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Strategic management is outlined as a procedure of formulating the strategies of the organization. Formulation of strategy refers to evaluate the situation in which the management operates. Strategic management involves the related concepts of strategic preparation and strategic conceiving of the plan. In this report is based on the study of Ford, which is a popular car manufacturing company. In the present study, focus is given on corporate objectives as well as external and internal analysis of the company (Satava, Caldwell and Richards, 2006). Main target of Ford is to lowering down the cost and addressing through best service offerings is the main aim of the company.
Practical goals set by the management of Ford influence their inner strategic decisions. In case of corporate objectives, company is focused on enhancing the level of its achievement and assessing the position of company in the market Following corporate objectives are specified below:
Profit Margins - Ford's Profit goal is obsessed with income and expenses. Target of Ford is lowering the cost by making good relationship with dealers and maintaining the optimum utilization of resources (Akbari and Azizi, 2014). This in turn helps company in gaining more profit and less of expenditure.
Sustainability – With uncertainty, Ford is mainly concerned with the basic survival. To fulfill financial objectives, Ford uses marketing technique retrenching which means keeping the brand vital and profit level high. This in turn helps company during inflation and deflation along with keeping the sustainable growth (Crowther and Lancaster, 2012). During financial instability, manufacturing company starts to collect outstanding debts and focused on keeping income level constant.
Rise in market share - In car manufacturing company, to increase market share marketing plan starts with the general strategic business plan . Ford addresses this through providing different products for different people such as hatchbacks for small families, sedan for people with good income class, SUV's for long drivers. With this, they need to research the target market instead of investigating competition.
Powerful Exploration and innovation: Ford takes its research, design, and development efforts very seriously. It believes that it is one of the key factors for its success. Technical innovation in both the design and manufacturing process of its cars such as hatchbacks, sedan, SUV's and other services such as air bags, etc. has helped company to produce better products which will enhance the car performance and reduce the number of errors.
Almighty International Brand: Ford is the most precious car manufacturing brand in the world (Gill and Johnson, 2002). Its extended relationship with well- known celebrities has driven strong sales of the company’s different cars. Ford's ability to maintain and enhance its iconic brands has allowed it to enjoy continued success for decades.
Flooded Prices: Due to its strong brand, Ford can typically command a superior on the products it sells, which in turn supports higher margin and profitability. However, cost of its cars are higher than most of its competitors (Merriam, 2009). For example: Ford GT supercar, which makes its product out of the reach for many customers around the globe.
Actual Sensory activity of Suffering Labors: It wasn’t long ago that Ford was facing intense criticism of its labor practices and work conditions. Company itself has acknowledged that low wages for some of its workers remain a concern (Denscombe, 2007). Safety issues at certain locations are the weaknesses for the company. If some type of disaster were to occur at one of its facilities, this would no doubt that it will hurt the company’s image.
Innovative Products: Ford is focused on R&D and company is typically on the forefront of the product innovation (Nykiel, 2007). Company’s brand strength, coupled with its focus on R&D, should allow it to remain at the forefront of new technologies such as air bags in its every car for the safety of customers at the time of accident.
Threat from rivalry: Automobile industry is highly competitive, both in the United Kingdom and around the globe. There are several significant for the athletic, leisure car and sports car firms that produce similar products. Some of the primary ones are Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen (Argyrous, 2011). Demand for Ford's car products depends on the relative popularity of various sports activities, as well as changing design trends. If competitors have more success attracting customers with more appealing cars, this would also hurt business prospects.
According to the research, 40 million of UK automobile lovers buy car. In today's world, car is a necessity of every individual and also considered as a primary reason for buying. Company trades with both inbound and outbound customers.
Political factors – Company gets affect by the government’s taxation policies and decisions. For example: increment in the petrol prices has affected the buying power of the individuals in UK (Halal, 2003). This in turn also affects the cost of company like Ford.
Economic factors - Economic issues such as unemployment and less labor force affect mainly on the business operations of car companies such as Ford.
Social factors - New trend of online booking of cars and easy access have become very common in the UK. Changes in the lifestyle and preferences of customers have highly affected the automobile company (Whittaker, 2009). According to statistics in 2011, 11 million households prefer to purchase car through online.
Technological factors - New technologies are affecting car businesses in UK and all over the world through enhancing the level of online services. With this, old age people who are not comfortable using internet are lacking behind which affects the business of Ford.
