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a) Describe and evaluate the objectives, aims and the primary aspects of a strategic plan whilst taking into account the vision and mission of the organisation.
b) Discuss and evaluate the processes and forces that influence the strategic decision-making process in relation to business strategy.
c) Explain the significance of strategy as a means of identifying and realising opportunities for growth.
d) Analyse the managerial, planning and procedural tasks associated with implementing and executing organisational strategies and identify the key risks associated with this process.
e) Prepare and justify a strategic plan.
f) Demonstrate an ability to think strategically about an organisation, its position in the marketplace and how it can gain a sustainable competitive advantage.

External environmental analysis

Strategic management refers to the process which is implemented to a business in order to monitor and analyze the operations of the organization to see how far they are working towards meeting their business goals (Hill, Jones & Schilling, 2014). The assessment of the activities of the business organization is made so that the strategic planners can get an idea about how the organization has to channelize its actions in order to realize its vision (Evans, 2014). In this paper, the Woolworths Group has been chosen for the analysis of their strategic management. The company aims at being the first preference for their customers among all the other brands. In achieving their business goal how far and in which direction they are working is being assessed in the following paper. There are sections on Woolworths’ environmental analysis, analysis on competitive rivalry, assessment of strategies and finally recommendations are made before drawing a conclusion to the paper.

For any organization an analysis of their external environment is very important because the strategies will be developed based on their business environment.

The five factor analysis of Porter helps the business organization to understand how they can eliminate the risks, reduce the threats from their rivals and develop their business by understanding their competitive strengths and weaknesses (E. Dobbs, 2014).

Woolworths operates in the supermarket and retail sector which offers a very high bargaining power to its buyers because almost all the supermarkets and retail stores sell homogeneous products. The buyers can easily switch from one to another and take advantage of their bargaining power.

The suppliers can enjoy a high or moderately high bargaining power if they are already some established brands. The big brands which are sold in the supermarkets exert their bargaining power on the market structure.

Industry substitutes

There are many substitutes available for Woolworths as the customers may want to purchase their required products from some stores other than the supermarket which are near to their homes or which have easy payment system, no parking problems, or time effective with no long queues.

This supermarket and retail sector is not very attractive to the new entrants in terms of their entry. The profit making potential is quite low. The land, capital and other inputs are quite high priced which is a hindrance for new entrants. In fact the regulations of the government are another factor which discourages new companies to enter the industry. Thus the threat from entrants is low to moderate.

Porter’s Five factor Analysis

There is intense competition in the supermarket and retail sector as they operate in an oligopolistic market structure. There are few participants and intense rivalry among them.

The factors from outside which influence the business of an organization are analyzed under PESTEL analysis. However only two most significant factors: political environment and socio-cultural environment are assessed for Woolworths in this section.

The government regulations, laws and restrictions have an important role to play in the business of an organization. Starting from the hours of operation to the kind of products being sold at the retail stores and supermarkets is under the watch of the government (Liebich, Von Zimmermann & Rapp, 2014). The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) monitor the operations of the supermarkets and this impacts the business of Woolworths. The Trade Practices Act, the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Commonwealth Government are shaping the legislation for the operations of the supermarkets.

The lifestyle of the people, their choices, tastes and preferences are the socio-cultural factors which are impacting the business of the supermarkets. The health concern of the people nowadays is increasing day by day and hence the demand for non-fatty foods is high. People do not want to have products with high calorie and sugar content. Thus the supermarkets need to sell those products which are high in demand.

Internal environmental analysis is important to know the organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

Woolworths has a huge employee base of 205,000 employees operating at 3000 stores in several locations across Australia. Thus they have very strong tangible and intangible resources. They have an efficient management with a recognized brand image. Their stakeholder relationships are also very strong.

The resources which an organization has needs to be put to their optimum use to increase their capabilities (Lin & Wu, 2014). This is done effectively by Woolworths as they are coordinating their business well through the cooperation of right set of employees.

Branding: The adequate promotion and marketing makes Woolworths a recognized brand with its unique slogan of ‘Australia's Fresh Food People'.

Innovation: Woolworths was the first retail company which had subscribed the Global Electronic Marketing and Merchandising Network. They made online services available. Launching their own website have them competitive advantage over its rivals.

Good Supply Chain: The wide and well organized supply chain makes the company cost effective.

The value chain of Woolworths consists of the following:

The Company has its distribution centers at many locations across Australia. They operate in their 3000 stores which make them cost effective and they can stock the excess products (Woolworths Group, 2018). They serve almost 29 million customers through their brands each week.

PESTEL analysis

Woolworths engages farmers to bog brands in their supply chain which helps them to provide the best quality at the lowest possible prices.

The Company has a strong quality management system which ensures quality standards of vendor at stores. 

Woolworths invests huge amount of capital on its promotion and marketing activities that helps the firm to enhance the publicity of the products and services. 

Their payment procedure is time effective and does not delay work preventing in long queues. This makes the customers satisfied with their service. 

The competitive advantage of Woolworths over its competitors is due to its high resource capacity (Fleisher & Bensoussan, 2015). They have a world class supply chain which makes them cost effective and thus the first choice for many customers. Their logistics and management gives them a competitive edge over the other participants in the market. The company has strong alliance management and well established partnerships with all its stakeholders. Their slogans and branding strategies have given them a strong brand image and reputation. Being the first movers in using the latest innovative technology, like GEMMnet, online services, company website, unique branding, bringing in concepts like ‘re-fresh’, etc. in their business has made them the flag bearers in the retail industry (Woolworths Group, 2018). The vertical integration in the business also helps them to offer competitive prices and influence the market power.

