Top 10 Business Studies Essays

Top 10 Business Studies Essays

In this post we will give you an insight into our Top 10 Business Studies Essays for college and university students. These essays and assignments will prove valuable reading and will assist you in structuring your own business studies assignments. We have many titles that will help university business studies students. Subject areas that we provide include: business management, HRM, marketing, economics, finance and accounting, all of which will be covered off in a business studies degree.

Below are some outstanding business studies essays and assignments to get you started. Be sure to reference all material in accordance with your university’s guidelines and code of conduct.

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Innocent Drinks Brand Marketing Strategy

Innocent drinks was created in 1999 by three young entrepreneurs and has been 90% owned by The Coca-Cola Company since 2013. They produce smoothies, juices and veg pots which are sold in the UK and in a few European countries. The innocent drink brand values are healthy, natural, sustainable and ethically responsible. These values are reflected in their products, made exclusively with natural and sustainable sourced ingredients, with no added sugar and no concentrate, and whose 10% of profits go to charity. Innocent drinks communicate their brand values through above-the-line and below-the-line advertising by using subtle marketing techniques that seek to communicate the brand’s personality. According to academics core values are essential to defining the corporate brand identity and support the brand promise being made to the customer, and they guide internal and external brand building.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - Innocent Drinks Marketing
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – Innocent Drinks Marketing

Managing Human Capital

Human resource is the most crucial asset of a firm since the organizational growth and profitability are determined by the effective human resource management, according to Reece (2013). When a firm successfully places the best employee to the suitable position, the productivity tends to increase. In this case, an effective and efficient employee adds value to the organizational well-being. The employees of a firm deal mostly with the customers and service delivery to the customers is determined by the level of motivation to the employees. A motivated employee tends to engage with the job with higher intensity and persistence. This higher intensity and persistence result in quality and timely service to the customers. Hence, customer satisfaction is closely linked with the employee motivation. Employee satisfaction as well as customer satisfaction leads to the organizational growth and profitability for a firm, claimed by Truss et al (2012). In this case, the role of customer satisfaction on sales turnover can be referred. When customers are satisfied, the loyalty of the customers increases. Besides this, the customers also do word of mouth marketing for the firm which lead to growth in sales. Thus, the profitability and growth of the firm is ensured.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - Human Capital Management
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – Human Capital Management

Corporate Finance – Mergers and Acquisitions

Business organisations are primarily instituted with the rationale of maximizing shareholder value through growth. To achieve this end, businesses will have to operate in a competitive landscape characterized by high uncertainties. Given the kind of environment they operate, businesses can be affected by financial volatility such as the credit crunch of 2008. One of the strategies to offset this financial distress is through Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). This report will carry out a performance review in the banking sector on the acquisition of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) by Lloyds Banking Group within the precarious times of the global financial recession in 2008.

Drawing on qualitative and quantitative information this report aims to establish the profitability effect of the acquisition on acquirer. The report also reflects on the rationale that necessitated this acquisition and the effect its announcement had on shareholder value. Secondary data in the form of profitability ratios (2004 to 2013) will be sourced from OSIRIS and FAME financial databases. Other qualitative information for analysis will be sourced from annual reports of the banks and credible news agencies. Share prices to be used to perform the event study will be sourced from Yahoo Finance. Performance indicators in the form ratios will be analysed using graphical interpretation of results with the help of Microsoft Excel. The event study will be performed using the market model in deriving the abnormal returns on the day of the announcement. The performance of the acquirer will be bench-marked through a trend and peer analysis review.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - Corporate Finance Mergers Acquisitions
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – Corporate Finance Mergers Acquisitions

Psychographic Segmentation Of Luxury Goods

Market segmentation can be defined as the division of a market into smaller segments of buyers with distinct needs, characteristics or behaviors that might require separate marketing strategies or mixes. Psychographic segmentation is a mechanism of market segmentation that is utilized to divide the heterogeneous whole market into sub markets whereby each individual shares homogeneous traits, socioeconomic statuses, personality or behavioral characteristics. The luxury goods industry is a market that consists of copious products that present themselves as being of superior quality and functionality in juxtaposition to competitors, while also attaining esteemed regard and a high perceived quality by consumers in the market.

This report fundamentally examines the luxury goods industry with relation to aspects such as size, brand leaders, competition, market trends and consumer decision making, while subsequently utilizing theoretical knowledge of psychographic segmentation to explore managerial implications and strategies associated with the presence of certain consumers in the luxury goods industry. All information will be substantiated by expertise knowledge in the form of peer-reviewed journals, while also utilizing market-specific information derived from the passport database to enhance statistical and theoretical knowledge of the industry, and the methods of psychographic segmentation implemented to assess the luxury goods market.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - Psychographic Segmentation
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – Psychographic Segmentation

Leadership – A Critical Assessment on Leader-Member Exchange (LMX)

Leadership is the key to ensuring the desired efforts by different parties within a firm to achieve the goals and visions whereby the stakeholders are inspired and motivated for the achievement of individual goals as well as organisational goals. As the application of proper leadership theory can ensure the growth of a firm, the choice of leadership theory is often described as a complex decision to make. Considering the vision and mission of a firm, the leaders must choose to implement a leadership theory that can truly contribute to the organisational growth as well as employees’ professional development.

Through innate qualities and hard work, leaders make a firm competitive in the industry. On the other hand, by showing flexibility; leaders transform their leadership style based on the opportunities and threats from the internal and external environment. In this paper, by focusing on a single approach different theories of leadership are assessed comprehensively. These theories of leadership are the benchmark for leaders to reinforce their control throughout the organisation. Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory of leadership is critically assessed in this paper to comprehend the development and implication of the theory in organisational framework.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - Leader-Member Exchange
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – Leader-Member Exchange

Professional and Personal Development – Leadership Theories

To be a successful leader in any organization, leadership theories help to give guidance of skills and character to people. Several leadership theories like trait theories, contingency theories, behavioral theory and Leader –Member Exchange theory will be described here that helps to give different guidance in different situations. Among all these leadership theories, trait theories are one of the effective theories. In this study, Trait theories significance and empirical reviews are determined properly that helps to determine habitual pattern of behavior. Traits are different in different situations in different types of people that influence behavior. Leaders should be transforming their leadership styles in different situation to adjust with market demand and to enhance leadership qualities and approaches. When leaders can get effective leadership skills and attributes, then they can handle any type of situation easily and enhance organizations well-beings as well as individual development.

