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[ANSWERED] For this Individual Project you will analyze publicly available information about a Fortune 500 Company and develop an assessment of the corporate strategy and its ability to increase competitive advantage

Comprehensive Analysis of a Fortune 500 Company

For this Individual Project you will analyze publicly available information about a Fortune 500 Company and develop an assessment of the corporate strategy and its ability to increase competitive advantage.

This assignment requires you to obtain and analyze information at the company, industry and market levels using various databases and reports found in the AIU library, in addition to at least eight (8) professional or academic peer-reviewed articles

Your analysis should include an in-depth review of the Company’s most recent SEC Form-10k Annual Report and Form DEF-14A Proxy Statement. These SEC filings can be found at the SEC Edgar Database located at the URL http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html . Pay particular attention to the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) sections of the SEC Form 10-K and the DEF-14A Proxy statement.  Direct competitors are identified in the “Comparator Group” section of the DEF-14A Proxy Statement. ) These SEC filings also contain information relative to external and industry analysis that will be helpful in your assessment of the Company’s strategy and competitive position.

A thorough analysis requires evaluation of various external stakeholders:

  • Competitors
  • Industry
  • Vendors
  • Customers
  • Governmental entities
  • Communities

Internal stakeholders that should be considered in the analysis include:

  • Shareholders
  • Board of Directors
  • Management
  • Employees

A comprehensive SWOT analysis should be performed relative to the Company’s ability to improve its competitive advantage.

The comprehensive analysis should include both qualitative and quantitative elements, leveraging information available in SEC Filings, business databases, and peer-reviewed articles.

Your work should demonstrate your ability to:

  • Apply critical thinking skills to analyze business situations.
  • Apply principles of quantitative and qualitative research to business cases.
  • Describe the opportunities provided by technology for businesses.
  • Appropriately use effective communication techniques.
  • Apply the standard of APA style to all research and writing tasks.

You will prepare a report presenting the findings of your comprehensive analysis examining the Company’s corporate strategy and its ability to increase competitive advantage. The written report will have a body length of 10-12 pages excluding title, abstract, references and appendices. Quotation limits should be Not more than 10% of the body of the paper can be quotations, all of which must be properly attributed in APA format.

NOTE: Article collections (scholarly databases) may be accessed in the Library. Suggestions are:

  • ABI Inform Global
  • Academic Search Premier
  • Business Source Premier

Please submit your assignment. 

Please add your file.

For assistance with your assignment, please use your text, Web resources, and all course materials. 

Grading Criteria Percentage
Deliverable requirements addressed; understanding of material and writer’s message and intent are clear 35%
Scholarly research which supports writer’s position properly acknowledged and cited direct quotations may not exceed 10% of the word count of the body of the assignment deliverable (excluded title page, abstract or table of contents if used, tables, exhibits, appendices, and reference page(s). Inclusion of plagiarized content will not be tolerated and may result in adverse academic consequences. 20%
Critical thinking: position is well justified; logical flow; examples 20%
Structure: includes introduction and conclusion; proper paragraph format and reads as a polished, academic paper or professional presentation, as appropriate for the required assignment deliverable 10%
Mechanical – no spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors 10%
APA – deliverable is cited properly according to the APA Publication Manual (6th Ed.) 5%
  • Apply critical thinking skills to analyze business situations.
  • Apply principles of quantitative and qualitative research to business cases.
  • Apply the standard of APA style to all research and writing tasks.
  • Appropriately use effective communication techniques.
  • Describe common biases in decision making.
  • Describe the opportunities provided by technology for businesses.
  • Explain the roles of emotion and fairness in decision making.
  • Interpret reflective and expedient decision making.
  • Recognize situations that present potential ethical issues, and develop solutions for those issues.
  • Summarize the role of decision making in business.

Expert Answer and Explanation

Appraisal of Walmart’s Competitiveness

A company’s gross revenue determines whether it ranks among the fortune 500 companies, and by analyzing the performance of a company such as Walmart, one may know the company’s competitiveness and strengths. Besides assets, sales over a specific duration of time, can provide the indicator that a company is indeed making progress, and it therefore, generates revenue that is enough for it to be considered among the fortune 500 firms. Although investors tend to benefit more from knowing the details regarding the competitiveness of a company, these details can be helpful to the academicians and research analysts because they provide insights into the practices which could improve the performance of firms. However, a company’s internal and external conditions can be important, especially when one needs to make investment decisions (Dauvergne & Lister, 2013). It is imperative analyze Walmart’s competitiveness by looking at the firm’s internal and external stakeholders, and how these stakeholders fit into the company’s vision for growth.

