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In almost all the parts of the world I have been through, across the 7 continents, transportation facilities is an issue. There are very many forms of modes of transportation. This happened to be and will still be of high concern to particular society in an effort to build-up their economies and improve their livelihood.
I and my friends were given the tasks of managing firms which had to run the motor vehicle manufacturing companies in the StratSim industry. When we started, there has been 7 firms which were supposed to compete so as to make more income is achieved, big market share and maximise shareholder return. To achieve the objectives mentioned earlier, each had to make the best strategies which will make them reach the intended goals together as a team.
Almost in every category, such as marketing, pricing, production, selling & distribution and further developments a set of clear of strategies are needed so as to lead any firm in the right direction. Therefore, Strategy is defined as, 'The action steps by which an organization intends to attain its strategic goals.' (Daft, 2000: pg.210)
Good about this, from my point of view, there wasn't any kind of favours from the start of the game due to the reason that all the 7 firms had been positioned at the same levels of finances, market share, market value and all other items. During the course of the game, the smart group will stand on top by considering its performance in general.
2.0 Final Simulation Results
(A full copy of the results can be found in the Appendix)
The final year simulation results were as follows:
Performance Summary for firm C
Sales for the year: $19.03 billion
Market value: $1.14 billion
Sales in units: 1.16 million
Return on sales: -33.6%
Net income: $-6.4 billion
Return on assets: -19.0%
Cumulative net income: $-1 trillion
Debt: $4.16 trillion
Stock price: $2.28 million
Ending Cash: $638 million
Firm C was performing poorly with negative incomes which prove that it was having full of debts to cover to its various stakeholders. Poor returns on sales and assets were noted. It wasn't really at success but problems.
3.0 Strategy Thinking
To begin, let define the term strategy. 'Strategy is the direction and scope of an organisation over the long term, which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its configuration of resources and competences with the aim of fulfilling stakeholder expectations.' (Johnson et al 2009, p.3)
Strategic thinking from my understanding is concerned with knowing the intentions of a firm and trying hard to make sure how and when they are going to be met. Henceforth, to make this happen, a firm should come with a mission statement that addresses to its stakeholders its reason of existence and a vision statement that tells straight-away the future plans of such a firm. Knowledge of the two statements will allow even Firm C employees to work actively and also feel a shared sense of belonging. These are real statements likely to move the organisation in good direction.
Strategically, from the layout given by StratSim Management it was upon every firm to come with strategies that will help it to pick from the foundation which was equally laid to all the 7 firms. For my firm it was very important to maintain the position it started with and if possible grow firmly but the opposite could be a sign of danger.
Likewise, firm C thought of the idea of increasing the market it had before by making improvements such as styling, safety, quality and interior which will create more value to its customers. Once value delivery is high, it means so many customers will turn for such motor vehicles.
3.1 Strategic Analysis
Before deciding on anything, I think the best way for any firm is to not just implement any strategy which they are not sure of. Instead it is important to have a proper understanding of the environment the business is surrounded by so as understand on various scenarios and their implications. I won't forget something I learnt long time ago that people or organisations depend upon one another for their presence to be meaningful. Firm C like any other operates its car business in a dynamic environment which is determined by forces of demand and supply.
So this analysis is greatly expected to reveal the varying requirements of the motor vehicle customers. A careful analysis will save a company from just carrying out production which later on turns to be unsold. If watched carefully, a firm would lose market share and a continuous defeat by competitors in the StartSim industry.
3.1.1 Mission & Vision
"A mission is a general expression of the overall purpose of the organisation, which ideally, is in line with the values and expectations of major stakeholders and concerned with the scope and boundaries of the organisation." (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington 2005, p 13)
Firm C mission is to;
'Meet stakeholder expectations in this dynamic world so as to play part in modernising life through automobiles.'
This is a statement which must be established in the first place so as to tell the firm stakeholders where it stands, where and how it would reach its objectives in a near future.
Firm C vision would be;
'To find everyone in good automobiles and boost development without destroying our beautiful environment.'
