Analyzing a company's external environment The strategically relevant components of a company's external environment • A company' macro environment includes

all relevant factors and influence outside the company's boundaries that have a bearing on the decisions the company makes about its strategy, objectives and business. • These macro environment factors are
In the outer ring: – societal values and lifestyles e.g McDonalds not using beef in India – population demographics e.g. Insurance companies designing products for young population in India – legislation and regulations e.g. No FDI in sectors like retail – general economic conditions e.g. cost cutting by companies – Technology e.g. companies using video-conferencing

The immediate industry and competitive environment factors like: – rival firms e.g. Bajaj planning low-rpriced car – new entrants e.g. ITC entering FMCG sector – Buyers e.g. reduction in sales of Pepsi and Coke after pesticide controversy – substitute products e.g. bikes replacing scooters – Suppliers e.g. arm twisting by Microsoft to include Internet Explorer

• The shaping impact of outer ring influences is normally low but they provide strategically relevant trends and developments to justify a watchful eye. (exceptions are cigarette producers effected by antismoking ordinances and growing cultural stigma attached to smoking, health care companies effected by changing demographics of aging population and longer life expectancy, companies effected by internet technology applications)

Thinking strategically about a company's industry and competitive environment • Industries differ widely in their economic features, competitive character and profit outlook. (e.g. economic factors and competitive character is different for trucking industry, retail, fast food, softaware development) • An industry's economic traits and competitive conditions and how they are expected to change determine whether its future profit prospects will be poor, average or excellent.

The following are the seven critical questions that help in understanding a company's competitive environment. 1. What are the dominant economic features of the industry in which the company operates? E.g. high investment in realty 2. What kinds of competitive forces are industry members facing, and how strong is each force? E.g. FMCG 3. What forces are driving changes in the industry, and what impact will these changes have on competitive intensity and industry profitability? E.g. airline industry 4. What market position do industry rivals occupy - who is strongly positioned and who is not? E.g. FMCG, passenger cars 5. What strategic moves are rivals likely to make next? E.g. cars 6. What are the key factors for future competitive success? E.g. software 7. Does the outlook for the industry present the company with sufficiently attractive prospects for profitability? E.g. cellphones

What are the industry's dominant economic features? • Analyzing a company's industry and competitive environment begins with identifying the industry's dominant economic features. • An industry's dominant economic features are defined by the following factors
– – – – – – – – Overall size and market growth rate Geographic boundaries of the market (local to worldwide) Number and size of competitors What buyers are looking for and the attributes that cause them to choose one seller over another Pace of technology change and/or product innovations Whether sellers' products are virtually identical or highly differentiated Extent to which costs are effected by scale economics Learning curve effects

• Analyzing the industry's distinguishing economic features helps in understanding the kinds of strategic moves that industry members are likely to employ. e.g. in a highly product innovative industry like video games, computers and pharmaceuticals the focus in on R&D, an industry with recent rapid growth looks for cost reduction and improved customer service, semiconductor industry gains by learning/experience and is driven to pursue increased sales volumes and capture the resulting cost saving economics,

What kind of competitive forces are industry members facing? • The character, mix and subtleties of competitive forces differ from industry to industry. E.g. FMCG and microprocessors • The most widely used tool for systematically diagnosing the principal competitive pressure in a market place and assessing the strength and importance of each is the five-forces model of competition (also known as Porter's five force model). According to Porter’s model the state of competition in an industry is a composite of competitive pressures operating in five areas of the over all market. 1. Competitive pressures associated with the market maneuvering and jockeying for buyer patronage that goes on among rival sellers in the industry. E.g. FMCG

2. Competitive pressures associated with the threat of new entrants into the market.(e. g. effect of big retailers on kirana shops) 3. Competitive pressures coming from the attempts of companies in other industries to win buyers over to their own substitute products. (e. g. nano car winning two wheeler customers) 4. Competitive pressures stemming from supplier bargaining power and supplier-seller collaboration. E.g. Intel, Microsoft 5. Competitive pressures stemming from buyer bargaining power and seller-buyer collaboration. E.g. Wal-Mart, big retailers

The five forces model can be used by the following three steps Step 1: Identify the specific competitive pressures associated with each of the five forces. Step 2: Evaluate how strong the pressures comprising each of the five forces are (fierce, strong, , moderate to normal, or weak) Step 3: Determine whether the collective strength of the five competitive forces is conductive to earning attractive profits.