Assessment of Walmart’s Annual Report and Proxy Statement

Reflecting on the Walmart’s annual report and other statements, it is evident that the company seeks to improve how it economically performs by paying specifically focusing on the mitigation and addressing of the uncertainties which could impede the firm’s performance. Ideally, the firm seems to recognize these uncertainties, and it undertakes various measures focused on countering these uncertainties. The rising fuel prices has in the recent past had negative impact on businesses, and Walmart has suffered from the effects linked to the surging energy costs. Besides, the fluctuation of the currency exchange rates is a problem that sometimes makes it difficult for the company to realize its objectives of meeting certain targets related to making profits.  The unexpected global economic events is another uncertainty which the firm grapples with considering that the company had to lay off thousands of workers during the 2008 global economic crisis. Walmart is making efforts to address these issues by leveraging on the internal stakeholders.

Based on the Walmart’s proxy statements, the company seems to focus on improving the shopping experience. As a multinational firm, the business offers products which meet the needs of the diverse populations, and it runs an e-commerce platform as well as a chain of retail stores so that it can reach more customers. Walmart has managed to integrate technology into the firm’s retain and distribution commercial operations, and the use of the mobile apps is one of the major approaches which the company distinguishes itself as a competitive service provider. Customers can download the app, and place orders for products of their choice which the company can deliver. Besides, the firm runs a website where customers can either place complaints or views on the appropriate way of delivering services. In this way, the customers’ views become part of the distribution and retain decisions of the firm (Bank, Kenny, & Stecher, 2018). Conversely, the company has 11,500 stores distributed across various countries in the world. However, the largest concentration of these stores is in the United States (U.S.).

Walmart seeks to be key leader in providing a variety of goods at an affordable price with the end goal of guaranteeing customer satisfaction. The everyday low prices (EDLP) is a concept which the company adopted as part of its commitment to make it possible for customers to access certain assortment of goods. With this EDLP, the firm attracts new clients and retains the current pool of customers because this pricing model is beneficial to customers for a number of reasons. For instance, customers, through the EDLP, have the power to manage the amount of money they spend, and ultimately save on costs while accessing a variety of products available in the various Walmart stores. Walmart operates based on a triage division framework that also includes the Sam’s Club division. By modeling its operations based on this framework, the business is able to effectively manage its operations, and effectively generate data on total revenue and sales. With the head office in Bentonville and with operations in various regions including Africa and Asia, the company has an advantage of having a considerable control over a global market which can also benefit from initiatives such as EDLP (Button & Gee, 2013).

Reflecting on the financial statements of Walmart, it is evident that the company has managed to experience expansion, and one can therefore consider Walmart’s financial model to be effective. A number of factors seem to contribute to the financial status of the company, and one of these factors is the increase in the size of the sales under the various clubs and stores. Another factor is the increase in the sales made from the e-business operations coupled by limited investment in new retail stores. However, the firm needs to reevaluate the idea of limiting the investment, and instead focus on allocating more funds to building more facilities, and ultimately meet growth objectives. Nonetheless, the company is working on a plan to invest in new technology which would make efficient the process of managing the distribution and retain activities (Bank, Kenny, & Stecher, 2018). By leveraging on technology, the business will be in position to meet its objectives of reaching a considerable number of customers, and improve sales.

Walmart seems focused on implementing a strategy that reflects its vision and strategy, and this strategy is based on key components. The company is dedicated to winning with stores, and in addition, it seeks to deepen relationships with various customer groups through leveraging on technology. Besides, it seeks to bolster the capacity of the company’s talent to help meet its target. Because the company has established systems to help track operations as well as sales, it is in a position where it can monitor the success of the implementation of the strategy. Ideally, the company’s strategy reflects in its program of compensation which aligns with shareholders’ expectations.

Analysis of the External Stakeholders

As a firm which operates across various countries, Walmart has a number of external stakeholders who benefit from the organization and whom the organization benefit from. These stakeholders can either directly or indirectly affect Walmart, and to understand the capacity of the firm to remain competitive, it is important to examine how external stakeholders of the company impact its operations.

