MBA Project Globalization

MBA Project Globalization

Summary

Over the past few decades, the global scenario has changed considerably with increased interdependence amongst nations and economies. This intertwining amongst nations and sharing of ideas and technology has been termed as “Globalization”. Globalization has been a buzzword of late, with heated discussions about its pros and cons. Some consider it to be a blessing for mankind while others take it as a curse. For some it has brought about material prosperity while others have become unemployed due to it. This paper tries to analyse the effect of Increased International Trade and Globalisation on the US economy. The first section discusses the pros and cons of Globalization while the second section discusses how globalization has lead to increased foreign trade. Thereafter, it discusses the effect of globalisation and increased foreign trade on the American economy.

Introduction

Trade is believed to have taken place throughout much of recorded human history, whether as barter or in exchange of currency. Till the 1800’s, trade was limited due to difficulties in transportation, communication and restrictive trade policies. However, in the mid 19th century, with advent of free trade and nation advantage concepts, trade started to pick up (Daniels & Sullivan, International Business and Operation).  Although international trade has been present throughout much of history, for example Silk Route, its economic, social, and political importance have increased in recent centuries, mainly because of Industrialization, advanced transportation, globalization, multinational corporations, and outsourcing. Worldwide, countries are doing away with trade restrictions and lowering trade tariffs, thereby supporting free trade and making the world a global village (Daniels & Sullivan, International Business and Operation).

Globalization – Boon or Bane

The global economy is no longer an individual event and USA no longer plays the dominating role. This is apparent from the fact that ten years ago the World Trade Organization had only 80 members whereas now it has 153 members (WTO Data, 2010). Also countries like China and India are getting more bargaining power day by day. Globalization is the deepening relationship and broadening interdependence amongst the different countries of the world. The World Bank defines globalization as “the growing integration of economies and societies around the world.” This integration of regional economies into a global village has lead to increased international trade, investment, capital flows and technological advancements. Technological advancements such as the internet and cell phones have literally reduced the world to a Global village. Globalization has both its critics and it supporters. Some interpret it as a way of countries losing their cultural identities and becoming “Americanized.” Others see it as a way to reduce costs and to increase profits and efficiency. The debate over globalization is perceptible in demonstrations against the WTO in Seattle in the fall of 1999, against the Summit meetings in Quebec and Genoa and against several annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank. While on the other hand, supporters of globalisation look forward to a global village, linked together by the Internet, and enjoy the ever-increasing material well being (Daniels & Sullivan, International Business and Operation). The United States is seen by much of the world as the strongest supporter of globalization – in fact, as pushing it on everyone else. Over the years, globalization has resulted in increased foreign trade and capital flows, thereby contributing immensely to the domestic economy. In the 1990s, globalization and free trade, resulted in integration of China and the former Soviet bloc into the trading system thereby lowering inflation and opening new markets. However, as the emerging markets got stronger, the prices of commodities started rising immensely and competition from foreign workers lowered the average US wage rates. Jeffrey Garten, professor of international trade and finance at the Yale School of Management, points out that in 2000, the world’s wealthiest countries accounted for about 70 percent of the global economy, compared with 30 percent for developing economies. These rates are slowly but surely reversing. Thus, USA has seen both the positives and the negatives of globalization.

International Trade

One important effect of globalization is the increased interdependence among nations which has demanded increased liberalization of markets, the dismantling of almost all trade barriers (Lee, 2005; Czinkota and Ronkainen, 2007). As a result, the forces of globalization have necessitated trade liberalization (Martin, 1993), leading to increased international trade, not only in good and services but also currency and capital. Ever since independence, America has been a supporter of Free Trade. In 1988, USA signed a Free Trade Agreement with Canada that progressively eliminated tariffs over a ten‐year period, thereby making Canada USA’s premier trading partner. Further, in 1994 the Mexican Government, in pursuit of market reforms, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The passage of the NAFTA agreement signalled the continuing support of U.S. policy‐makers for the worldwide march toward free markets and further economic globalization (Paul. S Boyer, 2001). The above agreements lead to immense increase in trade and greater market efficiency. However, by 1999 USA had a huge trade deficit of around USD 200 billion (Paul. S Boyer, 2001). The trade boom of the 1990’s had ended in a recession marked by serious job losses and the nations policy of “free trade” was being questioned. President George W. Bush insisted that America’s economic future lay with the global economy, but early in 2002 political pressures led him to slap import duties on cheap foreign steel. However, he was forced to withdraw it in 2003 due to retaliation against US exports and WTO sanctions (Paul. S Boyer, 2001)