The rivalry among competing sellers • It is the strongest of all the competitive forces. • A market is a battlefield where it is expected that rival sellers will employ whatever resources they have to improve their market positions and performance. • The challenge for managers is to make a strategy that allows their company to at least maintain their position or ideally strengthen their company's standing with buyers, delivers good profitability and produces a competitive edge over rivals. • When one firm makes a strategic move that produces good results, its rivals often respond with offensive or defensive countermoves, shifting their strategic emphasis from one combination of product attributes, marketing tactics and competitive capabilities to another.

• This pattern of action and reaction, move and countermove, adjust and readjust is what makes competitive rivalry a combative, ever changing contest. • The market battle for buyer patronage in an industry takes on a life its own, with one or another rivals gaining or losing market momentum according to whether their latest strategic adjustment succeed or fail.

Some of the factors that influence the rivalry among industry competitors are: 1. Rivalry among competing sellers intensifies the more frequently and more aggressively that industry members undertake fresh actions to boost their market standing and performance against the FMCG The indicators of intensity of rivalry among industry members are:
– Lively price competition pressures rival companies to aggressively pursue ways to drive costs out of the business; high-cost companies are hard-pressed to survive. – Whether industry members are racing to offer better performance features, higher quality, improved customer service or a wider product election.

– How frequently rivals resort to such marketing tactics as sales promotion, new advertising campaign, rebates, or lowinterest-rate financing to drum up additional sales. – How actively industry members are pursuing efforts to build stronger dealer networks or established positions in foreign markets or otherwise expand their distribution capabilities and market presence. – The frequency with which rivals introduce new and improved products. – How hard companies are striving to gain a market edge by developing valuable expertise and capabilities that rivals cannot match. 2. Rivalry is usually stronger in slow-growing markets and weaker in fast growing markets. E. g. FMCG for slow-growing and software for fast growing

3. Rivalry intensifies as the number of competitors increases and as competitors become more equal in size and capability. E. g. Mobile telecom 4. Rivalry is usually weaker in industries comprised of so many rivals that the impact of any one company's actions is spread thinly across all industry members; likewise, it is often weak when there are fewer than five competitors. E. g. software 5. Rivalry increases as the products of rival sellers become more standardized. E. g. mineral water. Rivalry weakens as the products become more differentiated. E. g. white goods 6. Rivalry increases as it becomes less costly for buyers to switch brands. E. g. FMCG, low-cost air lines 7. Rivalry is more intense when industry conditions tempt competitors to use price cuts or other competitive weapons to boost unit volume. E.g. Intel and AMD

8. Rivalry increases when one or more competitors become dissatisfied with their market position and launch moves to bolster their standing at the expense of rivals. E. g. Unilever's response to Nirma 9. Rivalry increases in proportion to the size of the payoff from a successful strategic move. E. g. any move in any sunrise industry like mobile set 10. Rivalry becomes more volatile and unpredictable as the diversity of competitors increases in terms of visions, strategic intents, objectives, resources and countries of origin. E. g. move by ITC to enter FMCG market, Hutch being acquired by Vodafone

11. Rivalry increases when strong companies outside the industry acquire weak firms in the industry and launch aggressive, well-funded moves to transform their newly acquired competitors into major market contenders. E. g. many software companies buying firms which are specialized in a particular area like ERP 12. A powerful, successful competitive strategy employed by one company greatly intensifies the competitive pressures on its rivals to develop effective strategic responses or be relegated to also-ran status. E. g. ITC entry into food industry