Environmental factors - Climatic condition and dynamic environment have affected the car business in UK (Goddard and Melville, 2004). For example places like high terrain, hilly area and erratic heavy rains are the main issues that automobile company such as Ford faces.
Legal factors - legal issues such as government planning actions, high taxation policy on fuel and VAT on cars have negatively affected the working of Ford (Young, Owen and Connor, 2011).
CSR activity - Ford practices and preaches environmental policy. In terms of resource management, company provides 24*7 online services and door to door services to its clients. Company targets on CSR activities for enhancing the level of its brand image. They optimistically engage consumers to know what company is doing for environmental resources and giving proactive service at all times (Collis and Hussey, 2011). Ford carries experience of utilizing its own environmental initiatives and creative ideas. This in turn helps company to build good relationship with clients.
Marketing activity - An important aspect of Ford's promotional plan of action is to develop the image of company rather than particular product. Ford develops reputation among customers as a manufacturer of quality, size, strength and vitality (Satava, Caldwell and Richards, 2006). The 'Destination Football' campaign serves to associate the Ford brand with passion, drive, desire, success, speed, movement and youth. Marketing specialists sometimes refer to promotion 'above-the-line' and 'below-the-line'. Above the line promotion occurs through independent media such as press or television. These external mediums are used to carry advertising messages from firm to customers like Ford. Below the line promotion uses methods that are not controlled by external agencies. This includes sales promotions, exhibitions and direct mail shots. Promotion is therefore far more than just advertising. Ford uses below-the-line promotions by exhibiting vehicles at events and exhibitions along with engaging in online stuff such as direct mailing to clients. There is also a cracking deal to be gained from public relations.
Mobile Application Services - Ford provides mobile application services to their customers. With the help of mobile application, company makes it easy for car buyers to access information about the best packages and deals (Akbari and Azizi, 2014). This app also helps customers in comparing the prices of different cars offered by the company. Customers can use Harness engineering prowess and mobility centres to excel and create novel solutions based on their specific requirements.
Quicker solution to customer’s query- Company gives customers the quicker solution for their problems regarding cars and other services related to it (Argyrous, 2011). Speed and accuracy is the essence in those 15 minutes for customers guidance are being lapped up by thousands across UK. Customers feel secure with these solutions.
Porters generic strategy are used by Ford to show the market scope and the competitive advantage of the company over other competitors. The porters generic model describes three different strategies under the model they are-
Differentiation Strategy - This strategy focuses on the value that product generates in the market. The price of the companies product may be high but the strategy will help in providing higher margin through value of the product (Collis and Hussey, 2011). This strategy is helpful only for the customer who are not price sensitive. Differentiation strategy is successful only where the customer is willing to pay the price for the quality and value of the product. The customer of Ford are concerned with specialisation and quality only.
Cost leadership Strategy - This strategy implies that a low cost product producer will gain competitive advantage in the market by reducing the cost. Ford has to apply a cost conscious technique to reduce the pricing of the product. The company sell be able to achieve a high mar jet share by reducing the cost of the product (Akbari and Azizi, 2014). Ford will be able to generate an economic advantage by this strategy and will help in maximum asset utilization.
Focus Strategy - This strategy is not applied separately but is used along with the differentiation and cost strategy. As Ford is a large scale producer, the company may use this strategy along with the cost and differentiation strategy (Satava, Caldwell and Richards, 2006). This strategy defines that a company needs to focus on a specific business unit to increase efficiency of Ford.
Ford needs to pursue differentiation strategy in the strategic business unit of the company. This strategy is helpful has it will provide Ford to increase its profitability. Differentiation strategy requires a company to add value added premium service to increase the cost of the product. Ford has accessed to the highest level of research and technology (BARNAT, 2014). Differentiation strategy will add a corporate advantage to the company by conquering on the competitors. Ford charges a premium price for the product but also provide high quality and innovated services to the customers. This prospect will generate loyalty among customers and will generate revenue for the company. To achieve the highest market share through differentiation Ford constantly needs to update its technology and innovation.
As it is an automotive company it is important for the company to generate a balance in the price and the quality that it offers. The customers in the differentiation strategy are not price sensitive. They are ready to pay a high price for high tech product that Ford is willing to offer them. Ford can use advertising campaign to promote its product (Coram, 2011). To generate differentiation advantage the company has to advertise through a expensive market strategy to gather the attention of niche customers. The customer segment under differentiation strategy are niche as their demand for premium oriented product. It is an expensive procedure to implement differentiation strategy in the strategic unit but the add on is beneficial in increasing market share from the competitors.
