The Queensland Hardware Industry, like a number of other retail industries, has undergone some fundamental changes in its development from the early years of iron-mongery and sawmilling. What was once the domain of the self- employed handyman, or the' 'Mum and Dad" corner hardware store, has become a growing and aggressive industry, dominated by large and powerful co-operatives and corporate groups. With this industry growth and development has come a number of changes in the areas of management, marketing, micro-economic structure, specialist competitors, and inter-relationships between buyers and sellers in the industry.
In order to successfully operate in the industry today and into the future, it is essential for hardware companies to be fully aware of the opportunities and threats that exist in that industry. The exercise of matching the strengths of the individual company, to the opportunities that exist in the hardware industry, is an essential step in the wider strategic management process.
It is this environmental scanning that is the focus of this report, more specifically an analysis of the Queensland Hardware Industry. This industry has the characteristics of a maturing one, with a number of large co-operatives and groups dominating the current competitive environment.
An historical viewpoint provides a backdrop for understanding where the industry had its origins, and the factors that have affected its development. This early industry analysis is presented in the context of Michael Porter's model of competitive forces.
These early factors are then tracked forward into the contemporary hardware scene, by use of a number of interviews with key hardware industry figures. These interviews clearly highlight the factors that characterise today's hardware industry, and provide an insight into its future developments.
The key findings of this analysis are summarised and form the basis for the development of a set of opportunities and threats that exist in the industry. These opportunities and threats provide one segment of the information needed to carry out a full SWOT analysis for any individual hardware business or group.