Financial success of business

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Business ・APA ・13 Sources

"Businesses that have seen financial success have had to implement numerous operational techniques. The availability of finished goods or services at different locations of demand is one of these needs, along with the availability of labor, information, and raw resources. To ensure the cohesion and success of the business, handling all these issues successfully calls for skill and understanding on how to successfully navigate around the requirements of each component. As a result, supply chain management refers to the strategies used by a company to ensure that the components needed to create an item or service are readily available and and how well the firm ensures that the goods or services have reached the consumers without delays (Robinson, 2016). The supply chain basically refers to the series of interdependent elements involved in the streaming of essentials from their sources to the points the essentials are required. The raw materials must be delivered from the sources probably minefields or farms, to the manufacturing or the processing points. The goods created are then availed to the various customers. If the distance from the source of the required components to the destination the components are required is long, then it means that the parties involved in the supply chain or sequence may increase and the cost may increase too. For example, firms importing raw materials from abroad may involve a lot of workforce, money and time due to issues such as necessary clearances in checkpoints, negotiations and the time involved compared to firms getting their materials locally (Mukit, 2017).

Trends in Supply Chain Management


Firms use different yet similar approaches when designing the supply strategy to adopt after putting many factors into consideration. Many firms opt to involve different parties who have specialized in supply as their sole field of expertise (Middlemen).Large firms such as those operating on a global scale often find it difficult to independently run their global affairs efficiently on all fronts without shortages, therefore, they hire different companies to come in and provide reinforcements in some areas of need such as the supply of goods. The hired companies act on behalf of the companies that have contracted them and are governed by the terms and conditions as per the contract. The ‘Boss Company” provides the goods and services and stays in charge of the overall business operations. Companies may hire other firms to assemble goods, advertise, supply and market the goods in the various markets globally. The hired firms are hence monitored to ensure they act per the terms of the contract and do not go rogue (Mukit,2017).

Digitalizing the supply chains

Old Companies that have operated for a long period have witnessed the change of times from the analog era to the digital age. The change in times has brought fourth adjustments in the market regarding tastes and preferences of customers and also regarding demand and supply. To adapt to the changing times, the firms had to restructure and re-invent their operational strategies in areas such as production and supply of goods and services to suit their competitive needs in the rapidly evolving business world. One of the strategies firms have embraced the modification of the supply strategies to the digital mode. Digitally operated supply chains have components such as digital stream linkage of the physical goods through methods such as online orders, negotiations, advertisements, record keeping and sales finance management. In this digital era, the harmonization of the supply activities has been achieved best by digitalizing the supply system since information dissemination by customers and the various players involved is fast and efficient. The Companies have deciphered the different approaches to confirm their supply system into the digital age (Roninson,2017).

Maintaining the Strong Basic Components of the Original supply strategy

Although companies have embraced the digital age by employing the efficient digital systems in their supply activities, some firms have realized that the new systems have their disadvantages due to the high costs of acquisition, maintenance, and security vulnerability. The firms, therefore, have felt the need to conserve the basic components of the aged supply chain system, blending the components with the emerging trends of the new digital era to ensure that the beneficial features of the operational strategy of the Company are preserved (Robinson,2016).

Employment of the Artificial Intelligence Technology in the Supply Chain

Companies have endured market fluctuations for a long period that have had damaging effects on the demand and supply of goods and services in markets globally. The market changes are sometimes predictable probably due to seasonal changes, or some are purely unpredictable since the demand for goods or services may arise occasionally.For example, rescue services are required in the emergency periods. The firms have started employing the Artificial Intelligence (AI) by setting up the Information Technology infrastructure through reliable machines that predict seasonal changes which enable the firm to adopt the necessary measures in their supply activities (Robinson, 2016).

Opportunities in Supply Chain Management Strategies

There are important components of the supply chain that oblige improvement and additional investment regarding time and resources. These components include:

Market Research

It is necessary to learn the markets where the firm is likely to supply their goods or services and understanding the market entails the involvement in extensive research practices. This helps understand how the structure of the market, the population of the consumers , competitor strategy and most importantly seasonal fluctuations in the markets either annually or randomly (Sarkis, Zhu &Lai 2011,p.7).

Controlling Fully Supply Practices

There is a need for firms to add reinvent their supply strategies in such a way that they gain full control of the various components of the supply system to avoid any delays or loss of goods. Synchronization of the supply activities by different players in the supply chain ensures timely delivery of goods and services without any delays (Schaltegger & Burrittt, 2014, p.235)


Companies need to regulate their storage techniques in such a way that the goods are supplied more when demand rises and the supply regulated when the demand falls. The storage, however, should be only for goods with a longer usage span.