Globalization MBA
Globalization MBA

Competition and Business Restructuring

International competition goes hand-in-hand with globalization. A company that has been very successful in the domestic market may suddenly find itself facing competition from a yet unheard of company from the other end of the globe. Survival in this new business environment calls for improved productivity, reduction in costs, up gradation in technology and advancements in supply chain management (O’Reilly, E., & Alfred, Diane., 1998). For example, In the 1980s American automobile manufacturers began losing market share to Japanese competitors who offered American consumers higher quality cars at lower prices (Brewer, G., Managerial Accounting). However, from the consumer’s point of view, increased competition promises greater quality, reduced prices and a greater variety of goods and services. China’s entrance into the global marketplace has proved that globalisation leads to competition and changes the business environment. For example, from 2000 to 2003, China’s wooden bedroom furniture exports to the United States increased by more than 233% to a total of $1.2 billion. During this same time, the number of workers employed by U.S. furniture manufacturers dropped by about a third, or a total of 35,000 workers (Fishman, T., 2005).

In a 2002 speech, the Economic counsellor to the US Embassy, Mr Lee Brudvig, said, “We have not resisted the free flow of money, goods, services, and ideas. Rather, we have subjected our companies to market competition and limited the role of government on the whole to that of facilitator, regulator and, when necessary, safety net provider. As a result, we have seen a massive reorganization of business structures. Whereas in 1960 manufacturing accounted for 27 percent of GNP, by 2001 it had dropped to below 15 percent.” The changes brought about by technology and productivity is causing both markets as well as organisations to undergo restructuring.

Labour Market Developments

An important trend in labour markets in the advanced economies has been a steady shift in demand away from the less skilled toward the more skilled (Slaughter, M., & Swagel, Philip., 1997). Studies have shown, for the advanced economies as a whole, that trade with developing countries has led to about a 20 percent decline in the demand for labour in manufacturing, with the decline concentrated among unskilled workers (Swagel, Philip., 1997). This trend has produced dramatic rises in wage and income inequality between the more and the less skilled. In the United   states, wages of less-skilled workers have fallen steeply since the late 1970s relative to those of the more skilled (Slaughter, M., & Swagel, Philip., 1997). According to a study conducted in 2007, the impact of trade flows in 2006 increased the inequality of earnings by roughly 7% (Bivens,J., 2007). The study goes on to prove that although “liberalized trade” is a win-win proposition for nations, it reduces the income of most workers. Workers employed in industries directly in competition with low-cost imports from abroad can expect to see immediate job dislocation and/or downward wage pressures.

The rise of labour abundant nations, like China and India, has increased the global labour pool. The price of labour-intensive commodities falls as a result of this increase in the global labour pool, and these falling prices harms the labour in professional-abundant nations like the United States. DVD Players, clothing and call centre operations, all provide examples of reduction in prices due to expansion in the global labour pool (Slaughter, M., & Swagel, Philip., 1997). Outsourcing and offshoring, has further increased unemployment and decreased national earnings. 22-29% of the U.S. workforce has been rated as potentially offshorable over the next one or two decades (Blinder, 2006). The implied loss due to offshoring would push these wages well below the 1979 levels, completely undoing the entire increase in these wages over the past three decades. The trade adjustment assistance (TAA) program has been formed as a way to compensate globalization’s victims in the United States. In 2006 TAA allocated $655 million in income supports for workers harmed by globalization, and, another $200 million for training. As quoted by Bradford, Grieco, and Hufbauer in their study, “While the gains from increased trade generate a permanent rise in income, the associated losses are temporary. Nevertheless, they are very real, and are concentrated on a small fraction of Americans”.