Competitors

The retail and distribution business is inherently competitive, and this is because of the many players involved in delivering goods. One of the formidable competitor is the Amazon which runs one of the largest global online retain platform. Alibaba is also a dominant player, and unlike Amazon, it charges less for the distribution of the comparable products. For this reason, Alibaba is in a position to rival Walmart. However, the fact that Walmart and Amazon enjoy a considerable market in the U.S. could skew the competitiveness of (Alibaba McCrea, Hansen-Winter, & Entrepreneur Press, 2014).

The Industry

As multibillion dollar industry, the distribution and retail is highly competitive. However, Walmart can still benefit from the opportunities which this industry provides. By taking advantage of these opportunities, the firm can experience growth or even attain its performance objectives. Under this industry, aspiring entrants or current players have to meet certain criteria and standards to engage in commercial activities. Given that Walmart has an experience in this retailing business, it stands a better position of being competitive enough to rival new players who could have limited knowledge of how the business operates.

Vendors

Vendors provide a considerable force in terms of the impact they have on the operations of the firm. These vendors directly interact with customers, and in the process contribute to the Walmart’s distribution objectives. For this reason, their role is crucial in sustaining the performance of the organization. Walmart works collaboratively with the venders to identify the gap in the distribution of goods, and resolve the same. Current vendors understand comply with Walmart’s principles of customer service as well as the company’s policy on distribution of goods, and for this reason, Walmart has good relationship with the various vendor groups.

Customers

Walmart’s customers have played crucial roles with respect to the growth of the company because they buy goods, and the company generates sales and profits as a result. Just like any other business, Walmart majorly dependents on customers so that the company can generate profits, and the company seems to put this into consideration given that it recently came up with innovative products focused on meeting customers’ needs. Besides, the firm excels in providing high quality goods, and this is one of the features of the company which attracts customers.

Government Entities

Government entities including their activities, affect how businesses such as Walmart operate. Taxation, for instance, is one of the many ways in which these entities affect Walmart. The state-based government entities including the local city councils, depending on the country of operation, require foreign and local companies to pay taxes based on what these companies earn. Given that the local county governments manage the amenities such as water and sewerage systems, their activities directly affect the operations of Walmart. Government entities such as the justice systems enforce laws and policies which are intended to protect workers. Thus, Walmart has to operate within the confines of these laws so that it maintains a positive reputation.

Communities

Communities as stakeholders consist of groups of individuals who have diverse interests on certain commercial activities. Social media users, for instance, can promote products if they feel that these products appeal to them, or if certain practices align with their personal values and views. Customer groups also expect Walmart to align their practices with the current industry standards as well as with the existing legal policies concerning business activities. These expectations and legal policies impact the Walmart’s distribution and retain practices.

Analysis of the Internal Stakeholders

Various groups of individuals affect the internal operations of a firm, and these groups range from employees to the board members. Their input and efforts directly contributes to the performance of the business, and by applying their skills and expertise into the company’s operations, they influence how much the company is able to achieve. Through their skills and expertise, still, they are able to assess problems and pursue directions focused on addressing organizational issues such as patient complaints. Consequently, they contribute to the advancement of the corporate goals and substance of the corporate culture.

Employees

For Walmart, members of the staff contributes to meeting of the expectations and vision of the company, and this is because they apply the skills and knowledge they have to perform various duties. For instance, the sales team are responsible for preparing products for sale and conducting advertisement campaigns focused on increasing the awareness on the use of the various products. This team also educates customers on how a product is used as well as on the quantities which the products can be found in. Other employees in other departments apply the knowledge they have to improve customer experience. However, employees also benefit from the incentives which the firm provides, and in addition to providing the career advancement opportunities, the firm generously compensates employees. These incentives, in addition to the existing performance evaluation programs, motivate Walmart’s employees. This has a favorable impact on how they perform.

Shareholders

Shareholder groups impact the way Walmart implements its strategy. Every year, these shareholders meet with the key goal of resolving issues which are crucial to the operation of the company. During these meetings, they get to elect the board of directors (B.O.D.).

The Board of Directors

For Walmart, the B.O.D. team perform various responsibilities focused on making decisions which affect the operations of the company. They recommend to the management the paths which the company can pursue to overcome various challenges including risks. They also make decisions on matters concerning the management of the brand as well as the resources which the company own.

