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You are required to produce a report which satisfies the HBS academic group report criteria. Its specific structure and content should be presented as if it were a consultancy report to be submitted to your chosen organisation highlighting the three most important strategic issues facing the business. For the definition of a strategic issue and a detailed breakdown of how to present your report see the ‘coursework guide’ uploaded on Studynet under module information.

Issues with Financial and Human Resources

This coursework analyses the strategies for one of the most popular and successful organisation of the United Kingdom, namely Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. This organisation has been serving the national and international customers for more than 90 years (Hwchamber.co.uk, 2018). This particular company provides a high class business support to the local, national and international companies of all sizes. The organisation provides assistance to its clients through a wide range of networking opportunities as well as membership benefits. the chief operation of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce id to influence the core decision makers of both the local as well as national government. These clients regularly consult with the organisation for feedbacks from all the business communities after any policy is being established. Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has been accredited by the British Chamber of Commerce hence the organisation gets benefit of opening doors for forging new business relationships. It brings together people from diverse business sectors and assists them for connecting, collaborating then prosper (Albrecht et al. 2015). This particular organisation works to support the members and develop an environment where every member can grow. The clients of the organisation can be local or global who can be benefitted by the vast knowledge as well as expertise of the organisation (Schaltegger, Hansen and Lüdeke-Freund 2016). Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce creates an economic environment where the clients can get services such as business benefits, lobbying and policy, events, trainings and other international services like export documentation. Despite the fact that the company has been serving its local clients very efficiently, there are some problems within the company’s policies as well as changing external environments, which are proved to be potential problems for the growth of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

This reports aims to analyse the chief strategic issues that Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce need to follow in gaining more competitive advantage. These strategies include, allocation of required financial as well as human resources, threat to specific powers and proper handing and usage of improved information systems.

Allocation of necessary financial and human resources

Broad environment:

Increased inflation rate is one of the major negative economic effect that has influenced the internal ambience of the institution greatly (Sparrow, Brewster and Chung 2016). It has been working since 1924, there is a need of change in the financial structure of the institution (Chambers 2018). In addition to this, devaluation of money has a great impact on the financial system of the institution. As it deals with the various sizes of companies and aid them for flourishing, these economic changes in the country has an adverse effect on the institution. The company is completely privet and runs with the profit acquired from aiding the small, medium and large companies. These companies include local firms, national and international companies of any size. Due to the economic slowdown of the country, the businesses with these firms has been creating tremendous pressure on the financial structure of the institution (Stone et al. 2016).  In addition to this, the economic problem in the country, has prevented the initiatives of opening new start-ups in the local or national basis because of which the process of having new clients or mission to enhance more market reach has been totally closed for this institution. Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is expected to pay the tax of more than 20% to the government but suffers hugely due to inflation. In one hand the pressure of taxes and lack of new client organisation on the other, have seriously hampered the operation of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

Inadequate Competitiveness and Stability

Industry environment:

In addition to this, the institution is greatly suffering from human resource problem. Due to financial problem it has not been able to recruit as manty employees as required in this firm. As the inflation has hit its highest in these last few years, the organisation could not pay incentives to the employees and had a great issue with the supply chains. This institution has been trying to adopt cost leadership strategies but facing a tremendous monetary pressure. Due to this reason many of the experienced employees have left the institution and it is not being able to recruit fresh people (Zhao et al. 2016). Lack of clients has decreased the popularity of the firm which has ultimately demoralised the institution’s human resource. The employee turnover has been increasing greatly especially the executives. This is mainly because of the fact that this institution has been losing its market position as it cannot take any preventive measures to survive these problems. It has very limited power because the institution works under BCC hence cannot form any new policies but depend upon the command of the higher authorities.

Internal analysis:

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is insufficient of its own income due to increased competition and the loss of assets. Moreover, the employee and other costs have increased greatly. Due to financial instability and absence of assurance employee turnover has been increasing. The traditional method of guiding the clients have reduced its competency and consistency of the firm. With the changing economy, the industry is not being able to cope up both from the economic as well as human resource aspects. On the other hand, the competitors of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce are autonomous hence can change their policies with the change of time and need (Anitha 2014). The institution has been High turnover rate of the expert and specialised employees which has affected the operation of the institution greatly. It is one of the chief reasons why the institution has been losing it ground in the competitive market.