Rivalry can be classified in the following ways: Cut-throat or brutal - when competitors engage in protracted price wars or habitually employ other aggressive tactics that are mutually destructive to profitability. E. g. low cost airlines Fierce or strong - when the battle for market share is so vigorous that the profit margins of most industry members are squeezed to minimum. E. g. FMCG Moderate or normal - when the maneuvering among industry members, while lively and healthy, still allows most industry members to earn acceptable profits. E. g. software Weak - when most companies in the industry are relatively well satisfied with their sales growth and market shares, rarely undertake offensives to steal customers away from one another and have comparatively attractive earnings and returns on investment. E. g. heavy trucks industry

The potential entry of new competitors • One of the important factors the affect the strength of the competitive threat of a potential entry in a particular industry is the number of candidates who enter and resources at their disposal. • The strongest competitive pressures associated with potential entry is often from the existing industry members entering market segments or geographies where currently they do not have a market share. They possess the resources, competencies and competitive capabilities to overcome the challenges of entering a new market segment or geography. E. g. Vodafone buying Hutch • The second factor that affect the likely candidates is the entry barriers.

Some of the entry barriers are: 1. The presence of sizable economics of scale in production or other areas of operation. E. g. petroleum production 2. Cost and resource disadvantages not related to size. Like learning curve, patents, partnerships, cheap raw materials, proprietary technology, low fixed cost. E. g. Nano 3. Brand preference and customer loyalty. E. g. Microsoft as a brand is preferred and has brand loyalty
New entrant must spend money on advertising and promotions to overcome brand loyalty. - They must persuade customers that their brand is worth the switching cost - Discounted pricing or extra margin of quality or service may be needed

4. Capital requirements. E. g. cement industry 5. Access to distribution channels. eg. FMCG
- reluctance of distributors to take new product - retailers have to be convinced to provide display space - distributors and retailers will have to be given better margins

6. Regulatory policies. E. g. mobile telephone industry 7. Tariffs and international trade restrictions. E.g. dumping duties in steel industry

In evaluating the potential threat of entry, the management has to consider: 1. How formidable the entry barriers are for each type of potential entrant - start-up enterprises, specific companies in other industries and companies within the industry looking for market expansion. 2. How attractive the growth and profit prospectus are for the new entrants. Rapidly growing market demand and high potential profits motivate potential entrants to commit resources. eg. mobile telecom industry

• Another important issue to be considered by the new entrant is the reaction of the existing players. If the existing players show strong signs of defending their market with price cuts, new feature additions, better service, aggressive advertising and promotion, etc. then the new entrant has to be careful with his decision to enter the market. • The threat of entry changes as the industry prospects grow brighter or dimmer and as entry barriers rise or fall. E.g. expiry of patent on high selling drugs, lowing of tariffs by countries to increase competition

Competitive pressures from the sellers of substitute products • There is competitive pressure when products from other industries are looked upon as substitute products by the customers. E.g. threat of nano to two wheelers, threat of artificial sweeteners' and honey to sugar producers, eyeglasses and contact lens threatened by corrective laser surgery, The competitive pressure from sellers of substitute products depends on: 1. whether substitutes are readily available and attractively priced. 2. whether buyers view the substitutes as being comparable or better in terms of quality, performance and other relevant attributes. 3. how much it costs end users to switch to substitutes.

• Readily available and attractively priced substitute products put pressure on companies in the existing industry to cut price. • When substitutes are available, customers compare performance, features, ease of use and other attributes as well as price. E.g. customer of film based cameras compare the camera feature with digital cameras • Competition from well performing substitute products push existing companies to incorporate new features and increase efforts to convince their customers about the superiority of their products. • The switching costs include
time and inconvenience that may be involved cost of additional equipment time and cost in testing the quality and reliability of the substitute psychological costs of severing old supplier relationships and establishing new ones – payments for technical help in making the changeover – employee retraining cost – – – –

• When prices of the substitute products are low, quality and performance is high and switching cost is low then the competition from substitute products is very intense. • Competition pressures stemming from supplier bargaining power and supplier-seller collaboration • The strength of the suppler-seller competitive force depends on
– Whether major suppliers can exercise sufficient bargaining power to influence the the terms and conditions of supply in their favor – The nature and extent of supplier-seller collaboration in the industry

