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Strategic Management

Strategy : Strategy is an action that managers take to attain one or more of the
organizations goals. Strategy can also be defined as A general direction set for the
company and its various components to achieve a desired state in the future. Strategy is
the blueprint of decisions in an organization that shows its objectives and goals. A
companys strategy consists of the combination of

competitive moves &

business approaches that managers employ to please customers, compete

successfully, and achieve organizational objectives.

Strategy is the means to

achieve objectives.
Strategic Management : Strategic Management is all about identification and description
of the strategies that managers can carry so as to achieve better performance and a
competitive advantage for their organization. An organization is said to have competitive
advantage if its profitability is higher than the average profitability for all companies in
its industry.

Strategic management is a comprehensive area that covers almost all the

functional areas of the organization. It is an umbrella concept of management that
comprises all such functional areas as marketing, finance & account, human
resource, and production & operation into a top level management discipline.
Therefore, strategic management has an importance in the organizational success
and failure than any specific functional areas.

Strategic management deals with organizational level and top level issues
whereas functional or operational level management deals with the specific areas
of the business.

Top-level managers such as Chairman, Managing Director, and corporate level

planners involve more in strategic management process.

Strategic management relates to setting vision, mission, objectives, and

strategies that can be the guideline to design functional strategies in other
functional areas

Therefore, it is top-level management that paves the way for other functional or
operational management in an organization

Levels Of Strategy :



Corporate Strategy
Single-business companies have the advantage of focus and rapid response but are
vulnerable to problems in their industry. Their corporate strategy must demonstrate the
advantages of remaining active in only one industry while evaluating business
opportunities in areas with complementary activities. With a goal of optimizing company
operations, profitability and growth, the corporate strategy must compare the return of a
continuing investment in the single business with the acquisition or starting up of
complementary businesses.
Business Strategy
The business strategy of a single-business company is similar to that of a business unit of
a diversified company except that the business strategy must support corporate strategic
initiatives aimed at the single business. The business strategy sets goals for
performance, evaluates the actions of competitors and specifies actions the company
must take to maintain and improve its competitive advantages. Typical strategies are to
become a low-price leader, to achieve differentiation in quality or other desirable
features or to focus on promotion.
Marketing Functional Strategy
In companies that are marketing oriented, the marketing strategy on a functional level
influences the other functions and their strategies. A typical marketing strategy is to
determine customer needs in an area where the company has a natural competitive
advantage. Such advantages might be in location, facilities, reputation or staffing. Once
the marketing strategy has identified the kind of product customers want, it passes the
information to operations to design and produce such a product at the required cost. The
advertising department must develop a promotional strategy, sales must sell the product
and customer service must support it. The marketing strategy forms the basis for the
strategies of these other departments.

Components of a Strategy Statement

In today's highly competitive business environment, budget-oriented planning or
forecast-based planning methods are insufficient for a large corporation to survive and
prosper. The firm must engage in strategic planning that clearly defines objectives and
assesses both the internal and external situation to formulate strategy, implement the
strategy, evaluate the progress, and make adjustments as necessary to stay on track.
A simplified view of the strategic planning process is shown by the following diagram:





Strategic intent takes the form of a number of corporate challenges and opportunities,
specified as short term projects. The strategic intent must convey a significant stretch for
the company, a sense of direction, which can be communicated to all employees. It
should not focus so much on today's problems, but rather on tomorrow's opportunities.
Strategic intent should specify the competitive factors, the factors critical to success in
the future.
Strategic intent gives a picture about what an organization must get into immediately in
order to use the opportunity. Strategic intent helps management to emphasize and
concentrate on the priorities. Strategic intent is, nothing but, the influencing of an
organizations resource potential and core competencies to achieve what at first may
seem to be unachievable goals in the competitive environment.

b) Environmental Scan
The environmental scan includes the following components:

Analysis of the firm (Internal environment)

Analysis of the firm's industry (micro or task environment)

Analysis of the External macro environment (PEST analysis)

The internal analysis can identify the firm's strengths and weaknesses and the external
analysis reveals opportunities and threats. A profile of the strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, and threats is generated by means of a SWOT analysis
An industry analysis can be performed using a framework developed by Michael Porter
known as Porter's five forces. This framework evaluates entry barriers, suppliers,
customers, substitute products, and industry rivalry.

c) Strategy Formulation
Strategy Formulation is the development of long-range plans for the effective
management of environmental opportunities and threats, in light of corporate strengths
& weakness. It includes defining the corporate mission, specifying achievable objectives,
developing strategy & setting policy guidelines.


Mission is the purpose or reason for the organizations existence. It tells what the
company is providing to society, either a service like housekeeping or a product
like automobiles.


Objectives are the end results of planned activity. They state what is to be
accomplished by when and should be quantified, if possible. The achievement of
corporate objectives should result in the fulfillment of a corporations mission.

iii) Strategies
Strategy is the complex plan for bringing the organization from a given posture to
a desired position in a future period of time.

d) Policies
A policy is a broad guide line for decision-making that links the formulation of
strategy with its implementation. Companies use policies to make sure that employees

throughout the firm make decisions & take actions that support the corporations
mission, objectives & strategy.

d) Strategy Implementation
It is the process by which strategy & policies are put into actions through the
development of programs, budgets & procedures. This process might involve changes
within the overall culture, structure and/or management system of the entire



It is a statement of the activities or steps needed to accomplish a single-use plan. It

makes the strategy action oriented. It may involve restructuring the corporation,
changing the companys internal culture or beginning a new research effort.