Financial Market Globalisation

Financial globalization has been one of the most important trends in the world economy in recent decades. Financial globalization has been one of the most important trends in the world economy in recent decades (Lane and Milesi-Ferretti 2003). International financial liberalization was also accompanied, in a

somewhat chicken-and-egg causal relationship, by the abandonment of the Bretton Woods system of adjustable exchange rate pegs and the shift to floating exchange rates among the major currencies or regional currency blocs (Eatwell 1996). When currency fluctuations are considered, it is the exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro that gets the most attention. This not only reflects the size of the respective economies using these two currencies, but also the fact that the US dollar is the most widely traded currency today. That’s because it effectively serves multiple roles: as an investment currency; as a reserve currency for many central banks. According to an IFSL research conducted in April 2007, the US dollar was involved in 86% of foreign exchange transactions, followed by the euro (37%), which proves its importance (Safar, L., 2008). The report further states that foreign currency trading increased by 70% in 2008 compared to 2004. This increase in currency trading makes it imperative for companies to learn to deal with exchange fluctuations and how to benefit from all situations. The US dollar has fallen since January 2004 against the euro as well as against most major European and Asian currencies. This has caused many companies to introduce a “fluctuation clause” in their contracts to protect themselves from losses due to exchange rate fluctuations and has also lead to the development of many financial instruments to help companies hedge their currency risks. However, times such as these when the dollar becomes weaker often works well for US producers with a larger proportion of their costs being in dollars but selling worldwide. International revenues not only translate to higher US-denominated revenues, but they also contribute to higher margins which can be achieved globally (Safar, L., 2008). For example, Q1 2008 for instance marked a milestone for Google, whose international revenues exceeded US revenues for the first time. Revenues from outside of the United States represented 51% of total revenues in the period, compared to 47% in the first quarter of 2007 and 48% in the fourth quarter of 2007. In Q2 2008, this had increased further to 52%. According to Google, “Had foreign exchange rates remained constant from the second quarter of 2007 through the second quarter of 2008, our revenues in the second quarter of 2008 would have been $249 million lower.” (Safar, L., 2008). Nothing can be predicted with 100% accuracy when it comes to exchange rates, and the only thing that can be safely said is that there will be no “business as usual” when it comes to currencies.

Political and Institutional Changes

According to CIA Global Trends 2015, 2000,” The rising tide of the global economy will create many economic winners, but it will not lift all boat. It will spawn conflicts at home and abroad, ensuring an even wider gap between regional winners and losers than exists today. Regions, countries and groups left behind will face deepening economic stagnation, political instability and cultural alienation. They will foster political, ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism, along with the violence that often accompanies it.” One of the most important and necessary features of the current process of globalization is the proliferation of international organizations. Scholars point to the emergence of expanding web of international treaties and institutions, which regulate and adjudicate on matters of interstate behaviour. The number of international organizations rose from 61 in 1940 to 260 by 1996 (Barnett 2002:110). Since 1995, when the World Trade Organization (WTO) was formed, transnational corporations have increasingly influenced political leaders to push international trade laws in the same direction of liberalization and deregulation. In addition, existing international organizations like the IMF, the World Bank and the GATT/WTO have transformed their roles substantively, gaining further powers and responsibilities (Camillery and Falk 1992:94-7; O’Brien et al. 2000). The United States has enjoyed a position of power among the world powers, in part because of its strong and wealthy economy. Due to this reason, the United States enjoys considerable bargaining powers in the WTO and World Bank. With the influence of globalization and with the help of The United States’ own economy, the People’s Republic of China has experienced some tremendous growth within the past decade, and now enjoys as much bargaining power, if not more, as USA. If China continues to grow at the rate projected by the trends, then it is very likely that in the next twenty years, there will be a major reallocation of power among the world leaders. China will have enough wealth, industry, and technology to rival the United   States for the position of leading world power (Fishman, T., 2005).

Crime and Terrorism

At the end of the 20th century, a new phenomenon appeared—the simultaneous globalization of crime, terror, and corruption, an “unholy trinity” that manifests itself all over the world. This unholy trinity is more complex, however, than terrorists simply turning to crime to support their activities or merely the increased flow of illicit goods internationally. Rather, it is a distinct phenomenon in which globalized crime networks work with terrorists and both are able to carry out their activities successfully, aided by endemic corruption. Crime groups and terrorists have exploited the enormous decline in regulations, the lessened border controls, and the resultant greater freedom, to expand their activities across borders and to new regions of the world. The United States has been one of the worst sufferers of this new “global” terrorism. Since September 11, 2001, numerous resources have been shifted in the United States and elsewhere from addressing trans-national crime to fighting terrorism. It has increasingly become clear, that for a nation to advance, it has to keep its crime and terror activities in check.

