Evaluating a Company’s Resources and Competitive Position Screen graphics created by: Jana F. Kuzmicki, Ph.D. Troy University-Florida Region
Company Situation Analysis:The Key Questions 1. How well is the company’spresent strategy working? 2. What are the company’s resourcestrengths and weaknesses and itsexternal opportunities and threats? 3. Are the company’s prices andcosts competitive? 4. Is the company competitively strongeror weaker than key rivals? 5. What strategic issues meritfront-burner managerial attention?
Fig. 4.1: Identifying the Components ofa Single-Business Company’s Strategy
Question 1: How Well Is the Company’sPresent Strategy Working? Key Considerations • Must begin by understanding what the strategy is • Identify competitive approach • Low-cost leadership • Differentiation • Focus on a particular market niche • Determine competitive scope • Broad or narrow geographic market coverage? • In how many stages of industry’s production/distribution chain does the company operate? • Examine recent strategic moves • Identify functional strategies
Qualitative assessment –Is the strategy well-conceived? Covers all the bases? Internally consistent? Makes sense? Timely and in step with marketplace? Quantitative assessment – What are the results? Is company achieving its financial and strategic objectives? Is company an above-average industry performer? Approaches to Assess How Wellthe Present Strategy Is Working
Key Indicators of How Wellthe Strategy Is Working • Trend in sales and market share • Acquiring and/or retaining customers • Trend in profit margins • Trend in net profits, ROI, and EVA • Overall financial strength and credit ranking • Efforts at continuous improvement activities • Trend in stock price and stockholder value • Image and reputation with customers • Leadership role(s) – Technology, quality, innovation, e-commerce, etc.
S W O T Question 2: What Are the Company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats ? • S W O T represents the first letter in • S trengths • W eaknesses • O pportunities • T hreats • For a company’s strategy to be well-conceived, it must be • Matched to its resource strengths and weaknesses • Aimed at capturing its best market opportunities and erecting defenses against external threats to its well-being
Identifying Resource Strengthsand Competitive Capabilities • A strength is something a firm does well or an attribute that enhances its competitiveness • Valuable skills, competencies, or capabilities • Valuable physical assets • Valuable human assets • Valuable organizational assets • Valuable intangible assets • Important competitive capabilities • An attribute placing a company in a position of market advantage • Alliances or cooperative ventures with partners Resource strengths and competitivecapabilities arecompetitive assets!
Competencies vs. Core Competencies vs. Distinctive Competencies • A competence is the product of organizational learning and experience and represents real proficiency in performing an internal activity • A core competence is a well-performedinternal activity central (not peripheral or incidental) to a company’s competitivenessand profitability • A distinctive competence is a competitively valuable activity a company performs better than its rivals
Identifying Resource Weaknessesand Competitive Deficiencies • A weakness is something a firm lacks, does poorly, or a condition placing it at a disadvantage • Resource weaknesses relate to • Inferior or unproven skills,expertise, or intellectual capital • Lack of important physical,organizational, or intangible assets • Missing capabilities in key areas Resource weaknesses and deficienciesarecompetitive liabilities!
Identifying a Company’sMarket Opportunities • Opportunities most relevant to acompany are those offering • Good match with its financial andorganizational resource capabilities • Best prospects for profitable long-term growth • Potential for competitive advantage
Identifying External Threats • Emergence of cheaper/better technologies • Introduction of better products by rivals • Entry of lower-cost foreign competitors • Onerous regulations • Rise in interest rates • Potential of a hostile takeover • Unfavorable demographic shifts • Adverse shifts in foreign exchange rates • Political upheaval in a country
Question 3: Are the Company’sPrices and Costs Competitive? • Assessing whether a firm’s costs are competitive with those of rivals is a crucial part of company situation analysis • Key analytical tools • Value chain analysis • Benchmarking
Concept: Company Value Chain • A company’s business consists of all activities undertaken in designing, producing, marketing, delivering, and supporting its product or service • All these activities that a company performs internally combine to form a value chain—so-called because the underlying intent of a company’s activities is to do things that ultimately create value for buyers • The value chain contains two types of activities • Primary activities (where most ofthe value for customers is created) • Support activities that facilitateperformance of the primary activities
Developing Data to Measure a Company’s Cost Competitiveness • After identifying key value chain activities, the next step involves determining costs of performing specific value chain activities using activity-based costing • Appropriate degree of disaggregation depends on • Economics of activities • Value of comparing narrowly definedversus broadly defined activities • Guideline – Develop separate costestimates for activities • Having different economics • Representing a significant or growing proportion of costs
Activity-Based Costing: A KeyTool in Analyzing Costs • Determining whether a company’s costs are in line with those of rivals requires • Measuring how a company’s costs compare with those of rivals activity-by-activity • Requires having accounting data to measure costof each value chain activity • Activity-based costing entails • Defining expense categories accordingto specific activities performed and • Assigning costs to the activityresponsible for creating the cost
Benchmarking Costs ofKey Value Chain Activities • Focuses on cross-company comparisons of how certain activities are performed and costs associated with these activities • Purchase of materials • Payment of suppliers • Management of inventories • Getting new products to market • Performance of quality control • Filling and shipping of customer orders • Training of employees • Processing of payrolls
Fig. 4.5: Translating Company Performance of Value Chain Activities into Competitive Advantage
Question 4: Is the Company Strongeror Weaker than Key Rivals? • Overall competitive position involvesanswering two questions • How does a company rankrelativeto competitors on each importantfactor that determines market success? • Does a company have a netcompetitive advantage or disadvantagevis-à-vis major competitors?
Assessing a Company’sCompetitive Strength vs. Key Rivals 1. List industry key success factors and other relevant measures of competitive strength 2. Rate firm and key rivals on each factor using rating scale of 1 to 10 (1 = very weak; 5 = average; 10 = very strong) 3. Decide whether to use a weighted or unweighted rating system (a weighted system is superior because chosen strength measures are unlikely to be equally important) 4. Sum individual ratings to get an overall measure of competitive strength for each rival 5. Based on overall strength ratings, determine overall competitive position of firm
Question 5: What Strategic IssuesMerit Managerial Attention? • Based on results of both industry and competitive analysis and an evaluation of a company’s competitiveness, what items should beon a company’s “worry list”? • Requires thinking strategically about • Pluses and minuses in the industryand competitive situation • Company’s resource strengths and weaknesses and attractiveness of its competitive position A “good” strategy must address “what to do”about each and every strategic issue!