Strategic Management and Organizational Change Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

As the combination of the different pieces, would allow three out of the four business segments to be able to see earning growth between 2007 and 2008, when the economy was severely contracting. (Exhibits 2009)

Using appropriate theoretical frameworks evaluate alternative options to create growth?

An alternative option that company could use to achieve growth would be: to acquire a weaker competitor. One way to do this is: to evaluate the underlying levels of debt and examine how a particular retailer could help the company expand its brand into a particular market. While at the same time, taking the image and line products that they have become known for and making it a part of Ann Taylor product line. This is important, because if the company can aggressively expand, by purchasing a weaker competitor. They will be able to take advantage of the different demographics and segments of consumers. Over the long-term, this could help to give Ann Taylor enough exposure in other markets that it will help their overall bottom line earnings increase.

A second option that Ann Taylor could use to create growth would be: to create key alliances with competitors and other retailers, in areas that the company may not be focused on. Over the last several years a variety of companies have been aggressively concentrating on offering their products to large demographics of customers. Given the fact that Ann Taylor is seeking to expand into these markets, means that they could form strategic alliances with select retailers, who could help increase sales and the overall exposure of the brand, to a new market of consumers. For example, many of the different retail outlets will work with large discounts stores, to sell their various products at the different locations. This causes the overall amount of sales to increase (even though the profit margins are lower) and it helps the company be able to gain access to key markets, without having to worry about unusual amounts of risk. For example, Ann Taylor could form strategic alliances with retailers such as Target or Wal-Mart. Where, these two different companies can be able to sell a variety of products at discount outlets for a similar prices that the company is charging at it factory outlets. Over the course of time, this would help the total amount of sales to increase, as Ann Taylor would be indirectly marketing to this key audience through the partnership that they formed. While at the same time, reducing the underlying amounts of risk, as much as possible.

Should Ann Taylor have focused on improving its current business, or on developing new initiatives? What would be your recommendations?

Ann Taylor should do both. The reason why is because these two elements will play a critical role in helping to determine, how the company will be able to adapt to the changes that are taking place. Where, the underlying business model of the company will depend on managers and executives focusing on improving the balance sheet as well as other factors. Once they begin to concentrate in these areas, is when they will able to find ways to reduce the underlying amounts of debt. Over the course of time, this will help to improve the operating efficiency of the organization, by ensuring that the different financial issues are dealt with so that the company can be able to grow into the future. Once this occurs, is when a company can be able to adapt to the different changes that are taking place in the economy or industry. This is significant, because it shows how the managers, must be prepared to deal with various operational aspects of the business issues. While at the same time, continuing to address the current and future needs of the business.

Developing new initiatives could include everything ranging from: introducing new product lines to examining new business strategies that could be utilized by the company. Given the fact that the economy is in a recession, this means that executives must be prudent about what kinds of product lines they are introducing to their retail stores. Where, they would want to emphasis those products that could invite repeat sales and introduce new product lines, which could bring a new demographic of customer to different retail locations. In the case of Ann Taylor, this is important because they offer a wide selection one particular product, yet they do not provide consumers with a large variety of different products to choose from. If consumer tastes begin to change or some kind of shift occurs in the business cycle, it could mean that the company could be left holding large amounts of inventory that it may not be able to sell. To protect against these sudden shocks, managers / executives must identify those products that could help adjust for changes in demand. Where, the introduction of a particular product will help the company be able to offset the slowdown that was taking place in other product lines. This is important, because it shows how the all retailers must be able to account for changes that can take place in consumer tastes and changes in the economic cycle. As a result, utilizing this kind of strategy will help to mitigate these negative effects as much as possible.

Examining new business strategies is when you are looking at various technique or ideas that could help to improve, the overall profitability of the company. Where, managers / executives will look for key distinctions that they can use to improve their relationship with the customer, while helping to improve the image of the brand. For example, to improve the image of the various segments, Ann Taylor could reach out to their existing customers and new customers, by offering a free fashion newsletter. Inside, they could provide: insights about fashion, discuss the latest trends, offer advice and highlight what the company is doing; to be able to keep up with the underlying trends that are taking place. Over the course of time, this kind of strategy would allow Ann Taylor to reach out to new demographics of consumers, through their newsletter. At the same time, they can be able to stay in the minds of customers and discuss some of the different ways that the company is keeping up with the changes. This is important, because it will allow Ann Taylor to be able to reach out to a variety of audiences and it will help to improve the image of the brand. The costs of undertaking such activities is fairly small, while the long-term effects could help to increase retail sales across the entire company.

What this shows, is that improving the business and developing new initiatives work hand in hand. Where, it will help to increase the operational performance of the organization. As the different actions will reduce costs and increase the underlying levels of profitability. This helps to ensure that any kind of new initiatives or strategies can work as effectively as possible. With the different elements, playing a critical role in helping to: support the objectives of the other.

The recommendations would be to: first identify the different needs of the business and possible ways that various issues can be effectively addressed. This means looking at a number of unique solutions, to ensure that the current needs of the business are constantly being met. Then you would want to begin addressing the new initiatives; that the company could utilize to take advantage of the opportunities presented. In this case, managers / executives would need to carefully examine, if the new initiatives can help the organization, to reach its different operational goals. At which point, they would want to ensure that it can help to mitigate the possible negative effects that are facing the organization. Once this has taken place, it will help the company be able to establish an effective presence in new products that are being examined. While at the same time, ensuring that the different operational needs of: the organization is being met. This is significant, because it shows how an approach using flexibility and combining the ideas of both, will help to the organization be able to deal with the different challenges it is facing over the short- and long-term.

Clearly, the different ideas that were implemented by Krill, would allow Ann Taylor to adapt to the changes that were taking place in the world of retail. Where, the economy was facing number of different challenges; that were contributing to the recession and financial crisis. The notable would include the implosion that took place in retail sales. To counter what was occurring, Krill engaged in a major restructuring of the company. Where, she was focused on: reducing costs, restructuring and introducing new product lines (which could help increase same store sales). This is significant, because the strategy allows managers and executives to focus on ways of reducing costs. Over the course of time, this would prepare everyone for the…

Sources Used in Document:


'Ann Taylor Background,' 2009, The Case Journal, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 4-5.

'Ann Taylors Brand Identify,' 2009, The Case Journal, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 12 -- 13.

'Balance Sheets,' 2009, The Case Journal, vol. 5, no. 2, pg. 20.

'Exhibits,' 2009, The Case Journal, vol.5, no.2, pg. 16.

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