Cultural and Other Issues

The growth of cross-cultural contacts has helped the United States participate in a new World Culture. It has helped Hollywood reach remote corners of the world while at the same time Bollywood has reached out to the Americans. Globalization has also lead to greater international travel and tourism thus greatly benefiting the tourism industry. WHO estimates that up to 500,000 people are on planes at any one time. (WHO Data, 2009). In 2008, there were over 922 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 1.9% as compared to 2007 (UNTWO Data, 2009). Globalization has also increased the number of illegal immigrants entering USA. The Rockridge Institute argues that globalization and trade agreements affected international migration, as laborers moved to where they could find jobs. The Mexican government failed to make promised investments of billions of dollars in roads, schooling, sanitation, housing, and other infrastructure to accommodate the new maquiladoras (border factories) envisioned under NAFTA. The 1994 economic crisis in Mexico, which occurred the year NAFTA came into effect, resulted in a devaluation of the Mexican peso, decreasing the wages of Mexican workers relative to those in the United States. Unemployment, corruption, low wages and few opportunities cause Mexican laborers to look for greener pastures and migrate illegally to the United States.

Conclusion

Globalization leads to increased international trade and reduction in trade barriers, which is beneficial for all the trading nations. Increased globalizartion has increased competition in the global economy, making it tougher for organisations to survive, and leading to greater productivity, efficiency and quality. This has in turn lead to the rise of countries like China and India, which are rich in labour. Due to the rise of labour abundant nations, the US labour market has suffered with fewer jobs being available for unskilled workers and lowering of wages. Further, outsourcing and offshoring have lead to loss of jobs and unemployment. In order to establish a set of trade rules and monitor the trading nations, institutions like WTO, IMF and World Bank have gained in importance. The United States hold a very important place in all these institutes, due to its strong economy and political power. Thus, it has a huge bargaining power when it comes to trade regulations. Overall, globalisation has affected America both positively as well as negatively but it is primarily due to globalisation and increased trade that America has a strong economy today.

References

Bivens, J., 2007, Globalisation and American Wages: Today and Tomorrow,

The author examines the effect of globalisation on wages and predicts what the future is going to be, based on mathematical models.

Blinder, Alan. 2006. Off-shoring: The next Industrial Revolution. Foreign Affairs magazine.

Boyer, P., Foreign Trade, U.S., The Oxford Companion to United States History.2001.Encyclopedia.com.

Boyer, P., Global Economy, America and the., The Oxford Companion to United States History. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. Accessed on 22 Apr. 2010 at

Daniels & Sullivan, International Business and Operation, 11th Ed, Pearson Education

Eatwell, John. 1996, International Financial Liberalization: The Impact on World

Development, Office of Development Studies, Discussion Paper Series (September). New   York: United Nations Development Programme.

Fishman, T., 2005, How China Will Change Your Business, Inc. magazine,

O’Reilly, E., & Alfred, Diane., 1998, Innovations in Technology and Globalization,

Slaughter, M., & Swagel, Philip., 1997, Does Globalization lower wages and export jobs?, IMF Report,

UNWTO World Tourism Barometer (World Tourism Organization) 7 (2)

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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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Balance of Payment

Balance of Payment and Multinational Corporations

Introduction

Over the last two decades, the world economy has been changed to an extent on which the nations are interconnected with each other in terms of commerce and financial relationship. This circumstance is popularly known as globalization (Vinals, 2004). This interconnection not only helps to exchange goods or service but also force to keep account of financial payment between two countries (Dabrowski, 2006). This record is known as balance of payment. Generally, a multinational corporation has a strong relationship with the balance of payment between two countries (Stein, 1984). The multinational corporation may be affected positively or negatively in the host or home country by the balance of payment (Wilamoski and Tinkler, 1999). The positive relation between MNCs and Balance of Payment creates many opportunities for the multinational corporation. A manager of multinational company must take necessary steps to grab those nice opportunities.

What is Balance of Payment?

Balance of payment is a process of keeping record of transaction of a country with the rest of the word. It includes not only payment for goods and services but also all others payment over the border (Chamberlin, 2009). According the Sloman John, Balance of payment is an account that contains all monetary transaction of a country with the other countries of the world (1998). The transactions contain exports, import, incoming payment and transfer of finance. The balance of payment is usually evaluated based on certain period such as year.  It is also calculated on a single currency, normally US dollar (Mcbride, 2007). Sources of money are considered positive and deployed of funds is negative items. According to Investopedia, the balance of payment generally should be zero to be optimum (2013). However, it does not happen most of the time. The balance of payment is normally surplus or deficit for maximum country. A surplus balance of payment is said to be exist when the incoming payment is higher than total transfer.  On the other hand, a deficit balance of payment is said to be exist when the transfer payment is higher than the incoming payment.

