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Friday, May 31, 2019

Apple Business Strategy

Apple ranked #1 on Forbes list for America’s Largest Public Companies. I also did more research on the difference between public and privately traded companies. I read that “The main advantage public companies have is their ability to tap the financial markets by selling stock (equity) or bonds (debt) to raise capital (i.e., cash) for expansion and projects.” (Majaski, 2019). Basically, this means that publicly traded companies have opened themselves up to the consumers and they now have a share of the company’s assets and profits.
Synopsis and Vision Statement
Apple is a technology company that develops and sells electronics and computer software. It was established in 1976 and has since grown to be one of the biggest companies in the world. Apple’s vision statement is quite long, but here is a portion of what I thought was important: “We are constantly focusing on innovating” “We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.” “we don’t settle for anything less than excellence “. (Rowland, 2019). Based on our reading, I do feel that Apple’s vision statement is very good. It is focused as it is really fixated on moving forward and explains why the company will continue to grow and move in a positive direction. I feel as if it is personal and not generic. It is somewhat lengthy, but it does not “run on and on”. For being such a big, successful company, the vision statement felt very personal. (Thompson).
One of Apple’s objectives include expanding the number of stores that exist around the globe. Bigger is better right? I learned that the Apple store is where the majority of the company’s profits are made, so the more physical stores they have, the more money they will make. Another objective is to have all products available online as well. The strategy here is to “place products in every retail store that carries electronic devices, all e-commerce web sites, and make sure mobile devices are featured on every large mobile carrier.” (Burnett, 2015). Setting the right price point is hard, but another objective of Apple is to sustain premium market prices. The company depend on the quality of their product to justify their price point. The company also plans to “build hype” for new and upcoming products. I feel that they are successful at this because I don’t even own an iPhone and I always know when the updated versions are coming out because it seems that everyone is talking about it.
Core Values
Apple’s core values seem simple: to create and produce the best products on the market, and also to be innovative. They are focused on customer service and giving everyone the same great customer experience, no matter where you are or what device you purchase. I feel as if the company does a good job of living up to this. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, this company continues to grow and become bigger and bigger by the year. They are not going anywhere anytime soon.
Competitive Advantage
Brand strength is probably one of the best ways that Apple sets itself apart from other companies. “Apple was the world’s leading brand in 2017, ahead of Google, Coca-Cola and IBM”. (Seidel, 2011). Their innovation is also up there on this list. Innovation was mentioned in their mission/vision statements and they really hold up their end of the deal. One thing that people love about their Apple products is their ability to share the same operating system, software and applications. You can have an iPhone, an iPad and an Apple Watch and all of them can be linked together to share information. This give people convenience which is a huge advantage. They are also reliable. This strategy is sustainable because Apple has built trust with their customers. Everyone that uses their products know and love them and would never deviate from the brand because they know that Apple will always have a product that they love and know how to use.
Burnett, B. (2015, July 21). Apple Inc Objectives and Strategies. Retrieved from
Majaski, C. (2018, January 17). What's the difference between publicly- and privately-held companies? Retrieved from
Rowland. (2019, February 13). Apple Inc.'s Mission Statement and Vision Statement (An Analysis) - Panmore Institute. Retrieved from
Seidel. (2011, July 14). What Is Apple's Competitive Advantage in Its Industry? Retrieved from
Thompson, A. Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases. Retrieved from

Value creation, appropriation, and distribution

The following article places emphasis on value creation as well as its appropriation and distribution and how firms affect economic inequality within society. Value is an important component to how firms create wealth. The interaction of government, households and firms even in a global context affects how wealth is created. Firms can contribute to social economic inequality through their practices and this paper focuses on other aspects of value that also affect the global value chain. This is a varied take which essentially places emphasis on how firms contribute to socio-economic inequality and other factors affecting the different aspects of value in the chain.
The motivations behind a firm’s operations are varied and are meant to show just how significant it can be when corporate governance is not effectively established. Firms are limited by the laws of the lands in which they operate and when interests such as wealth maximization compete with value distribution then internal machinations can upend the established order. It is a way in which firms can negatively contribute to socio-economic inequality and enhance the disparities witnessed. Many firms operate on their interests which means that laws and corporate governance play a major role in ensuring that this does not interfere with the rest of society. In a global context is doubly important.
The article effectively provides clarity on the impact of the firm while showing how corporate governance has a major role in deciding the way value will move within the global value chain. It allows for a review of the firm and how laws can come into play to balance out any socio-economic aspects that these firms interfere with.
Bapuji, H., Husted, B. W., Lu, J., & Mir, R. (2018). Value creation, appropriation, and distribution: How firms contribute to societal economic inequality. Business &     Society57(6), 983-1009. Retrieved from: 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Rewards and Incentives in strategy implementation

Finding the best and most beneficial incentives or rewards take time and thought. Going to work and love what you do, is very important.  Receiving incentives and rewards for doing a great job shouldn’t be expected, but no doubt does help and goes along way for employees. Knowing that you are a valued employee makes going to work much better. The 3 companies go above and beyond to keep employees happy and health.