How supplier bargaining power can create competitive pressures • When major suppliers determine terms and conditions of supply in an industry then they exert competitive pressure on rival sellers. E.g. Microsoft and Intel have considerable power because of the market dominance • Small time retailers must content with pressure from manufacturers of branded products. E.g. earlier Unilever use to have positive working capital, franchises face pressure from established brands like pizza hut and burger king,

Following are the factors that determine whether any of the suppliers to an industry are in a position to exert substantial bargaining power:
1. Whether the item being supplied is a commodity that is readily available from many suppliers at the going market price. vegetables from farmers, 2. Whether a few large suppliers are the primary sources of a particular item. 3. Whether it is difficult or costly for industry members to switch their purchases from one supplier to another or to switch to attractive substitute inputs. railways depending on coal supplied by coal India Ltd. 4. Whether certain needed inputs are in short supply. 5. Whether certain suppliers provide a differentiated input that enhances the performance or quality of the industry's product. eg. tea leaves from Darjeeling

6. Whether certain suppliers provide equipment or services that deliver valuable cost-saving efficiencies to industry members in operating their production process. E.g. Indian software industry serving foreign companies 7. Whether suppliers provide an item that accounts for a sizable fraction of the costs of the industry's product. E.g. rigs provided for oil drilling in deep oceans 8. Whether industry members are major customers of suppliers. E.g. automobile component manufacturers supplying to automobile companies 9. Whether it makes good economic sense for industry members to integrate backward and self-manufacture items they have been buying from suppliers. The economics of scale in manufacturing decides if companies will opt for backward integration. E.g. MNC companies setting up captive BPOs in India

How seller-supplier partnerships can create competitive pressures • Sellers are forging strategic partnerships with select suppliers for the following reasons: 1. reduce inventory and logistics cost. e.g. Toyota with its just-in-time deliveries 2. speed the availability of next-generation components. e.g. PC manufacturers with Intel 3. enhance the quality of the parts and components being supplied and reduce defect rates. 4. squeeze out important cost savings for both themselves and their suppliers.

• The benefits of effective seller-supplier collaboration can be an competitive advantage if it is well managed. e.g. Dell, Tata motors • Competitive pressures stemming from buyer bargaining power and seller-buyer collaboration The seller-buyer relationships as a competitive force depends on 1. Whether some or many buyers have sufficient bargaining leverage to obtain price concessions and other favorable terms and cond itions of sale 2. The extent and competitive importance of sellerbuyer strategic partnerships in the industry

How buyer bargaining power can create competitive pressures • Large retailers have considerable negotiating leverage in purchasing products from manufactures because of manufacturer's need for broad retail exposure and the most appealing shelf locations. e.g. Wal-Mart, Future group • Since retails keep only limited brands on the shelf there is competition among manufacturers for shelf space, vehicle manufacturers bargain with type manufacturers The buyers have a bargaining power in the following circumstances: 1. If buyers' cost of switching to competing brands or substitutes are relatively low. e.g. commonly available at automobile components

2. If the number of buyers is small or if a customer is particularly important to seller. e.g. seller of nuclear plant equipments 3. If buyer demand is weak and sellers are scrambling to secure additional sales of their products. 4. If buyers are well informed about sellers' products, prices and costs. e.g. recent rejection of certain brand when it was sold by the manufacturer at a lower cost to other retailers 5. If buyers pose a credible threat of integrating backward into the business of sellers. e.g. in-house brands by big retailers 6. If buyers have discretion in whether and when they purchase the product. e.g. purchasing of defense equipment by countries

How seller-buyer partnerships can create competitive pressures • Partnerships between sellers and buyers is an important element in business-to-business relationships. • Sellers to business customers find it to their mutual interest to collaborate closely with buyers on matters like just-in-time deliveries, order processing, electronic invoice payments and data sharing. e.g. Wal-Mart sharing daily sales data with P&G Determining whether the collective strength of the five competitive forces promotes profitability • Scrutinizing each of the five competitive forces provides a powerful diagnosis of what the competition is like in the given market.

