Marks And Spencers Areas Of Businesses Commerce Essay


Marks and Spence is one of UK's leading retailers of clothes, food, home products and financial services.  M&S has a record of success and profitability since its establishment with well known reputation for its innovative, quality products and reasonable price which offers customers value for their money.  M&S sales and services been declined in mid to late 1990s.  The purpose of this report to identify the key drivers that made M&S falls in their performance. The external environment scanning is concerned with the forces and factors that impact upon M&S.  However, analysing those forces and factors will assist M&S in identifying the change in the environment, is often referred to as the macro-environment, planning in how to cope with such a change, and being ahead of the competitors in the adaptation to the new environment and the response to the market demands. PEST framework and Porters Five Forces model are the techniques that author uses to identify and analyse the problems that M&S experienced in the mid to late 90's.

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In this report we analysis about the organisation's pest, value chain analysis are the techniques to examine the activity of the M&S in order to reveal what was the basis of their competitive advantage And discusses were the resistance to IT strategy in Marketing sector, and the influences policies and decision making. Finally identifies and evaluates the IT strategic choices available to M&S. 

Literature Review

PEST Analysis

An auspicious environment is the essential part of all kind of business. It is more important if it is a multinational. A multinational company needs to consider the business environment as a whole as it operates the business internationally. The local environment of a business and the international environment are different. So the company entrepreneurs need to compare and consider its environment different point of views. The elements of the environment that the company consider are mainly known Political, Economic, Social, Technological environment. These elements of environment are briefly known as PEST. Now the company analyse the environment more elaborately known as PESTLE. The two more elements are Legislative environment and Environment itself.

The analysing of PEST is most important for the retail company. Here as per the question requirement the author choose Marks and Spencer as his company.

The Marks and Spencer is one of the fastest growing retail chains in the UK. So the company like Marks and Spencer has to analyse the environment as it has a variety of competitor in the market like Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, and much more. The company like Marks and Spencer has to consider the environment like any other company to gain competitive advantage and to be unique in the market.

PEST analysis of M&S: The retail icon M&S has great importance on analysing PEST to gain strategic the competitive advantage in the from other company and its competitors. Here the Author is going to analyse the different elements of PEST of M&S.

Political Environment: The political environment is the first element of PEST. It varies country to country. In political environment the company need to obey all the rules and regulation imposed by the political ruler. The legislative environment of any company is involved with political environment. To operate this kind of business the company must obey the rules and regulation of the state imposed by the government. The rules and regulation of any country are imposed by the ruling political party. The government of the UK are sometimes generous towards the business. They encourage more and more business in their country to operate business. This type of government mentality is really auspicious for company like M&S. It is conventional that all any type of business in this region are not contrary to any public policy, public order or any kind of public law existing in this country.

"In case of M&S one of the most worrying political fundamental components that they have to deal with is the issue of labour regime and preservation of industrial relationship. Few years ago the development attempts of the company have been limited by the encroachments by employee rights which essentially are against labour laws not only the operation of domestic but also internationally. This is particularly accurate in their French operation whereas the company were charged grave abuse and breaking known labour laws." (

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So the company like M&S needs to analyse all kind of political environment both domestically and internationally.

Economical environment: The economical environment of M& S is the most important task to be considered. The economic environment of the company includes system, policies, nature of an economy, trade cycles, economic resources, level of income, distribution of income and wealth etc. The economic environment is the most dynamic and complex sector of PEST. In economic environment the company need to consider the economic system, economic policies, economic conditions, international economy and economic rules and regulations of the country.

The analysing of economic environment is important because the company need to set the price of the product in comparison with the economic condition. The buying power of the consumers, the attitude of their spending is depends on the economic condition. As M&S has a variety of competitors in the market so, economic environment is a crucial element for them. Setting up a affordable price of the product to gain competitive advantage from the competitors. By analysing the economic condition the company decide what is going to be their policy.

Changing of economic environment has a dramatic impact on company like M&S. During the time of recession M&S had to face to the most critical condition that they have ever faced. In the year of 2008 the company's pre tax profit fell down by 44% in comparison with the year 2007. This is because of the economic condition and the price of the product of the company as well. In that time any other company like Primark (As M&S operate apparel business as well ) made an increasing profit. Because, the price of the products of Primark was tolerable in that time economic condition. In the year of 2008 the company clothing were 6.4% down then the year of 2007. The chairman of M&S said: "The economic environment has changed dramatically and we are now facing the most difficult economic conditions since the early Nineties."(

Socio-cultural environment: The third part of PEST is socio-cultural environment. Society is the source of consumers. So every company are liable to the society for their activity of what they are doing and how they are doing etc. The liability to the society now a day is the biggest strategy of the business. As a part of the social the liability the many company get involved in different social activities. In third world countries many companies set up schools, colleges, hospital etc as a part of their social responsibility. But in developed its different. The M&S involved in an activity known as "Your green idea". In this activity the company encourage the customer to give their ideas for environmental change and offers a £100000 for the winner.