Salesforce: is a global cloud computing company, that is online solution for customer relationship management that is that is based out of Sam Francisco. In 2018 they were rated the #1 worlds best workplace and they were named as one of the top 10 companies for compensation and benefits in 2014. The offer a $100 wellness credit each month for employees which can be used for massages, gym memberships and dance classes. They also offer a two-week trip paid fully by the company. (salesforce 2019)
Software developer SAS- manages almost 7,000 employees. They have and onsite health center for employees and families to use. They have 53 medical and support staff. They make the work life balance and mental health a priority for all employees. They also have on site swimming pool, walking and biking trails and frisbee golf. They start employees with 3 weeks’ vacation and a week of at the ed of the year for winter break. (SAS 2019)
Hilcorp is an oil and gas exploration company, in 2017 they were named best workplace. Each employee in the first five years of employment, earn about 34% of their base salary in bonuses. Every five years, they offer a lofty performance goals, by 2020 the performance reward will be up to $75,000. They also offer training opportunities, mentoring and job rotation, they offer employees to advance their careers with the company. (Hicorp 2019)

Stellar Solutions Business Strategy Case Study

Stellar Solutions, Inc. is a small professional engineering services business, founded in 1995 by Celeste Ford. Stellar Solutions, Inc. provides technical expertise and management for noteworthy national and international aerospace programs, they support all stages of space systems development and operation, which includes defense-related intelligence projects, international telecommunications programs, commercial imagery, and NASA’s planetary and earth science missions.
Vision, Mission, and Core Values
From its inception, their vision is to satisfy their customers’ critical needs while realizing their dream jobs.  Their philosophy has been significant to their success, by having an effective business model with 100% customer satisfaction and an engaged workforce has placed Stellar on Fortune Magazine’s “Great Place to Work” from 2014 to 2017. Stellar Solutions, Inc. mission is to provide high impact engineering expertise and technical management to meet the critical needs of their customers and partners so that they can deliver successful capabilities and achieve mission success. Their Values are professionalism, honesty, and integrity — do the right thing for our customers, employees and the community.
Besides their commitment to customers and employees, commitment to the community is an important element of the Stellar values system. The Stellar Solutions Foundation supports employee-driven involvement and support of local community outreach efforts. Market share is not a meaningful measure to Stellar Solutions, Inc., their focus is meeting their customers’ critical needs rather than focusing on growth or market. It has resulted in steady growth and sustainability for their company.
Strategic, Financial Objectives, Managerial Strategies
             Stellar conducts Strategic Planning from both a top-down and bottoms-up perspective, where SLT engages all employees in planning for the future of the business. As part of the Strategic Planning Process (SPP), each year, the Senior Leadership Team evaluates the Company Vision, Values and Mission to guarantee that they are still aligned with the founding principles going into planning for the upcoming year. Senior Leaders are held accountable for their actions through monthly Convergence Meetings, quarterly Board Meetings, and annual performance reviews. Accountability for the Strategic Plan is driven by the Convergence Process and the Annual and Summer Meetings where business results and progress against the Strategic Plan are reviewed by the entire workforce, as well as at the Board level on a quarterly basis.
            In their Strategic Planning Process SLT makes monthly visits to customers and employees to gather up to-date information about the market environment. They hold monthly Convergence Meetings to review results, assess performance against Strategic Plan, and adjust their plan as needed. They also hold quarterly Process Meetings to review effectiveness of Critical Processes and to discuss process Improvements. In 2006 they created an innovative distributed community support process where Stellar identifies its key local communities as all the areas where their employees live, and they can give back to causes that they are passionate about to their strategic plan.
            To ensure fiscal accountability, Stellar holds Business Ops meetings with the CEO, CFO, President/COO and key members of the Finance team to review monthly financial statements, key financial metrics and to ensure that the business is fiscally responsible. Externally, Stellar has financial audits and external tax preparation to ensure accountability. In 2013, their revenue grew from a rate of 1.18 to 6.81 percent in 2016. Process improvements and cycle time reductions have led to Stellar Solutions’ profitability growing consistently. The percentage of chargeable employees is consistently higher than 90 percent and exceeds the top 5 percent benchmark of Service Performance Insight, a global research, consulting, and training organization.
            Nearly 100 percent of the 150 engineering employee survey respondents agreed that they receive the right amount of management support, that management keeps them informed, and that management makes their expectations clear. Stellar’s commitment to the workforce is demonstrated by extensive health and financial benefits in support of work-life balance, as well as 40 hours of professional development annually for all employees. Stellar Solutions’ system of two-way communication throughout the company is focused on personal interaction with employees. Sector vice presidents meet one-on-one with all employees every month seeking their input and insights on their customers, personal accomplishments, and well-being, and what would help them progress toward their dream jobs.
            Stellar’s Strategic Objectives are designed to address and balance the key needs of the organization to realize the Mission, Vision and Value statements of the business. Their objectives are to deliver high impact for current customers, to deliver high impact for new customers, build customer intimacy / situational awareness, increasing workforce engagement by attracting and retaining key players, pursuing organizational excellence, and enhancing community support, locally, in aerospace, and globally.
 Competitive Advantage
            Their primary competitors in this market are also their customers and partners. To remain competitive Stellar must identify their critical needs and areas where they would benefit most from their expertise. They also compete with other professional technical service companies such as their partner organizations. They also indirectly compete with their employees to show their partners and customers the value that Stellar brings to the team. It is their experience and niche skills of their stellar engineers that differentiate Stellar’s value from their competitors. Their ability to hire, retain, and place the right talent to work in the right position, on the right team, at the right time to meet customer critical needs keeps Stellar competitive.
Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Thompson, A. Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases. Retrieved from:
Stellar Solutions. (2018, April 24). Retrieved from

