Wk 3 Individual: Signature Assignment: Environmental Scanning

A strategic management plan addresses four different management functions: environmental scanning, strategy formulation, strategy implementation, evaluation and control. Weeks 3, 4 and 5 individual assignments (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) are integrated to generate a strategic management plan. The purpose of the Week 3 individual assignment is to evaluate the internal and external environments of a company selected by the student, to analyze the competitive advantage of the selected company, to evaluate a set of suitable strategies, and to examine appropriate metrics.

This assignment provides students an opportunity to research a selected company as if they were involved in a company’s actual strategic management planning process. It allows students to see which management planning process and management plan the selected company is currently using, allowing them to measure the effectiveness of current strategies.

A Strategic Management Plan addresses four different management functions: Environmental Scanning, Strategy Formulation, Strategy Implementation, Evaluation and Control.

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The Week 3, 4, and 5 Individual Assignments (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) are integrated to generate a Strategic Management Plan. This is Part 1 of the three part Strategic Management Plan.

Assignment Steps

Write a 1,050-word report in which you select a company you are familiar with or a company where you currently work, and do the following:

Evaluate the internal and external environments of your selected company using an environmental scan.
Analyze the competitive advantage of your selected company.
Evaluate the strategies your selected company uses to create value and gain competitive advantage.
Examine the measurement guidelines your selected company uses to verify its strategic effectiveness.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the measurement guidelines your selected company uses.


Environmental Scanning: Wal-Mart

Internal and External Environment

            Organizations are affected by both the internal and external environment. For Wal-Mart, the internal environment consists of such factors as the organizational structure, management, and supply chain operations (Spicer & Hyatt, 2017). The structure is both hierarchical and functional with all employees except the CEO working under a supervisor. Such a hierarchical approach enables quick and cost-effective implementation of policies and strategies (Harper, 2015). AS one of the world’s largest retailer, having a hierarchical organizational structure is essential in managing the complexity of its over 2 million personnel. However, there is a drawback to this structure as it deters organizational flexibility due to the lengthy process required to alter practices. Aside from being hierarchical, the structure is also functional. As it is a functional entity, the company employs specialization but suffers from the lack of teamwork and challenging management (Noda, 2015). One of Wal-Mart’s strengths is its highly specialized and efficient management. The company has invested significant resources in establishing the best management …

The organization is also affected by external factors, including legal, political, technological, and economic factors. Wal-Mart is based in countries that are economically and politically stable. The retailer’s largest market is in the US, a country that is politically stable and whose economic growth has been improving over the past several decades (Spicer & Hyatt, 2017). Other countries where the corporation is located are mainly stable, both politically and economically. Apart from political and economic stability, legal issues are also a significant environmental factor for Wal-Mart. The average number of lawsuits per year against the company is close to five thousand (Spicer & Hyatt, 2017). These suits represent a significant issue for the enterprise as they hurt its brand and financial resources. Technology has also substantially changed the operations of the retailer industry. Currently, some of Wal-Mart’s main competitors, such as Amazon, use online purchases as their competitive strategy. The organization has had to adapt to compete favourably against such companies and is currently also conducting online retailin…

Competitive Advantage

Different organization uses different strategies to remain or gain competitive. For Wal-Mart, the competitive advantage is hinged its superior supply chain management and low prices. Since its inception, Wal-Mart has advertised itself to customers as a budget store that affords its clients discounted prices (Spicer & Hyatt, 2017). By doing so, the company attracts clients from retailers who sell the same product at a higher price. According to Jobber and Shipley (2012), a low-pricing strategy is highly effective in attracting customers since the commodity price is one of the primary considerations for buyers when choosing where to shop. In effect, Wal-Mart has been able to endear itself to customers who cannot afford products from other retailers (Jobber & Shipley, 2012). Moreover, the large-scale nature of it…

The organization also relies on an exceptional supply chain. A superior supply chain management system enables a firm to compete favourably with others by minimizing costs and efficient restocking (Stadtler, 2015). Wal-Mart is one of the organizations that have differentiated themselves through supply chain management. Its superior model has provided for timely restocking, and cost savings that have in turn increased the company’s profit margins. Additionally, convenient restocking has aided the…

Strategies to Gain Value and Competitive Advantage

One of the main strategies used by Wal-Mart is its vast scale of operations as leverage when negotiating with suppliers (Noda, 2015). By doing so, the company is able to reduce its buying price for products. In turn, this has provided the retailer with leeway for reducing prices than its competitors, meaning the organization will offer products at a lower price than the competitors. Another important strategy utilized by Wal-Mart is the use of advanced technology with initiatives such as Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and cross-docking to increase efficiency and reduce costs for inventory. Using technology, the firm can project demand and track and forecast …

Mal-Mart also uses cross-docking whereby commodities are transferred from inbound or outbound truck trailers in the absence of extra storage. In effect, cross-docking enables companies to reduce storage costs for products since they are transferred directly (Noda, 2015). By utilizing this approach, the organization reduces inventory and transportation costs and time as well as eliminates inefficiencies. Another critical strategy used by Wal-Mart is its hierarchical structure. All employees at the company (except the CEO) have superiors. Since the company uses uniformity as one of its main selling points, implementing policy directives from the top is a critical…

Measurement Guidelines

Wal-Mart uses a sustainability index as its measurement guidelines. Launched in 2009 as a collaboration between the retailer and The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), the index is supposed to aid retailers as well as suppliers to enhance productivity through improving the sustainability, reducing costs, and improving the quality of products. Furthermore, the index is also aimed at integrating sustainability into the business. The consortium (TSC) has developed metrics for measuring key indicators in collaboration with the corporation by conducting studies on the retailer’s products. Using these parameters, the retailer can track all aspects of its business from retailers to sales for a particular product. This data is then used to measure the sustainability of the company. Additionally, the index acts as a…

The sustainability index has been highly useful in aiding Wal-Mart as a measuring guideline. Using this tool, the company sets and achieves measurable goals such as the greenhouse gasses initiative, doubling its fuel efficiency, and improving product access and availability. Besides, the organization has increased the safety and effectiveness in its supply chain. By doing so, the company has grown its brand and increased sales while at the same time increasing profit margins. The use of TSC has evidently…


Harper, C. (2015). Organizations: Structures, processes and outcomes. New York, NY: Routledge Publishing.

Jobber, D., & Shipley, D. (2012). Marketing-orientated pricing: Understanding and applying factors that discriminate between successful high and low price strategies. European Journal of Marketing46(11/12), 1647-1670.

Noda, T. (2015). Integration of lean operation and pricing strategy in retail. Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness9(1), 50.

Spicer, A., & Hyatt, D. (2017). Walmart’s emergent low-cost sustainable product strategy. California Management Review59(2), 116-141.

Stadtler, H. (2015). Supply chain management: An overview. Supply chain management and advanced planning, 3-28.

Zinovieva, C. G., Kuznetsova, M. V., Dorfman, T. V., Limarev, P. V., & Limareva, J. A. (2016). Study of external and internal factors affecting enterprise’s stability. Advances in Systems Science and Applications16(1), 62-71.

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