What is Multinational Corporations or MNCs?

A multinational corporations or MNCs, also known as Multinational enterprise (MNE), is a company that operates is business or produce and sale product in more than one country (Daniels, Radebaugh and Sulivan, 2001). According to Van De Kuil, a multinational corporation follows the internationalized philosophy and operates its business both home and host country (2008). He also added that to be a multinational corporation, a company must have the assets and facilities outside the border of national country. The host country, home country and the multinational company get benefits from a multinational trade (Kokko, 2006). The host country gets higher tax or vat, the home country get foreign currency and the multinational company get profit. Here is some example of well-known multinational company Honda, Toyota, Google, HSBC, Wal-Mart, Samsung and chevron etc.

Relevance of Balance of Payment to Multinational Corporation

There is a strong relationship between the balance of payment and Multinational Corporation. A multinational corporation helps both host and home country to increase their balance of payment. In the contrary, the balance of payment situation of a country impact the operation of a multinational corporation by changing the rules and regulation based on country specific needs (Ker and Yeates, 2013). Let us look the relevance of balance of payment to Multinational Corporation in terms of different situation.

Relevance Based on “Direct impact”

 A country in which a multinational company is located tends to be get higher balance of payment. It experiences capital inflow when a multinational company get started with a certain fee. It also gets funds or money from the portion of profit of that Multinational Company (Shoo, 2005). On the other hand, the multinational company helps to improve the balance of payment of home country. The home country gets funds when the MNC make profit and return the money to the home country.

Relevance Based on “Regulatory Relation”

Another positive or negative relation between balance of payment and the MNCs is regulatory relationship. The balance of payment represents the foreign reserve of a country. The trade policy of a country changes with the changes on balance of payment position. If a country has negative balance of payment, it tries to hold the money by encouraging more export than import (Hale, 2013). It also tries to get more tax or VAT from the normal sources. This tighten money policy affects the business flow of multinational companies. They have to give more tax to the government. The sales volume of MNCs may rise because the local producer is busy to export in other countries. The MNCs can be the market leader. It may not happen all time. The rules and regulation may be strict for both domestic and multinational companies. On the other hand, if a country more reserve or balance of payment, it tries to deployed money. It encourages import than import or it invests money to another country as FDI or foreign direct investment. It may reduce the tax burden for MNCs (Bhusnurmath, 2011). By this way, the MNC can get maximum profit. The host country may be benefited from this policy by getting portion of profit when it will get back to it.

Relevance Based on “Measurement Challenge”

The MNC puts a measurement challenge of balance of payment for both home and host country. The goal of a Multinational company is to maximize the profit in after tax all over the world. To do this, they allocate resources, make mixing price system and make extra bill. These conducts is very difficult to measure for the regulatory bodies (Landefeld, Moulton, and Whichard, 2008). There are some good reasons behind this; the resources of production are not same in all countries and the price too. Therefore, it is very tough to evaluate the perfect amount of balance of payment. The mix price is also difficult to detect. Therefore, the proper amount of payment is in question in all countries due the inappropriate recording of MNCs transactions.

Relevance Based on “Foreign Exchange”

The balance of payment is a better indicator of country’s financial status. It helps to evaluate the foreign exchange rate of a country. This exchange rate has direct or indirect effect to the multinational corporation (Wang, 2005). When a currency of a country is strong, the import will cheaper and the export will less competitive. This situation puts pressure to the MNCs to adjust the situation. At that price of goods tends to be cheaper so that the multinational corporation must adjust their price level. Again, when the exchange rate of a country is weaker, the import will expensive and export will high competitive because of inflation. This situation makes higher price level within the country and the MNC have to adjust their price in a high level.

Relevance Based on “Asset Reserve”

The balance of payment also consists of asset such as gold reserve. The higher gold reserve means country has higher trade surplus and thus the higher money supply. This tends to create inflation within the country. Therefore, the MNCs can make higher profit by raising their price level. Conversely, when there is a trade deficit means low assets reserve. This makes the price lower because there is a low money supply. Therefore, the MNCs must adjust their prices level to cope up with host country’s policy.

