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The barriers to entry are very high. One of the reasons that there is a high entry barrier is the high fixed cost associated with establishing the international transportation network. This includes hubs, ground transportation vehicles, air fleet, etc. Additionally, existing companies can take advantage of the absolute cost advantage achieved by large volume of shipments and economies of scale.
2. Extent of rivalry between established firms
Established players in shipping service industry complete rigorously for a market share, as demonstrated by the constant battle between FedEx and UPS, the company who responses first to the constantly changing environment wins. Established companies have to strive for continuous improvement in quality, lowering price, and innovation. There is very low switching cost for consumers in this industry making rivalry even more intense. In addition, intense rivalry is also due to the fact that maintaining the infrastructure of an express delivery company presents an exit barrier due to high fixed costs.
3. Bargaining power of buyers
The bargaining power of large buyers in shipping service industry is high. Cost associated with switching from one shipping service to another is very low. Therefore, buyers can turn to a shipping provider that offer faster service, lower price, or service innovation with ease. This is especially true for large corporations, like IBM, which ships in large volumes and can bargain quantity discounts.
4. Bargaining power of suppliers
The supplier power within this industry is fairly low. Large shipping service provider can affect prices of supplies, like packaging materials. This is because they buy in large quantities and can turn to different suppliers easily.
5. Threat of substitute products
There are not many substitutes to shipping. In this day and age where many businesses have strong online presence and a small physical presence, it would be difficult to find a substitute in delivering their product. Shipping services are very much similar to a commodity, in that it is not easily replaced with another service or even a similar service.
Graph 1: Porter's five forces model - FedEx Corporation
The value chain for FedEx Express can be seen as starting with the pick-up of the packages. FedEx employees gather the packages from various locations such as drop boxes, businesses and residences. Value is created for the customers by making package pick-ups possible just about anywhere or anytime. FedEx has a money back guarantee for those people whose packages do not arrive on time, therefore creating value by assuring timely delivery of the packages.
After the packages are initially picked up, they must then be transported to a hub. The hub is a central location where packages are sorted according to their destinations. The packages will likely pass through many hands before reaching their final destination. The packages stay at the hub until they are picked up and shipped either by truck or plane.
The package delivery is probably the greatest value creation activity for Fedex Express. The drivers of the planes and trucks must perform their activities efficiently to increase the perceived value of the service. The drivers must absolutely no matter what, get the packages to their destinations on time, and they do a good job in doing so. By meeting and exceeding the customers' expectations value is increased with each positive result.
The final primary activity is customer service. This function is to provide after sales service and support, however, FedEx provides customer service during the use of the service by letting customers track their package while it's in route. This creates extreme value for customers because they are able to check the status of their package at any given moment for an increased sense of security.
Each of the primary activities is able to take place due to support activities such as company infrastructure, which is planes, buildings, trucks etc. Information systems, another support activity, allow the customers to track their products and place orders on-line. Materials management and human resources are additional support activities. Materials management can also be referred to as logistics, or the flow of goods or services through production into distribution. Overall, the support activities allow the primary activities to take place and function correctly.
FedEx has a competitive advantage with their information systems and possibly company infrastructure. Their advanced information systems allow for precise package tracking, which few other companies offer. The customers can track their package by way of the Internet, without having to contact someone from customer service, which can be very time consuming. Other companies provide tracking numbers for packages but often times it is a hassle to track down a package.
The massive fleet of airplanes, automobiles, and employee's add up to an enormous company infrastructure. This infrastructure allows FedEx to have a very reliable delivery service. FedEx is very confident with their time restricting package delivery service, they guarantee their packages arrive on time when the customer wants it delivered.
FedEx's Business Level Strategy
FedEx's strengths in logistics, operations, and technological innovation allow them to pursue a differentiation business level strategy. FedEx works to stand apart from its competitors by creating a level of service that is difficult for competitors to match. FedEx has clearly been identified as an innovator, but what they need to get across to their customers is that they provide a high level of quality service. FedEx charges higher prices for its services than many of its competitors in the industry. This is considered a premium that a customer pays for the quality of service FedEx provides. By differentiating their standard of quality from their competitors, FedEx lets their customers know that if they are willing to pay more, it will be worth it.
The purpose of differentiation is to establish a strong customer base which understands that FedEx does offer a superior service than its rivals. While all players in the industry are capable of making fast deliveries, FedEx is the most customer-friendly. Some of the special services FedEx offers are the most support, a money back guarantee, and the capability to pick up packages from the customers home. FedEx goes far out of its way to differentiate itself from its rivals.