The objectives of this study are given here:

  • To analyze some leadership theories and determine one important and effective leadership theory
  • To inscribe a reflective evaluation of preferred theory to understand substantial body of academic and professional knowledge about this theory
  • To trace out development of leadership approach
Top 10 Business Studies Essays - Leadership Theories
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – Leadership Theories

Marketing Analysis on Red Bull Company

Red Bull was the first company to offer Energy Drinks throughout the world, creating a completely new category on the consumer beverage marketplace, therefore becoming synonymous with energy drinks for a large number of consumers. This new category of Energy Beverages is sold in over 169 countries worldwide, making Red Bull Energy Drink market extremely broad. The product Red Bull sells is of course the drink and as described above there are some variants, but in the essence it is all based on the traditional recipe of the energy drink. Red Bull offers the customer a refreshing beverage that includes various stimulants. However a big part of the product is the branding; e.g. the substance found in the cans of Red Bull might seem extremely similar to competitors, the brand name, including the iconic packaging, is what defines the product that is offered by Red Bull and creates value for the customer.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - Marketing Analysis Red Bull
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – Marketing Analysis Red Bull

Marketing Management Energy Drink Industry

Managing and appraising the funds and activities of firm relates with the marketing management. In order to reduce the costs and increase the profitability of a firm, managing the marketing issues effectively is crucial. A start-up energy drink company has decided to launch their products. In this case, the United Kingdom (UK) environment will be considered to assess the internal and external environment of the new firm. With the help of different models like PEST, SWOT, Five Forces, etc. the firm’s internal and external issues as well as competitive factors will be assessed. A marketing plan will be developed considering the SMART objectives along with the 7P analysis of the firm. The energy drink industry is a competitive industry with giants like Monster, Rockstar, Red Bull, etc. operating in the industry. To formulate the marketing strategy of the start-up, a critical assessment of the marketing and promotional assessment of the giant firms will be conducted.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - Marketing Energy Drink Industry
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – Marketing Energy Drink Industry

Strategic Management – British Airways Business Environment

Strategic management deals for better arrangement of corporate strategies and strategic significance to maintain optimum administration practices. Any business strategy gives the guidelines and ways of enhancing company’s profitability and achieving competitive advantages. This report will be described several terms and concepts of strategic management based on British Airways Company. As a consultant of British Airways, I have to suggest business new or incremental strategy for business resilience and sustainability. At the very first part of this report, internal and external environmental factors will be described by using SWOT analysis and Porters five forces model. A new or incremental strategy will be recommended based on company’s strategic capabilities, competitive analysis and organizational structure. Recommended strategy will be critically analyzed and developed a relationship with human resource capital, financial conditions, operational conditions and technological conditions in the second part. Change management program will be determined in the last part of this report and factors to be determined that may hamper or enhance change management program here.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - British Airways Environment
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – British Airways Environment

Consultancy Report – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

This report has focused on the need for strategic change within GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) a UK based global pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor. The report has identified the strategic need of change within the international value delivery system of GSK. This report has identified that GSK is facing problem with its current hierarchical organisational culture which has been resulted in interrupted organisational communication and inefficiency in the value delivery process. The factors driving the change process are volatile financial performance, changing customer buying behaviour and the intensity of the market rivalry. McKinsey’s 7S Change Model has been suggested to bring the strategic change within GSK. The challenges to the change process that have been identified are employee resistances to change, resource constraints and ideological resistances to change. The change process is aimed at enhancing organisational efficiency, organisational value, uninterrupted organisational communication and employee engagement.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - GlaxoSmithKline Consultancy Report
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – GlaxoSmithKline Consultancy Report

Analysis of Supply Chain Management at IKEA

The purpose of the paper is to evaluate three dimensions of supply chain management at IKEA. The supply chain management is wide concept and IKEA retail business is familiar with it. The IKEA business is being evaluated in its first dimension the structure adopted by it. Logistics structure, supply chain structure and product development structure are being studied in this report. The second dimension of report has showed that what kind of issues and problems in its current logistics structure. Lastly, it has showed that how structure is recommended so that it can meet challenges in future while adopting business in most competitive business. The first part of report also showed that what is uniqueness of business and show it has adopted that uniqueness ideally. The business nature of business and retailing process development are core elements of report. The main concern of report is to identify that how much IKEA is responsible towards society and its customer and even with its suppliers. This is only possible with low cost production, just time model n supply chain management and cost effective supplier selection. The report has ensured with several mindsets about supply chain management that how IKEA is leading in retail industry.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - IKEA Supply Chain Management
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – IKEA Supply Chain Management

Cultural Influence on International Marketing

The era of globalization is here as economies are integrating with other economies, expanding and are exposing themselves to universal marketing decisions. Marketers in the international market need to understand that promotion of a product is adversely affected by cultural patterns in various countries. The demand trends for various products and choices of people depend on cultural values, customs, and tradition of a specific region. Culture is depicted entirely by the attributes and way of life of a particular group of people. This entails the way people speak, believes, their dressing styles, learning, attitudes values, and norms. Many factors are there which affects the marketing process for a product like economy, competition, target market, and budget but culture play an essential role on impacting consumer preference which was not seen as a critical element many years ago. Marketing processes relate to planning, product promotion to cope with cost control, maintaining quality and competition.

Top 10 Business Studies Essays - Culture International Marketing
Top 10 Business Studies Essays – Culture International Marketing

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Change Management British Airways

Change Management at British Airways

Change Management British Airways – In liquid times (Bauman, 2007), the market is characterized by growing complexity and the capacity to innovate is essential to survival of the firms, as there are more competition. In this context, the traditional factors of production become obsolete fast, and the human resources emerges as the flexible factor that gives dynamism to the firms, been more than a strategic asset , but the competitive advantage (Barney and Wright, 1997) , as it can responds quickly to these changes.

As an important factor of production, human resources must be applied efficiently under the framework of business administration theories and practice, as a controlled and guided process within the firm, known as human resources management.

In the 1970s, the economics structure was being transformed towards the transactions, due the development of the Euro Market and the entering of Oil Dollars. The increase in those financial operations and the development of the Lean Management by Toyota enabled the multiplication of financial services, making the financial markets grow more than the GDP through lending (Schiller, 2008). This led to the abandonment of the Bretton Woods and the oil crisis, disrupting the market. At same time, the developed world faced stagflation and the Keynesian policies were de-legitimized towards the neo-liberal ones (Krugman, 2009).

The British Airways, a State owned firm back then, was hit hard by the oil crisis which increased its operational costs. Notwithstanding, the recession lived by the United Kingdom were paired with a rigid management system, making the firm lose market share and revenue. A cultural shift was proposed in the 1980s, transforming the company, which became the world leader of the aviation market in just one decade and a paradigm both of the cultural change and the change management of strategies. For that reason, it was the elected case to present the present Report, where it will be analyzed the cultural change, the management of change strategy and the consequently performance of the firm.

British Airways Human Resources in Practice: towards the flexibility of Human Resources Management through the cultural shift

In 1983 British Airlines was losing almost 140 millions per year and the saying of the time defined it as “Bloody Awful” . Few years earlier, in 1980, a survey conducted by the International Passenger Association put the BA as the wort airliner carrier. The culture of the company was internally driven, as demonstrated by one of its seniors managers which said in 1984 that they could run a good airliner if it werent for the passengers. The uncertain environment was completed with the privatization which would be carried during the 1980s (Carleton and Lindenberry. 2004).

In this unstable environment, a new CEO assumed in 1983, aiming to recover the company. Its most relevant decision was the transformation of the culture of the BA, which would not be in the “transportation business” but in the customer services market, re-orienting it towards the external driven framework. This change management would allow to focus in the client and provide a quick response to the markets needs, as the customer became the center of the management policies. Although, the company faced the challenge to re-adapt the thinking of 50,000 employees towards this new values, changing their concepts about the BA, their jobs and objectives, essential to align the operational aspect of the HRM (group) to the intangible (culture), keeping the organizational processes coherent ( Schein, 2013).