Relevance Based on “Decision Making”

The balance of payment statistics is very important for all kinds of decision makers. The authority of a country looks carefully the flow of balance of payment. The balance of payment generally is a great indicator of future exchange rate of a country. This put pressure to the monetary authority to take necessary steps to control the money supply. Again, the balance of payment indicates the proper amount of assets reserve for a country. This makes concern for the fiscal authority. They should determine the trade policy, VAT, income taxes and the policy for the multinational corporation. Therefore, we can say, balance of payment accounts are closely related to the overall saving, investment and price policy of a country.

Relevance Based on “Business Policy”

The MNCs are also a good user of balance of payment statistics. They must assess the balance of payment both host and home country for their business policy. The policy of a MNC much depends on the balance of payment flow because change in balance of payment also changes the rules and regulations. When a multinational company try to start their business in another country, they must assess the domestic balance of payment. Because the domestic balance of payment, indicate the permission. If the host country has surplus balance of payment, the MNC can start their operation. Conversely, if the balance of payment is in deficit position the MNC may not get the foreign investment permission. Again, the MNC must assess the host country’s balance of payment. If the host country has already huge surplus balance of payment, it may not give permission to a new MNC because it tries to invest their money not get money. Conversely, if the balance of payment is in deficit position in the host country, they may welcome new money flow to their country. Thus, the balance of payment position in host and home country affect the decision of business start up. The MNC should also asses the foreign exchange rate position in home and host country. The weaker currency in home country means the multinational company have to pay more to start their business in another country. Conversely, if the exchange rate is weaker in host country, the Multinational Corporation can start their business cheaply in the host country. Balance of payment also influence the interest rate because of high bank reserve, the MNC also have to consider the interest rate in the host country. The higher the interest rate means the higher business cost for MNC in the host country.

Finance Essays Balance of Payment
Finance Essays

Changes in Balance of Payment and Management Actions

What is change in balance of payment?

Balance of Payment should be equal in all time. However, in reality, it does not happen. The balance of payment is continuously fluctuating all time. This is called disequilibrium of balance of payment. According to TR Jain, disequilibrium payment is a situation when the balance of payment fluctuates from zero (2008). Another author Cherunilam argues that a country’s balance of payment is disequilibrium when there is surplus or benefit (2010). There are three types of changes in balance of payment favourable, unfavourable and balance. Favourable balance of payment means surplus balance of payment. Unfavourable balance of payment means deficit balance of payment. Balance in BOP means equal incoming fund and outgoing funds.

Causes of Changes in Balance of Payment

There are various causes of change in balance of payment. From them, Raj Kumar, author of international economics pointed out three main reasons such as economic, political and natural (2008). He said that if a country is in developing position it must be in deficit balance of payment. The reasons behind economic cause are huge economic development in infrastructure, inflation or deflation, cyclical fluctuation and changes in foreign exchange rates. Again, the reasons behind political cause in balance of payment are political instability and international relations. The natural consequences such as earthquakes, hurricane and others are the reason for natural cause in balance of payment.

Result of Changes in Balance of Payment

The changes in balance of payment may affect positively or negatively to the economy. Here are some Results of changes in Balance of payment:

  • Positive effects of Changes in BOP increase the creditability of a country. Conversely, Negative changes in BOP lower the international creditability.
  • Positive changes decrease the foreign dependency in terms of financial help. Conversely, Deficit changes in BOP increase the foreign economic dependency.
  • Surplus changes increase the foreign exchange reserve. Conversely, Negative changes in BOP deplete the foreign exchange reserve.
  • Reserve of gold is increase in the case of surplus balance of payment. Conversely, the reserve of gold decreases and goes away in negative BOP situation.
  • Negative balance of payment hampers the economic development. Conversely, positive balance of payment improves the economic condition.
  • Surplus balance of payment increases the global market leadership for the home multinational company. Conversely, Deficit balance of payment hampers to get global market leadership position.

Opportunities for MNCs Revealed by Changes in Balance of Payment

The changes in balance of payment position affects positively and negatively for a country’s economy. As the MNCs are one of the important parts of economy, it also gets affected due to changes in balance of payment. Here are some opportunities for MNCs revealed by the changes in balance of Payment.

