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Strategic Management for Able Corporation Competitors

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Please read the scenario and answer the three questions. I have completed a SWOT on both and have determined one of the weaknesses for both, as in Q1 &2. The strategy must be in this format. Please do not plagiarize or cut and paste from internet. Must be written at suggested level.

SCENARIO
Let's look two of Able Corporation's two major competitors: Smith & White Corporation (S&W), a very large and aggressive domestic manufacturer, and Makatume, a Japanese powerhouse.
Smith & White markets a full line of moderate quality professional and consumer tools. It also markets such products as lawn and garden, hobby tools, and kitchen appliances, all under the same brand name as its power tools. It is a multi-national conglomerate that has dominant shares in all the markets in which it operates. Its strength lies in a unified strategy across all its product lines, power tool and non-power tool, of building and maintaining brand equity through massive amounts of national media advertising. The leverage gained through strong brand equity compels retailers, particularly the Big Boxes, to stock many of the S&W's products because of high end-user demand.
This demand-pull marketing strategy also has the synergistic effects of obtaining relatively higher prices, advanced placement, co-op advertising, high profile shelf space, and cross promotion.
S&W does have some significant weaknesses. These include high costs due to old manufacturing plants located in high labor cost urban areas, market confusion between its professional and consumer tools, and negative feelings on the part of its distributors stemming from a perceived abuse of their dominant market position. It also doesn't have much of a presence in the fast growing cordless segment.
In addition, a major hidden weakness is S&W's huge size, which makes it unwieldy in reacting to market phenomena during periods of rapid change.
Makatume markets only professional tools, which are highly regarded by tradesmen for their quality, robustness, and durability. It controls over 50% of the Japanese market and has leveraged that position to become the second biggest player in the U.S. market. For the past several years their sales in the U.S. have been aided by favorable exchange rates, although many economists now forecast a reversal of this advantage over the next two years. Makatume has an extremely strong cost position due to its relatively new manufacturing plants in Japan.
Makatume's greatest product strength is in the fast growing cordless segment. It controls a dominant 70% market share of the professional cordless market. Makatume's early entry into this segment, is both a blessing and a curse. By entering the market early, Makatume has been able to obtain its dominant market share, but it is now locked in to lower voltages due to wide acceptance of its interchangeable battery system. As the technology of battery efficiency progresses, Makatume is faced with a dilemma: Does it introduce its own higher voltages, thus legitimizing that market for others to enter, or does it wait until it has to respond to being outflanked by its competitors when and if they introduce their higher voltages?
The rest of the market is made up of several domestic and foreign niche competitors, none of which has greater than a 5% share of the total market. A phenomenon to watch, however, is the growing strength of Far East imports from China, which are beginning to make their impact on consumer tools because of their low price and good value. The yuan is the relevant currency affecting Chinese imports.
We can often better see ourselves when reflected through the perspectives of others. In this exercise you are to take the vantage point of the industry leaders, S&W and Makatume. This has the advantage of helping to anticipate competitive positioning that may effect the successful execution of Able's strategy. Based on the narrative above, please answer the following questions from the perspective of being their Director of Strategic Planning and Analysis. (For real world situations always keep in mind that the status and plans of competitors can almost never be known except through an analysis of their actions, and even then almost never with certainty. Dealing with imperfect information is one of the essential aspects of the economic problem.)
Please respond to the following:

1. Take the perspective of S&W's Director of Strategic Planning to propose a complete strategy (implementation, ramification and evaluation) which addresses one of S&W's weaknesses and what you would do about it.
Weaknesses
***High cost - The significant weakness of S & W is the high cost owing to location of old manufacturing plants in high labor cost urban areas.
Strategy:
Implementation_ HOW.......This must be in detail
Ramification:
Feedback: proactive, reactive, qualitative, quantitative

2. Take the perspective of Makatume's Director of Strategic Planning to propose a complete strategy (implementation, ramification and evaluation) which addresses one of Makatume's weaknesses and what you would do about it.
Weakness:
***Lacks broad range of Product categories - Weakness of Makatume lies in the fact that it has not diversified its product range and currently the product range is restricted to professional tools Strategy:
Implementation_ HOW.......This must be in detail
Ramification:
Feedback: proactive, reactive, qualitative, quantitative

3. If you were Makatume, propose a complete strategy explaining what would you do about higher voltages issue?
Implementation_ HOW.......This must be in detail
Ramification:
Feedback: proactive, reactive, qualitative, quantitative

***** Do not propose a higher voltages strategy for response to questions 1 or 2.

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Solution Preview

1. Take the perspective of S&W's Director of Strategic Planning to propose a complete strategy (implementation, ramification and evaluation) which addresses one of S&W's weaknesses and what you would do about it.
Weaknesses

Strategy:
Implementation_ HOW.......This must be in detail
Ramification:
Feedback: proactive, reactive, qualitative, quantitative

Analysis of S&W:

Strengths: The company over the years through extensive marketing was able to build a strong brand name and through diversity of products acquired dominant market share in various markets.

Weaknesses:
High costs in manufacturing and labor
Size of business
Distributors negative feeling towards the distributor actions and behaviors
Market confusion between different tools sold
Need to diversify in additional markets - Cordless
Opportunities: Potential growth through a new market - cordless

Threats: Major competitor in Japan and low cost producers from China.

S&W distributors have dominated the market for many years. The company sells tools marketed to both individuals and professionals. This approach has worked over the years but due to the significant efficiencies in its manufacturing, the company is producing these products at premium cost. Due to the company's dominance in the market, for many years the company was able to sell these items at a higher price off-setting the high cost associated with producing the products. In order to maintain the company position, drastic changes must be made towards lowering cost associated with manufacturing.
The strategy being proposed is to reduce cost by investing in a new manufacturing plant with state of the art tooling that can compete in the future with competitors around the world. Although this will be a very costly endeavor, the company with its dominance in the market has the ability to acquire credit in order to take on the project. In identifying the new location, we will look at the industrial development tax breaks provided by certain states to determine if moving the manufacturing portion of the business to another state would be more beneficial. These tax breaks can off-set higher labor and material cost. The plant with its state of the art tooling will also incorporate solar energy to help off set operating cost. By lowering the total cost associated with manufacturing, the company can reposition itself in the market by reducing the price for tools being sold to both individuals and professionals. ...

Solution Summary

The solution examines strategic management for Able Corporation competitors. The perspective of the S&W's Director of Strategic Planning to propose a complete strategy.

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