The change of culture at British Airways aimed to transform the organization towards the customer, with costs and benefits approach, from a profit perspective. The leadership role was relevant, as the CEO was present in all operational processes, from the flying crew to the sessions of the program Managing People First (Turnbull et al, 2001), though, the most relevant changes in the culture, in the period from 1983 to 1995, were, the following:

  • Putting People First (1983) –It was aligned to the culture change towards the externally driven company, consisting in the mandatory of attendance to all staff members of the BA worldwide. The CEO, Colin Marshall, was present in more than 9 in 10 of those events, aiming to describe his vision of the new company structure to the staff.
  • A Day In The Life (1984) – BA had a rigid management style, where hierarchy was one of the core values. The Day in the Life program was a one day training which were mandatory to all the staff worldwide, aiming to improve the communications among the sectors, by familiarizing the staff with other departments. The objective was to create empathy towards the others employees and customers in general, by the accountability of the staff.
  • Terminal Supervisor Development Program (1984-1985)– It consisted of a thirteen-day residence program directed to all the supervisors of the company´s terminals, as the new customer centric approach required all supervisors working in the provision of customers services to the re-trained. The program required also that supervisors who wished to keep their positions after the training program, to re-apply to their jobs.
  • Managing People First (1984-1990)– It was a five program developed for the training of all managers worldwide in the executive levels, in terms of the leadership organizational behavior. The managers reviwed their careers and were encouraged to develop acting lines to adapt their behavior in the new cultural approach.
  • Performance Appraisal (1985) – As the company was changing, with new jobs and management practices, the performance appraisal estabilized the cultural change, which still needed to be defined through the practice. The performance appraisal, thus, became important in embedd and evalue and new culture adoption, as the bonus was tied to the use of the new organizational values within the company.

The change management processes, through the culture defined by the CEO Colin Marshall was continued by the appointed CEO in 1985, Robert Ayling, which proposed the following:

  • Customer Service Leadership Programs (1988-1989) – Creation of a brand through the five class services,aiming to attend the customer´s demand through extensive market research. The program was developed in 5 days, destined to the ground management staff which added value to the customer, to all ground managers worldwide.
  • Winning For Customers (1990) – It was a one day program destined to all the staff to reiterate the cultural shift towards the customer satisfaction, using computer-based simulations of different customer consumption behaviors (British Airways Report, 2010).

Attained Results and the impact of the culture in the Change Management British Airways

The BA Change Management applied into practice the organizational culture from the behaviorist theory, adding a fluidity approach, in terms of flexibility. The HR organizational project aims to model the right behavior to the company, and is particularly focused on ensuring that behaviors to support the change on direction of the customer attention are embedded throughout the organization.

Change Management British Airways
Change Management British Airways

Although, as the Organizational Behavior, traditionally, divides organizational mechanisms as the structure and the culture, and, group mechanisms as leadership behavior and team functioning, for a result to be achieved, there is need to coordinate organizational mechanism with group mechanisms, as they are interdependent, one being the object and the second being the action. Notwithstanding the perceived change was at the cultural level, the leadership was reinforced and emphasized in the Change Management strategy, aiming to direct behaviors through the alignment to the new culture. In this sense, the approach of the BA group can be understood from a systemic perspective, as it conceives both organizational and group mechanisms. The leadership, management training and other programs demonstrates the equilibrium weight between the HRM mechanisms. The culture change was allied to the structural change of the company, which had passed through wage cuts and reformulation of compensations.

As the company determined what it wants to be in terms of culture (results, in the case be more customer oriented), it identified the behaviors it need to follow to attain those results, trained the leaders in the skills needed to achieve those behaviors and rewarded those who achieved, the control of protocols furthered the reaching of the strategy of the culture shift, through a coherent Change Management program, transforming the BA in the most profitable airline company in 1996.

Though, the focus in the culture must be counterbalanced with the other organizational aspects of the firm which were also relevant in the reinvention of the BA in the market (Turnball et al 2001). According to Schein (2013), the real culture, is embedded in the behaviors, values and practices of the group mechanism, being a multidisciplinary approach more proper than the classification of the BA change in terms uniquely or more relevant of the culture. This is because the cultural change supposes a series of inferences which are linked by the behavior of the group according to its values, thus, although companies modifies and creates subcultures in the long run (Avolio, 2011), the leadership and fellowship training programs and strategies, and, the structural change, also were fundamental to enable the cultural shift of the organization, consolidating the BA position in the market in the 1990s. The flexibility and quick response to the markets through the redirection of the firm towards the customer services only were possible because the practices of the company already were being transformed, before the new culture be developed (Tushman et al, 2006).

References

Avolio, B. et al. (2011). An Integrative Process of Leadership. American Psychologist. V. 68, n.6.

Barney, J. and Wright, P. On Becoming a Strategic Partner: The Role of Human Resources in Gaining Competitive Advantage. Cornell University ILR School, 1997.

Bauman, Z (2007). Liquid Times, living in an age of uncertainty. Kindle version book, Paperback.

Carleton, R. and Lineberry, C. (2004). Achieving Post Merger Success: a stakeholder guide to due diligence, assessment and integration. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Chomsky, N. (2005) Profit over people: neoliberalism and global order. Seven Stories Press, New York.

Hirsch, A. (1992) Milton Friedman: Economics in Theory and Practice. University of Michigan Press.

Jeffery, R. (2014). What you can learn from Santander.

Maslow, A. (1992) Maslow on Change Management.

Schein, E. (2013). Change Management, Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Schiller, R. (2008) The subprime solution: how today´s global crisis happened and what to do about it. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Turnball, P. et al (2001). Strategic Choice and Industrial Relations: a case study of British Airways.

Tushman, M. et al (1996). Managing Innovation and Change Management British Airways. London: Sage.

Warner, M. (1994). Japanese Culture, Western Management: Taylorism and Human Resources in Japan. Organization Studies July 1994 vol. 15no. 4 509-533.

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Health and Safety Management

Health and Safety Management Essay

The British Airways Company being a member of the European airlines’ royal family, carries cargo and passengers to destinations exceeding 150 in some 75 states from hubs at the city of London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and airports in London city. The carrier does its operations to a fleet of aircraft exceeding 240, which consist mainly of Boeing jets and Airbus. The BA (British Airways) stretches its network and services to destinations that exceeds 400 in total, through agreements of joint business and relationships that are code shared with AMR’s airlines from America and Oneworld alliance members, for instance, Qantas. Iberia, which was Spain’s number one airline, merged with the BA (British Airways) in 2011 that led to the formation of IAG (International Airlines Group).

The company comprises of a workforce personnel who add up to approximately 57,000, who happen to be distributed to several sectors or sections, for instance, the management, customer service, grounds operations, security, finance, and so on. However, BA being a well recognized airline company, my company is an affiliate of it whereby it deals with clearing and forwarding of goods that are being transported. The company does its operations on ground level only mainly for BA airlines, and it has a workforce of about 450 employees. The employees are spread across and all over within the airline’s are of work (grounds only). The company mainly deals with luggage on transport or that are imported or exported, cleaning of the aircraft, luggage inspection and so on.

Health and Safety Management

For every company that has employees or workforce that exceeds five in number, should come up with health and safety management measures as required by law in addition to several other management of safety that are subjected as legal requirements. The British Airways (BA) is one of the companies that are subjected to this. Every year, over 200 people get killed and over a million get serious injuries every year at their work stations or places. Those who suffer from illnesses made worse by or caused by their work are over two million. Forestry industries are the industries that are well known to be more dangerous, and workers in this sector are prone to more dangers that can result to death and/or illnesses when they are at work compared to any other industry or company, for instance, in construction sites or even airports in this case. However, no danger is greater than the other, provided that it can maim or even kill, it is still danger and for that reason, safety and health measures should to be put to safeguard the lives of the workers at the work premises.