The Ansoff Matrix is a strategic planning tool that helps the executive and top level management to create strategies for the company by analysing the market. Igor Ansoff designed this tool to analyse the value that the business activities provides to the customers. The matrix provide guidelines that will help Ford to achieve its marketing objectives . The matrix is helpful in analysing the efficiencies that the new technology is providing in product development. The matrix describes four market strategies that cam be used by Ford. They are-
Market Penetration - This strategy suggest that to penetrate in the market that Ford can use for established products. For example by changing the existing product the company can re-launch the product in the market (What is the Ansoff Matrix?, 2013). To generate more market penetration ford has to take new initiatives in product development and innovation.
Product Development - In product development strategy is used for new products in the market. The company needs to modify the product in terms of designing, technology, or quality. By adopting modification in the products the companies tends to attracts customers with the product of the existing market.
Market Development - This strategy uses a new market developer for the existing customers. Companies use or search new target market for their existing products (Denscombe, 2007). Market segmental is done to analyse the possible new market source for the existing products.
Diversification - This strategy involves development of new products and new markets. The company produces and develops new products for the customers and finds new market source to launch the product. This strategy is adopted at the times of expansion of the company where the company needs new customers.
Safe framework is used to evaluate the right future strategy of Ford. The framework shows the company can utilise the right strategy for the optimum profitability. The Safe work is explained as.
Suitable - Market penetration strategy is suitable for Ford as it will provide the company a chance to enter or penetrate ion markets for the products. Ford have to take great efforts in changing the existing product of the company (Fink, 2010). The relaunched might not attract new customers as the reflection of the last product would still influence customers mind.
Acceptable - Product development strategy is acceptable as Ford is highly capable for using innovative and advanced technology to improve its products capability. Ford will have to innovate in new smart technology that will help the customer to buy ford's car.
Feasible - Market development is the feasible strategy that Ford can use for future reference (Kuada, 2012). The company has high level of scope to enter into market zones of new countries. This will company to raise its market share in international market as well.
Enduring - Diversification strategy is enduring as Ford would have to research for new product development and new market target. This is cost influential strategy and will require Ford to invest a high amount of finance.
Evolving strategic management has helped Ford to become among the most popular brand in the world. The company has created various changes in many strategic unit of the organisation to evolve new product development. The company has used various strategy over the period of 10 years. They are-
A strategy formulation process is created to showcase the current position of the company in accordance to the target that it want to achieve in the near future. A well designed strategy formulation plan provides effectiveness to the company. The process is as followed-
Setting Organizations objectives - Ford set objectives that it wanted to achieve in the next 10 years. These objectives helped Ford to generate new strategic policies for managing changes to be implemented through constant innovation (Steps in Strategy Formulation Process, 2015).
Evaluating the Organizational Environment - Ford analysed the external and internal environment affect on the production capabilities for managing changes. This analyse helped the company to formulate quality as the basic standard check mark for customer satisfaction.
Setting Quantitative Targets - The company set quantitative target such as quality, designing, comfort etc. to provide the customer with perfect product.
Aiming in context with the divisional plans- Ford has multiple business units, each unit had a different strategic target that it needed to cover in the given frame of time. Differentiating in the strategy help to increase the performance of each divisions for managing changes.
Performance Analysis - Each departments performance was analysed to provide the management of Ford to know the strength and weakness of employees (Denscombe, 2007).
Choice of Strategy - After analysis and identification of problematic issues the management of Ford choose various different strategy to be applied according to rectification of issues for managing changes.
Strategy formulation process helped in evolution of strategic objectives of Ford over the period of time.
Ford makes sure that their services can give more customer satisfaction and every group of people is buying car without thinking a twice time. From this report, it can be concluded that company has its strengths in its core competences. Ford uses marketing technique retrenching which means keeping the brand vital and keeping profit levels high. In conclusion to the above report it can be said that, strategic management is one of the significant aspect so that top level management of the company has to focus upon. However, the researcher analyzed the external and internal position of Ford with the help of Pestle and Swot analysis. Operating in such a competitive market it is essential for cited car firms to manage existing operations as well as focus on enhancing business operations through the help of new market development strategy.
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