This type of activity is very much helpful for the company and it is now a day is the biggest advertisement as well.

Technological environment: In the technological era the technological environment is most important part of environment. The accomplishment of technology gives a company more competitive advantages. E- Commerce has brought a revolutionary change in business pattern. It inspires both the consumers and the sellers to perform their activity through internet. Like any other of its competitor marks and Spencer operate e business.

As a business chain M&S always put importance on technology. As a part of their technological advancement M&S integrated a new technological system called BizTalk. There were three reason of using Biz talk. Firstly, the principle behind the BizTalk is Framework, industry standard xml, the opportunity to avoid writing custom interfaces between each of their applications. Secondly BizTalk server product architecture and its use of core product, such as MSMQ, SQL server and MTS. Thirdly, it seamless integration into our strategic architecture based on Microsoft windows and IBM 360.

Value chain analysis:

"To better understand of activities through which a firms develops a competitive advantage and create shareholder value , it is important to separate the business system into a series of value generating activities known as value chain analysis".( According to Michael porter the Value chain analysis is like as the diagram given below.

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Inbound Logistics → Operations → Outbound Logistics → Marketing and sales →Service → Margin

Today business is highly competitive and dynamic where product is sourced from all over the world. It is important of having the ability of control of what , how and when stock is being moved is essential for maintaining of supply chain and ensuring that right product is reaching right time to the right customers.

Marks and Spencer have achieved it by implementing ediTRACK System. This process involved through their international supply chain system. "In the year of 2005 the ediTRACK managed the stock of £800 millions".(

EdiTRACK is the basis of supply chain all the it can. Sea, road, air all three ways they supply their stock all over the world.

Maintaining the value chain is the most important system of company like Marks & Spencer. To gain a competitive advantage over the competitors its important to keep a proper value chain. To maintain a good value chain the company like M&S should be aware about affordability of both their internal and external(customer).A good value chain is mostly depends on from the logistics operation to service.

Competitive advantage

Information technology is impacting business, no matter what your product or service is. If you wait to see how technology affects your business, your competitors may be way ahead of you. This could leave you scrambling to bring organization up to speed and potentially losing customers in the process. Only you can decide if you are controlling the technology or if you are going to let it control you. Take charge of the changes that are affecting your business. Get the information and skills needed to stay competitive.

Competitive advantages:

· An important reason for the high standing of Marks and Spencer's products and supposed value for money is that the company doesn't buy its products "off the shelf" from suppliers.

· Marks and Spencer has a simple philosophy that says if it sells, restock it quickly and avoid stock out: if it doesn't sell, get it off the shelves quickly and replace it with something which will sell.

· It uses an automatic stock ordering system which is called Assisted Stock Replenishment; it is used for more routine stock control decisions. As soon as an item has been bought by the customer through the till point, it automatically generates an order for that item to be replaced in the product.

· It has an advantage of selling things on the internet and it can manage this because it has its own strong brand.

· It has a significant type of product quality; it sells goods which are of high quality than any other retail shops in the UK.

· On the sales floor, they control stock in tasks that are to ensure that all the clothing rails are fully stocked, that the stock tickets reflect the sales information on display and that everything is neat and arranged properly.

· M&S doesn't have a specific research and development budget, but encourages its suppliers to invest to the common benefit of both companies. Competitive advantage is gained for the supply chain as a whole, through sharing Marks and Spencer's knowledge of its customers with its suppliers' knowledge in production, distribution, logistics and information technology.

· It has a significant store of which it uses its trial products and this is the store in Marble Arch.

· It has the policy of not bringing out stock onto the floor during opening hours, but when it comes to fast moving items but of course at times it can be unavoidable, but they try to control and avoid it as much as possible.

· Marks and Spencer has often been held out as an example of how to manage effective relationships with suppliers, employees and customers. For many years the company was a favourite of the Stock An important reason for the high standing of Marks and Spencer's products and perceived value for money is that the company doesn't buy its products "off the shelf" from suppliers Market, with regular and increasing levels of profitability.

· With food, M & S has innovated to improve availability. As an example, the company decided in 1989 to explore ways of extending the strawberry growing season. M & S technologists, working with suppliers, applied the best scientific methods, and now UK growers can supply the company for seven months a year rather than two.

