STRATEGIC PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION IN MARKS & SPENCER
STRATEGIC PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION IN MARKS & SPENCER
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Marks and Spencer is incorporated in the extensive procession of UK organisation that has received a standing of prominence and excellence. With experience and understanding of the market, the company has been hardened with the challenges in its environment both internal and external. With its humble beginnings in the 1880s the company has abided by an austere tradition concerning its processes and trading operations which fundamentally eventuated fairly well on the context of Marks and Spencer. In its current situation, the Marks and Spencer is deemed as one of the most noticeable and well-known names in the field of retail. The company affords services ranging from apparel to even food services. It has lurking with every step of the top competitors in the UK market and the world. It has been construed as an organisation that cleaves on to a top-down management approach implicated by the close direction and monitoring given by its former CEOs. This has been very good for the company as it operated for several years, nevertheless in the last part of the 1990s an obvious spiralling in the sales as well as in the general performance of the organisation is manifested. A variety of radical and evolutionary alterations have been applied in Marks and Spencer with the frequent changes in its leadership. All these are for the continued existence of the company and sustaining its advantage over the other players in the industry.
Marks and Spencer is one of the major retailers in UK managing over 600 stores and handling over seventy-five thousand employees. At present, the company is the leading provider of women’s wear and lingerie in the United Kingdom. In the area of other apparel, these have incurred a considerable amount of growth. The company also provides for food retail. The company sells a wide array of food products from groceries to ready-to-cook meals. Nowadays, there have been a considerable amount of changes in the overall strategy of the company. Nonetheless, it still holds true to the basic principles of the company. Such principles include the offering of the wide selection of high-quality products which are considered chic and classic with the most reasonable prices in the market.
Organisational literature has consistently given importance on the role of stakeholders in the success of strategy. However, there has yet to be a concrete model in ensuring the participation of these stakeholders. For the purposes of this paper, the company must consider several elements so as to allow the stakeholders to develop the overall strategy. First, the company must establish that there is an actual need for change. In the same manner, the company should also recognise the readiness of the organisation to take on the strategy. Leadership is similarly imperative; hence the company should ensure that it has capable individuals guarding the helm.
In reviewing the management strategy options, this paper shall employ Rumelt’s Four Criteria. The list includes consistency, consonance, feasibility and advantage. In the case of consistency, it attempts to answer whether or not external strategies are aligned with the actual internal environment of the organisation. To do so, the various functions of the internal management strategies instituted by the organisation should be compared with the actual external strategies. Another element is consonance which addresses whether or not the strategies are in line with the recent trends in the market. In doing so, both positive and the negative implications of particular trends on the chosen strategy should be analysed. The third criterion is feasibility. Basically, this answers whether or not the company’s resources can accommodate the changes provided for by the strategy. The last criterion is advantage. It points to the ability of the strategy to ensure competitive advantage and even sustain it in the long run.
The management strategy of Marks and Spencer involves the growth of the company into a world class company. Its management strategy intends to achieve this status by having a highly customer-centric and flexible organisation. The company uses product differentiation strategies by offering the best possible products with the highest quality possible.
4 Vision, Mission, Objectives and Measures
The PEST Analysis is known by many other terminologies (STEP, PESTEL etc) yet it still employs the same standards of assessment. Distinctively, it appears at the political, economic, socio-cultural, and technological components of the environment. (Blair and Hitchcock, 2001, 99) It is these elements that provide certain levels of implications in the company. Normally, the utilisation of this instrument is for planning and formulating strategies for the company particularly to establish a way to balance these plans with the results of this assessment. More significantly, it permits the organisation the ability to implement some level of flexibility and to double as a failsafe in instances where major alterations in the trading environment come into being. The main basis of this discussion is the case study made by Collier (2004) and the website of the company.