Discussion:

Since the company has been serving the small and medium sector companies for more than 90 years it has great experience in dealing with the old firms and has been able to build a brand loyalty among its clients. The institution’s competitive advantage can be built through the quality of its service which will provide differentiation from the other chamber of commerce. It works under the UK’s most popular British chamber of commerce hence it has a huge scope for developing national as well as international business participation. Moreover, the company has core capabilities of market research which is the need of this situation. As the country’s economy has been suffering from economic slowdown, it is the best time to understand the market requirement.

Opportunities for Improvement

Strategic options:

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce enjoys a great popularity as well as huge experience due to the fact that it has been working in this field of guiding the local, national and international firms for more than 80 years. It has undergone many rough roads to development hence the institution must find strategies to overcome this economic pressure. There are many scopes for the institution most import of which it the opportunity to influence and grab new start-ups. The government of the UK has decided to decrease the corporate tax by 17% within 2020 which will definitely create scope for the new small or medium companies to start business. This step by the UK government will act as an incentive for fresh initiatives which will increase the number of client of the institution. In addition to this, initiatives to have a better collaboration with the employees is vital. Through proper research the institution will be able to motivate the employees and prevent the high turnover rate. Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce need to bring changes in the management so that some policies for proper operation can be changed (Bair and Palpacuer 2015). The institution can take assistance from other professional associations as well as other related organisations so that it can gain a competitive advantage in the competitive market of the UK.

Improvement of information system:

Broad environment

More than three out of five institution of the UK has been suffering from the problems regarding technological advancements. Their concerns are basically to correct identify their clients and provide them more security and proper service. In this regard, the institutions of the UK have been lagged from their counterparts in the USA, China, Singapore and Australia. These companies are adopting new approaches for customer authentication and then include them in the business (Brewster et al. 2016). As the research done by numerous data intelligence firms, these institutions like Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, are less focused on the new and advanced technologies but more on the cost control. These firms are less likely to take interest in the utilisation of automatic electronic data capture in their business. These institutions are seriously lagged behind the competitors of the other countries. The researchers have found out that the UK is currently behind in the usage of digital approach which can be their promising sing for future upgradation and developments (Kavanagh and Johnson 2017). Most of the institutions are more focussed in adopting newer approaches and planning to enhance investments to overcome the economic slowdown or inflation which has greatly affected the structure of the small and large firms situated in the UK. In fetching new investors from the foreign countries will be easily for the institutions if they use digital platforms for marketing.

Technological Advancement Challenges

Industry environment

The institution Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has a tremendous rivalry among the competitors operating in the same industry. This is due to the fact that all of these institutions work under one particular institution that is British Chamber of commerce. There are six more branches of the BCC in the West midlands which offer the same facilities to their clients as this institution provides. All of these institutions are filled with experts who have great knowledge of the business environment of this kind of institutions as well as the effective regulations (Buckley, Burton and Mirza 2016). These regulations mainly focus on the Intellectual property that are chief forces of innovation and creation within industry. This industry needs to have innovative skills among its labours and high expertise as well as experience in dealing with the information technology. This is the chief drivers of this industry as they work with the national and international clients. In case they themselves do not have authentic information about the situation or economic data of the investors, they will not be able to research om this matter and consequently will not be able to provide data to their clients (Koc and Bozdag 2017). Thus the institutions need to have sound technological advancement in their workplaces.

Internal analysis

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce conducts trainings so that the clients have opportunities to measure their skill gaps and solve these gaps immediately. In doing so they provide 50 courses in essential business skills. It has 1400 members within one directory. All of these members are deeply connected with each other. They have easy access to the institution directory and promote member to member trading thus gain exclusive member discounts. The chief aim of the institution is to increase collaboration between the education providers and the clients so that they gain exposure to their business both nationally as well as internationally. In doing all these the institution needs to have a strong and well-furnished technological support system (Albrecht et al. 2015). However, the institution needs to have proper telecommunication infrastructure which will provide them scope for capture authentic data from the international clients and assist the local business firms (Jackson, Schuler and Jiang 2014).