Management

Walmart relies on the management to realize performance objectives given that individuals in the managerial positions manage various activities, ranging from operations to the use of the resources. They perform appraisals on employees’ performance and over their promotion into higher hierarchical positions. Thus, their roles are crucial to aligning of operations with the visions of Walmart.

SWOT Analysis

Walmart enjoys several strengths, which are directly linked to the company’s size. Given the company’s global size, it has several assets which make it possible for the firm to reach more customers in various parts of the world. Although the industry in which the company operates is competitive, the firm effectively manages its global supply chain, and this is helping the firm address the issues which could hamper its supply operations. An example of these issues is the risks linked to the transportation as well as long government bureaucracy. Walmart’s capacity to come up with the models such as EDLP is likely to work to the advantage of the company by attracting more clients. Still, the firm enjoys technological advantage, considering that the business has managed to leverage on social media to reach an expanded segment of the retail market (Sinha, Muthu, & Dissanayake, 2016).

Weaknesses

While Walmart enjoys several advantages, the company grapples with a wide spectrum of weaknesses. For instance, the idea of using the EDLP pricing model places the company in a situation where it has to lower prices on certain products to generate more sales. However, getting additional customers, based on this pricing model can be a challenge because it is difficult to entice some groups of consumers with lower prices for some selected products. The business has not fully managed to take advantage of its competitive differentiation so that it would remain a powerful rival in the retail business. Additionally, the company lacks an effective product promotional strategy which would target a specific segment of the population that has the potential of buying Walmart’s goods and merchandise (Collier & Evans, 2015).

Opportunities

Despite the weaknesses which Walmart grapples with, the company has a number of opportunities which it can tap from to realize the objectives linked to the vision of the business. Walmart, for example, has the resources and assets which it can leverage on to meet the expansion objectives. Besides, it has the opportunity of expanding operations in the developing parts of the world, and in these developing regions, the pricing models such as EDLP will attract buyers of the Walmart’s products (Rao et al., 2016). In addition, the company has resources which it can utilize for the purpose of preparing personnel with higher level of qualification in their respective fields. However, this will requires the modification of the practices of the management and human resource.

Threats

Various factors seem to threaten Walmart’s capacity to fully perform, and expand, and these factors inherently arise from the issues of demand as well as the retail market. As an individual’s lifestyle change, they modify how they shop, and this trend could pose a challenge to the company. For some consumers, the appeal and tastes for certain products reduces with time, and this could result, for instance, when one feels that they are mature enough not to use some products. Furthermore, Walmart faces stiff competition from firms which operate over the internet platforms (Harbour, 2017). Walmart has not managed to fully utilize the various technological opportunities, and this places the company in disadvantageous position.

Conclusion

In summary, Walmart differentiates the company’s retail and distribution activities, and this differentiation is having an impact on the operation of the company. The firm runs a business strategy which reflects the philosophy of improving customers’ shopping experience by lowering price, and making various goods available to consumers. Walmart’s financial data shows that the company has made progress in terms of the revenue the firm generated. Forces which influence Walmart’s operations are from within and from outside the company. The former consists of the employees and board members who directly influence the company’s operations by participating in the decision-making processes. The latter consist of various groups including customers who not only purchase goods for use but for sale to end users.

References

Bank, M. C., Kenny, B., & Stecher, A. (2018). Walmart in the Global South: Workplace culture, labor politics, and supply chains. Austin : University of Texas Press.

Bank, M. C., Kenny, B., & Stecher, A. (2018). Walmart in the Global South: Workplace culture, labor politics, and supply chains. Austin : University of Texas Press.

Button, M., & Gee, J. (2013). Countering fraud for competitive advantage: The professional approach to reducing the last great hidden cost. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Collier, D. A., & Evans, J. R. (2015). OM. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Dauvergne, P., & Lister, J. (2013). Timber. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Harbour, P. A. T. (2017). Data Strategy and the Enterprise Data Executive. Place of publication not identified: Technics Publications.

McCrea, B., Hansen-Winter, B., & Entrepreneur Press,. (2014). Start your own wholesale distribution business: Your step-by-step guide to success. Irvine: Entrepreneur Press.

Rao, N. C.,  Radhakrishna, R.,  Mishra, R. K., & Kata, V. R. (2016). Organised Retailing and Agri-Business: Implications of New Supply Chains on the Indian Farm Economy. New Delhi: Springer India.

Sinha, P., Muthu, S. S., & Dissanayake, G. (2016). Remanufactured fashion. Singapore : Springer.

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