A budget is a statement of a corporations program in terms of dollars. Used in

planning & control, a budget lists the detailed cost of each program. The budget thus
not only serves as a detailed plan of the new strategy in action, but also specifies
through proforma financial statements the expected impact on the firms financial

iii) Procedures:
Procedures, sometimes termed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are a system of
sequential steps or techniques that describe in detail how a particular task or job is to
be done. They typically detail the various activities that must be carried out in order
to complete
e) Evaluation & Control
After the strategy is implemented it is vital to continually measure and evaluate progress
so that changes can be made if needed to keep the overall plan on track. This is known
as the control phase of the strategic planning process. While it may be necessary to
develop systems to allow for monitoring progress, it is well worth the effort. This is also
where performance standards should be set so that performance may be measured and
leadership can make adjustments as needed to ensure success.

Evaluation and control consists of the following steps:


Define parameters to be measured


Define target values for those parameters


Perform measurements


Compare measured results to the pre-defined standard


Make necessary changes

Walmart was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton in Rogers, Ark. It is an American

multinational retail corporation that runs chains of large discount department
stores and warehouse stores. They focus on making a difference in the lives of
their customers, and helping customers and communities save money and live
better. In 1969, the company officially incorporated as Walmart Stores, Inc.
Walmart started its public trade on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. With
the continued rapid growth, Walmart was operating in 11 states with 276 stores
by the end of 70s decade. In the 1980s, the first Sam's Club opened, serving
small businesses and individuals, and the first Walmart Supercenter opened,
combining a supermarket with general merchandise. In the late 1980s and early
1990s the company rose from a regional to national giant, Walmart was the
number-one retailer in the nation. In 2000s, Walmart focus on offering customers
a seamless shopping experience, whether they are online, in a store or on a
mobile device. Also, during these times, Walmart put some effort in implement
several environmental measures to increase energy efficiency. Today, the
company has grown to be the worlds largest and arguably, the most emulated
retailer (History Timeline, 2013)

Grand strategies
Walmart uses a combination strategy of cost leadership and differentiation. They
provide a wider variety of products and services with the same or better quality
at a price that is cheaper than their competitors can provide. Walmart
concentrates on finding ways to lower their costs by constantly rethinking how to
complete their primary and support activities to reduce costs still further while
maintaining competitive levels of differentiation. Their successful supply chain
management is an important way helping them to implement the cost leadership
strategy. They has effective inbound logistics by using just-in-time inventory. And
they have cut costs from outbound logistics by creating better fuel efficiency in
their trucks, getting more pallets on a load, and decreasing empty miles driven
by their trucks (Dess, 2012). Walmart also reduces costs by buying in large
blocks. Technology plays a key role in Walmarts supply chain too, it allows
Walmart to accurately forecast demand, track and predict inventory levels,
create highly efficient transportation routes, and manage customer relationships
and service response logistics (Walmart's Keys to Successful Supply Chain
Management,2013). In conclusion, Walmart's successful overall cost
leadership/differentiation strategy leads to high entry barriers for competitors.
Corporate-level Strategy
The major reason behind the success of Walmart lies in the fact that the
company believes and concentrates on the strategy of single business, which
means more than 95% of its revenue comes from their grocery business. Over 30
years, the strategy of single business has been contributing greatly to the
success of Walmart, they have never believed in the concept of diversification for
the sustenance of its growth and also its advantages at the competitive level
(Market entry strategies of Walmart in the international arena, 2013).
International-level strategy Walmart has been able to successfully enter into
the global market because of the use of multinational business strategy. This
strategy involves that customers of different countries are treated differently and
hence productivity and profitability are high. It is imperative for Walmart to cater
every region's differences in product preferences; thus, they work under the
"Different Stores for Different Folks"
philosophy (Walmart: An Analysis, 2015).

Social --- The social cultural segment is concerned with a societys attitudes and
cultural values. A major social cultural trend is the continued growth of suburban
communities. The increasing number of people living in the suburbs has a
number of effects. Walmart continues expanding its current store capacity to
include new products and services for customers. Walmart will build new
supercenters in previously unexplored regions in Canada, which includes plans
for 37 new stores in the next fiscal year (Canadian Press, 2013). In America
alone, Walmart established 4,017 stores in central and convenient locations to
serve communities (Global Responsibility, 2013).
Demographic --- For Walmart, demographic segments are analyzed on a global
basis, because it operates internationally. Demographic segments is concerned
with many areas such as population size, age structure and geographic
distribution. Walmart is using its wealth of sales and inventory data to segment
based on demographics, allowing it to market to specific age, ethnicity and
income brackets (Brian, 2006). By analyzing the demographic segment, Walmart
will know their customers better, so better services could be provide.
Economic --- Walmart is always sensitive towards economy growth, their sales
model which depends on low margins of profit and a high volume of sales, could
alter relatively fast. When economy doing well, Walmarts low price strategy
would be of less importance to customers, in the other hand, during a time of
recession Walmart goal of high volume of sales would be threatened. As a result
of the previously mentioned points, Walmart should conduct a thorough study
before entering an unbalanced economy (Walmart, 2013).
Technological --- Walmart embraced technology to become an innovator in the
way stores track inventory and restock their shelves (Traub, 2012). Walmart has
invested heavily in its unique crossdocking inventory system, which can help
Walmart to achieve economies of scale to reduce the costs. With its successful
system, Walmart is able to responds quickly at demand changing, maintain low
costs and satisfy its customers. The effort that Walmart put into the supply chain
management makes the company become the leader of this area
Global --- Wal-Mart focus on the global market, the company expands into
many different countries.

However, there are different cultures and laws apply to in different countries,
which may increase the risk and expenditure of the company to enter into a new