3.1.2 External Environment (Including Industry)
This is mainly concerned with the situation outside the organisation. There are strong forces present in the outside environment likely to influence an organisation due to the changes occurring. The changes can be traced through the following macro-environment factors:
The government is expected to have in place laws and regulations that safeguard the society despite the efforts of car manufacturers and dealers to maximise sales.
For instance, environmental issue had been a great concern due to the air pollution by the motor vehicles emissions. I suppose laws which tie up a manufacturer who don't obey this have been enacted. Also, the government is the place where the go ahead is issued which means a particular firm has met all the fulfilments.
Without the government interference, no business like automobiles will prevail because it acts as peace moderator which guarantees the business people with safety and support.
This can be highly controlled or planned one to areas of which free market is more important.
It seems at StratSim, the economic system wasn't a problem in terms of exchange rates, currency fluctuation and rising or falling prices because as days went by the sales of the motor vehicles went higher and higher. This industry was a great one to conduct automobile business operations.
This is pressure exerted by the society in relation to their demands. Some society members were influenced by famous icons or the known to reflect their lives through similar kinds of vehicles possessed by them. My analysis proves this in the great demand of family class cars in all firms than any other class of automobiles.
Refers to how far the production processes has progressed, levels in knowledge advancement and the pace of applying that knowledge to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. At my firm, this was aimed at producing more appealing motor vehicles and also reducing resource wastage.
The business environment is surrounded by layers which are:
The organisation itself - example could firm C
The macro-environment - analysed through PEST above
Industry (sector) - the StratSim where different firms are competing
Competitors markets - areas or spheres where a competitor aspires to take their products.
This is a collection of firms doing the same business like automobiles. At StratSim, all the firms had the similar starting points but only unique firm names and motor vehicles. It required upon each firm management to make strategies that will support its objectives and how activities will be carried on.
Honestly, the industry was highly competitive to the extent of requiring maximum attention of the mangers so as to make proper decisions. To me it was like being in a real world trying to ensure that our vehicles are built in with specifications and desired customers' attributes.
Automobile industry has every reason to perform better in the StratSim world because despite transport being a major concern, it is thought as one that reflects individuals' lives.
It is difficult for a new entrant to come into automobile industry as it requires massive inflows of capital to start a company making vehicles. As if it is not enough, Research and Development (R&D) is the worst involving lots of cash.
Firms in an industry are likely to imitate things like the vehicle attributes such as interior designs and styles. This is attracts substitutes to the present customers in case they are not satisfied by the first car manufacturer.
3.1.3 Internal Environment
In this, analysis is carried out by going through the Strengths and Weaknesses of the company. Internal environment is within the control of the organisation itself. Being effective in the internal affairs, the future of an organisation can be determined.
Strengths refer to areas where a company is good at by having competences which make it stand firmly in front of other firms. From what I experienced in firm C, there were a few strengths to mention compared to the weaknesses. The weaknesses involve poor performance, bad financial control and inability to make use of the marketing tools and techniques.
4.0 Decision Making (and personal learning)
In my group, I took part together with other members to form decisions for the good of our company, firm C. Decisions on how should our firm move were done every week before the deadline was on. Before making any decision, I and my friends had to check the previous results including of our competitors so as to keep track of business progression. The decisions had been critically studied before final posting because the consequences might be very serious if it wasn't carefully done. To my thought, this wasn't tough because most of us in our group were already managers at places of work. At work I took part in hard decisions which ate my brains.
I learned more than so much due to the reason that I had been used to only theory in class. This time I got an opportunity to transform what I learned in the classroom environment into practical. Also, I gathered an understanding that a successful company or firm is that which comes with unique strategies than its competitors. Furthermore, I made myself believe that managers deserve to get more than they do due to the difficult decisions they are required to make and implement most of the times.
Arriving nearly to an end, I thought better to accept that, 'a business without a strategy is like a ship without radar'. From the beginning towards the end, it was all about strategies made use so as to differ from close competitors. There are so many strategies in the course of managing a business but not all could best because the choice of strategies will depend on the needs and desires of a firm. To add on, I had really enjoyed the teamwork which made my group not on top but rather competitive to some extent.