Building a Strategic Framework

MANAGEMENT POLICY AND STRATEGY

Introduction

Developing a strategic plan is an important part of an organization’s success. Without development at strategic levels chaos may as well ensue. Essentially the strategic framework of an organization is what guides employees and solidifies their role (Peppers & Rodgers, 2011). In order to accomplish employee understanding of a company mission, goals, values, and vision needs to be transparent and communicated to employees (Peppers & Rodgers, 2011). Additionally, the strategic framework of a company helps to drive the day to day operations and creates a measure for all employees to ensure they are meeting criteria (Peppers & Rodgers, 2011). The following is a compilation of the strategic framework for StrongArm Inc. for the department of Marketing. This document will include strategic analysis, SMART Goals, future oriented strategies, and policies.

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Strategic Analysis

A SWOT analysis acts as an assessment tool in order to evaluate a business or strategic plan (Harmon, 2015). The inner workings of a SWOT analysis can determine the internal and external factors that may affect a business (Harmon, 2015).

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SWOT ANALYSIS
What follows is a sample summary of feedback on StrongArm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that would be identified by the market, community members and the staff.

Strengths

Further detailed strengths for StrongArm includes:

  • Strong Market need = fair supply and demand
  • High level of customer satisfaction
  • Strong Distribution Network
  • Committed staff personnel
  • Great working relationship with dealers and suppliers

Weakness

StrongArm also has areas where improvement is needed. Some items can be addressed by holding members accountable in their respective roles and duties. Weaknesses can be changed as they are not fixed qualities.  Weaknesses identified include:

  • Investment in Research and Development is below par
  • Falling behind to new entrants into the market
  • Profitability ratio compared to competitors is low
  • Marketing for StrongArm does not leave much to be desired

Opportunity

At times there are changes in the operating environment that can benefit StrongArm. It is important to recognize these changes and take advantage of opportunity.  These include:

  • Potential contracts with government and private sectors
  • Low inflation rates for target market
  • Core competencies can be successful with other products in the market
  • Current stable economy
  • Community population is young, growing, and shows great interest in technology

Threats

Threats are those things that StrongArm has no or little control over.  That does not mean that this is a case for helplessness.  It means StrongArm has to take purposeful steps to mitigate the negative impact of those threats. These include:

  • Competitors are innovative
  • Growing Competitors in the current market
  • Changing environmental regulations
  • Stable profit is attractive to new competitors
  • Rising cost in raw materials
  • New technology is constantly being developed

GAP analysis

The gap analysis can help StrongArm because it is designed to measure the difference between current performance and our desired positon (Mercadal, 2015). When coupled the GAP and SWOT analysis can help to provide the opportunity to strategize the ways in which to diminish threats, weaknesses, and expand upon strengths (Mercadal, 2015). Using the GAP analysis StrongArm can provide clarity into three areas: Actual state, Future State, and Solutions or Needs (Mercadal, 2015). The figure below helps to identify our performance in the marketing department as we currently are in the lower percentile for market share and provide strategies for increasing over time.

Gap Analysis

Mission, Vision, Philosophy & Purpose

This strategic plan represents the five year planning cycle for the First Nation and builds upon the previous strategic plan. The key elements of the strategic planning process are outlined in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1 – Strategic Planning Process

Mission and Values

Step 1: Mission, Vision and Values;

Mission Statement

“Devote ourselves to our customers, employees, and shareholders by relentlessly delivering the platform and technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live.”

Vision Statement

“To provide quality sensors in a fashion that ensures the benefit of the customers, environment, stakeholders, and society”

Corporate Philosophy

                        Superior customer service through respect

                        Expanding Shareholder Value

                        Never settling for mediocrity

                        Supporting Sustainable Products

                        Optimizing, developing, and hiring employee excellence

                        Reducing difficulties experienced by our customers

                        Stimulating a better world

Purpose Statement

“Professionalism, honesty, and integrity: do the right thing for our customers, employees and the community”

SMART Goal Setting

StrongArm Inc. has specific short term goals we would like to accomplish in the next year to two years. Based on the strategic priority, each activity should have specific key performance indicators that are S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, making the vision more concrete by defining how success is measured. Performance indicators are used to monitor progress towards strategic priorities, closing the gap between the current state and the future state, as defined by the vision. They will help track the realization of strategic priorities, measuring the progress towards realizing the vision. Performance indicators should focus on desired outcomes for strategic priorities. Outcomes focus on what difference is being made. Using the concepts of SMART Goal setting we can determine practicality of our goals and methods to accomplish them. Currently StrongArm Inc.  has placed priority on the following short term goals:

  • Reduce response time to customer complaints by 10%
  • Improve Customer satisfaction by 25%
  • Reducing operating cost by 20%
Smart Goals

Market Segment

Market Segmentation is a key factor in the marketing strategy since is prime role is to define customer needs and wants more precisely and can help to define marketing objectives (Brown & Churchill, 2014). StrongArm Inc. uses benefit segmentation as the primary criteria for identifying our consumer market. Benefit segmentation identifies customers with a specific need that would be meet by a particular product (Brown & Churchill, 2014). Those consumers that would fit under benefit segmentation for sensors produced by StrongArm Inc. are:

  • Military/Private Sectors
  • Cell Phone Companies
  • Alarm Security Companies
  • Banks/Financial Institutes
  • Aerospace Manufactures
  • Automobile Manufactures
  • Weapons Manufactures

Because of the unique product provided by StrongArm Inc. we fill a niche copmetitve advantage. This type of competitive advantage means to target and serve a single segment of a specific market (Brown & Churchill, 2014). Because StrongArm Inc. manufactures sensors that can cross pollenate with other products and be can be adapted to work with other platforms we are also creating a brand differentiation. Our continuation in this market will help to build a sustainable competitive advantage.

