In this report, the strategy paper will be prepared on the evaluation of the strategy which has been running by the Mark & Spencer for achieving improvised outcomes so far. The company has been following effective cost leadership strategy for last five years and the vision, mission, values will be discussed in this report in the context of M & S. Apart from that, the required changes in the organizational structure, impactful market analysis with Porter’ five forces as well as the review of each year’s progress will be conducted so far. Performance analysis including the evaluation of the strategy with justification will be included. Along with that, few recommendations for the better-improvised outcomes in future will be discussed in this report.
Part A: Strategy Paper
Vision and strategy
Mark & Spencer is one of the leading retailers with the largest customers’ banks. Every week, more than 21 million people visit their stores. The company has been offering a wide range of the highly stylish, quality along with affordable pricing range of home products, food products and clothing items as well. The company has been running the business with the effective achievement of higher success rates of competitive advantages from the past several years. The company was founded in 1884 and currently, the company has been operating with more than 959 stores in the major cities of the United Kingdom along with international platforms in different nations so far. Since the beginning, the company has been offering effective pricing range to the customers as it is considered as the most effective vision for the company and it has been considered as one of the most profitable strategies’ throughout the years from long. The company has a strong vision and values along with effective mission (Liao and Huang, 2016).
The strategy adopted by Mark & Spencer
The company has been running with various strategies running around for improvised services and effective outcomes. Some of them work for the company very well and few of them did not go well as far. Mark & Spencer has been running its business on the wide level which helps to understand that company needs to evaluate every strategy after few years so that the outcomes can be evaluated and discussed with stakeholders’ so far. It makes it easy to decide running the strategy in future or not.
From the last five years, the company has been operating with one of the most impactful strategies for smoothly running operations for the company in past. Mark & Spencer have adopted a cost leadership strategy for the last five years. The main reason behind running with this strategy was that it is completely focused on the vision, mission and values of the company. The Mark & Spencer wants to offer higher quality with effective price range which leads the company to adopt this strategy a few years back. The vision of the company reflects the key purposes of the company for long and short both terms. The Mark & Spencer want to “develop the company as industry-leading, core quality-focused exceptional source of brining and indulging innovation to the retail industry” so far. To achieve the vision, Mark & Spencer has been set out long and short term missions after analyzing the business environment as well. This vision statement helped the company to not just develop the strategy but although run the strategy with smoothness within the company as well (Hearld and Alexander, 2014). The following will be the vision, mission and values of the cost leadership strategy of Mark & Spencer for the past five years.
Mark & Spencer want to not only increase the customer’s range but along with company wants to increase customer satisfaction which can only be achieved with higher quality and effective prices. The high customer satisfaction will be helpful to increase the brand value within the industry which makes it easy to achieve the competitive advantages of the company as well.
The mission behind adopting the cost leadership strategy of Mark & Spencer is to make the quality easily accessible to everyone from everywhere, through the depth and range of its variety of the products as far. Offering quality products with a low price range to the customers would be the mission of the company as well.
Values represent the beliefs of the company which helps and influences the company to develop the policies, basic rules & regulations, procedures and become an anchor of all the activities’ of the organisational. For Mark & Spencer, the following will be the most influenced values for the company.
- Higher Quality
- Improvised Services
- Focused Innovation
- High Trust
Mark & Spencer have been running with higher achievement of competitive advantages long in the industry. The company has been facing huge competition from long and there are various strategies’ which the company has to develop, try and evaluate before running them for a longer period so far. Since the globalization hit the market, opportunities’ for multinational companies has been increased but at the same time, it has been increased the challenges of high competition for the companies as well. The more the competition has been increasing, the more it made it easy to understand the requirement of effective changes in organisational culture for successful implementation of the strategy. The company have been adopted the cost leadership strategy as the company wants to offer an effective price range to the customers with higher quality as well five years ago. To run any strategy successfully, the company must be able to first identify the required changes and then make the required changes to the organisational culture so that the strategy can be successfully implemented so far (Hilman and Kaliappen, 2014).