The government of UK encourages trading in its territory. This is primarily seen in the numerous companies that originate from different parts of UK. It is usually conventional that any type of trade is authorised in the said region given that it is not contrary to public policy, public order, or any existing laws applicable in UK. This is encouraged with the membership of UK in trading blocs like the European Union and international free trade organisations such as the World Trade Organisation. Nonetheless, in the case of Marks and Spencer, one of the more worrying political fundamental components that they have to deal with is the issue of labour regime and preservation of industrial relationship. Years ago, the development attempts sought by the organisation have been limited by several encroachments of employee rights which essentially are against labour laws not only in their operations in the domestic level but also in their international endeavours. This is particularly accurate in their French operations whereas the organisation was charged of grave abuse and breaking of known labour laws.
The UK is among the centres of commerce in Europe as a whole. Consumers are not restricted to the local citizens as a substantial quantity of travellers congregate on the streets of its urban areas on a recurring basis. This is correspondingly accurate in the context of the retail business, specifically in the vicinity of trendy articles like fashion and apparel. The customer base has the propensity to involve many types of clothing depending on the existing type of weather of the area.
In the framework of social and cultural facets of the environment, the regular UK consumer has the tendency to be highly loyal to a specific brand. The standard of quality of the product is imperative in every business deal but could effortlessly be defeated by a reasonably competitive pricing strategy from an opposing brand. Current observations similarly indicate that predilection on fashionable styles over the classics seems to show among the UK consumers. Marks and Spencer is well aware of this fact as it has struggled to gain a greater market share in the retail industry in UK. Hence, this indicates that the UK consumer imposes high value on their money.
A lot of individuals in UK are capable of accessing in the internet. This intimates that a number of the companies are able to maximise of their operations and broaden their range by employing e-commerce initiatives. This is primarily seen in foremost retail organisations like Tesco. Hence, online marketing and buys made in the course of the net is turning out to be one of the competitive advantages acquired by the leading retail organisations in United Kingdom.
The background in UK, particularly its retail environment, seems to be extremely appealing. Companies have the encouragement of the government with nominal barriers of entry. The dilemma in this consideration is the fact that there is some extent of complexity in getting into the retail market, particularly for new entrants, as there are existing giants that are eager to drive them out of business as rapidly as they cross the threshold. This is likewise the case of organisations with thriving records in their reputation like Marks and Spencer. Appearing that their environment is fundamentally convivial, abandoning the competitive nature of the competition would associate the looming demise of any corporation.
4.3 The Vision and Mission of Marks and Spencer
The company seeks to grow into a world class retailer. Marks and Spencer intends to achieve this by focusing on five key growth areas:
a. The company seeks to continue to invest in and grow its core retail business by introducing new goods and services
b. The company seeks to strengthen its property portfolio.
c. The company seeks to improve on its M&S Direct business
d. The company seeks to expand on their international business
e. The company seeks to integrate “green” operations in doing business by incorporating their “Plan A.”
Marks and Spencer have a very strong weapon in trade: very strong brand name. This means that their brand is associated with factors like class and quality. Another strong point that the company hold is seen in its prosperous history in trading. All through the years of its functions, it has obtained a good number of amenities that serve as moneymaking establishments for Marks and Spencer. Together with this history is the continuation of established partners and alliances that has been obtained by means of over a century of business. Among the main flaws of the company are first and foremost perceptible in its management. Specially, a fit involving the arrangement of the company, the character of its trade, and the authentic management approaches has yet to be established. Moreover, being a performer in the competitive industry of retail, an organisation must own active marketing abilities. However, it appears that Marks and Spencer has been lagging in terms of marketing improvements like loyalty cards and operation of customer-focused functions.
The strategy of Marks and Spencer should be carried in a couple of stages. The initial one assume the specification what, where, when and how change management may be implemented. Evidently, it indicates the area of development required by the organisation. This entails streamlining of the operations. To illustrate, the arrangement of the business apparently is complex. Making it simpler it by changing it into a flat organization would be sensible. Similarly, the extra procedures in the company should be eradicated as it accumulates the general costs incurred by the organisation.
