A business environment is made up of both internal and external factors. The environment of a business must be scanned to be able to determine what factors the company can use to determine the development and forecasts that will help in the success of the business. The definition of Environmental Scanning, as per managementstudyguide.com, is the “possession and utilization of information about occasions, patterns, trends, and relationships within an organization’s internal and external environment”. Scanning is used to identify the threats and opportunities that exist in the business environment. Some of the internal environment factors that a company must observe include; employee interaction with each other, with management, manager interaction with other managers, and manager interaction with shareholders, brand awareness, organizational structure and the main staff (managementstudyguide.com, 2012).
The company may use other resources to gain this information as in group discussions, surveys and interviews. This information than may be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the company. External environment plays an important role as a company starts to become more competitive and changes start to occur. As these changes start to occur, it becomes essential for the company to identify what their competitors are doing. These changes may also affect the internal environment, so it is important that the company update its core competencies as per the external environment.
Because external environments are always changing, the company should be ready at all times to be able to accept and adjust to the environmental changes. External monitoring could include the original forecasts of raw materials, which may affect the credibility of the original source. This will force the company to be more focused on scanning, forecasting and analysis to create a more trustworthy prediction and the input costs (managementstudyguide.com, 2012). The external environment scan should include three areas; immediate/industry environment, national environment, and the broader socio-economic environment/macro-environment.
The two companies that will be used in this paper will be Apple and Target. Both of these companies have survived a tough economy over the years by having to adjust to many external and internal environmental factors. Apple, as most of us know, is a successful producer of computer hardware and software. Target, is one of the largest retail companies, right behind Wal-Mart, in the U.S. The environmental scan is used to evaluate the threats, opportunities, strengths and weakness of both Apple and Target. This will help identify external and internal areas that may need help and the areas that have been successful.
There are many strengths that have made Apple a success. Apple is known to offer superior products such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod and many others. They control both the manufacturing of its products as well as its operating system (http://www.slideshare.net/edbiy/swot-analysis-for-apple, 2012). Apple also produces its own internal components for the core of their products. They also set a high standard for the quality of their products to make sure that the customer is extremely satisfied. Apple is always evolving and creating new and updated products. Apple has a very loyal customer base that will buy the new and updated product regardless of what it costs. The company stock is also the highest in their personal history.
Target is a monster of a company as well. As of 2011, the diversification of its store chain was at 1,750 stores. The stores are big; anywhere between 95,000 to 135,000 square feet is size. As of 2011, Target has a presence in all states except Vermont. Due to the competition with Wal-Mart to keep their product prices low, Target has seen increases in revenue year after year, with their 2011 revenue equaling $67 billion. Target has adapted to their specific demographic locations and offer three different types of stores; Target Green Lands, Super Target, and their urban stores. And most important, Target offers a wide variety of goods; clothing, electronics, beauty, and home furnishings to just name a few.
As being the leader in the electronic industry, Apple is faced with having to ensure their product is consistent and quality is number one. Not all of Apple’s products are without flaws. With their competitors making similar devices, Apple must continue to invest in research and development, to make sure any flaws don’t hamper future success. With Apple being a financial stable company, any lack of debt could be seen as a weakness for their infrastructure as it may pose a risk for stock acquisition by other companies (http://www.slideshare.net/edbiy/swot-analysis-for-apple, 2012). As for Target, their lack of an internal presence is a weakness. Though their products are considered low cost, the quality of their product is better than Wal-Mart, which makes Target’s products a higher price than their competitor. Employee wages have also been considered low, forcing some employees to look for work elsewhere.
With Apple products saturating the market, Microsoft has still be able to hold a consistent share of the market as well. Within the industry, there are many competitors that appeal to the economic conscience. Companies such as HP and Dell are offering low-budget computers that are appealing to customers that cannot afford the Apple product. Apple must be able to produce their products and set a financial standard so they do not lose out on a certain market of people.
Target has their threats as well. Kmart and Wal-Mart both offer similar products but at a lower cost. With today’s economy, customers may sacrifice the quality of a product to get a lower price. Target may have to restructure their product base to keep from losing out to the competition.
With Apple being a technological leader, they are known for their originality and innovative thinking. iLife is a new product that allows users to link up multiple programs through one central application. Apple has found a way to simplify a person’s “life”, by consolidating what that person needs into one little package. That is innovation at its finest. Apple will continue to develop new opportunities through innovation and breaking new ground in different markets.
Target introduced that the company will expand into Canada, this being the first step into the international market. The company will focus on reducing operational cost and increasing their revenue ratio. Target will continue to push the private labled products to customers, to focus on low cost products. These companies are creating value by offering a product that is made up of tangible and intangible attributes that the customer values. These companies are able to obtain money for the costs which then generates benefits that it values. Apple and Target create products that offer many solutions for their customer. This creates a competitive advantage for these companies.
Creative advantage is the “advantage that a company has over its competitors, allowing it to generate greater sales or margins and/or retains more customers than its competition” (Investopedia.com, 2012). Both companies have shown that they offer a product that has been superior to their competition, which in turn has generated greater sales for these companies. The mission statement of a company is a way to evaluate how a company may measure their effectiveness. Apple states, “Apple computer is committed to protecting the environment, health and safety of our employees, customers and the global communities where we operate.
We recognize that by integrating sound environmental, health and safety management practices into all aspects of our business, we can offer technologically innovative products and services while conserving and enhancing resources for future generations. Apple strives for continuous improvement in our environmental, health and safety management systems and in the environmental quality of our products, processes and services”. Target states, “Our mission is to make Target your preferred shopping destination in all channels by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and exceptional guest experiences by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less.® brand promise”. Both Apple and Target have shown continued success, both following their mission to create a better experience for their customers.
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Investopedia. (2012). Competitive Advantage. Retrieved October 08, 2012, from Investopedia.com: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/competitive_advantage.asp#axzz28k4ujJ6x
Managementstudyguide.com. (2008-2012). Environmental Scanning-Internal & External Analysis of Environment. Retrieved October 08, 2012, from Managementstudyguide.com: http://www.managementstudyguide.com/environmental-scanning.htm
Mixx, M. (2012). Targer SWOT Analysis. Retrieved October 08, 2012, from MarketMixx.com: http://marketingmixx.com/marketing-basics/swot-analysis-marketing-basics/177-target-corporation-swot-analysis.html
Target Brands, I. (2012). Mission & Values. Retrieved October 08, 2012, from Target.com: http://corporate.target.com/about/mission-values
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