Health and Safety Management
Health and Safety Management

The provision of health and safety management training and information has its importance to every individual in instances where it helps to; ensure that workers or employees is not made ill or/and injured by the kind of works that they engage themselves in, developing of a culture that is safe and of positive health, whereby healthy working and safety becomes every worker’s second nature, realizing and finding out how to manage safety and health better and finally, meeting the legal obligation of protecting the health and safety management of workers.

Training the workers effectively also has its significance, whereby; it contributes towards enabling the workers to be experienced in safety and health, assists companies to keep away from stresses that ill health and accidents cause, and finally, help the companies to stay away from financial expenses that are likely to be caused due to ill health occupations and accidents. In addition, it is important to consider that, not all losses are covered by the insurance company. Products that are damaged, production that are lost and workforce that lacks motivation can all be the cause.

Health & Safety in Airports

Health and safety management in airports is paramount in the delivery of every project, and operate a system of safety management. The system of system management adopts the main beliefs of the guidance on successful health and safety management and is controlled in full observance with every current legislation safety. Young and Wells (2011 p. 78) give out a suggestion that, highlighting that is done is normally based on regulations on construction, design and management (2007) with airports gratifying the role of contractor or principal contractor, the assessment of risk for the purposes of identifying hazards, risk evaluation, implementation of harmless and secure systems of work and related controls, providing training and awareness for every employee from every level and finally, controlling of the sub contractors.

Like in most airports, according to Fuller and Varssie (2004 p. 112), the health and safety management and systems, replicates detailed approach to in the provision of work for every employee and the company’s duties to others. The company has a safety record that is of excellence, managers who normally attend course of safe management, are usually trained with perfection. The monitoring and the enforcement of the policy regarding health and safety management performance across every business activity through:

  • Toolbox talks
  • Safety audits and inspections
  • Reporting of accidents and near miss
  • Regular reports about safety
  • The involvement of a member of staff and communications
  • Regular meetings regarding management team, with a resilient stress on performance of safety
  • Regular meetings on management with a resilient highlighting on management, safety and performance

Accident assessment at workplace

According to Ludwig and Ayres (2007 p. 67) they suggest that, there are various common accidents that do occur in workplace. Injuries at places of work that are suffered by workers who work in the airport, are not restricted to scrapes, paper cuts and other negligible issues. A good number of workers (probably thousands) — whether they conduct their work inside an office or at a site that construction is underway — put up with incapacitating, life-changing injuries every year. If anyone or a loved one for that matter, became ill withed an injury when he was on his place of work, he should seek out for the assistance he needs as soon as possible.

According to Ludwig and Ayres (2007 p. 76), waiting excessively for so long to file an allegation, could put one’s capability of obtaining full reimbursement at jeopardy. For example, Hank Barnett of The Barnett Law Firm has important familiarity of helping workers who are injured to obtain their compensation via the compensation system of Georgia’s workers’. As of 1983, he has assisted a lot of clients file winning claims or appeals a refutation of reimbursement benefits of workers’. He figures out the functionality of the system, has familiarity in dealing with companies that handle indemnity (insurance companies) and works hard to defend the rights of his clients at any given time.

Common Injuries Due to a Workplace Accident

A number of law firms, among them, The Barnett Law, Firm have assisted workers with injuries who are from the range of syndrome of carpal tunnel and injuries of repetitive stress to accidents that have caused a catastrophic death of a cherished one. It is understood that that a number of injuries may have need of an employer to create accommodations for instance, an impermanent change in duties of work, at the same time as others averts the injured worker from working for extensive periods of time. Whatever the state of affairs, According to Fuller and Varssie (2004 p. 134), the law will make sure that the injured worker is given the care and reimbursement he necessitates. Other common workplace injuries include:

  • Neck and back injuries
  • Injuries of the spinal cord
  • Brain trauma (TBI) and head injuries
  • RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) and chronic pain
  • Ankle, knee and leg, injuries
  • Occupational / workplace disease
  • Burns or injuries those are chemically-related
  • Psychological disorders
  • Aggravation of pre-obtainable injuries

The law is conscious that one is going through a traumatic time. Therefore, it concentrates on getting results fast and provides the clients with the kind of respect they ought to have (National Research Council 2012 p. 89).

Common examples of accidents at work

Accidents at places of work can occur at whichever time and to any person whether an individual is working in an office, a warehouse or a shop. According to Fuller and Varssie (2004 p. 167), scores of these will rely on the kind of working surroundings, for example, recurring Strain Injury is more probable to occur in an office like place of work and injuries of the back from physical work. Despite the fact that it is the employer‘s responsibility of anyone to minimize the risk of accidents, they do unluckily take place from time to time. There are scores of injuries of dissimilar types that can come to pass in the places of work including:

Trips and Slips

Just about a third of accidents that come about in the places of work are a consequence of trips and slips. Trips and slips injuries take place mainly for the reasons that are relating to wet floors because of bad weather poor or housekeeping, or objects hindering the footpath for example cables or floors that are uneven. Young and Wells (2011 p. 126) suggest that these injuries can vary from negligible bruises and bumps to main fractures. To minimize such incidences or accidents then some measures have to be put to combat injuries that are liable to be brought about by trips and slips. Ensuring that there should be no wet floor and incase of any, then it should be dried up immediately. The floors should be rough like to enhance grip while walking hence no trips will be likely to occur, and finally, doing a thorough housekeeping and ensuring that no object is hindering the footpath. If this is followed, least amount accidents will be witnessed.

Lifting

Yet again this is an additional major reason of accidents in places of work. Accidents that are resulted by lifting are more possible to take place amongst those staff members who have to take on manual management including pulling, pushing, lowering, lifting or carrying huge items on a customary basis. An injury can take place if the maneuver is not done in the approved manner or when an individual has not been shown how to perform the task as it should be in line with health and safety management course of action. People in this particular of environment should be well taught on how to perform these tasks appropriately in order to avoid injuries at work. In addition, the use of machinery should come to place in order to make their work easier when it comes to lifting of heavy objects, for example, the use of fork lifts

Falls

According to National Research Council (2012 p. 109), this kind of accident can consist of falling from stepladders or other platforms that are raised from the ground, for example, scaffolding. Injuries that are obtained from falling can array from slight strains or sprains to major back or head fractures and injuries. In this scenario, there is only one simple step that can keep individuals in the places of work safe, and that is simply them being watchful and careful

Workplace Traffic Accidents

These can take place in any place of work that makes full use of motorized vehicles like for example, in warehouses, and airports for that matter. Injuries can take place if the automobile that is being used, crashes or overturns or when items descend from it. The safety measures for this case are quite strict and should be followed in order to avoid such cases. As Ludwig and Ayres (2007 p. 89) suggests that the staff using the automobile, should acquire appropriate training on how to use the machinery, in terms of the required speed, maximum weight to be lifted (commonly in forklifts) and so on, because when it comes to automobiles, it is required that care and watchfulness should be the order of the duty.

Burns

Young and Wells (2011 p. 117) suggest that individuals who do their works in the kitchen, are not the only ones who can go through major or minor burn injuries, but even those perform electrical work are also capable of suffering from burns typically because of shock caused by electricity. The only safety measures to be put to practice in this situation, is the wearing of gloves at all times and never handling hot or naked wires with bare hands.

Neck and Back injuries

Despite the fact that working in an office can appear safe enough, having the same sitting position from time to time can occasionally result to neck and back injuries. According to Reese (2009 p. 113), this can take place if an individual is not in the appropriate sitting position, for instance, when the chair too low or high for the desk, no support of the back, when the computer too low so drooping over the desk. Getting the appropriate office furniture is the solution on top of sitting in the correct position, normally, 90 degrees and eyes straight to the screen.