A few years back, the company was facing huge challenges due to its rigid and inflexible culture of the organization which was the result of the huge success of the company previously as well. It made the company culture and structure very rigid and company management started feeling that there was no need for changes. The company was unable to identify the requirements of the changes especially in regard with the employees working hours and remuneration so far as the culture in the company was more static and more bureaucratic over the time and it was clear that it needed to change for increasing the possibilities for growth as well as for high satisfaction of customers and employees so far. The rigid organisational structure made less resistant not only to the management of the company but also the employee’s company so far. It is one of the reasons which make the employees less acceptable for changes which reduced their productivity, creativity and growth so far. It is one of the reasons which made it necessary to run the changes so an effective R&D was conducted to identify the recent trends in the industry, which made it easy to understand the required changes in the employees and HR wing in the company (NYOKABI, 2019). The Mark & Spencer human resources departments identify the effective courses including online or offline learning and some education programs which will be helpful for the company to make the employees learn new advance trends of the industry. The effective learning and education programs along with advance training programs made it possible to make it acceptable for the employees to accept the changes to cope up better with the working culture of the company as well. The more the skills of the employees have been increased, the more it helps the company to not only increase the growth possibilities but along with that, it improvised the corporate culture of the Mark & Spencer lately.
These training programs were considered as the best decisions for the company because it helped to improve the adaptability of the employees which made it easy to run the changes in the process of manufacturing vendors, retailing and running other operations as well which helped to successfully reduce the costs and lower down other expenses as far (Kraśnicka, et. al., 2018). It was one of the positive signs in the process of running the cost leadership strategy within the company five years back.
Review of each year’s progress
To identify the outcomes from any strategy, it is very much important that the company must be run the effective review of the strategy at regular intervals so that the outcomes can be evaluated and reviewed so far. Since the company has been running the cost leadership strategy from the past five years, the following will be the analysis which will be helpful to effective review the progress of each year.
To identify the progress of the strategy, one of the best ways to evaluate the position of the competitors of the company and Mark & Spencer has been operating in the industry where due to the high growth rates the competition is quite high from past few years (Johnson, et. al., 2018). The Mark & Spencer has already hold one of the top positions among its competition within the industry but the company needs to stick to the position and without effective strategic management, the top position can’t be held for long. Using Porter’s five forces model is one of the most interesting and highly impactful models for Competitor analysis.
Porter’s five forces model
Thereat of new entrants – To get entered into the industry where Mark & Spencer has been operating, requires high capital and huge investments along with even after entering into the industry, survival costs are high so the threats of new entrants are low for Mark & Spencer (Baxter, 2019).
Bargaining power of buyers – Due to the low economy of the United Kingdom from the past few years and the low switching costs, the bargaining power of buyers is high for Mark & Spencer and industry so far. It was also highly dependable on the income sources of the population of the areas.
Bargaining power of suppliers – Since the Mark & Spencer is one of the top companies in the industry with high turnover and huge demand of the customers due to the large customers range as well, the bargaining power of the suppliers is considered as low comparatively so far.
The threat of substitutes – When it comes to the threats of the substitutes of food and clothes, there are less or no options for substitutes as well. The lower the options would be available, the lower the threats of the substitutes would be for the Mark & Spencer as far (Semenova, et. al., 2018).
Competitive rivalry – In the retail industry, the competition level is always considered as high in comparison to other industries so far. As Mark & Spencer has been following the diversified range of the products including food, household and clothing which ended up increasing more competition for the company. The Mark & Spencer has to face competitors’ from food or household such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and in the clothing line, are competitors’ are Topshop, Zara, John Lewis and Next so far. It indicates that the rivalry in the industry is getting higher and complex for the company in the past few years.
The target customers of Mark & Spencer are the middle-age woman who wants stylish yet comfortable clothing and doesn’t want their clothes to be challenging. The company wants to offer an effective price range to the housewives so that the sales would be easily managed as well. With an effective product and price analysis, market share can be easily defined as far so the following will be the product and price analysis or Mark & Spencer in the United Kingdom and worldwide in recent years (Dalpiaz and Parente, 2019).
Product analysis – Since the company has been offering a wide range of products, Mark & Spencer must be conducting effective product analysis so that the performance of the products must be analyzed. The following graph will represent the performance of the products including home/clothing range and food products from 2013 to 2019.