Ways you can maximize your information systems:

*Enhance jobs. Implementing IS to make jobs more efficient frees M&S employees to move onto other important tasks. No longer does M&S staffs have to spend valuable time sorting through statistics, data and other pertinent information because the system has ability to gather it for them. IS provides a cost-effective way to conduct transactions, significantly cutting down the time involved in processing.

*Differentiation. IS allows you to strategically define your organization in a way that makes your business stand out from the competition. You can integrate IS in such a way where you can offer your customers something no one else does. With a unique design that makes your business appealing to do business with, you can easily increase your customer base.

*Coordination of supply and distribution. IS provides a terrific way to monitor and track inventory. Typically, managers will use information system to track goods and to manage their entire supply/chain management process. If there's a problem, you can easily pinpoint and enact a solution before becoming a costly issue.

*Customers. Integrating IS with the web is a great way to maximize your technology. You can generate

Influences in policies and decision making

The senior management consists of officials in the topmost hierarchy in an organisation who are responsible for making long-range decisions and policy making. Their decisions are primarily to match factors of the external-business's environment which affects their organizational

This level of management uses an information system called Executive Support System (ESS) to make decisions. Executive Support System creates a generalised

Computing and technological communications environment which is not fixed but flexible in applications with different capabilities, which serves the senior managers well as they deal with non-routine situations requiring judgement, evaluation and insight as there is no agreed procedure of fixed decisions on challenges. This information system is designed to incorporate data about factors outside the organization such as new tax laws or competitors. Using the last two examples of tax laws and competitors, the system can also help answer the questions asked by the senior management like, for competitors, what are our competitors doing in this five years? Which units should we sell to compensate for tax in next six years?

Executives are very busy people with little time to read stories, this information systems filter, compress and trick critical data from two other information systems known as Management Information System and Decision Support Systems. This is to give managers information which is brief, clear and straight forward for quicker strategic decisions. Lastly, Executive support Systems are designed to have easy-to-use graphic interfaces which makes it easy for executives to access the workstations containing menus, interactive graphics, and communications capabilities that access historical and competitive data from internal corporate systems and external databases like Dow Jones News or The Gallup Poll.

Areas for improvement

This part helps to solve real business problems of M&S by utilizing the latest information technology available on the market. Learn how you can implement one or all competitive strategies using information technology. Information technology will help you to reduce cost, improve customer service, enhance the focus of your products and services, and differentiate yourself from the rest of the competitors.

The Solution

M & S digital era survival depends on the use of information technology in general and electronic commerce in particular. Electronic commerce (EC, e-commerce) is a process of buying, selling, transferring, or exchanging products, services, and information via electronic networks and computers. M & S initiated several EC initiatives, including the following.

•Selling online. Like many other retailers, M & S sells some of its merchandise online. Shoppers can collect their merchandise in a "shopping basket," pay online, and receive the merchandise the next day (in the UK). Online shoppers are encouraged to provide a UPC code in order to get the same product they see at a physical store, frequently at a lower price.

•Security. A security system tracks transaction data in real time, looking for fraudulent events. If any fraudulent events are discovered, the system alerts the in-store security staff in the affected store by sending them a short text message via cell phone.

•Warehouse management. A mainframe-based ware- house management system, known as the Multi-User Warehouse System (MUWS), was installed first at

M & S's Hardwick distribution centre near Birmingham, United Kingdom. Using Microsoft.Net infrastructure, store sales are reported to a data warehouse(a repository of corporate data), almost in real time. The data are then available for decision making on inventory replenishment (when and how much to ship to each store). The data are also available to the company's third-party logistics service providers, who run the warehouse operation and deliveries.

•Merchandise receiving. The process of matching orders and invoices is automated, making it faster and free of errors. Information about arriving goods is passed automatically to both the warehouse and the stores. This way MUWS can do a real-time check of arriving and available stock. Also, the system enables M & S to pay suppliers more quickly, which makes them happier and more cooperative.

•Inventory control. The warehouse management and the merchandise receiving system, in addition to the real-time data reporting, improve customer relationships. Customers can find what they want because replenishment is accomplished quickly (sometimes within one-half hour).

•Speeding up the supply of fashion garments. Using special software, merchandisers can access and change allocation plans from any computing device (PC, laptop,pocket PC) anywhere and at any time in response to changing demand patterns. This is especially important for fashion garments, where meeting ever-changing demand is critical for competitiveness.

•Collaborative commerce. M & S can now pass more accu- rate forecast demands to its suppliers for fast delivery of goods, often directly to the M & S retail stores. The new information system enables M & S to work with suppliers to reroute merchandise to different depots and change allocations to where they are needed.