This case study was chosen to assist the author in devising strategies to ensure that the company of his employment would continue to have a sustainable competitive advantage (SCA) Its other obvious purpose is to fulfil the requirements of BA 890. The report attempts to combine the theory of modern strategic management, together with the practical side of running a small to medium size manufacturing company. Information was gathered from current literature, senior management interviews and from the author's own experience within the company. The report shows how strategic management can assist a company in planning its future, meet its objectives, and cope with a changing environment. It helps a company to become outwardly, rather than inwardly focused. The company's past is studied to determine what gave it a competitive advantage. Entrepreneurial skills of the managing director, "hands on" control and strong interrelationships, are listed as major factors in gaining an SCA. Porter's (1985) models are then applied to the company. The company's signage division appears to be "stuck in the middle" because they have not chosen one of Porter's (1985) three generic strategies. According to Porter (1985) a company "stuck in the middle achieves no competitive advantage". Competition in the signage industry is intense, with low barriers to entry and low bargaining power with suppliers. The industry structure for fume cupboards is much more favourable than for signage.
Strong interrelationships exist between the company's fume cupboard and signage divisions. The benefits of these interrelationships, which are difficult to match by competitors, help the company to sustain its competitive advantage.
Target market and marketing mix strategies are examined in Chapter 6. The company appears too interested in trying to be "all things to all people". The company needs to analyse what segments it can serve well, and are profitable in the long term. Resources should focus on the corporate and business sectors, rather than the areas of low value work. The various elements of the marketing strategies show how the company competes, and where it will compete.
Because of constantly improving transportation and communication, the world markets are shrinking. The company that fails to think international is in danger of losing its domestic business to competitors with lower costs, greater experience, better products and, in a nutshell, more value for the customer. The company that thinks domestically will miss many of the opportunities available to it beyond the borders of its own country.