Distribution of Marks & Spencer sales revenue in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2013 to 2019, by food and clothing/home*
Source: Statista, 2019
As per the above-mentioned graph, it has been analyzed that the food range of company generates 54% to 62.5% in the revenue which is higher than the clothing and home accessories line from 2013 to 2019 so far.
Distribution of the grocery market in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2011 to 2015, by retailer
Source: Statista, 2019
The above-mentioned graph helps to understand the distribution of the UK grocery market from 2011 to 2015 among its competitors. It indicates that in 2011 Mark & Spencer has 4% share in grocery which has the same in 2015 so far.
It has been evaluated that the price range of the company has been considered as the expensive as the other competitions by almost 20% previously which was one of the reason for the company to losses its market share. For effectively maintain the costs, the company decided to close various stores which have been running under pressure from long. It would be considered as helpful for running the business with success (Palmer, et. al., 2018). The following graph will present the stores which are proposed to close by company.
Source: bbc.com, 2018
Since the company has been already running in a highly competitive business industry so to analyze the effectiveness of the strategy, it is important for the company that the company must be able to understand the current positions of the competitors so far. It will be very helpful for the companies to conduct the effective competitor analysis test so that not only the level of competition has been reduced but also the strategies’ of the competitors can be analyzed as well. For effective competition analyzed, the company must be able to run effectively competencies’ and capabilities so far. The core competencies’ of the Mark & Spencer are highly improvised capital structure and most importantly the supply chain management. Last year, the company gave over 2 billion pounds to the shareholders so that future financial growth can be strengthened so far. When it comes to capabilities, Mark & Spencer has moreover 1330 stores all across the world with more than 33 million customers as well. Besides that, the company has a strong market reputation for offering the delivery of high quality and great value products as well (Xiao, et. al., 2019). The company owns around 852 stores all around the United Kingdom as well as the e-commerce selling platforms so far. To identify the comparison, it is clear that the company must be running effectively with more capabilities and competencies’ which helps to offer the higher effective and strong market position of the company all around the United Kingdom as well.
Performance analysis helps to understand that the company must need to effectively conduct the research or analysis about the performance of the company during the period so that it can be easily identified if the strategy did work well or not.
Evaluation of the strategy
Since the company has been adopted the cost leadership strategies for increasing its profits by lower down the prices as well as the costs of Mark & Spencer so far. To increase the profits and reduce the costs, it was very much important for the company to reduce wastage and unnecessary or additional costs. So the first identified the stores which have been running in loss or under pressure from a long time and evaluating, the company decided to close them down so far. Apart from that, to run effective waste management, it was important that the company must increase the productivity and interest level to the company operations so that additional costs could be reduced. Mark & Spencer invested in some informative and learning education training programs so that the waste can be managed (Shareef, et. al., 2019). Apart from that, the company increased the incentives, bonuses and other additional benefits for employees so that the productivity and engagement level of the employees could be increased so far.
Earlier as per the customers’ perception, the product of the company is 20% higher price than the competitions so the reduction of the costs helped the company to offer the lower prices to the customers which increased its sales so far. The following figures will show the revenue generated by the company in 2019.
Source: corporate.marksandspencer, 2019
Revenue of Marks & Spencer worldwide from 2010 to 2019*
Source: Statista, 2019
The graph helped to understand that the company has been generating high group revenues in 2019 in comparison to 2010 as well which has been considered as that the strategy helped the company to increase the revenue rates so far which is higher than the competitors of the company within the industry as well (Statista, 2019).
Overview of the performance of Mark & Spencer in 2019
Source: Corporate.marksandspencer, 2019
With the help of the above-mentioned graph, it has been analyzed that the company must have been running with higher sustainability with huge profits with the effective application of the cost leadership strategy five years ago. It has been considered as very much fruitful for the company to reduce the costs and prices to attract more and more customers as well. In total, 62.5% of revenue has been generated from the food section and 37.5% revenue generated from the clothing & home line in 2019 (corporate.marksandspencer, 2019).
The following table will be the financial summary of company performance from 2018 to 2019.