The Protec Coating Company Strategy

 The Protec Coating Company is a Baldridge Award winner founded in 1990.  At that time the company came to be with a merger of United States Steel Corporation and Kobe Steel Ltd. of Japan.  The company provides coated sheet steel which is mostly used in the automotive industry for manufacturing purposes.  The company employs 236 associates working in a state of the art 730,000 square foot facility.
     Protec is driven by its vision which is BE, DO, HAVE.
They wish to BE completely committed to personal safety and wellness, consistent profits, and being recognized as the industry leader in regards to technology with products and processes.  The DO maintain a high standard for community, citizenship, and service.  The provide on time delivery matched with world class quality.  They HAVE highly skilled, engaged workers that are committed to excellent performance and ultimate utilization of production.
     Some objectives for Protec are consistently hitting quality expectations,  improving revenue per associate and demonstrating industry leadership, continue to never layoff associates with a turnover rate under 2%, all associates participate in ongoing safety initiatives and establish safety rules and procedures.
     What sets Protec apart from competitors is their continued profitability that has spanned over the last 12 years.  They also continue to keep associates employed with them.  This has a lot to do with their ability to guarantee world class quality and continuous on time delivery to their clients.
Thompson, A. Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from
PROTEC Coating Company (2015).  Retrieved from
National Institute of Standards and Technology:  Protec Coating Company (2015).  Retrieved from

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rewards aid in strategy execution efforts

Choose three companies from the list to research and discuss how rewards aid in the strategy execution efforts of each company.
SAS Software Developer-Leader in Analytics has invested in its workforce of over 7,000. Offering extensive on-site amenities for every employee to extend a balance of life-work balance. Including mental health well being and care, physical and emotional outlets. Creating an open and empowered staff that is encouraged to earn more than just a pay check. Creating access to activities and programs reduces stress and allows the workforce to be equipped with the tools for success. global cloud company #1 CRM integrated platform solutions for every size of business needs- noted in Forbes 2014 to be the most innovative company. Tripling its work force of 5,000 in 2012 and has an extensive compensation packages for its workforce such as travel, trips and achievement rewards in the community and office. Employees want rewards that extend outside the office, rewarding and including all aspects of an employee (family) makes it worth while that the extends beyond the company walls. 
Hillcorp-oil and gas exploration company that reached its five year goal of double in size awarded its employees $50,000 dream voucher ($35,000.00 cash value) Promising to award $100,000 if goals were met in 2015. This was an amazing compensation reward distributed to all employees for their hard work and dedication. It was a sign of investment of employees to do their best performance to benefit the company and each employee. Everything was on the line, and it took a team performance to obtain. 
At the end of the day, working should be more than a pay check. Doing what you love to do and being rewarded goes a longer way. Each of these companies dug deeper with who they hired, why they hired and took every aspect of that persons life into consideration. Being valued, encouraged and supported makes people do a better overall job. Compensation, rewards, recognition only go so far, these companies shared and took into consideration the employees mental, physical and emotional well being. That created a happy climate and culture which motivated greater end results that benefit the company and its employees at the same time.

