Strategic Analysis: Tools and Techniques

Strategic Analysis: Tools & Techniques – Coursework 1

Task

Present a 3,000 words critical strategic analysis of the current Strategic Change within the following case:

Post Holdings buying Weetabix

You are required to cover the following topics covered in the module:

  • Strategic Position of the company
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • External Analysis
  • Industry Analysis

The links below provide some starting points but students MUST add their own detailed research to develop the analysis:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39625715

https://www.weetabixfoodcompany.co.uk/press/news-archive/post-holdings-completesacquisition-of-weetabix

https://www.postholdings.com/about/  https://www.ft.com/content/1c98e144-23aa-11e7-8691-d5f7e0cd0a16  The following structure is required for the submitted report:

  • Introduction to the report
  • An evaluation of the relevant levels of strategy
  • A critical evaluation of the key stakeholders
  • External Analysis – using PESTEL to identify and explore key trends
  • Industry Analysis – using 5 Forces to critically analyse the relevant industry factors
  • Conclusion

It is important that attention be focused on a strategic appraisal of the company as opposed to providing lots of interesting facts over what interests you or what you find on the internet.  Assessment will focus on students’ abilities in applying strategic models and frameworks in a coherent manner that enables them to develop a clear strategic view of the strategic position being studied.  You do not need to reference many academic sources in this element of the assessment, but you must reference sources of company or market information. Furthermore, you must reference sources for any theoretical background that you decide to include.

Marking criteria are:

Indicative Percentage Criteria
30% Application of Frameworks and models

The required frameworks and models introduced in the assignment task should be applied correctly to identify the key issues emerging relevant to the business example selected.

60% Depth of Strategic Evaluation.

Key strategic factors should be critically evaluated to develop the required depth of analysis of the business example selected.  A strong analysis needs to be evidence based rather than appear to be personal opinion so must draw on relevant sources e.g. news & media, industry publications, company web pages and documentation

10% Clarity of Structure and Presentation

The report is well organised and logically constructed, following the layout indicated in the assignment task. The quality of writing, spell checking, grammar and referencing need to demonstrate accuracy to ensure the reader can focus on the analysis provided

(The marks for each criterion are to illustrate where the main effort should be spent)

Please remember that an assignment is not meant to DESCRIBE what you have found.  Analysis means commenting on your findings and EXPLAINING what the evidence suggests about the company.

Marking Criteria

  • Introduce the case event
    1. Provide a brief overview of the case to set the key themes to be explored
    2. Avoid an overlong description of the company
  • An evaluation of the levels of strategy relevant to this case i.e. Corporate, SBU
    1. Students should identify the generic position that guides the company activity
    2. Use Bowman’s clock (using products/services to illustrate the way the strategy is being met) to structure the analysis of strategic position
    3. Come to a clear understanding of the company’s position. They need to clearly determine how and why a differentiation strategy has been developed
    4. Use rivals sparingly to clarify the strategic intent of the company. Should avoid overcomplicating models
    5. Link to the Industry analysis that is to follow
  • An evaluation of the key stakeholders
    1. Identify and consider the relevance of a range of stakeholders that are impacted by the case study
    2. Map the positions of main stakeholders and analyse the impact on the company
  • A critical analysis of the main external factors driving the strategy/ ies being explored
    1. Need to do a PEST or variation first then 5 Forces
    2. Analysis should focus on the KEY drivers of change rather than cover every issue found
    3. The PEST must not focus on what the company is doing but identify trends in the environment
    4. Models will probably contain more examples than the analysis explores. This is fine as long as the analysis has picked on the main themes
  • A critical analysis of the industry factors impacting on the competitive position of the

company

  1. There should be an awareness of how the PEST and 5 Forces are linked
  2. Draw out and analyse the key themes that are impacting on the varied forces
  3. Avoid just listing a series of bullet points that offer no discussion of impact
  4. Develop the competitive advantage analysis with an understanding of group mapping
  5. Provide examples of competitive characteristics that illustrate the nature of the competitive position
  • Conclusions & Recommendations
    1. Draw the main aspects of the analysis together
    2. Set out key points considered for strategic development

General Guidance to students

Structure

  • The introduction should be brief. It is not meant to provide a history of the company
  • The Conclusion needs to draw the analysis to a close and comment on the sustainability of the company’s strategic position. Remember you do not introduce new findings into the Conclusion
  • If you include Appendices you must refer to them in the relevant section of the report findings
  • References should clearly list all the material that has been referred to in the report and set out using Harvard style:

Models/Content

  • Remember to use the models in a ‘dynamic’ way i.e. place relevant examples onto the models. Do not simply copy and paste ‘generic’ examples from the lecture slides
  • Words in the models are included in the word limit. The models lose their value if they are full of text.  They should aid understanding not confuse the reader because too much has been stuffed into them
  • Models should be included in the main body of the report. Only place them in the appendices if they are close to a full page
  • You may well refer to points made in earlier parts of the report to show the connections in the analysis. This shows an awareness of the links between themes
  • You will struggle to stay within the word limit so focus on the KEY DRIVERS in your analysis
  • You will not be able to use all of the examples if you have done the level of reading required so ‘cherry pick’ those that best illustrate the key drivers
  • Facts and figures need to be supported with sources clearly referenced.

Presentation

  • Be your own independent work and free from plagiarism by ensuring that work that is not your own is clearly referenced
  • Use Harvard style citation and referencing using the Drop-in centre published guidelines
  • Be written in appropriate academic style
  • Be professionally presented
  • Be word processed using font size 12 for the main text and 1.5 line spacing
  • Have numbered pages

Have been spell checked and proof-read

Below is an except solution

Introduction

In this research, we shall be doing a critical evaluation of Post Holding Strategic position buying Weetabix. In the critical strategic analysis, the essay will present an introduction to the research that will form the basis of discussion and thereafter proceed to do analysis of the organisation strategy, stakeholder analysis, external and internal environment analysis using PESTLE and Porter’s Five Forces analysis. Conclusion will be drawn serving as basis of recommendation.

Post Holdings is a food processing organisation that manufacture and supplies various kind of nutrition’s products and packaged goods in United State lately in UK, China, and other countries after acquiring Weetabix. The organisation, a leading producer of ready to-eat-cereal, currently operates in more than three countries (after acquiring Weetabix) with varieties of nutritional products with its head quarter located in Suburban St. Louis community of Brentwood, Missouri. Among the organisation leading products includes, “breakfast cereals, dry pasta, granola, protein bars, baking nuts, snaking nuts, egg substitutes, refrigerated potatoes, cheese, protein shakes, and snaking nuts among others” (Wikipedia, 2017; Postholdings, 2017).

The Multinational organisation currently worth $79.41 in the stock market (nasdaq.com) with revenue size $502.4 million as at 2016 from $451.5 million it was in 2015. Bloomberg (2017), noted that post holdings declared “$0.9375 per share on the company’s 3.75% Series B Cumulative Perpetual Convertible Preferred Stock for the dividend period from the date of August 15, 2017 to November 14, 2017” and $0.625 per share on the company’s 2.5% Series cumulative series C. The company increased its total synergy run rate target to $75 million. The company is the third largest food processing company in the US competing keenly with big players like Kellogg company which asset is currently at $4bilion about 7 times that of Post Holdings and about 8 times smaller than General Mills, Inc. another great competing firm (Post Holdings Report, 2016, Nasdaq.com). Wikipedia (2017) noted that Post Holdings ability to compete keenly with its main rival with more financial strength is due to its ability to “manage its business closer to the ground than its rivals).

As part of its strategy to grow and compete favourably in the industry, the company has acquired a number of firms over time including but not limited to acquisition of Attune Foods, a marketer of premium organic cereals and snacks in 2012, it acquired Premier Nutrition Company in 2013, the company acquired MOM Brand, that produces Malt-O-Meal line of cereals at $1.15 billion ($1.05 billion cash and 2.5 million shares of Post Holdings stock) in 2015. And recently, in 2017, the company acquired Weetabix a UK based manufacturer of different brands of breakfast cereals at $1.4 billion (Wikipedia, 2017, Postholding.com). The company has approximately 8,700 employees as of 2017 (Bloomberg, 2017). Post holding has maintained a good supply chain network that transcends to the grass root in targeting its customer. The organisation through constant investment in training and development has highly skilled and competent staff.

Evaluating Post Holding Business Strategy

When examining the organisation strategy of business growth and position in the market. Different models have been employed by different authors to analyse the organisation. For instance, Anshu & Jain (2012) argued that merger and acquisition have emerged as a vital strategic tool employed by the organisation for “rapid growth and expansion………………………………………………….

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