Driving accidents – these take place to those individuals, who engage in driving as part of their work, for instance, taxi drivers, dispatch riders, sales rep, fast food delivery and so on. Following traffic rules is the only solution to avoid accidents, which is common sense.

Heavy apparatus – members of staff who work with heavy and plant apparatus for instance industries that deal with construction can put up with major work accidents. The use of machinery should be put to practice and weight balancing should also be put in mind to avoid accidents that are being caused doe to overload.

The RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) – is mainly resulted by excessive use of the arms or hands to do a recurring job for so long without taking a break, for instance, factory work, typing, writing, driving, and so on. Taking a break is important n this case and this allows the body to coordinate well.

Problems with Vision– this injury can frequently take place to the individuals who make use of computers as their working toll on a daily basis. This injury is becoming the most widespread injury because of the frequent exploit of computers in the place of work.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) – according to Taylor (2005 p. 167), it is a type of a concern disorder that is able to arise after an individual has experienced or witnessed a shocking and disturbing event that drew in the risk of injury or death. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is more frequent in jobs of, for example, driving as one could possibly be involved in a dreadful car accident, or working in a business that may possibly be held up, for example, banks, post office or bookmakers.

Example of an Accident That Occurred

Not much time has passed since one of the mentioned accidents happened to one of the workers and sustained serious injuries that he obtained from burns caused by electric shock. The worker and his colleagues left their respective places of work late in the night and were headed for the engineering department where all the repairs are done. They normally hang out there as they catch up on old time stories, because apparently, they happened to be friends who were united together by the job that they were doing. It rained heavily that night that the drainage system was becoming a nuisance, so the rain water flooded everywhere and water managed to find its way in the room. Peter accidentally dropped his phone and rushed to pick it up, but without knowing, he supported himself with the wall and his other hand reaching for the wet phone and got an electric shock that was caused by a naked cable that was being used for welding. The burns were so serious that his hand had to be amputated. Following this incident, the colleagues also developed PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) that made them to develop fear of that particular place for the reasons that, it reminds them of that incident.

In such cases, according to National Research Council (2012 p. 78), there are measures that if were put into practice, the occurrence would not have happened. The first thing that should have been done is making sure that all the apparatus that use electricity especially of high voltages, should have been properly checked, managed and repaired, for the reason that any naked wire can result to serious damage as experienced by the staff member. The second thing that should have been done, is ensuring that water drainage system should be regularly checked and corrections should be done upon being spotted, because apart from the shocking incident, water can make floors slippery hence casing someone to trip and fall, something that can bring about head, back or even spinal injuries, and as known, these are deadly injuries with severe results. Lastly, tools must never be left in the open, especially electric tools; they should be disconnected from any source of electricity and be stored and kept in dry places in order to reduce such cases.

References

Fuller, C., & Vassie, L. H. (2004). Health and safety management: principles and best practice. Harlow (Essex), Pearson Education.

Ludwig, D. A., & Ayres, M. (2007). Safety management systems for airports. Washington, D.C., Transportation Research Board. National Research Council (U.S.), Airport Cooperative Research Program, United States,

Ricondo & Associates, Planport GMBH., Two Hundred, Inc, & Flughafen Zürich.      (2012).Airport apron management and control programs. Washington, D.C., Transportation Research Board.

Reese, C. D. (2009). Occupational health and safety management: a practical approach. Boca   Raton, CRC Press.

Taylor, B. (2005). Effective Environmental, Health and Safety Management Using the Team Approach. Hoboken, John Wiley & Sons.

Young, S. B., & Wells, A. T. (2011). Airport planning and management. New York, McGraw-Hill Professional.

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Entrepreneur Characteristics

Entrepreneurial Challenge and New Venture Creation

The views in the past on the entrepreneur’s characteristics were formed upon a general agreement with regard to its economic importance society. The term entrepreneurship has received solid attention from economists, scientists and policy making body. Though entrepreneurship has several aspects, these aspects can be discovered in the literature and theories when trying to explore the views of the classical researchers to entrepreneurship aspects and also discussion upon the relevant formal and informal attributes that are mandatory for an individual to succeed as an entrepreneur in the real world, this add more desire to the entrepreneurial challenge and venture creation.

The intended goal of stimulating entrepreneurship in people is to figure whether what type of formal and informal attributes needs to be existent in a person to gauge whether he would likely to succeed after starting a businesses venture. Accomplished entrepreneurs are not restricted to one personality profile but rather arrive in varied ages, differing incomes, any gender, and particular race. They might even have different educational background and experience. However according to our classical researchers majority of the entrepreneurs who succeed in life tend to have similar personal attributes. These attributes may consist of innovation, creativity, determination, versatile, initiators and leadership traits.

Theoretical Review On The Entrepreneur Traits And Attributes

The opportunity to become independent and being you own boss along with making wealth and has motivated many young or middle aged individuals to try to become an entrepreneur. Evidence shows that this has been majorly reflected the research on the emergence of small and medium enterprises (SME) and more significantly, the direct and indirect attributes that are linked with the entrepreneurs who have successfully been able to make their company grow and prosper led. The overall study aspects discussed in the literature are likely to revolve around’ leadership skills of an entrepreneur, their orientation process, the level of management skills, personality indicators or traits and their circle or the network they belong to. (McClelland 1961) Emphasized that attributes which contributes the most towards becoming a successful entrepreneur is the need for achievement.

Where on the other hand (Begley and Boyd 1987) discovered that entrepreneurs or initiators may score relatively higher than managers of a small business who are non-initiators in need for achievement, taking risk, and have a low tolerance regarding ambiguity. Another researcher (Brockhaus, 1982) analysed a large number of characteristics related to psychology and concluded that the main indicators of entrepreneurship attributes are linked to the high achievement needs, high centre of control and a high risk taking.

While on the other hand, Brockhaus and Horwitz’s (1986) theories presented that entrepreneurs who inherit high centre of control strive for high achievements as well. It has also been suggested that the essential factor in differentiation between entrepreneurs from a manager is risk taking factor (Mill 1984). It could also be established that entrepreneurs may execute higher tolerance to risk especially in departments or areas where they have full control or even realization of the potential of making a profit in that area. Many studies have included risk taking as a primary entrepreneurial characteristic.

It was confirmed at a later stage that entrepreneurs readily undertake the uncertainty and unknowing situations; therefore the individuals who are more inclined towards becoming an entrepreneur are expected to depict comparatively greater tolerance of ambiguity (Mitton 1989). It has also been suggested that innovation is the most prominent factor that is essential for the characteristic of an entrepreneur. Existing literature on entrepreneurship indeed give a picture of entrepreneurs being relevantly more innovative than individuals who lack the potential to become an entrepreneur (Koh and Ho, 1992); personality traits of entrepreneurs have been defined to have a significant effect on organizational growth (Sexton and Robinson 1994).