 Goal- The fundamental target of Woolworths is to possess the first position amongst the choice of the customers. In order to accomplish this, the following are the basic objectives, which it follows. The initial approach includes the construction of a consumer and store led lifestyle and squad. Production of rational impetus in food, the evolution of the drink business for giving increased value and ease to the consumers, entitling the portfolio business to chase the approach to provide shareholder value and suiting a weak retailer through the end to end procedure and mechanism. Thus, the goals of Woolworths include the making of an excellent squad, which pays attention to the requirements of the consumers. With the aid of the Voice consumer program, the replies and the sentiments of each consumer can be laid stress upon. In this way, the consumers think that are important to the company (Fleischman & Craig, 2015). Woolworths also targets to provide the greatest value and bring ease to the consumers in every field. The goal also incorporates to fulfill all of its objectives. This helps in an increased growth in the company.

Internal environmental analysis

Vision- The vision of Woolworths is simple and aims to be the best in around the globe. This company has the eyesight of becoming the world’s greatest and the most accountable merchants. This vision portrays Woolworths ardent engagement and promise to do excellent business for the consumers and for all the people across the globe. For them, their consumers possess the sole importance and they take the responsibility to undertake all the outputs given by the consumers (Palmeira & Thomas, 2011). Beginning from the value based leaderships to ardent brand publicity they vision to inculcate their values across all the margins of their business in the globe. The squad  working collaboratively are committed to fulfill all the objectives designed for the convenience of the consumers.  

Initiative- The latest initiative of Woolworths include the sustainable methods of doing business to protect the environment. The abstaining from plastic and adopting the eco friendly ways are the recent initiatives. But with respect to the cost leadership and differentiation, Woolworths ensures that there is addition to its overall growth. In order to secure a sustained increase and a competitive betterment, there must be an incorporation of price leadership with the other groups. The making of a decreased pricing firm with low production costs and maximum outputs attracts more consumers across the globe. This helps in balancing the relations with regard to the value connecters. This also decreases the price with regard to such connecters. Differentiation process aims to make goods and provide services distinct from the others. The production of goods and services become diverse in nature when compared to the rest. Thus, it becomes clear that when business compare the diverse types of competitive betterments like price and differentiation, the business is able to achieve all advantages from both these initiatives. Woolworths thus, balances between cost leadership and differentiation outlooks over the other rivals in the markets (Dwivedi et al., 2012).

After a close perusal of the above data, I can understand that Woolworths Group is a merchant industry and I would recommend the cost mechanism should be given importance. There can be hikes in the costs, but the management of Woolworths should always emphasize upon the cost cutting according to the needs of the consumers. I further recommend, that Woolworths should put stress upon the following factors:

The incorporation of a price leadership system whereby a bunch of rules are designed for the best production mechanism at the decreased pricing is required. In this way, the demands of the consumers increase and Woolworths become their foremost choice. The next thing I would recommend is that Woolworths should enhance the strategic friendship amongst the real business and the diverse operations. The relation among the companies, help in the enforcement of the business strategies. I would recommend that Woolworths should lay stress upon growth of goods. In this way, the path to the future development and growth would widen. This in turn would attract more consumers across the globe. Lastly, I would recommend that Woolworths should recruit people from diverse backgrounds and culture. In this way, the greatest quality service can be achieved from the employees possessing the diverse cultures. 

Conclusion

It can be concluded thus, that Woolworths holds one of the most trusted and promising group in Australia. It successfully aims at the desires of its consumers and satisfies them in the best possible way. It has incorporated in itself the vision of becoming the company chosen by all the people across the globe. The passionate commitment towards serving the people and seeking their satisfaction is of utmost importance in their approach. The recommendations stated above would aid them to hold their position consistently in the future.

References

Dwivedi, A., Merrilees, B., Miller, D., & Herington, C. (2012). Brand, value and relationship equities and loyalty-intentions in the Australian supermarket industry. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 19(5), 526-536.

Dobbs, M. (2014). Guidelines for applying Porter's five forces framework: a set of industry analysis templates. Competitiveness Review, 24(1), 32-45.

Evans, V. (2014). 25 Need-to-know Strategy Tools. London, UK: Pearson UK.

Fleischman, D., & Craig, J. (2015). Exploring integration of non-economic goals into business models of small regional food enterprises: Embedded value creation. The Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends, 13(2), 39.

Fleisher, C. S., & Bensoussan, B. E. (2015). Business and competitive analysis: effective application of new and classic methods. London, UK: FT Press.

Hill, C. W., Jones, G. R., & Schilling, M. A. (2014). Strategic management: theory: an integrated approach. London, UK: Cengage Learning.

Liebich, G., Von Zimmermann, P., & Rapp, R. (2014). U.S. Patent No. 8,706,707. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Lin, Y., & Wu, L. Y. (2014). Exploring the role of dynamic capabilities in firm performance under the resource-based view framework. Journal of business research, 67(3), 407-413.

Palmeira, M. M., & Thomas, D. (2011). Two-tier store brands: the benefic impact of a value brand on perceptions of a premium brand. Journal of Retailing, 87(4), 540-548.

Woolworths Group, 2018. About us. Retrieved from https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/page/about-us/

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