The key aspect in determining the alternative courses of action for Roger Chocolate Company are matching the results of the SWOT analysis together. In that regard, the revealed internal strengths should utilize the opportunities of the external environment, or minimize threats, while other alternative options might include utilizing opportunities to minimize weakness, or avoiding threats and minimize weaknesses. The decision between the alternatives shall be taken based on the required resources as well as the possibility for the alternative to address more than a single issue at once.
One alternative is to target the organic chocolate market along with a rebranding of the packaging. In order to follow such path the company should take the niche of organic chocolate, through promoting it as an individual product line with a distinct marketing mix. In such way, differentiating the brand the company will be able to distant itself from the old packaging, and at the same time keeping the company’s customer base intact. Such initiative will add value to the existing products of the company, allowing gradual switch in suppliers.
The next alternative is to utilize the company’s brand and management to build a new relationship model with suppliers. In such case, the company’s name and the knowledge of the management will allow establishing new relationships with suppliers, allowing easier switch between them, working production plans, and avoiding out-of-stock scenarios.
Finally, the company might utilize its website to initiate an expansion beyond the region. The company’s regional focus can be expanded to include other countries through targeting e-commerce initiatives on their websites. The company should focus on online commerce, differentiating between individual customers, and on retailers and foreign importers. For the latter, a dedicated secure page can be build for corporate clients, who will order in large quantities. Accordingly, a flexible system of crediting can be established for those ordering more than a specific fixed amount.
The alternative that should be recommended for Roger’s Chocolate Company is based on using the website for expansion alternative. The basis for choosing such alternative can be seen through addressing two main problems at once. First of all, the company’s online sales are comparatively low. In that regard, even those sales were comprised of individual orders, rather than wholesale customers. The company’s international shipments worldwide were also based on individual orders, which resulted in that the price of an already expensive product significantly increases. Thus, building a corporate portal within the existent website will allow the company to manage corporate clients and provide an efficient management system for ordering, payment, and tracking the order. A flexible system of crediting will make it feasible to order in larger quantity, lowering the price of products. Additionally, such solution might be further integrated into a buyer-oriented market place to track orders with chocolate suppliers, and thus, make the planning for production integrated between customers and orders, as well as providing a clear picture of the general supply and demand for the product. In such way, the company will utilize an opportunity to potentially target other problems in the company, such as the planning of the production, delays in suppliers, and the capacity to switch to new suppliers, e.g. the suppliers of organic chocolate.
The plan for a corporate business portal can be implemented through the following aspects:
One way for implementation is purchasing a ready-to-use solution, which can be scaled and modified according to the company’s needs. Another way is to develop the portal from scratch. Considering that the company already has a website, the integration of the website into the corporate information website can be seen as a viable solution. Accordingly, the company can utilize the current intranet of the organization switching from a centralized system toward a web-based interface. The purchase of the equipment can be seen as the second phase of such plan. The last step will be through hiring and training the necessary personnel for managing and operating the portal along with solving the problems that might occur during such process.
Approximate cost of implementing a portal for a company in which 50 users will use the portal with a basic functionality is estimated to be around $52,000. The scalability of the portal can through increasing the costs through the following table:
|50 users||500 users|
|simple portal||advanced portal||simple portal||advanced portal|
Estimated Portal Costs (Corporate Portal)
It can be seen that compared to the company’s retained earnings, even a maximum investment of a $300,000 can be seen as a feasible solution. However, it can be stated that for the primary function of the portal the simplest option can be considered for the first period. Thus, the schedule for implementation can be connected to each of the aforementioned options with a period of 2 years for review. Thus, a simple portal will be implemented in the period 2010-2012, an advanced portal will be implemented in the period 2012-2014, etc. It can be stated that such schedule can be justified through the fact that for the first time not all functionality of the portal might be used, and at the same time Information Technology might be reduced in its costs and/or a new technology might occur in the future.
Information Technology (IT) department should be formed within the company in order to manage and modify the content of the portal. Accordingly, an appropriate training should be provided for the employees of the organization on the way the portal can be used. It can be stated that the proposed investment is approximately 10 percent of the selling and administrative expenses of the company in the year 2006.
Thus, there are no significant expenditures made for the first period, and thus, the results are expected to be seen during the first year of implementation. For the advanced version of the portal a more appropriate tools for monitoring the results might be required. Generally, the tools that might be required to monitor the implementation of the corporate portal in the company might be seen through employees’ surveys, in order to assess the overall user experience, the sales, and surveys to assess the relationship with customers and suppliers.
Considering that the portal is expected to solve more than one issue in the company, it can be stated that incase non increase in sales will be observed during the first period, then the expansion of the corporate portal to include a supplier management tool will be implemented sooner than scheduled. In that regard, managing supplies is among the ordinary task of the company, and thus, improvements are expected in such aspect as well.
Corporate Portal. (n.d.). Corporate portals: technology and business. Corporate Portal. Web.