Corporate Culture, rewards and incentives

Corporate culture is defined as the attitudes and behaviors that determines how an organization’s management executes objectives and strategy.  It is characterized by how the not only how the firm is operated, but by the performance of the business itself. The company Epic has a corporate culture that is embedded in its core values. Company culture is not only impactful but influential in the success and achievements.  Epic’s software system integrates its culture and values into it in order to drive their “Ten Commandment” principles into their employee’s work ethics. In building on the knowledge of your discussion, the role of information and operating systems helps to enable the personnel of an organization to carry out their roles in the strategic process efficiently.   Strategies cannot be executed well without a number of internal systems for business operations. Well-conceived operating systems can give an organization a competitive edge over their rivals because it can strengthen a company’s capabilities. Information systems need to carry five different areas: financial data, operations data, customer data, supplier/partner data, and employee data.  Performance indicators should be tracked and monitored in real time such as key performance indicators, gathering information from operating personnel, identifying issues,  and taking corrective actions over operations (Thompson, 2018).

Corporate culture is a set of norms and values that  are strongly held and widely shared throughout a business. They can play a role in the social control and help in aiding in the issues of incentive. A company that holds integrity highly can have a strong influence on the organization’s efficiency and profitability.  It is an integral feature within strong organizations that use this as a way to not only be more productive, but more profitable, and better performance. It can help by lowering internal transaction costs.  For example, they can focus on the employee and managerial behaviors compared to the organization’s performance outcomes.  It is important for businesses to have these values in place in order to have a strong foundation to grow upon (Jiang, Kim, Ma, Nofsinger, & Shi, 2019). 
Jiang, F., Kim, K. A., Ma, Y., Nofsinger, J. R., & Shi, B. (2019). Corporate Culture and Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivity. Journal of Business Ethics 154 (2), 425–39.
Thompson. (2018). Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage 21st ed. McGraw-Hill ISBN: 9781259732782.

Motivational and reward practices

“Companies design a variety of motivational and reward practices to create a work environment that energizes employees and promotes better strategy execution. Other benefits of a successful recognition system include high job satisfaction, high retention rates, and increased output” (Thompson, Strickland, Gamble, & Thompson, 2015).
As part of the strategic objectives of a company, incentives based on measured performance objectives should be administered with complete objectivity and impartiality. They should also follow certain guidelines:
  1. Incentives for performance goals should be considerable when compared to the rest of the compensation package;
  2. Incentives should be available and attainable for all employees (not just executives);
  3. Performance targets should be considered ONLY if the individual or team have an affectation on the target;
  4. Mete out awards or incentives in a timely manner;
  5. Avoid rewarding effort that does not produce the desired results.
Most employees expect annual raises in pay. The motivation associated with what is expected is short-lived. “One of the most discussed unintended consequences of financial rewards has been the assumed erosion of intrinsic motivation, also called the crowding-out or undermining effect of extrinsic incentives” (Antoni, Be=eaten, Perkins, Shaw, & Vartiainen, 2017).
            Incentives/rewards for preferred behavior, being “caught” for exceptional service, or receiving positive feedback from an unsolicited source can be an alternate means of effectively motivating employee performance.
These rewards do not have to be in standard bonus form. Getting to leave work early, tickets to special events, and public recognition are examples of alternate rewards for employees. As well these do not have to be pre-ordained; spontaneity and  acknowledgment among peers can be highly motivational. For example, at a staff meeting an employee can be recognized for exceptional performance or meeting/exceeding a goal.

Antoni, C. H., Baeten, X., Perkins, S. J., Shaw, J. D., & Vartiainen, M. (2017). Reward management: Linking employee motivation and organizational performance. Journal of Personnel Psychology16(2), 57–60. Http://

Homisak, L. (2019). How to Reward Your Employee (Aside from a Pay Raise): There are many ways to boost staff enthusiasm, motivation, and job satisfaction. Podiatry Management38(1), 65–68. Retrieved from Http://

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Charleston Area Medical Center’s use of Six Sigma practices

Charleston Area Medical Center’s use of Six Sigma practices. List three tangible benefits provided by the program. Explain why a commitment to quality control is particularly important in strategy implementation. How can the use of a Six Sigma program help a company survive and thrive against competition?