Financial summary of Mark & Spencer in 2018 – 2019
Source: corporate.marksandspencer, 2019
Justification for the success of the strategy
Since the company has been shifting its focuses to reduce the additional and extra costs and offer lower prices to the customers, it was very helpful to the company to attract the higher number of the customers which has been playing a huge role in increasing the revenue generated in past years. The revenue (In group) generated was Euro 10.4 billion in the year 2019 and clothing & home it was around 3.5 billion euro and from the food, it was approx 5.9 billion euro as well.
The main reasons behind the success of this strategy are because the company has a huge customers base and increased prices was a big challenge to keep up those customers with the company for a longer period so when the Mark & Spencer reduce the prices, it automatically increased the customer’s satisfaction level which improves the brand value among its customers in last few years. There are few differences which the company has from the competitors’ which were about the highly available resources, huge availability on both online or offline medium and the effective supply chain management which helped the company to make the deliveries even faster than the competitors’ as well. Since the strategy would have been implemented, there were no changes has been made to the original business plan as far.
Plans and recommendations
Mark & Spencer is one of the biggest retail giant operating from the United Kingdom to all over the world which makes it easy to understand that for being a big brand, the company must need to review and update the strategies on regular intervals so that new trends of the industry can be easily followed as well, it would be easy to run the business as per the preferences of the customer’s requirements so far. Currently, the company has been following the cost leadership strategy, which was helpful for the company to overcome the competition but at the same time, few required changes have been identified as well. The food segment has been performing well but the company still need to focus on the clothing & home line so that the potential profits can be achieved. Apart from that, the company need to improve the e-commerce wing of the company as due to the current running business competition, the company required to boost the e-commerce delivery so that the business can be more effectively grow so far. Cost leadership strategy helped the company to get the middle-income group customers and it indicates that in developing countries’ company can easily target the middle-income group customers that will be helpful to increase the customer range of the company all around the world (Hernandez and Guillén, 2019). It will surely help to increase the brand value of the customers as well. Apart from that, Mark & Spencer has to start focusing on using advance marketing techniques for social media platforms as the techniques which company has been using on social media are not effective much for whole internet community as well. As already discussed that the cost leadership strategy was quite helpful for the company in the past five years however, the following will be the recommendations for the next five years for the company.
Effective deals & discount to boost clothing/home segment – With the help of evaluation of the clothing and home segments, it has been analyzed that the company’s food section has been performing very well and far better than clothing/home as well. It has been analyzed that the customers must found the products of Mark & Spencer 20% expensive than other competitors brand so it very much important that to attract the customers for clothing/home line, effective deals and discounts must be offered to the customers so that the sales can be increased on clothing & home segment.
Improvised marketing techniques – The biggest marketing platforms nowadays are social media and it will be helpful to the company if the company focused on following some creative, innovative and attractive social media marketing strategies to the specific target market so that the emotional bond with the specific audience can be easily developed so far.
Effective development of e-commerce wing – Since the company has been offering its services to both offline and online platforms, it is very much important that the company must be focused on developing its e-commerce wing so that the customers from far away can be effectively managed. It will surely help to improve the strategic approaches of the company towards its customers so far.
Expansion to the new emerging markets – It will be helpful to the company to increase the customers range by expanding to the business to new and developing or semi-developed emerging markets worldwide as lower prices can be helpful to attract the middle-class income group population from those areas as well. It will help the company to build strong market value and improved brand image among the competitors’ as far (Köpsén and Andersson, 2018).
Strong distribution channels – It is one of the required things which Mark & Spencer has to focus so that the company can improve its distribution channels as the company has already been running effective distribution management but it will be helpful to run new improvised distribution techniques so far. If the company wants to expand the business to cover the lower-income group population, it will be helpful to run the business with effective distribution channels as well.
In this report, it has been analyzed that to operate the business effectively, it is considered that the requirement of the customers must come for first, to make the business of Mark & Spencer operate effectively, cost leadership strategy has been implemented for five years and it has been analyzed that the strategy offered effective and impactful benefits to the company. The performance has been reviewed on a financial basis which helped to understand that the food segment has been performing well than clothing & home segments of the company. Few recommendations have been added to the report for improving the Mark & Spencer clothing & home line in future as well.
