Recently, Ford Motor Company has a announced they are putting a greater focus on their SUV and crossover cars to prepare for the future. You might ask, why? Well according to forecasts by IHS Automotive, one in five cars sold around the world annually in 2018 will be either a SUV or crossover. There is about 14 million vehicles sold world wide annually and a specific model taking up 20% of an entire market is a very large number.
Now after reading this article, I almost felt like I was ready the weekly courier, and analyzing the market conditions report from our simulation. Its really remarkable how this article pertains to the methods and leanings of the game we played in class.
Ford’s SUV and crossover sales were up 37%, which also outpaced the industry increase of 17%. This is exactly what we tracked in the statistics segment of the segment analysis. Ford is clearly putting a focus on a specific segment of the market, or in our game “product type.” The amount of models of SUVs and crossovers has risen from 180 to 370 from 2000 to the current day. This market is becoming very competitive and in the simulation we would have to go into R&D and tweak our product to become better and have an edge. We would also encounter situations where we would have to buy more capacity in our plant to account for higher demand. Ford is doing exactly this. The article states, “…Where it is spending $700 million to expand.” Ford has announced it will continue producing their crossover product, The “Edge”, and expand its production capacity by spending $700 million dollars in Oakville, Ontario where the car is produced. Ford ships this model to over 60 countries, which obviously can be concluded the demand is very high. This scenario right here is exactly like the decisions we had to make within the simulation, adjusting capacity to meet demand and forecasts, along with the segment demand fluctuations.
Just to show exactly how intense this increase in market demand for these SUV’s and midsized crossover is, utility cars sales grew 10% and crossover sales grew 16% last year totaling about 2.2 million units…but that’s just in North America! In 2000 1.8 million units of utility vehicles were sold outside North America, today that number is now 10 million!
Obviously the future of the automotive industry is leaning in a specific direction. I think it is very interesting to see how Ford Motor Company is planning all of this now, and how closely this scenario relates to our simulation. How do you think this market preference for SUV’s and crossovers will affect the industry as a whole? Do you think this will create entry points for new automotive companies? What do you think will happen to all the inventory of the less preferred sedan and cope model type of cars?
Article Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/02/16/ford-world-suv-shift-from-cars/5497343/
Link to Article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottdavis/2014/02/06/cvss-decision-to-dump-tobacco-delivers-on-its-brand/
CVS Pharmacy has recently taken a large step forward in their industry by making the strategic decision to remove tobacco products from all of their stores in order to show how serious they are about being committed to the health of their customers. Also, for CVS customers that are smokers, they will begin offering free online assistance to help their customers stop smoking if they choose to do so. This was obviously a difficult decision and one that could potentially lose them a lot of money, but they believe that this decision will have the opposite effect, and will actually help them strengthen their brand, retain their current customers, and inspire new customers to come into their stores.
I think this directly relates to the material that we covered in class when it comes to the decisions that departments have to make together regarding the success/failure of their company. A decision like this is obviously not made overnight and is one that can only benefit the company if everyone in the company (all departments) is onboard. In class, we learned that a part of a company’s successful strategy is that “learning and continuous renewal are essential parts of a [successful company’s] strategy.” CVS is choosing to “lead the market” instead of “follow the market” and I believe this will really pay off for them. According to the author of the article, “CVS is “putting its money where its brand is” and has the first mover advantage.”
I also believe this article directly relates to the business simulation we did in class. I think the simulation really showed us how important it is for companies to make important thought out decisions and to not try to be something that they’re not. I also think it proves to us that even though at times it was hard to let go of a product that we have been making for a while, sometimes it was the best decision for the overall health of the company. While CVS could’ve remained successful being in the tobacco industry, they chose to differentiate themselves from their competitors and hopefully help them gain a competitive advantage.
Overall, I believe that this decision was the right one for CVS especially since none of its competitors have really done anything as of yet regarding selling tobacco in their stores (Walgreens?). I believe that in order to make these decisions CVS executives strategically evaluated all of their market segments and made sure to forecast so that in case their revenues did fall dramatically, the company would be able to bounce back. One thing that really stood out to me while doing this simulation is how important forecasting is and how important knowing your market segments are in order to be successful. I feel like my team had a lot of trouble with this in the beginning of the competition and this is what caused us to suffer later on. Knowing your products and knowing the market segments that those products are is extremely important and making sure that all of your departments are working cohesively is just as important.
Do you agree with CVS’s decision to remove tobacco from their stores?
What do you think it’s competitors will do regarding CVS’s decision? Will they drop tobacco products as well?
What else do you think CVS can do to set themselves apart from their competition?
Do you believe this will negatively impact CVS’s business?
Before starting this class, I was already aware that forecasting was important. However, I didn’t realize the extent to which it was important. Forecasts drive so many decisions that are made within a company. It is hard to know if you are being too conservative or too ambitious because you never can predict the market. Once you get the forecast, all of the other departments work together to make sure that the numbers are realistic and can make a profit in the end.
I also saw that you can start with one strategy in mind and then you can just end up going in a different direction later on. I was assuming that companies had to stick to the strategy that they intended to start with but that isn’t true. Change is inevitable and you just have to learn to grow with the changing markets.
Amazon is a company that has maintained its strategy for many years. They aim to make their customers as happy as possible and they have done a good job with that. They didn’t follow the Silicon Valley theory where you focus less on revenue and try to establish a product or service. Amazon doesn’t focus on profits, their profit margins aren’t that great but they still have people willing to invest in them. Amazon isn’t worrying about revenues, they are trying to gain more memberships without changing the price to match inflation. Money just doesn’t seem to be a problem for Amazon. They created Amazon Fresh and it just needs to make enough to finance its self. There strategy is proving to work very well for them because they keep adding more services to their business that they really don’t need to finance very heavy. They are able to charge fairly cheap prices for their Kindles because customers will purchase games and applications from the Amazon Kindle store. Their goal is to have their products widely spread across a large number of the population. So far, they have done an amazing job with that.
My team’s strategy was to be a differentiator and lead in the high end and low end. As the simulation progressed, we saw that some of our products in those segments just did not do well. They were positioned in the worst spots in some rounds, some stocked out multiple times, and our awareness of the products fluctuated constantly. It was a true learning experience nonetheless. One thing I learned from this course is that you really have to analyze your competitors very closely and constantly do SWOT analysis to keep your company up to date. I also learned that ethics isn’t always a issue of what is good and bad, it can be about what’s in the best interest of the company. Doing nothing is also an option that can be chosen but it will also have implications in some way.