Satisfaction of Customers

The parties involved in the supply of goods to customers have to improve their operations in such a way that they satisfy the consumer specifications. The supply team is the team deployed by the company on the ground to supply the goods and assess the extent to which the good or service has satisfied the consumer. The supply team, therefore, needs to adopt the necessary channels that ensure that the consumer feedback reaches the production team to address the consumers’ complaint (Vella, 2012).

Challenges Facing the Supply Chain Management

Market Fluctuations

Supply of Goods and services may is affected by various factors such as rise and drops in demand for the products and may be due to factors such as natural calamities or seasonal changes. Market fluctuations could lead to undersupplies or flooding of goods in a market since the consumer numbers cannot be accounted for effectively if the fluctuations are not cyclic (Perkins & Waiglum 2017).


Some decisions made by the supply team could be urgent, but since the decision lies solely on the hands of the Company, the supply department may be forced to wait for the decision to be made which could cause delays and supply issues. Management of the supply chain components in such a case becomes difficult.


Mukit.(2017).,The Role of Sourcing in Supply Chain.(Online Source )(Updated 2017) Available at: Accesed 12TH Sept 2017.

Perkins B &Waiglum T.(2017). Supply Chain Management (SCM):Definition and FAQs. CIO.(Online Source)(Updated 27th August).,Available at :

Robinson A.(2017). 2016 Supply Chain Trends (Online) (Updated On January 4th 2016 ) Accessed on 10Th Dec 2017 . Available at: Http://Cerasis.Com/2016/01/04/2016-Supply-Chain-Trends/

Sarkis, J., Zhu, Q. and Lai, K.H., 2011. An organizational theoretic review of green supply chain management literature. International Journal of Production Economics, 130(1), pp.1-15.

Schaltegger, S. and Burritt, R., 2014. Measuring and managing sustainability performance of supply chains: Review and sustainability supply chain management framework. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 19(3), pp.232-241.

Vella D (2012).Supply Chain Management: A Needed and Growing Opportunity. Logistics.(ONLINE ) (Updated 2012). Accessed on 10th Dec 2017. Available at:

Part B

Marks and Spencer plc is a leading British international retailer, that specialization in the selling of clothing, luxury foodstuffs and home products. It has its headquarters located in the city of Westminster, London. Presently, the company is registered on the London Stock Exchange. In November 2008, the company diversified its operations to sell trademarked products such as Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. The retailer has more than 900 stores spread across the United Kingdom, out of this stores only 615 stores specialize in selling food products (Freear, 2015).

The company is said to have been the first British retailer to have ever registered a pre-tax profit worth more than £1 billion. Conversely, after such a favorable trend and record, it experienced a series of problems that caught many of its shareholders, who consisted of multiple small investors, unaware. Marc Bolland was declared the chief executive in November 2009, while Rose remained to serve the role of non-executive chairman up to January 2011 when Robert Swannel took over the position.

There are more than 970 stores in the United Kingdom. The retailer has managed to open 454 worldwide stores, in India the company has more than 50 stores, only 5 in Spain, more than 15 in Ireland and over 30 in Russia.

The British retailer built its reputation during the 20th century with its adopted policy of dealing with British-made goods. It is during that period when the company developed long-term relationships with the British manufacturers. The established relationships also the company selling clothes and food under St Michael brand.

Another factor that contributed to the popularity of the brand was the fact that it accepted the return of rejected items, and refunded the full amount upon showing the receipt. The return policy did not consider the length of the period since the product was purchased (Chislett 2009).

Regardless of the several setbacks Marks and Spencer have been experiencing with its in-store services, for instance, the increased out-of-stock products, and online services, the retailer has been investing in customer service. The company has also improved its clothing business by introducing free delivery for any purchases made above £50. Moreover, in an attempt to improve its sales in the clothing business, the retailer has also started a free following day retail collection and free returns via post to not more than 35 days since purchase. Since the retailer also deals with foodstuff, there has been some improvements and adjustments to facilitate sales through the implementation of staff zoning across food halls. In the food sector, the company has also increased the number of employees dealing with the store on a current basis.

Trade-off analysis

The inbound logistics for the retailer are centered on the facets of transport, storage, and delivery of goods. Some of the factors that have been attributed to the company being ahead of its competition include the 2007 launch of retail plan A and winning the GBS supply chain award for the implementation of a successful and most performing supply chain. The company has opened over 170 supply chain stores that are supported by financial incentives to help the buying teams, which include justifiable sourcing and ethical trade. All these factors have played a significant role in making Marks and Spencer one of the most sustainable retailers in the world. Moreover, the company has also made efforts to decrease its past dependency on full-service vendors as well as the provision of more corporate control over its supply chain. The retailer is likely to source approximately more than half of its inventory from direct vendors.