Part B: Professional Development Reflection Report
Professional development could be defined as the approach which is necessary to be attained by an individual to gain proper access over the business needs and demands. The study had mainly aimed to analyses current aspects associated with the capabilities and skills of an individual. The report had also discussed the theoretical aspects which help to gain an idea about the values and approaches which are necessary to be accomplished by an individual with the prime objective of accessing the changes in the interpersonal activities. The report had also recommended certain aspects which are necessary to be processed by the higher authorities of the organization which could be determined as the ethos and standards necessary to be fulfilled in the company perspectives. The report had concluded with the importance of values and modifications which are necessary to be processed to gain better outcomes and growth.
In this reflective report, two identified events which I and team members have been performed during our annual performance review will be discussed. My experiences during both two tasks will be described which makes it easy to understand that the aspects of group tasks such as making mutual decisions’, identifying the challenges, increasing motivation level of the team members and timely delivery of the tasks will be discussed in this report. The challenges which I faced, will be analyzed along with the leadership and motivational theories with its application to the industrial processes as well.
Since for this course, I had to participate in a few group tasks for our annual performance review. As I already explained that this course is far more different than the previous course of my MBA so the experiences of the whole group tasks were very much helpful for me to learn new skills so far. So in total, there were two tasks which were compulsory to participate in the whole class. The first task was about a group presentation on the topic of how companies have been performing nowadays. For this task, we have been divided into groups of 5 people and I got the group which I was not familiar with so far. We not only have to prepare the presentation but although we have to deliver it for our annual performance review check. The second task was about conducting a survey and preparing a group report about operational practices of the companies within the industries nowadays. For the second task, we were divided with the same batch and for this; we have to prepare the questionnaire on our own.
Both of the tasks seemed easy at first to me but since I was not very friendly or familiar with the group members but I was positive to easily make friends with them which I did during the tasks. Since I was friend with all of them so they have been asked me to lead the group and I happily accepted but it was not an easy task and it made me understand that being a leader would not be an easy task for sure. Tasks distribution along with roles and responsibilities was not easy and it made it difficult to make mutual decisions so far for the successful completion of the task. Making mutual decisions are not easy for me both the tasks and I don’t consider myself as a good public speaker and the thought of giving a presentation in front of everyone was quite scary for me as well. After various rounds of practice and watching several episodes of Ted talks, I somehow managed to deliver the good PPT and audience liked it so far. Apart from the first task, the second task was difficult as it was to prepare the questionnaire and then encourage everyone to engage, as collecting survey was time taking and disappointing process. So for task second, discouragement, demotivation was the biggest challenge for me while attempting task second.
Review of relevant theories
While performing both the tasks, I have come to understand the impact of two important theories which would be helpful to improve my understanding about the group tasks and its difficulties along with the ways to improve the performance of group’s tasks. I have come to understand that group tasks are difficult because the leaders have to make some decisions and the decisions can be only successfully implemented if they have been taken mutually so far. I realized transformation leadership theory would be the best appropriate choice as per my skills as well. I understand the requirement of the motivation to the team members especially while performing any group tasks so far. These group tasks made me understand that if being a leader, you are not highly motivated or enough to make other team members motivated, then achieving the outcomes won’t be successful as well. With the help of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, I have come to understand being a leader if the team members all requirements have been fulfilled, it would be helpful to the team members to cope up their motivation level to perform the tasks with higher efficiency so far (Sabat, et. al., 2019).
Review of industry practices
The business industries of current time frame are facing certain issues and challenges which are impacting over the progression and growth of the companies. Some of the major challenges which are associated with the industry objectives mainly includes:
Lack of motivation among the employees: Employees could be defined as the key approach associated with the business who works to accomplish the values and objectives which are associated with the company culture and performance. In the current time, employees are not delivering best services to be business operations as they are facing the challenges of motivation.
Inefficient leadership approaches: The leadership could be defined as the major necessity to be incorporated while processing over the business culture and values (Hancox, et. al., 2018). This could be identified that inefficient approaches of leadership by the managers are affecting the demands and values which are essential to be fulfilled by the side of employees. This is also creating challenges to access the values necessary to maintain workplace management and development.