The Entrepreneur
The Entrepreneur

Researches also discovered that personality attributes such as internal point of control and tolerance to ambiguity influences the success of business directly and the processes of the business in an indirect manner (Vazquez and Farnendez 2000). It was complimented with later variables related to demographics to study and investigate the entrepreneur’s traits that could have a direct impact on the success or failures of entrepreneurs residing in Africa. Even though researches on an entrepreneur’s traits have executed a crucial role in the contribution of the success of entrepreneurs all over the world, these traits have been constructively criticized grounds of theory and empirical outcomes in the studies of entrepreneur’s attributes Gartner (1988). One of the researchers in his article, clearly addresses to who is an entrepreneur and hence suggest that asking Who is the wrong sort of question when establishing characteristics of a successful the success of a business venture is mediating phenomena and cannot be related to entrepreneurs personality traits only Gartner 1988). There was a study conducted on a segment of employees done by two researchers which helped to reveal that those individuals who are initiators at work place tend to do better than others (Frese and Fay’s 2001).

Researches on self-initialisation focuses on the nature of entrepreneurs being self-starters and not waiting for others to instruct them: hence they manage to success due to their proactive nature, hence they know exactly how to seize and utilize an opportunity with their proactive attitude, they are the solution finders rather than hurdle makers(Tag and Fresse1997). Great initiative taking entrepreneurs are successful at staying ahead of their competing colleagues members, and therefore are considered as role models for their subordinates. Self initiators directed upon the achievement of their goal and oriented towards action (Frese et al., 1997) and therefore are in close alignment to their consistent strategy. There are similar drawn traits relating to the entrepreneurial challenge and venture creation.

It is one of the contingent variables behind which helps to predict whether an individual has the potential to become a successful entrepreneur. The majority proportion of studies executed on personal self initiation is in direct relation to performance of the employee and hence significantly limited number of studies has been published on personal and self initiation with respect to success as an entrepreneur.

Because of reduced functioning competencies of the initiators, they are generally replaced by experienced managers who possess the competency that are necessarily required to handle the company’s affairs when the situation begins to transform from a start up phase of business life cycle to a growth stage organization.

Some of the researcher was unsuccessful in finding any evidence regarding professional managers performing relatively better than initiators in companies with high than the original starters of the company. They were intending on observing that many company founders were good at managing growth in an effective manner. There for rejecting the assumption that an only professional managers need to be employed in order to manage high growth companies (Willard, Krueger, and Freeser, 1992). This research was able to challenge the traditional views upon wisdom is it was able to reveal the process through which accomplished entrepreneurs progress through and turn themselves into competent professional managers.

Accordingly some of the researchers found that founder members of the company are also eligible to have the same competency for performing as professional managers have, there are very limited studies on the similarity between a manager and a founder of a company who are required to perform when working in a growth focused company.

Some of the researchers also discovered that most of failure in business was contributed towards the lack of appropriate managing skills (O’Neill & Duker, 1986). It has been reviewed through the literature used for this report that there are approximately 10 failing high-tech companies and were able to conclude that there were three main contributors for this failure which were financial issues, problems with either the product or market and managerial issues.

Get Test For Testing Entrepreneurship

The explanation or predictors of a person good at enterprising could be established from the background that could be uncovered about the entrepreneur. The concept being that the person eligible for enterprising would likely to share similar entrepreneur’s traits. GET2 test helps to discover the different aspect of becoming an entrepreneur an entrepreneur is not some who just starts up a completely new venture, but some of the examples arise from within the organizations as well. Such people are referred to as entrepreneurs.

Then there are also volunteers who are eager to participate in new projects and introduce new ideas within the project voluntary in the community such volunteers could be referred to as volunpreneurs. However, the tendency to enterprise could be defined as the ability to initiating a new business and then managing that business successfully.

As the complimentary assessment of a tendency to enterprise the GET test was introduced at Business School of Durham University 1988 in order to help employers gauge the entrepreneurial tendency of the candidates, who apply at their firm for a position as well as to guide the individuals willing to become an entrepreneur about their probability of having entrepreneurial characteristics, and whether they would succeed if would take such a chance.

It hence was able to generate a lot of curiosity and interest amongst academic institutions, and other venture capitalists who work globally in the field of innovative projects that are started by aspiring entrepreneurs.

Get2 test could be used for research, hiring and sponsoring of a new project. Even though this test has been implemented in many organizations to gauge effectiveness of an entrepreneur it is still not free of criticism as it has been debated that the attributes that are investigated in this test may not ensure that an individual has the eagerness to become responsible for a completely new project, and may lack the determination to complete projects on time and also the other factors like financial issues, external environmental factors and other managerial skills may not be effectively be gauged by this tool of testing the tendency to become an entrepreneur and take up new ventures.

The research on the effectiveness of GET test as a tool for measuring tendencies was mostly emerged by work of McClleland and Atkinson’s in the early 1960 suggest contrary findings which opposes the traditional view of all entrepreneurs having the same skill sets.

Strengths and Weakness of the Test

The benefits of this test are that actually provides an edge or guidance to an individual looking to become an entrepreneur on what areas he may lack in order to succeed as an entrepreneur. Another strong point of this test is that it is a relatively inexpensive method for venture capitalists and employers to analyze their candidate’s tendency to enterprise. It is also very time efficient as it immediately informs on the person capability on becoming an entrepreneur.

However, there are some drawbacks of the test as the entire test consists dichotomous option for giving a response responses. Hence this is an issue as a person cannot be more expressive towards his response and might not be able to justify the reason for not following a certain practise mentioned in the analysis. Also, some of the personality traits associated to entrepreneurs might not be an accurate reflection of all owners of a business or entrepreneurs. Some of the characteristics that are discovered through this analysis could also be gender biased, and some of the questions may even be leading.
Conclusion Evaluation of the Get Test

The Get Test is a lengthy questionnaire with 54 closed ended questions with answers being limited to tendency to agreeing or disagreeing. The questions that I attempted in this test were quiet significant to what one would need to know in order to gauge whether he is fit to be an entrepreneur or not. The focus of the test is to assess whether you are of a person to work as an individual or are a team person. Also, the questions seemed to correctly focus on a potential candidate’s willingness to try new things. Considering the relevant personality traits that have been defined in the literature used for this report some of the most prominent trait of an entrepreneur are innovative, risk taking and initiator or leadership traits.

The questions that I answered have all the elements that would be relevant to gauging whether an individual has these traits or not. For e.g. the test assessed me to have a high need for autonomy or independence which I would completely agree with as I would rather get all the work done in a group than rely on others to finish their task before moving onto the next agenda.

The test was also successful at gauging thee innovative or risk taking nature of a person as some of the questions related to the test like if a person would buy a lottery ticket or enter a contest both options are risky in nature but if the person would rather enter a competition he would considered being open to risk taking as well as being open to challenges and innovation, whereas a lottery buyer would be open to risk but probably not a challenge.

However, the test cannot be said to be 100% effective in gauging the entrepreneurial skills of a person as the two options of agreeing on or disagreeing on can be ambiguous in nature a lot of candidates would prefer a third option where he could be neutral in the particular question.

Summary Of The Test Result

The test gave me a score of 70% which predicts that I am likely to have succeeded in possessing some of the enterprising characteristics. My need for achievement is high however I would prefer to enterprise with ideas that would fit in with my lifestyle. My need for autonomy is extremely high, and I have high leadership skills but lack in people management skill. My score on being innovative is medium which means I would rather start projects I am familiarized with than a completely out of the box idea. I am relatively a less risky person hence I would not take a risk alone but rather involve someone with me to share that risk. My locus of control is more than medium but not that high either which means I need to work on myself confidence in order to make a success of a venture that I would be willing to start.

References

Begley, T. M., & Boyd, D. B. (1987). Psychological characteristics associated with performance in entrepreneurial firms and small businesses. Journal of Business Venturing, 2, 79-93.

