growth discussion, then why do growth experts such as Richard Foster & ……….. Prahalad dismiss this idea! And similarly, what makes the likes of Kolter believe that marketing should indeed be driving corporate growth

Key environmental drivers to change

Environmental change:

According to Doyle (2000) four particular changes of the new information age are reshaping the environment of business and require fundamental strategic and organizational responses from management: The globalization of markets, changing industrial structures, the information revolution and rising customer expectations.

Globalization of the market

The new information age has seen a dramatic shift to global markets and competition. Across more and more industries, firms that are not building global operations and marketing capabilities are loosing out.

Changing the industries structures

The information age is changing the nature of the profit opportunities available to businesses. Many markets that were once at the very heart of the economy have ceased to offer profit opportunities for Western firms. Other new markets are rapidly emerging that offer enormous profit opportunities to companies that can move fast and decisively to capitalize on them.

The Information revolution

Rapid scientific and technological changes continue to radically reshape many industries. But the most dramatic and far-reaching changes of the current era result from the revolution in information technology. The Internet, together with the emergence of broadband cellular radio networks, has created an explosion in connectivity that is revolutionizing almost every aspect of business.

Rising customer expectations

The information age has brought a marked rise in rising customer expectations. Buyers have grown to expect higher quality, competitive prices, and better and faster service. The most important causes have been the globalization of competition and the deregulation of markets.

The impact on marketing:

So what does all this mean to marketing? Kotler (2003) comments that today's major economic problem is overcapacity in most of the world's industries. Customers are scarce, not products. Demand, not supply is the problem. Overcapacity leads to hyper-competition, with too many good chasing too few customers. And most goods and services lack differentiation.

In essence, the Internet, technology, and globalization have combined to create a new economy. The old economy is built on the logic of managing manufacturing industries; the new economy is built on the logic of managing information and information industries.

The impact of these environmental changes on marketing is significant. Marketing rather than production skills are becoming the key strategic capability necessary to create and sustain competitive advantage, Doyle (2000).

3. Research Methodology & Design:

Philosophy:

The field of marketing lends itself to a positivism research philosophy and also feeds into some areas of some phenomenological philosophy. The interpretation of research outcomes is subjective, with emphasis placed on the underlying meaning and understanding of phenomena.

Approach:

The analysis of the research will be largely qualitative, however quantitative analysis will be used to highlight patterns and make the analysis more robust. The findings will be compared to theory in context in order to describe the patterns in which it exists. An inductive approach will be used in order to develop theory as a result of the research findings, although there will be an element of deduction in that the structure of the research will based on the academic literature.

The research will be performed as a series of structured interviews and questionnaires. Effort was also made to select a range of organisations with the required characteristics such as market, sizes and life-spans, so the sample has a mix of homogenous and heterogeneous characteristics.

I intend to interview one management participant from each organisation and the survey participants will be at least 10 of the employees working in marketing or related areas, depending on the size of the company.

The semi-structured interviews will start with an organisational questionnaire to gain company information such as number of employees, number of research staff, annual turnover, market sector, products (type, number of different products, product volume and value). The remainder will cover a series of open ended questions to discuss the marketing practices in order to gain an understanding of the approach taken, the structure and effectiveness, how and why certain strategies work whilst others are less effective. Each participant will be asked to answer identical questions, but the order of the questions will not necessarily be fixed as this may detract from the flow of the interview.

The survey is intended to supplement data from interviews and sample more widely the practices and individual perceptions in the organisation. The aim is to gain an understanding of how the marketing & growth works and also the opinions and understanding of the employees. The questionnaire will have structured questions with set responses in order to map the marketing characteristics of the organisation. There will also be open questions for participants to make comments on the various aspects of marketing & growth in their organisation.