Discussion

The government have been trying to deliver all the needs tools, standers ad resources which will help all the firms to gain advantages. On the other hand, the institutions such as Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce will be able to work more effectively for collaborating the educator with the clients as well as deliver user focussed services. The institution mainly focuses on the international trading services, which need proper information from the governmental department of international trade that is great.gov.uk (Schaltegger and Wagner 2017). Following these the institution can take advantages of digital marketing of its survives such as ‘exporting is great’ and ‘selling online overseas’. These are designed, developed as well as delivered in no time (Chrisman et al. 2016). From these portals, the small local firms can get assistance through the institutional notifications and track their growth.   

Competition in the Industry

Strategic options

Within this hypercompetitive environment, the institution needs to have Proper infrastructure and communication facilities through digital medium so that the institution can reach their clients easily. The main focus of the company is to create a platform where the business educators and the clients lacking knowledge of one particular field meet. Therefore, technological improvement is a vital fact to collaborate and provide assistant to the client forms (De Jong and van Dijk 2015). As the innovation and creativity are major issues, this institution needs proper investment in the technological development within the institution. Including this, the company can take advantage of the digital platforms which will help it to get a perfect scope for the commutation with the international clients. For achieving these, the institution must have high internet connection in its branches (Martinez-Simarro, Devece and Llopis-Albert 2015). Providing the clients with proper information and secure their own information, the constitution must have a high quality digital security system. This will assist the institution to manage the highly secured data to handle and guarantee to provide all-inclusive support to all the clients.

Broad environment

Specific powers are the powers that enable individual to have a law making control in his hands. This enumerated powers are entirely enjoyed by the topmost hierarchy (Lazaroiu 2015). As mentioned before, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce operates under the BCC. It has more than 50 accredited Chambers of Commerce in the various parts of the UK. It represents more than 70 thousand business and help more than five million people across the globe. The chief aim of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is to maintain collaboration between the clients and the resources. Its members range from growth-oriented start-ups to local and regional subsidiaries of multinational companies. These companies are basically from the commercial as well as industrial sectors (Grover 2016). The British Chamber of Commerce conducts independent business survey across the UK which defines their policies within the subordinate intuitions as well as maintaining relations with their client companies.

Industry environment

All the policies or regulations are being laid by the top authority hence the chamber of commerce’s do not need to form any rule for the appropriate operation but only follow these structures of management. This however, has proved to be problematic for these chambers of commerce. The authorities have duties to maintain but very limited power to execute. Hence they cannot alter any outdated rules or recruit new employees independently.

Internal analysis

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is a subsidiary of the BCC hence like all other subsidiaries, it cannot change the policies but follow them accordingly. The specific power that empowers the company heads, is not acceptable by the structure of the institution (Hedman, Sarker and Veit 2016). This is the reason why the institution cannot introduce newer technologies for assisting the clients as well as apply new methods of education and training to the small businessmen for starting successfully. There has been a huge financial problem that ultimately leads to the employee turnover. In addition to this, without any specific power, the managers of the institution cannot provide benefits to their employees and the employees are leaving the organisation for when they get more options and benefits in other institutions (Albrecht et al. 2015).

Discussion

The chief aim of the Chamber of Commerce in any country is a form of business framework that aims to further the interests of the businesses (Prajogo, Oke and Olhager 2016). The small to large companies gather and advocate on behalf of the business communities. These have members form the board of directors who create policies and legislation to guide the clients successfully. For this reason, the director of the head Chamber of Commerce enjoy supreme power as well as authority to build the whole organisation and fulfil all the needs of the employees and the clients (Dobbs 2014). One the other hand, the subsidiaries of the head institution do not have much power to execute. They all follow the same rules and policies. They cannot follow new upgraded marketing strategies to attract members and increase the number. 

Strategic options

For breaking into the large and lucrative new markets the institution can introduce attractive new programs for empowering the clients. Through these the institution can share their hard earned expertise, knowledge and experience and gain competitive advantage (Gulati and Soni 2015).  They can advise and guide their tailored experiences individually to the clients’ needs. The chief aim of the institution needs to make the local businesses more visible, gain more reach in the overseas market by accessing proper routes.