The second stage is the formation or improvement of a culture intimately attached with knowledge management ideas. Essentially, this denotes the stream of vital data in the company. Data like receipts or sales manuscripts are covered in this field. Furthermore, this strategy could assist in the planning process and satisfying the company’s economy of scale.
Formulating a timetable allows the company to have a detailed map of the overall strategy. In the case of Marks and Spencer, the creation of a timetable allows them to realise the vision of the company by specifically pinpointing the necessary actions required to for its implementation. A timetable allows the company to have a clear cut and detailed outline of the events. This is also a good tool to measure whether or not the company is moving forward or not.
Introduction of a new line of apparel
February to March 2009
The management will evaluate the performance of the company with regards to the new line of apparel
The annual report shall present the actual performance of the company and decide on how the new line is going to develop
July to December 2009
Performance monitoring of the stores of the company.
Table 1. Sample Timetable of Marks & Spencer in 2009
For the purposes of this study, Rumelt’s criteria will be used to examine the strategy of Marks and Spencer.
In the first option, the thought of selling a company seasoned by experience or at the very least associate with other competitors is not in agreement with the culture of the company as well as in the wide-ranging schemes of the organisation. Marks and Spencer seems to be a very proud business. With the alternative of brand repositioning, the organisation is implementing brand repositioning schemes continually and yet they still discover their feats still wanting. Perhaps this alternative may not be in agreement with the management strategies of Marks and Spencer. The trouble of the company is in its centre. Hence, it would be very advantageous for the business to regard this alternative. The case study similarly mentions that the alterations made by the management of Marks and Spencer seem be shallow and just act as a lame remedy.
It seems that each and every one strategy is implemented in the retail industry. These make up a trend in the processes. The concern is whether or not Marks and Spencer is capable of handling the outcomes of employing all the schemes available to them. The more rational thing to do for the business is to decide on one particular strategy that they could implement without delay and gather the outcomes as sensibly.
The more reasonable thing to do for the business is to choose one specific strategy that they could instantly put into practice to determine whether or not it worked for the company. It has an able management but does not have the comfort of money or capital and time is not even friendly. Therefore, alliance and repositioning are taken out of the equation as they consume a lot of time and involves a considerable amount of capital to implement.
The culture of innovation is the main advantage of the company. Without the drive to excel in the market, the company shall consistently be an average organisation. In the same manner, the shift towards a customer-centric perspective helped the company to understand the market, particularly the buying behaviour of the consumers. It gave them flexibility and some level of control regarding their functions and overall performance.
The circumstances surrounding Marks and Spencer give a clear need for understanding of the demands of the market. Moreover, it similarly gives a good example for companies on what not to do in decision making and strategy formulation. Based on the discussions above, Marks and Spencer is gradually increasing its market share. If the company continues to do this, in no time, they shall be at the top of the retail industry’s food chain once again.
· Encourage the state to ratify labour laws favourable to the retail industry
Among the perceived prospects in the retail market is the legislation present which is encouraging to the public. This indicates the fact that the company was able to maximise the operations given that it operates within what is considered legal. Moreover, there is an existing trend on the part of the consumers that places high value on their money. This means the demand curve of the company changes when price shifts.
· Create a culture of innovation
The competitors of the company work untiringly. They operate like predators always armed for the kill. This is a considerable threat on the case of Marks and Spencer as it is compounded by the idea that they have boring designs and are non-trendy. This indicates that the younger demographics are not that impressed on the products of the company. Furthermore, as Collier (2004) indicated in her work, the company is for some reason constantly vulnerable to carelessness, lack of skill, and lack of forethought of the management of the organisation.
Blair, A. and Hitchcock, D. (2001) Environment and Business. Routledge. London.
Collier, N. (2004) Marks and Spencer. Cranfield School of Management.
Marks and Spencer. (2008) Available at: www.marksandspencer.com [Accessed 19 December 2008]
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