Tangible Benefits to Six Sigma:

Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) was established in 1972 and in 2000 they implemented a Six Sigma program to analyze their quality problem and standardize the care they provide. With the implementation CAMC improved their compliance with the Hospital Quality Alliance in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) moving from 50% to a 95% compliance. Next, the implementation supported cost control by managing the supply chain more effectively, resulting in $12 million dollar saving in a four-year period.  Third, a to their success has been instilling a continuous improvement mindset into the organizations culture. Due to their efforts they are ranking in national ratings for quality of care and patient safety.

Commitment to Quality:

In order to be successful in strategy implementation organizations much be committed to instilling a quality mindset into all levels of employees in all departments. Programs such as Total Quality Management (TQM) holds the concept of instilling enthusiasm and commitment to doing things right from the top to the bottom of the organization. A continuous improvement approach that focuses on all areas of operations is important to have the success in any strategy implementation.

Six Sigma and the Competition:

As another form of driving continuous improvement Six Sigma Programs offers an advanced statistical method to identify and remove the causes of defects. The use of such a program gives an organization an upper hand over the competition in that you have a clear understanding of where issues are and have a solid approach to address them.  In this, you can effectively implement improvements to address each issue making you more efficient in production and produce a higher quality product or service over the competition.

Thompson, Arthur. Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases. Retrieved from:

Monday, May 27, 2019

Strategy execution efforts of 3 companies

I have chosen 3 companies to research and discuss how rewards aid in the strategy execution efforts of each. The companies I have chosen are SAS, a software developer, Hilcorp, an oil and gas exploration company, and, a global cloud-computing company.
Mental health is the priority for this company, outside of the actual work of course. It is clear that this company realizes that when employees are well balanced with the work-life concept, that they perform better at work. This company reportedly offers an onsite health center not only for the employees, but also their families. They have a frisbee golf course, an indoor swimming pool, and walking trails so that the employees have a free place to go and re-set their minds. I recently read that “happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. When it comes to salespeople, happiness has an even greater impact, raising sales by 37%.” (Preston). SAS realizes that when they invest in their employees, they are investing in the company. This also makes the company competitive in the sense that GOOD employees will fight to work there and stay there. When employees at SAS feel happy and are mentally well-rounded, it pays off for everyone involved. The company states that their employees are their “greatest strength”. (SAS).
Hilcorp is an oil and gas exploration company who have made national headlines when they awarded their employees with $50,000 vouchers for cars if specific goals were met. Employees also had the option of taking a whopping $35,000 cash if they did not wish to get a new car. They also announced an incentive program that “promised to award every employee $100,000 in 2015 if certain goals are met.” (Thompson). The important thing here is that they are following through. Employees met this amazing goal in April of 2015, and they all had their bonus checks just 2 months later. Talk about awesome! The purpose of an incentive bonus is really to ensure that employees are doing their best throughout the whole evaluation period. They pretty much know that if they slack off for a few months, it may be impossible to meet a certain goal, but if they exceed expectations and are on top of their game all year round, there could be a bigger paycheck waiting for them. Money is motivation for a lot of people. I mean, would you go to work if there wasn’t a paycheck waiting for you at the end of the week? I don’t think so. We have to work, and we work hard so that we can enjoy life outside of work as well. Money helps us do this.
This business is a global cloud-computing company based in San Francisco. Their main avenue of rewarding their employees lies in vacation time/benefits. Thompson says that “in 2013, top sellers were awarded two-week trips to Bhutan for their dedication and results.” I believe that they were setting an example. Not everyone received this benefit, but I bet you everyone who didn’t paid attention and was wondering what they could have done differently so that they had. This company is trying to motivate people to work harder and stay focused on sales throughout the year so that they get this extra perk that not everyone receives. The monetary value of this vacation was significant, I’m sure. Keep in mind though that the recognition also plays a part for the employee. It shows them that their hard work is appreciated and not going un-noticed. It gives them further motivation to continue their efforts going forward.
 In the end, your sales people are the ones who are driving the company’s success. Keep them happy and motivated if you want your company to succeed.
Preston, PhD, PCC, C. (2017, December 13). Promoting Employee Happiness Benefits Everyone. Retrieved from
SAS. (n.d.). SAS again ranked as a Best Workplace in Technology. Retrieved from
Thompson, A. Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts
and Cases. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from
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