The collective strength of the five forces have to be evaluated to determine whether the state of competition promotes profitability. The stronger the collective impact of the five forces, the lower the combined profitability of industry participants. Sometimes it may even force some companies to close down. e.g. memory chips manufacturing industry When the collective impact of the five forces is moderate the industry members can expect good profits and return on their investment. An ideal competitive environment is one in which both suppliers and customers are in weak bargaining positions, there are no good substitutes, high barriers block further entry and rivalry among present sellers generates moderate competition. e.g. heavy truck industry Weak competition ensures even also-ran companies make profit. e.g. early software industry

Analyzing the five forces helps to better match the company strategy to the specific competitive character of the marketplace. This helps in: 1. Pursuing actions to shield the firm from the prevailing competitive pressures. 2. Initiating actions calculated to produce sustainable competitive advantage, thereby shifting competition in the company's favor.

What factors are driving industry change and what impacts will they have? • All industries are characterized by trends and new developments that produce change important enough to require a strategic response from participating firms. • The life cycle of an industry - take off, rapid growth, early maturity, market saturation and stagnation or decline - is sometimes disturbed by driving forces that entice or pressurize the participants to alter their actions. • Driving forces are those that have the biggest influence on what kind of changes will take place in the industry's structure and competitive environment. They may be from the macro environment or from the industry and competitive environment.

Identifying an industry's driving forces 1. Growing use of the internet and emerging new internet technology applications. 2. Increasing globalization 3. Changes in the long-term industry growth rate. 4. Changes in who buys the product and how they use it. 5. Product innovation. 6. Technological change and manufacturing process innovation 7. Marketing innovation 8. Entry or exit of major firms 9. Diffusion of technical know-how across more companies and more countries 10.Changes in cost and efficiency

11.Growing buyer preference for differentiated products instead of a commodity product. 12.Reductions in uncertainty and business risk 13.Regulatory influence and government policy changes 14.Changing societal concerns, attitudes and lifestyles

Assessing the impact of the driving forces The assessment of whether the sum effect of all the forces is making the industry more or less attractive can be done by asking the following questions: 1. Are the driving forces causing demand for the industry's product to increase or decrease? 2. Are the driving forces acting to make competition more or less intense? 3. Will the driving forces lead to higher or lower industry profitability?

• Each of the forces have toe be analyzed separately. The powerful forces will be the most influential. Link between driving forces and strategy • Sound analysis of the industry's driving forces is a prerequisite to sound strategy making. • Understanding the forces driving industry change and the impacts these forces will have on the character of the industry environment and on the company's business over the next one to three years will help in crafting a strategy that is responsive to the driving forces.

What are the key factors for future competitive success? • An industry's Key Success Factors (KSF) are those competitive factors that most effect industry members' ability to prosper in the market place. • They are - the strategy, product attributes, resources, competencies, competitive capabilities and market achievements. • How well a company's product offerings, resources and capabilities measure up to an industry's KSFs determine how successful that company is. • Identifying KSFs is a top priority analytical and strategymaking consideration. • An industry's KSFs can be deduced from the analysis of the industry and competitive environment.

Answer to the following questions help identify an industry's Key Success Factors: 1. On what basis do buyers of the industry's product choose between the competing brands of sellers? What attributes of competitors' product offerings are crucial? 2. Given the nature of competitive rivalry and the competitive forces prevailing in the marketplace, what resources and competitive capabilities does a company need to have to be competitively successful? 3. What shortcomings are almost certain to put a company at a significant competitive disadvantage?

• Usually two or three factors become the most important on which the management has to concentrate. These vary over time even within the same industry. • Correctly diagnosing an industry's KSFs raises a company's chances of crafting a sound strategy. • The goal of company strategists should be to design a strategy aimed at taking care of all the industry's future KSFs and trying to be distinctively better than rivals on one or two of the KSFs. • Being distinctively better than rivals on one or two key success factors tends to translate into competitive advantage. This can be the cornerstone for a fruitful competitive strategy.

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