Conclusion:

Therefore, it can be concluded that there are diverse problems lumbering around the business environment of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. There are financial issues that have transformed the business of the small and medium industries to operate in the free market. The main project of this institution is to provide guidance to the small, medium and large firm located in the country as well as in the foreign countries. The institution has acquired a good reputation in its felid and enjoy great popularity in the area where it is situated. However, these are some issues which have been affecting the institution for last few years especially since the inflation in the UK along with other economic and technological problems. The problems regarding the employee turnover has affected the institution greatly. Despite the fact that the country has a large human resource that can provide cheap skilled labours. However, the institution does not have any power to recruited employees or change policies, it cannot introduce any new norm but has to work under specific principalities. The clients are provided with facilities to grow in both the national as well as international environment. These are the reasons why the institution must follow some strategies to cope up with the changing time and client needs.

References:

Albrecht, S.L., Bakker, A.B., Gruman, J.A., Macey, W.H. and Saks, A.M., 2015. Employee engagement, human resource management practices and competitive advantage: An integrated approach. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 2(1), pp.7-35.

Anitha, J., 2014. Determinants of employee engagement and their impact on employee performance. International journal of productivity and performance management, 63(3), p.308.

Bair, J. and Palpacuer, F., 2015. CSR beyond the corporation: contested governance in global value chains. Global Networks, 15(s1). 

Brewster, C., Houldsworth, E., Sparrow, P. and Vernon, G., 2016. International human resource management. Kogan Page Publishers.

Buckley, P.J., Burton, F. and Mirza, H. eds., 2016. The strategy and organization of international business. Springer.

Chambers, H. (2018). About the Chamber of Commerce. [online] Hertschamber.com. Available at: https://www.hertschamber.com/about-us [Accessed 15 Mar. 2018].

Chrisman, J.J., Chua, J.H., De Massis, A., Minola, T. and Vismara, S., 2016. Management processes and strategy execution in family firms: from “what” to “how”. Small Business Economics, 47(3), pp.719-734.

De Jong, M. and van Dijk, M., 2015. Disrupting beliefs: A new approach to business-model innovation. McKinsey Quarterly, 3, pp.66-75

Grover, V.M., 2016. Alignment of Business Strategy and Innovation Strategy: Strategic Benefits. Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research, 3(1).

Gulati, R. and Soni, T., 2015. Digitization: A strategic key to business. Journal of Advances in Business Management, 1(2), pp.60-67.

Hedman, J., Sarker, S. and Veit, D., 2016. Digitization in business models and entrepreneurship. Information Systems Journal, 26(5), pp.419-420.

Hwchamber.co.uk (2018). Marketing & PR | Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce. [online] Hwchamber.co.uk. Available at: https://hwchamber.co.uk/support/marketing-pr [Accessed 15 Mar. 2018].

Jackson, S.E., Schuler, R.S. and Jiang, K., 2014. An aspirational framework for strategic human resource management. The Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), pp.1-56.

Kavanagh, M.J. and Johnson, R.D. eds., 2017. Human resource information systems: Basics, applications, and future directions. Sage Publications.

Koc, T. and Bozdag, E., 2017. Measuring the degree of novelty of innovation based on Porter's value chain approach. European Journal of Operational Research, 257(2), pp.559-567.

Lazaroiu, G., 2015. Employee motivation and job performance. Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations, 14, p.97.

Martinez-Simarro, D., Devece, C. and Llopis-Albert, C., 2015. How information systems strategy moderates the relationship between business strategy and performance. Journal of Business Research, 68(7), pp.1592-1594.

Prajogo, D., Oke, A. and Olhager, J., 2016. Supply chain processes: Linking supply logistics integration, supply performance, lean processes and competitive performance. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 36(2), pp.220-238.

Schaltegger, S. and Wagner, M. eds., 2017. Managing the business case for sustainability: The integration of social, environmental and economic performance. Routledge.

Schaltegger, S., Hansen, E.G. and Lüdeke-Freund, F., 2016. Business models for sustainability: Origins, present research, and future avenues.

Sparrow, P., Brewster, C. and Chung, C., 2016. Globalizing human resource management. Routledge.

Stone, D.L., Deadrick, D.L., Lukaszewski, K.M. and Johnson, R., 2015. The influence of technology on the future of human resource management. Human Resource Management Review, 25(2), pp.216-231.

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