Challenges while working in the team: Teamwork or group task can be defined as the major necessity to be attained in the organization. This could be defined that the efficient work of the team over accomplishing the project ensures to gain an idea about processes necessary to be managed and attained while accessing over the new tasks associated with the business.
These are certain challenges which are facing by the current business industries and affecting the growth and expansion associated with the company. This could be determined that the changes and values which are necessary to be processed and managed require to attain improvement over the aspects associated with the changes and necessary interventions (Ford and Harding, 2018). This helps to access the values which provide with the accomplishment of necessary improvements.
Application of theory and practices
There are certain challenges which are associated with the current industry trends. These challenges are necessary to be managed by introducing several theoretical frameworks. Certain theories which help to attain effectual management over the issue resolution are mentioned below:
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
This could be defined as one of the effectual theory which could be used to motivate the employees. This is the theory which provides with the idea to maintain the motivation of the employees. There are five approaches which help to engage an employee with their personal needs for which they get motivated to do several tasks (Bao, 2019). These factors are physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, self-esteem and self-actualization. These are the factors which help to make employees attracted towards the basic needs.
Transformational Leadership Theory
This could be determined that the leadership approaches and values are necessary to be managed and incorporated in terms of managing the demands and values which are associated with the business culture. Transformational leadership could be defined as the approach which could be used to manage the leadership aspects. This is the approach in which leaders communicate all the changes and processes necessary to be accessed with the team members. This helps to maintain the employee engagement which is necessary to be attained in terms of accessing the employee’s preferences towards the business.
Belbin Team Role Theories
The theory states that each of the team members works differently in the team according to their capabilities of skills. This helps to analyse the values and changes which are necessary to be processed in terms of accessing the changes and evaluations which are essential to be introduced and managed in terms of building the process which is necessary while working in the team (Perez-Foguet, et. al., 2018). The theory states that the changes are demands which are necessary to be incorporated and developed requires to have proper access over the teamwork and performance requirements.
During both tasks, I have identified different new things about the group tasks as I never worked in group tasks with unfamiliar people before so it was a completely new experience for me and not just new although it was difficult experiences as for these two tasks I have to perform the duties of a leader which I never did before so it was my first-time experiences of being a leader with these two tasks so far. It improvised my knowledge about the different aspect of the group tasks which would be helpful to me in my professional life in future. I have come to understand that motivation would be the most important thing for employees, team members, management and everyone for every task because, to run the business or group tasks, higher motivation is the key to success. Bringing everyone to the one table as to make mutual decisions will be again the best appropriate factor which I have come to understand after participated in those two tasks with the group members who were not agreed on the group decisions. It made me understand that to run the business or group tasks, making them engage in the decision making process would be the most important rule so far. The higher the engagement of the team members or the would-be employees in the tasks, the higher the possibilities for making mutual decisions which will be helpful to everyone as each member can increase their productivity as it brings their interests to the tasks so it would be easy for them to perform their specified tasks during the tasks as well. It has been improving my knowledge about the processes and procedures the different companies have been following so far.
Recommendations for practice and research
This could be analysed that the practices and challenges which are associated with the current business industry demand to access the values and changes which provides with the improvements over the current situations. This is necessary for the higher authorities to make certain changes in terms of accessing the leadership values. This is also necessary to attain the changes and influences in the development values which are necessary to be managed and developed (Hancox, et. al., 2018). This is also necessary to engage the employees towards the motivational aspect as it helps to build the idea among the values and necessary changes required to accomplished and developed.
This could also be defined as the prime necessity to critically analyse the aspects which ensure to manage the values and changes which will help to access the process in terms of attaining the demands of the customers. This is necessary for the company to overlook the demands and values which are associated with the operational activities necessary to be managed and processed. This is also necessary to communicate with the employees on an open session which helps to attain the idea about demands which are necessary to be fulfilled and managed in terms of delivering effectual services.
The report had informed about the aspects and approaches which are necessary to be attained by an individual in terms of attaining the personal as well as professional development. Several challenges which are associated with the current performance management and development aspects had been addressed in the report. There was also the discussion about several leadership theories and values which are necessary to be approaches and accessed in terms of attaining proper access over the current aspects and values which are associated with the industry perspectives. This helps to access the changes and modifications necessary to be incorporated for growth and development.
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