Brockhaus, R. H. Sr., & Horwitz, P. S. (1986). The psychology of the entrepreneur. In Sexton, D. L., and Smilor, R. W. (Eds.), The Art and Science of Entrepreneurship. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 25-48.

Frese, M., Fay, D., Hilburger, T., Leng, K., & Tag, A. (1997). The concept of personal initiative: Operationalization, reliability and validity in two German samples. Journal of Organizational and Occupational Psychology, 70, 139-161.

Gartner, W. B. (1988). Who is an entrepreneur? Is the wrong question. American Journal of Small Business, 12 (4), 11-32.

Krueger, N. (1993). The impact of prior entrepreneurial exposure on perceptions of new venture feasibility and desirability. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 18 (1), 5-21

McClelland, D. C. (1987). Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs*. The journal of creative behavior, 21(3), 219-233.

 Mitton, D. G. (1989). The complete entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 13, 9-19.

O’Neill, H.M., & J. Duker (1986).  Survival and Failure in Small Business. Journal of Small Business Management, 24 (1), 30.

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Competitive Priorities

Employing Competitive Priorities in Business: The Case of FedEx

The courier industry is one of the most integral parts in the American economy. It is involved in the transportation of a variety of products like drugs, packages, bulk materials and documents to businesses within USA and outside its borders without which the whole economy would come to a standstill. The same day delivery service is also a vital part of the just in time nature of the economy of the US. This multi billion industry has more than seven thousand businesses in it in direct competition with the big four courier firms, (DHL, UPS, FedEx and USPS) and with each other.

In the recent past, competition between FedEx and UPS, two of the largest courier a company, has intensified as their core business increasingly overlap. UPS traditionally dominated the overnight delivery market while FedEx dominated ground delivery. With each moving to its rival opponent’s domain, the need to create competitive priories is even stronger because this is the only way for the companies to retain their businesses and deliver value to their shareholders. FedEx’ relies on technology to drive its competitive strategies and maintain their business operations. FedEx business model is highly dependent on data between the businesses and its customers. FedEx thus invests more than $1 billion each year to maintain its technology and building a wireless infrastructure to relay timely information on possible problems in the delivery route, enhance efficiency and cut business costs. I will use FedEx as a study case to analyse how a business can gain competitive advantage using competitive priorities.

Company Background

FedEx Corporation, NYSE:FDX is a Memphis based logistics services company which offers courier services, logistics solutions. FedEx is one of the largest logistics companies in   the world delivering small packages to the US and to more than 220 companies in the world. FDX Corporation was founded in 1998 after, FedEx Corporation, which had been incorporated the previous year acquired Caliber systems Inc and its subsidiaries  like RPS,  a small package ground transportation company, Roberts Express which offered expedited shipping, Viking Freight, a less than truck load freight courier  and Caliber Technology, provider of logistics and technology solutions (FedEx, 2012).

After this acquisition, FDX started offering other courier services apart from express shipping. FDX, later rebranded as FedEx Corporation was formed to oversee the operation of all the acquired subsidiaries including Federal express, its air division. It also rebranded the subsidiaries to have the FedEx brand in all divisions with federal express being renamed FedEx Express, RPS renamed FedEx ground, and Roberts Express renamed FedEx Custom critical, Caliber Logistics and technology were combined to make up FedEx Global Logistics.

In 2012, the company’s annual revenue was 40 billion which a 13% increase from the revenues was for the previous year. The earnings per share on the other hand for 2011 grew 20%. In the same year, the company increased its fleet of electric and hybrid electric vehicles by 20% to 408 to curb air pollution (FedEx, 2012).

During the first quarter of 2010, the company spent an estimated %4.9 million in campaigns lobbying against the government’s move to sign the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorisation bill which would make it easier for some of its employees to unionise terming it a bailout on UPS, FedEx’s main competitor in the US market (FedEx, 2012). To survive in these kinds of competitive markets, companies have to adopt strategies to survive. Managers can only take advantage of the changes in the wider environment by using appropriate strategies. Effective strategies allow the firms to use their resources for the best outcomes. The next part of the paper looks at what strategy is.

What is Strategy?

Strategy is an outline of how an organisation intends to achieve its goals. The goals of an organisation are the objectives the owners set for the business while the strategy sets out the route to achieve these objectives. In the early years of the businesses, the strategy taken by the business is fairly simple: to survive and achieve growth targets. However, as the firm increases in size, it must select narrower set of strategies referred to as competitive strategies to survive in the face of strong competitors. According to Porter (1996), competitive strategy is about being different. It refers to choosing a different set of activities to deliver the company’s mix of value to the customers. Markides (1999) argues that the essence of developing a strategy for the organisation is to select one strategic position that a company can claim as its own and pursue it. A strategic position represents a company’s answer to the following three questions: who should the company target as its customer? What products/services should the company offer to the target customers? And, how can the company deliver these products efficiently? These three questions help a company to choose a success strategy that is different from that of its competitors (Henry, 2008).

Another view of strategy is that given by Kay (1993). According to Kay (1993), strategy is a match between the organisation’s internal capabilities and the relationship with stakeholders. Strategy is therefore concerned with the firm’s use of analytical techniques to understand and hence influence its position in the market.

Since the environment within which the company operates is constantly changing and the needs of its customers shifting, a company must ensure that its internal resources and capabilities are more than sufficient to meet these needs since companies do not exist to survive but to grow and prosper in the competitive environment (Henry, 2008).

An effective strategy gives a firm three benefits. The first benefit is a strategy as a source of economic gains. Secondly, it provides the firm with a basis for resource allocation. And thirdly, guides the firm’s decisions regarding management and organisation. One main strategy that companies use is the development of consistent set of objectives which are known as Competitive priorities. These priorities are: Cost, Quality, Time and Flexibility.

Competitive Priorities

The first competitive priority that a company can choose is cost leadership. This is a strategy whereby the cost of a given product in a company is relatively low compared to that of competing products from other companies. This strategy does not jeopardize the quality of products. It rather focuses on high profit margin based on competitive price (Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas, 2004, p.35). In order to ensure effectiveness of cost as a competitive priority, companies operations should be guided by economies of scale. They should also minimise all other operational costs, which include cost of labour and materials. The employees should also be well trained so as to maximise their productivity.

The second priority is quality. Customers always intend to purchase products which they consider being of high quality. For this reason, companies should ensure that they avail high quality goods and services to customers. Care should be taken in pursuing quality as a competitive priority because there are differences in what customers term as high quality. For instance, there are customers who search for products that possess superior features.

There are two dimensions of quality; namely, high performance design and goods and services consistency (Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas, 2004, p.35). High quality design involves the production of goods which address the quality demands of the customers. On the other hand, consistency involves building confidence among clients by ensuring availability of goods and services upon demand.

The third competitive advantage is differentiation as regards to time in delivery speed and reliability. As much as a company pursues production of high quality products, production should not take too long. This is because delays in production and delivery upset customers. Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas (2004) outlined two dimensions of effective delivery. These are rapid delivery and on- time delivery. Rapid delivery involves quick reception of customers’ orders while delivery on- time involves high frequency of on-time delivery of goods and services. In order to utilize time as a competitive priority, companies should make use of technology and employ effective work force.

Therefore, in the process of delivery, companies should ensure that deliveries are “in accordance with the promises made to customers”. This is referred to as dependability (Hayes and Wheelwright, 1984, p. 24).