The European Commission’s free trade agreements have affected the basic business operations of the company. Analysts have documented that the trade agreements have promoted easy product imports a strategy that has resulted in decreased sourcing costs (European Commission, 2017). In June 2016 the company was affected by the outcome of the British EU referendum that affected the market making many businesses and retailer incur severe losses while venturing into new markets. For instance, in 2015, Mark and Spencer experienced stalled growth concerning its international business which has been attributed to the universal uncertainties, insufficient infrastructure, and reduced success in new markets, that led to the closure of more than ten stores in 2016. Majority of the company’s overseas operations have significantly been affected by the geopolitical unrests. The geopolitical situations in the Middle East and Ukraine have affected the international business agreement leading to decreased consumer demand (Marks & Spencer, 2015).

Increasing its flexibility as well as reaching wider customer groups has always been the primary objective of the company. To accomplish this goal, the company enjoys a worthy strategic situation due to the benefits of having a changing media platform, the propagation of social networks. Since the company deals with clothing wear, this implies that it will continuously deal with new trending fashion. Therefore, there is need to have an amicable communication channel that is fast enough to match the ease with which the latest trends are communicated to various target designers bringing about the quickness of transportation.

Industries and business market within which Mark and Spencer operate is faced with high levels of customer bargaining power. The several shifts that take place within the consumer market for instances the sensitivity of customers seeking for classical design when it comes to increasing prices, as well as the increased preference for fashionable items, affect the retailer. Another critical factor that affects the retailing capacity for the company includes the disloyalty nature of the United Kingdom consumers to purchasing British products. Implementation of a product-oriented strategy by the company to promote its brand is not effective or beneficial during a phase when competitors employ customer-oriented approach and investing in establishing and maintaining strong consumer relationships. The growth of the company’s sales could also be affected by the weakened consumer confidence attributed to the Brexit vote (Reuters, 2016). A weak consumer confidence in the company’s brand implies that the company will be required to cut its prices and focus on attending to consumer needs.

The operation manager could consider using a properly developed and configured Mark and Spencer web platform rather than using an Amazon-hosted platform. The implementation of such a new platform would facilitate the delivery of numerous options and availability of streamlined multichannel services. The launching of big data projects such as predictive analytics systems and establishing a digital platform and approach that would facilitate answering and attending to consumer needs would help improve the company’s sales position. Moreover, the company should also put into consideration that today, most consumers use mobile to access and look for trending fashions.

Management and Control of the Supply Chain

In a report published by the company in November 2011, it indicated that it had increased its expenditure on the supply chain and technology to £69 million, to facilitate the improvement of managing the inventory and distribution.

The report further indicated that the company had opted to reduce shipping within its international products category through the increase of the regional hubs in China and Singapore. The establishment of a new stock management scheme enhances the daily stock level information that helps it manage supplies. According to the chief executive, the company identified an effective scheme through which it managed it costs given the existence of a progressively promotional environment. Moreover, the chief executive noted that the company took a decision to invest in providing its consumers with better value and not assuming the full scope of the increased prices of various products and commodities.

The need to push and strive for improved data quality was to be strengthened in future, a time when the company will have completed the rollout of the SAP cost management system. The fact that the company decided on tightening stock control is a clear indication of effective management and control of the supply chain management.

Tools and Techniques

Despite the fact that the clothing line of business of the company seems to be falling, Marks and Spencer have one successful food business. Therefore, with the implementation of a successful specialized strategy, the company would have increased sales. The company could utilize this trend to expand its network to improve convenience of its stores. The most effective tool and strategy would be planning to open the fastest store opening program.

The company has been labeled an iconic brand that has been trading since 1884. Moreover, the company is up-to-date considered as one of the best retail business in the United Kingdom (Clifton, 2009). Therefore, it equivalently essential to make a decision that maintains investments in innovations and brand-building. Advertising would be a significant tool to achieve this objective. Moreover, strengthening the brand positioning through the provision of high quality and good value products would help improve the state of the company. The company is experiencing several macro and micro-economic challenges even though it has a strong and reputable brand in the food business.


Chislett, H., 2009. Marks in Time: 125 Years of Marks & Spencer. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Clifton, R., 2009. Brands and branding (Vol. 43). John Wiley & Sons.

European Commission. (2017). M&S aims to become world's most sustainable retailer - Eco-innovation Action Plan - European Commission. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017].

Freear, J., 2015. Marks and Spencer and the social history of food c. 1950-1980, with particular reference to the relationship between consumer behaviour and retailing strategies (Doctoral dissertation, University of Leeds).

Marks & Spencer. 2016. Annual Report & Financial Statements. London: Marks & Spencer Plc.

Marks & Spencer. 2015. Annual Report and Financial Statements. London: Marks & Spencer.

Reuters. (2016). Here's How the Brexit Referendum Is Affecting the U.K. Economy So Far. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017].

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