Business Growth: A multinational company can get business growth advantages in both home and host country. If the home country has surplus balance of payment, the authority approves MNC to start their business internationally. It means they do not mind in capital outflow from the nation as they have surplus funds to invest. On the other hand, a MNC can expand their business to a host country if they have negative balance of payment. They must try to grab money from the other national to increase their business infrastructure. For this reason, MNC is the best way to get finance.

Low start-up cost: A multinational company can start their operation cheaply in host country due to changes in balance of payment. If the host country has deficit balance of payment, they must encourage funds flow from MNC with low regulations and cost. Again, if the home country has high balance of payment, they allow MNC to start its business with lower fees.

Tax benefits: An MNC can also get tax benefits both home and host country due to fluctuation of balance of payment. The home country encourages FDI when it has surplus balance of payment. For this reason, the tax tends to be lower than deficit BOP to encourage foreign direct investment. Again, in the host country the MNC gets lower tax benefit due to deficit balance of payment (Robert, Dunn and Mutti, 2009). The MNC can also get the lower tax benefit, when the country tries to increase their export and reduce import.

Exchange rate benefits: The fluctuation of exchange rate is highly related to balance of payment. This exchange rate or balance of payment affects the operation cost positively or negatively to a multinational corporation. The MNC pay less if the home country has higher balance of payment or strong exchange rate. Here, they get exchange rate benefits due to weak currency in host country. This strong exchange rate also reduces the resources costs in the host country. Moreover, the MNC can get bill paying benefits due to change in balance of payment system.

Low cost of operation: A multinational corporation can experience low cost of operation due changes in balance of payment in both home and host country. It can get factors of production such as land, labour, machinery and others tools at low prices where the balance of payment is lower. Because, lower balance of payment indicates high rate of unemployment in the host country.

Higher Sales: A multinational corporation can increase their sales due to impact the balance of payment in the host countries. When a country experience lower balance of payment, it tries to increase the export and reduce import to get higher balance of payment. To do this, the country should ensure high production unit. The domestic producer may unable to cope up this policy. Therefore, the MNC get the opportunity to sales more during the recovery situation in balance of payment.

Higher Profit: A multinational corporation can make higher profit due to changes in balance of payment. As we discuss earlier MNC can sale higher volume in the host country in the recovery situation. By this, it can make higher profit because higher sales means higher profit (Deresky, 2009). On the other hand, the MNC can make higher profit if the currency of host country is devaluated. For example, European MNC operates its business in US. If the US dollar is weaker than Euro, the European countries will get higher value of money when they convert the money into their own currency.

Measures to exploit opportunities revolved by changes in BOP

As a MNC operates internationally, it must cope up with the changes on balance of payment in both home and host country. The manager of MNC should be careful to grab every opportunity provided by the BOP. The management measures have been given below:

Seek for growth: A manager of Multinational Corporation should always seek for business growth in home, host or any other country. To seek the business growth opportunity the MNC have to assess the balance of payment position. If the balance of payment is favourable, the manager should grab the opportunity for growth.

Alert all time: The manager should be alert all time to grab the best opportunity for business. As there are various obstacles for a multinational business, the manager have to overcome the obstacle by grabbing the best available opportunity.

Acquire new technology: New technology is very important for a business to get the competitive advantages. A company can implement a new technology to track the balance of payment related data to know the future trend of exchange rate, business cost and tax rate.

Hire business analyst: The manager can hire a business analyst to analyze the balance of payment data and recommend the best opportunity. The analyst also may responsible for making quick and instant decision regarding balance of payment trend.

Implementing short and long-term strategy: The manager can implement a short and long-term strategy for grabbing the opportunity of balance of payment. The short-term strategy may be for less than one year and the long-term strategy may be for above the one year. In addition, this strategy should include the yearly business strategy.

Conclusion

Due to high impact of globalization, every country must engage business internationally through Multinational Corporation. The multinational corporation contribute in the economy of related party’s as well whole world. This report describes that there is a strong relevance of balance of payment to Multinational Corporation. They are related to each other’s in terms of direct impact, regulatory relation, assets measurement, foreign exchange, business policy and decision-making. This report also describes that the changes in balance of payment creates some opportunities for MNC such as business growth, low start up cost, exchange rate, higher sales and higher profit benefit. Moreover, this report suggests that a manager of a company should take some important measures such as implementing new technology, higher business professional and hiring business analyst to grab the best available opportunity revealed by changes in balance of payment.

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