As companies grow a build customers bases and increase services to meet these demands there is a need to enhance information technologies to continually "Strategic management involves major decisions, business choices and actions that chart the course of the entire enterprise" (Gomez-Mejia et al., p 156). The undertaking of strategic planning is usually the responsibility of executive staff of a company and in this case consists mainly of owner Kathy Kudler. She, in fact hired an intern to help her to create Kudler Fine Food strategic plan. Kudler Fine Foods focus is to enhance and grow utilizing the initial concepts of the gourmet food store. Because her concepts consists of overall control of customer service, hiring of company staff and ordering of products the growth is emanate, but a strategic plans is necessary in order to meet the changes in business needs. This paper provides and analysis of Kudler Fine Foods strategic management plan, and the impacts it has pertaining to technology, customer services and busy growth opportunities, and impacts both negative and positive of internal and external entities on the success of Kudler Fine Foods future goals and objectives.
Kudler is a company that is "committed to providing customers with the finest selection of the very best foods and wines so that your culinary visions can come true." Kathy Kudler runs the business and is first hand on all aspects of the business. Kathy currently has three stores, one of which is having some difficulties. Kathy will work seven days visiting, working, and processing the inventory. She has a manager, an assistant manager, and a specialist for each store. Each individual is top paid with the exception of the cashiers and local college students who help with stocking. She currently has no local competition, can expand to compete online and can offer more catering services. Kathy also "handles the delivery, set-up, distribution, and clean-up for the event." She often earns tips that usually pay her expenses for travel and set-up. Currently Kathy does not have an automated system. She has been manually controlling and monitoring the product. Her intent is to expand the business for approximately 15 years and then retire. The major problems I will discuss as opportunities are: trust (or Leadership), automation of systems, and Human Resource Management.
Kathy Kudler has a vision and that vision is to be the premiere gourmet grocery store for those savvy shoppers who are searching for the finest meats, produce, cheeses, and wine. Kathy's passion for gourmet food led her to the opening of her first store in 1998. Kathy had no prior experience. She now has three stores, one of which is having difficulty and she anticipates closing this store and opening another. Kathy attempts to keep the stores centrally located so that she can personally visit each store. Most of Kathy's clientele are repeat customers because her stores are very customer oriented.
Although Kathy is a good manager, she has not contributed good leadership skills with her existing employee base. Kathy spends most of her time managing the finance side of the business as well as the inventory side of the business. She does not inspire her employees to make decisions in her absence or motivate them with empowerment. She is basically running the full operation herself. It would be best for Kathy to look into Human Resource Management and automation of all systems as this will allow her more time to focus on motivation of her current staff.
Technology is a vital component of the majority today's companies, and there is some form of information technology (IT). IT is a part of Kathy Kudler's strategic plan. Part of this technological enhancement is the online catering and e-commerce capabilities, so that even if customers are not in the area of a store there is still the ability to purchase online the products desired (Kudler Fine Foods Virtual Portal Strategic Plan, 2003, p. 15). There is a link on the new website that was developed in by 2004, but newly updated website has even more additional enhancements effective 2009. The technological enhancements have streamlined processes and created efficiencies. This is advantages for the future growth of the Kudler Fine Foods. Internet accessibility enables entry barriers to "erode" and allowing new companies to outreach to worldwide consumers (Gomez-Mejia et al., p 162). Being available creates brand exposure and service promotion.
To expand and sustain specialty foods competition advantage Kudler fine Foods has to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) throughout the implementations of a strategic management plan for the epicurean store. SWOT analysis looks as all the factors to assist with the focus of the strategic plan. It identifies the pros and cons of major internal and external factors that presently impact Kudler Fine Foods. The two main tactics to strategic information systems are externally and internal focused-driven (Turban et al., p. 609). The internal systems focus the productivity of employees, teamwork improvements and also improving communication (Turban et al., p 609). Alignment and unification of a strategic plan increases the possible sustainability of a company and boost employee improvements and buy-in. Through the creation of new technology, the internal workings of Kudler Fine Foods allow the goal and vision of Kathy Kudler's business to be realized.
Kudler Fine Foods outwardly focused-based technology applications helps it to assess the gourmet industry externally. If information is used wisely, Kudler Fine Foods has the ability to gain a competitive edge by understanding its market and products in demand. "…such information provides a strategic advantage" (Turban, et al., pp 609-610). Furthermore, product and market trends prepare and organization for present and future plans and to prepare contingency plans for possible threats to a company. For example, Frito Lay is "known for its extensive use of IT," and this information consists of suppliers, customers, and Frito Lays' competitors (Turban, et al., p. 610).
Kudler Fine Foods Strategic Management emergent sustainable competitive advantage requires strategic responsiveness of the main focus of the company. Kathy Kudler's due diligence and leadership provides the direction of Kudler Fine Foods growth and sustainability plan. The direction focuses on the continual enhancement to improve efficiency for all stakeholders. The first part of the strategic plan provides the vision, "Kudler Fine Foods will be the premiere gourmet grocery store for those savvy shoppers who are searching for the finest meats, produce, cheeses and wine" (Kudler Fine Foods Virtual Portal Strategic Plan 2003, p. 3). Social responsibility is also defined because it provides the stakeholders a snapshot of the responsibility Kathy Kudler for not only her store (s) but also the surrounding communities. This example not only indicates her amazing business savvy, but leadership skills. She leads by example, which not only empowers her, but influences the people who work for her and with her in a positive way.
Customer satisfaction appears to be one of the most important factors influencing the strategic planning of Kudler Fine Foods. Kathy Kudler's vision to create Kudler Fine Foods was formed due to a need she desired that was lacking in her community. The vision, of course came to fruition, and as the strategic plan was developed in 2003, it was to focus on future growth and development of enhanced services. All aspects of the store provide guarantees and emphasis towards customer satisfaction and retention. Kathy Kudler realized then from the beginning and her leadership continues to focus on these concepts and they in turn influence her employees as well. "Reversing strategic decisions can be costly, so most firms take a long-term perspective when making these decisions" (Gomez-Mejia et al., p. 156). Kathy Kudler's goals have not changed and the strategic plan is to make enhancements to the vision to retain customers and provide exemplary service to the customers. Kudler Fine Foods success is dependent upon this approach and plan. Communication both internally and externally relays the message to all stakeholders (customers and employees). Employees embrace her vision because includes them in the decisions. She leads them, but encourages engagement and involvement in decision-making process too. This creates ownership by employees that influences successfully meeting the goals of the company.
Sustainability is the ultimate goal of most companies and Kudler fine Foods is no exception. The strategic plan examines factors that have the ability to negatively impact that goal. A plan developed must be implemented to consider successful goal results. A strategy success provides a "sustainable competitive advantage" (Gomez-Mejia, et al., p. 157). For a competitor to attempt to duplicate such an advantage is costly or too difficult to do (Gomez-Mejia, et al., p. 157). The strategy includes implementation of cost effective tactics, resources efficiencies and a plan focus and these strategies alone or combined determines a company's future.
A threat to the future success of Kudler Fine Foods is the possible opening of a similar type of epicurean food store. Kathy Kudler and her staff need to be aware of the possible threat and ramifications of a…