Employing Competitive Priorities
Employing Competitive Priorities

The fourth priority is flexibility of product mix and adaptation to changing markets. Competition always leads to change of products in the market by different companies. Therefore, as the market changes and customers’ needs and expectations shift, the company should device ways of accommodating these changes. This should be geared towards winning the confident of customers. Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas (2004) categorises flexibility into product and volume flexibility (p. 36). Product flexibility is the ability of the company to offer goods and service that suits the customers’ needs. With this, a product may be dropped out or introduced to the market depending on the market trend. Volume flexibility is the strategy of increasing or decreasing the production of a given product in order to accommodate changes in its demand.

Hayes and Wheelwright (1984) expound aspects of flexibility as the ability to change volume of production, time taken to produce, mix of different products or services produced. Flexibility also involves the ability to innovate and introduce new products and services (p.24).

Flexibility enhances healthy competition as competition is not based on speed of production but customized products. In addition, it helps to reduce competition based on cost. This is so because production of customized products may require extra resources for production. Companies which employ this strategy ensure that its products are varied, and its workers are skilled and competent enough.

Scholars hold divergent views regarding the criteria for utilization of the four competitive priorities. For instance, Hayes and Wheelwright (1984) companies cannot simultaneously succeed when they pursue all the priorities simultaneously. This is because there is the likelihood that such companies have to allow different operators to implement priorities at different times. The resultant lack of coordination leads to inability to achieve objects. The two, therefore, advocate for trade-offs whereby companies pursue one competitive priority to greater levels than the other priorities. On the other hand, there are other scholars who argue that companies can still succeed while pursue the four competitive priorities simultaneously (p. 25). In the next part of the paper, an analysis of FedEx competitive priorities will be done.

FedEx Competitive Priorities

The environment in which FedEx operates is quickly changing due to the financial crisis and globalisation which has resulted into an increase in the number of competitors in the courier business. During the crisis, the quantity of global trade was severely affected which in turn affected the revenues of logistics companies, including FedEx. Although the financial position of the company for last year looked promising, the future is too vague to predict for FedEx. This means that the company must look for ways to strengthen its position in the market. One of the ways that company can do this is by exploiting competitive priorities (Porter, 1998).

The main competitive priority for FedEx is time. In the same day delivery business, delivery on schedule is a vital component in winning customers trust. According to Chase, Jacobs, et al 2006, a company can differentiate itself using time as its competitive priority in two ways: First, is through speed delivery speed and secondary through reliability and ability to deliver the goods when promised. Some of the packages that FedEx is in charge of delivering like medical supplies are extremely time sensitive and hence the businesses is always on the lookout for ways to reduce delays in the supply chain to ensure that packages arrive on time. One of the ways that FedEx achieves this is by controlling every part of the delivery chain. The company owns aircrafts, delivery vans and sorting facilities to ensure reliable on time delivery.

As early as 1980 during the initial years of the company, FedEx had a fully integrated system to monitor the location of vans, track packages and communicate with customers to ensure that all packages were picked and delivered on time. In the last few years, the company has been replacing the old wireless system with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular networks, GPS which enables customers to track their packages in real time using their WAP enabled phones and PDAs. In addition to this, the company has over the years build a seamless international and domestic network linked by air and ground delivery channels which ensures that customers needs are well met (Berger, 2011).

The second competitive priority for the company is flexibility. According to Chase, Jacobs, et al 2006, flexibility involves the ability to provide a wide range of products or services without delay to meet the needs of the client. The company has always been a leader in adaptation of new technology to better meet the expectations of its clients. For instance, the company was the first to start offering delivery at 10.30 am after identifying a need within the market to have their goods delivered early so that they have enough time during the day to work on them. The company also formed a strategic alliance with U.S. Postal Service to offer its customers more flexibility in drop-off points for their parcels (Porter, 1998).

The third competitive strategy that FedEx pursue is cost leadership. According to Porter (1998), cost leadership is concerned with producing high volumes of standardised products to take advantage of economies of scale. FedEx offers its customers a range of flat rate fees and delivery options to ensure that all customers well satisfied. To reduce costs, FedEx uses technology to gather data and through outsourcing some of its operations such as delivery.

The fourth competitive strategy for FedEx is quality. According to Porter (1998), quality is concerned with excellence in operations, product based quality and value based quality where the organisation offers excellence at an acceptable price. To maintain quality, FedEx trains all its employees the importance of correcting a mistake before it goes further on since the mistake becomes more costly to fix once it is allowed to go on. For instance, sorting goods before shipping helps the company avoid wrong shipping. The company also maintains its quality by offering timely delivery which has earned it more satisfaction among its customers than its rival UPS. Quality at FedEx is also maintained by the use of information technology, such as Wi-Fi and iPhone apps, at every point of its delivery channel which enables the company to gain important information about picking up its customers’ parcels and relying information to the customers about where the package is at every step of delivery. The use of technology helps to communicate with the customers in case of delays to maintain their loyalty.

In conclusion, a company should seek to exploit its competitive priorities to ensure survival in times of competition. Competition is normal in every industry and so is the case in US courier industry in which FedEx operates. In the recent years, intense competition over the US market has increased for FedEx both from its main rival UPS and also smaller courier companies which fill the gaps that larger courier companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL are unable to fill due to their large size. In such competitive markets, a company has to come up with a strategy not only to survive but grow in the face of competition. Formation of a competitive strategy involves matching the internal capabilities of the firm with needs of its stakeholders to tap into the changing needs of the market. One of the best strategies that a firm can use is called competitive priority.

 Competitive priorities that affirm can utilise to gain competitive advantage are cost leadership, flexibility, quality of products and timely delivery. The first competitive priority, cost leadership, is concerned with producing a high volume of standardised products to gain economies of scale. FedEx offers to its customers a wide range of services at acceptable prices due to its large market size which has enabled the company from a distribution network in the US and other countries which allows it to pick and deliver parcels more conveniently and cheaply. It has also reduced its operating cost by use of technology to gather data which is vital in logistics.

The second competitive priority that a firm can utilise is quality. This is concerned with a company attaining excellence in its products and offering these products at a competitive price. One of the ways that FedEx maintains its quality is through the use of IT to ensure that its customer’s packages are delivered on time. Timely delivery is enhanced by its already established efficient delivery channel which allows it to collect and deliver packages as per customer’s demands. The other competitive priority a firm can pursue to gain a competitive advantage is flexibility in the mix of products and in offering new products. FedEx achieves this by observing the changes in demands for customers to offer new services like late night delivery and linking up with online sellers, like Amazon, to provide online shoppers with convenient transport of their shopping. The last competitive priority is timely delivery and reliability which FedEx does by ensuring that customers receive all their packages in time by integrating IT in their delivery system to rely information about possible delays to help take corrective action and help customers track their packages to avoid uncertainty.

Bibliography

Berger, A. (2011). Case Study – FedEx Corporation: Strategic Management. New York: Grin Verlag.

Chard, R., Jacobs, F., & Aquilas, N. J. (2004). Operations Management for Competitive Advantage. New York: McGraw- Hill.

Davis, M. M., Aquilano, N. J., Balakrishnan, J., & Chase, R. B. (2005). Fundamentals of Operations Management. New York: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

FedEx. (2012). About FedEx. Retrieved May 21, 2012, from http://about.van.fedex.com/

Hayes, R. H., & Wheelwright, S. C. (1984). Restoring Our Competitive Edge: Competing Through Manufacturing. John Wiley: New York. .

Henry, A. (2008). Understanding Strategic Management. New York: Oxford University Press.

Porter, M. E. (1998). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. Free Press.

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