The terms and concepts are better leaned in case they are applied on practice in relation to a particular company. In such a way, one can see them in dynamics. The current paper will discuss the key managerial and leadership approaches that have been learned during this course. In particular, it will use Wal-Mart to cover such concepts as SWOT-analysis of company, the controlling systems that are employed by this business as well as its strategic planning, motivation schemes and management of the suppliers’ relations.
Brief Overview of the Company
Wal-Mart operates in the retail industry through a well-developed chain of the department stores and warehouse stores. Currently, it has more than 12 000 shops in 27 countries (McMillan, 2012). The main competitors of the company include the Dollar Tree, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Amazon Inc., Target Corporation and other firms. In 2015, the corporation employed 2.2 million people. Its profits were estimated at about $16.182 billion (McMillan, 2012).
SWOT Analysis of the Company
Evans (2014, p. 222) identifies SWOT analysis as one of the necessary tools that need to be used in strategic management. This method is employed in the process of the strategic planning and helps to identify the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are faced by the company. Strengths refer to the resources, competencies and other competitive advantages of the business entity. Weaknesses relate to the factors that inhibit the company’s performance and weaken its positions on the market. Threats are the external aspects affecting the firm in the negative way, and opportunities, in their turn, refer to the favorable external factors from which the firm can benefit.
In case of Wal-Mart, the following strengths have been identified. First of all, the company owns the brand that is easily recognizable by the customers. Moreover, it has its affiliation established in the USA and in other countries of the world (McMillan, 2012). Additionally the scale of operations of Wal-Mart is literary giant. Therefore, numerous processes are carried out, and majority of them are standardized. Furthermore, the company has an established reputation and competence in information systems. It has also developed its system of the international operations.
The weaknesses of Wal-Mart include, first of all, the labor-related lawsuits that tend to overwhelm the company. The firm’s operations in the third world countries are widely criticized, as it tends to underpay the workers. Second, Wal-Mart is negatively affected by the high employee turnover as well as little differentiation in the services and goods offered in different states. Third, negative publicity is also considered to be one of the critical weaknesses of the company.
The threats and opportunities of Wal-Mart are also profound. On the one hand, the company can benefit from the raising positions of the retail sales in the emerging markets in developing countries. Even though the regulations and laws of these states grant less protection to the investors, the profits are still rather high compared with the risks that might be accepted by the business entity (McMillan, 2012). Furthermore, the company is currently benefiting from the rising acceptance of the label products. The trends towards healthy eating are also beneficial for the firm as well as the growth of the online shopping. On the other hand, the future of the company is clouded by the increased competition that comes from the online commerce. Additionally, local communities tend to demonstrate certain resistance to the well-known international brand. The rising of the commodity prices might also represent the threat for the industry and Wal-Mart in particular.
Strategic Planning at Wal-Mart
Evans (2014, p. 222) identifies strategic planning as one of the key areas of company’s activities. Currently, the strategic planning of Wal-Mart focuses on returning of the profits to the stakeholders as well as fulfilling the promises that have been given to them. Moreover, the company also sets the international expansion as the number one priority. At the same time, experts assert that the business entity might be affected by the ethical issues that negatively influence its brand and reputation. Moreover, it experiences huge competition stemming from the online commerce sector that tends to grow with every year. Therefore, the company is currently considering the changes and revisions of its operating strategy.
As a part of its strategic planning, Wal-Mart stresses on its competitive advantage. It mainly refers to the economy of scale through which the company gains cost advantage over its rivals operating in the industry. Such an advantage provides that the business entity orders high volumes of goods and bulk of materials. Moreover, the customers at Wal-Mart are well-aware of the warranties as well as the better quality of products offered exclusively at Wal-Mart (McMillan, 2012). These advantages might be less or more perceived, yet they have helped the company to challenge the positions of the giants such as Best Buy and Home Depot.
Motivation Schemes at Wal-Mart
Motivation is another concept that is discussed by Evans (2014, p. 379). In general, the human resources management that is employed at the company is multidimensional. First of all, it tends to turn the employees into the firm’s customers. It also enforces the increased morale of the personnel that contributes to the creation of the healthy organizational environment that also serves as one of the factors that encourage the staff members to stay with the company. Apart from that, the human resources department carries out holds numerous social parties and events where the employees can establish the relations with their peers from work (McMillan, 2012). These relations usually serve as the additional factor that motivates the workers to stay with the company at the times of distress. This practice also contributes to the increased sense of belonging and creates the feeling in the employees that they are indeed valued by the firm (Mumford, 2009). Additionally, at such events, the workers can exchange their ideas and socialize. The personnel of the company who are willing to travel are also periodically rotated being appointed to the firm’s offices in different areas and teams. The employees’ achievements are recognized as well as the feedback is provided on ongoing basis (McMillan, 2012). The workers are also awarded with the performance bonuses in case they show certain progress and for reaching the sales goals. Thus, the employees stay focused on attaining their objectives and show greater motivation for working harder. Senior managers of the company are entitled to the financial bonuses as well as the shares in case their years of experience in the company and performance is appropriate. They also benefit from the discounts that are provided specifically for them.
Controlling Tools Employed by the Company
Evans (2014, p. 128) discusses controlling tools that need to be adopted by organizations. Controlling mechanisms are extremely important for ensuring the high quality of the various operations and processes that take place in business entities (Kotler & Keller, 2016). They are critical for the performance management and improvement of the current level of the customers’ services and satisfaction rate. Additionally, the findings that are retrieved from the results of the control methods exercised by the company, might be used for the suggestion of the recommendations for improving the firm’s operations. The controlling mechanisms of Wal-Mart are set by the Board of Directors and then are implemented at the lower levels. In case the goals are set improperly and the action plan is developed with the significant flaws, it is usually revised since the strong controlling and management systems of the company do not accept it. The three strategies that are employed by the Board at Wal-Mart include the bureaucratic controls, the control over the market and the clan control. During the planning process, the managers, therefore, usually take four steps to ensure that the above-mentioned priorities are followed: measuring of the performance, setting of the standards, comparing of the performance with the set standards and determining of the deviations (Crosby, 2009). The feedback, recommendations and revisions then proceed. Such a system is applied in relation to the human resources management and to all areas of operations with certain deviations considering the essence of the activities. Apart from that, the controlling systems of the company are largely based on the principles that are enforced by it including the price control, transparency and preference of the communications, power and trust. All of them ensure the external control of the business entity.
Wal-Mart Relations with the Suppliers
Evans (2014, p. 274) also discusses the relations that the company should develop with the suppliers. The relations with the suppliers that are built by the business entity might be considered as the competitive advantage apart from being merely an element of the total quality management system (Kotler & Keller, 2016). By far, Wal-Mart is considered to be the largest retail company in the world. It has a well-developed chain of the local and global suppliers. In relations with them, the company uses the same policies and practices on its side as it requires from its partners (Bennett, 2015). It does not compromise the quality of the products that are sold at the firm’s stores. At the same time, the company stresses on the advantages of being a supplier for Wal-Mart (Crosby, 2009). First of all, the suppliers can benefit from the rise in the sales and growth of market shares. Additionally, they have the ability to reach more customers globally and be more efficient as the supplier. Moreover, Wal-Mart offers numerous benefits for its suppliers as well as the long-standing cooperation.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that with help of this paper, one can have the opportunity to see and analyze certain concepts in practice. The research that has been carried out in regard to the Wal-Mart Company demonstrates that this business entity has a developed system of management that gives it numerous competitive advantages. At the same time, there is definitely a room for further growth and development of the company.