The author approach to the design of the interview and survey is as follows:

Preliminary framework built on the review of theory from academic literature prior to design of questionnaires and structured interviews

Pilot interview - restructure the questions as necessary

Pilot use of questionnaire - restructure the questions as necessary

Interviews - notes taken during recording key words and phrases and creating full record immediately after interview

Survey - questionnaires explained and handed out/ collected during session

3.1 Method of Data Collection and Intended Analysis

I intend to perform research in my own organisation, for which I have been granted verbal access to carry out the interviews and survey. In addition, I believe that I require at least 2 further organisations to benchmark and make comparison of the marketing practices and their effectiveness. I have contacted six organisations and have obtained a verbal agreement for access from one of them so far. I am confident that I will be able to gain the required number of participating organisations, however if I have less participants I can modify my research approach and increase the number of interview and survey participants at each organisation and complete a more in-depth study.

In order to make the process run smoothly and to obtain a speedy and efficient response to the surveys I intend to run one or two sessions in the organisation where all of the participants will be present and during which I will hand out and collect the questionnaires. This will both ensure a high response rate and that the correct participants answer the survey. In addition, it will enable me to explain clearly the aims of the research control how the survey is administered and make clear the type of information required for the open-ended part of the questionnaires.

Using the inductive approach, the analysis of the interviews will be mostly qualitative, with the interviews used to understand the business environment. Quantitative analysis of the questionnaires will be used to map the characteristics of the organisations and discover patterns in the responses within organisations.

Consideration of the data and patterns found in all of the organisations will be used in conjunction with academic theory to try to explain the findings and answer the research objectives posed in section above.

3.2 Design

3.2.1 Validity and Reliability

In the design of the research approach I have considered the following:

3.2.1.1 Internal validity -

Increased through use of multiple sources of evidence, structured interviews and questionnaires (both closed and open questions). The design of questions and survey will be based on understanding of the theory from the literature and pilot testing of the interview and questionnaire will be used to make sure questions are understood as intended.

3.2.1.2 External validity -

Multiple cases considered to examine whether findings can be generalised over a number of organisations. There is no requirement to make a statistical analysis of the results for generalisation here as the approach chosen examines practices and their effectiveness.

The aim is to explain the findings and explore generalisability through a comparison of findings with theory and using Excel, charts and statistics to show the analysis of the data.

3.2.1.3 Reliability -

Structured interviews with questions derived from literature in order to examine cases in same way. Surveys to back up the interviews and obtain views from a wider group and questionnaires all administered at the same time and in controlled manner, explanation to ensure participants all understand research in same way.

3.3. Limitations

The author recognises that this type of research has its limitations and has summarized them:

The author is not a trained interviewer

The sample is not representative of the population

The research is only from a subset of the overall Automotive Industry

3.4 Research Ethics

The interviewees and survey participants will be given a clear written description of the purpose, scope and intended outcomes of the research. The type of information required for the research will be clearly stated as will the policy for anonymity and confidentiality.

The research will be carried out in a way that will ensure confidentiality of the participant organisations and the individual participants in the surveys. Some organisations which participate in the research will not be named in the dissertation, nor will some interviewees and the questionnaires will be anonymous.

4. Time Scale

The plan for the research project timescales is shown in the Gantt chart below. In summary, there are the following considerations in the project plan:

4.1 Literature review -

Already performed background literature search to help formulate research ideas, anticipate further extensive period of research before writing the Literature Review. The final literature survey before completion of the manuscript to cover any newly published work.

4.2 Questionnaire/ Interview Design -

Have form of questionnaire which needs adapting for use. Intend to design the structured interview and questionnaire after the majority of the literature review is complete, will both be piloted and their design reviewed.

4.3 Interviews and Surveys -

Visit participant organisations to carry out interviews and surveys during August and September 2010. An efficient and rapid response is expected as surveys issued and collected whilst at the participant organisations.

4.4 Data Analysis -

Structured interviews with responses analysed qualitatively. Surveys coded and responses analysed quantitatively.

4.5 Dissertation Drafts -

Produce drafts of the dissertation sections for content discussion with supervisor throughout the timescale below, then draft dissertation will be of required standard with only minor revision required for submission.

The main resource required to carry out the research is my time, I have the support of my employers to carry out this research and I will be able to take days out of work to visit the participant organisations. I have the means to visit the participants (who are all in the TT) and also to analyse the data and write up the dissertation.

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