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MG106 Strategic Management

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  • Course Code: MG106
  • University: London School Of Economics And Political Science
  • Country: United Kingdom

Questions:

Coursework 1

You are given two scenarios below which form the requirements of coursework 2.

Both reports must be prepared and submitted together in one document via Turnitin.

Scenario 1

High Flyers Limited (“HFL”) is a UK company based in the South East and employs 150 staff in the manufacture and wholesale of high quality handmade gymnastics wear and associated products. The product range includes costumes, bags, footwear, exercise mats and cosmetics. HFL sells 60% of its products to the UK sports retailers, exports 35% to the USA and Canada and 15% directly to the sports clubs via its own website. The gross profit margin for sales to UK sports retailers is low and they take up to 90 days to pay their invoices. The majority of website sales to clubs are for personalised costumes which are ‘special orders’ produced to the customer’s requirements. There are around 6 other companies in the UK who manufacture similar products to HFL and many hundreds who compete in the lower quality fashion market. The average selling price for HFL is £65, whereas the lower quality rivals average price is £25. HFL promotes its products on the basis of high quality materials and is well known for its handmade long lasting costumes. Sales of gymnastics wear in the UK is rising particularly in the quality end of the market due to the popularity of the sport following a number of sporting initiatives supported by the UK Government. HFL are at full capacity and can sell all that they can produce. The UK government have suggested they may increase the level of VAT on sporting goods to 22% to raise additional tax receipts. Industry commentators have suggested that if the VAT increase went ahead this would cause the domestic sportswear market to shrink by around 5%. Following the UK’s decision to exit from the European Union in 2016, the cost of imported products has increased dramatically, and export demand for UK products in the USA and Canada is expected to rise. There is a very good supply chain of specialised gymnastic material in the UK but HFL are finding it difficult to recruit skilled designers due to the skills needed. Although the company has invested in technology to automate some of the initial cutting, the process is labour intensive. The industry remains traditional but HFL have introduced some new initiatives such as a costume design website where sports clubs can create a drawing of a bespoke item of gymnastics wear before it is submitted to the design office for a fixed price quotation.

Required

Produce a report for HFL analysing the issues facing the industry and an evaluation of the competitive pressures facing the company. Your report should include a discussion of how HFL’s external environment may influence its future strategy.

Scenario 2

SCH is a privately owned care services company which offers home nursing care for 800 patients in the South East of England. The services provided are mainly targeted at the elderly who require help at home ranging from the preparation of meals to specialist nursing care. The patients may pay the fees themselves or they may be paid by their relatives or by the local government authority. SCH has recently produced a Mission Statement which states “We treat our customers with respect and dignity and provide highly personalised and tailored home care services” All of SCHs patients are located in and around two cities both located in the South East of England. SCH employs around 150 staff in the community, working a range of hours from part time to full time. There is also a small call centre team who are the main point of contact for both patients and nursing staff. SCH’s employs a mix of qualified nursing and auxiliary staff who are motivated and highly trained. SCH is profitable and expects to increase its market share from its current 20% in the South East which it believes can be done using its spare capacity. The remainder of the market is shared by a small number of local government funded operators and some other small private businesses. A significant amount of SCH’s total expenditure is travelling costs which is paid to staff in respect of the journeys to patients homes. Due to rising costs in motoring many of the small privately owned care services companies have closed or are being considered for sale. This trend is typical of the rest of the UK. A national shift in the demographics of the population in the last 30 years has resulted in a significant rise in the proportion of elderly members of society. Reductions in hospital funding have also resulted in increased demand for care services in the community. SCH receives the majority of new customers through recommendation and referrals from local hospitals and doctors. The prices charged to home care patients by the local government authority are lower than those charged by SCH, due to central government subsidies. However, SCH believe that the services and facilities provided by SCH are superior to those offered by the local authority. Compared to the local authority SCH pays a higher wage rate per hour and its average visit time is 20% higher. It plans to increase visit times by a further 10% next year and acknowledges that this will impact on its capacity and therefore additional staff may be required. The Managing Director is confident that these initiatives although costly provide a competitive advantage. Although SCH currently offers daily home care for mainly elderly patients, there is a growing need for the market to offer services to families for short term respite where a member of the family has a requirement for 24 hour care. This is to allow the normal carers to take a rest period. Many of SCH’s patients attend the local hospital or GP surgery for routine treatments but many of these procedures could be carried out by SCH’s qualified nurses at the patient’s home. This would require investment in portable medical equipment and additional training. Patients would prefer for these treatments to be carried out at home in familiar surroundings. A local newspaper has reported that a new franchised home care operator is intending to offer services in the South East area and has been quoted as saying “we hope to offer a competitive alternative to local authority services in these times of austerity”

Required

Produce a corporate appraisal report for the shareholders of SCH to analyse its strategic position and propose and evaluate its strategic options to meet its objectives. Your report should include:

  • The use of appropriate tools and models of strategic management to analyse and evaluate the strategic position and strategic options.
  • A discussion of the key strategic challenges facing the company
  • Analysis of the opportunities available to the company, using Ansoff's strategic directional growth vector matrix.
  • Evaluation of these opportunities using Johnson, Scholes and Whittington's framework
  • Recommendation of which strategic directions would be most appropriate for the company to follow.
  • Other issues, models and tools which you think are relevant

Coursework 2

CIDesign is a well-established creative design business based in the UK midlands. It was founded in 2005 by a local entrepreneur who successfully expanded the business which until 2015 remained an independent family owned company. In 2015 the company hit financial difficulty and was taken over by a German company DDesign. DDesign have expanded rapidly in the last 5 years and now owns over 10% of UK creative design businesses. Since DDesign took over, CIDesign have lost 10 of its 30 staff through resignation. The majority of the losses have been designers and creative specialists. The industry staff turnover is usually very low and alarm has been expressed in the creative trade journal about the extent of the losses. DDesign arranged a meeting with all remaining staff to ask them the reasons for the high number of leavers. They suggested a number of reasons which are summarised below:-

Staff said that prior to the takeover there had been very little change and that staff were proud of the company’s entrepreneurial culture and flexible working arrangements. CIDesign are well known for its very high quality design and being one of the few remaining UK owned creative companies.

Since DDesign took over it has attempted to introduce a number of cost saving measures in order to return CIDesign to profitability. DDesign has outsourced some of its design work to India and China and has been working on strategies to move its IT hub to Berlin where they have an existing operation. The staff that left the company following the takeover have made it clear that they were resisting these changes before they resigned. DDesign is highly profitable due to its efficient operations, economies of scale and low cost base and now wishes to re-organise CIDesign to bring in line with the group. It is intending to rebrand the company under the DDesign group name and to bring it under its own functional structure rather than operating as a standalone division. The staff feels that the pace of change has been too fast and are unhappy that the good name, reputation and values of CIDesign will be lost.

Required

The Board of DDesign are extremely concerned about the loss of significant staff numbers from CIDesign and have asked you to write a business report to help them formulate their strategy. In your report:

a. Explain what is meant by the phrase ‘resistance to change’ and discuss the reasons for the resistance to change at CIDesign which led to so many managers leaving. You should include consideration of job, personal and social factors which contributed to the resistance.

b. Evaluate the change management process which has been undertaken at CIDesign over the last year

c.Advise DDesign on alternative strategies for CIDesign, which may avoid further loss of staff

d. Discuss how Lewin's three-stage model would help DDesign successfully manage the change process at CIDesign
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