Competitive Advantage

Organizational Design

StrongArm Inc. operates under a departmentalization design. This allows each sector to be organized by jobs they perform (Robbins & Judge, 2013). This also assist senior leaders in being able to concentrate on a specific department to create subject matter experts for each function while still allowing a free flow of information from all ends of the hierarchy. Span of control is another determining factor to instill a departmentalization design. Span of control determines the number of subordinates a manager can efficiently or effectively lead (Robbins & Judge, 2013). StrongArm understands each member is an expert in their field, this is also why the CFO falls directly under the CEO. In this structure he can advise on financial matters, update the CEO on financial concerns, and assists on the centralization of financial decisions. 

Strategic Management Hierarchy

Goals and Objectives

Based upon the Mission, Vision, Values, and the Current State Analysis, StrongArm Inc. has determined strategic objectives for our Marketing department to be accomplished in the 1, 3, 5 and 7 year range and are considered to be our long term goals at the corporate level.  These Priorities will assist StrongArm Inc. in getting where it wants and needs to be. Below is an example of StrongArm Inc. Priorities and Activities.

  1. Priority: Improve Customer Satisfaction (1-year goal):

This objective is to improve customer satisfaction to garner customer relationships for old and new customers.

Initiatives to achieve this priority:

  1. Utilize automated customer service software
    1. Measure customer by using survey methods
    2. Improve customers conflict training
  1. Priority: Improve Product Awareness (3-year goal)

The objective is to ensure the targeted customers are aware of our brand.

Initiatives to achieve this priority:

  1. Develop unique branded packaging
    1. Initiate a referral program
    2. Partner with local business in the community
    3. Create community outreach program

2. Priority: Increase Share of Market (5-year goal)

The objective is to put ourselves in a position to sell to more customers.

Initiatives to achieve this priority:

  1. Develop better marketing strategy to raise customer awareness
    1. Acquire competitors and a new customer base
    2. Increase Market segment
    3. Innovate promotion

3. Priority: Improve Distribution Channel Performance (7-year goal).

This objective to reach more customers regardless of location.

Initiatives to achieve this priority:

  1. Create a firm and fair pricing strategy
    1. Consider boosting sale representatives
    1. Increase presence on e-commerce
    1. Reduce delivery time by using on line data synchronization software

Policies and Procedures

The strategic planning is beneficial in itself for articulating a shared vision of StrongArm Inc’s values, priorities, and initiatives. If it ends there, however, StrongArm Inc. will only realize a small fraction of the ̕benefits that might accrue through full implementation of the strategic plan. In order to gain the full benefit of the strategic plan, it must be implemented in a way that helps to guide all actions of everyone in the hierarchy. For example, it must remain integrated in annual planning, decision making, and reporting. Finally, it must also remain in the minds (and hearts) of the people.

Ways to do this include:

  1. All senior leaders will carry the strategic plan at all times;
  2. Senior leaders will conduct a review of the initiatives monthly during staff meetings;
  3. Strategic objectives and our initiatives will be part of employee orientation;
  4. The strategic plan is used to set annual goals and allocate financial resources (budgeting);
  5. Align organization portfolios to the strategic priorities;
  6. The strategic objectives will be posted in all common areas
  7. Strategic objectives and initiatives will be embedded in our website.

StrongArm’s Enterprise level strategy strongly stresses the importance of stakeholder theory. We take pride in caring for our customers, shareholders, society, the community, and our employees. All of our strategic objectives are aimed to increase profit, improve the quality of our product, provide a safe/secure environment, and to engage in the highest care for our customers. Reflecting on our mission, purpose, vision, and corporate philosophy statements we truly believe these goals align with our values.

References:

Brown, T. J., & Churchill, G. A. (2014). Basic marketing research: Customer insights and managerial action. Stamford, CT, USA:     Cengage Learning.

Harmon, A. (2015). SWOT analysis. Salem Press Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Mercadal, T., PhD. (2015). Gap Analysis. Salem Press Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Payne, A., & Frow, P. (2005) A Strategic Framework for Customer Relationship Management. Journal of Marketing: October 2005, Vol. 69, No. 4, pp. 167-176.

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Peppers, D., & Rogers, M. (2011). Managing Customer Relationships: A Strategic Framework (Vol. 2nd ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. (2013). Organizational behavior. Boston: Pearson.

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Daniel Fortune

Daniel Fortune is a successful business professional, entrepreneur, father, and lover of travel.

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