Strategic Management at the Vermont Teddy Bear Company

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We will begin with a little history of Vermont Teddy Bear Company. John Sortino founded Vermont Teddy Bear Company in 1981 out of a pushcart in the streets of Burlington, Vermont. Mr. Sortino was an entrepreneur and realized that the company had become too large for him to manage. In order for the company to be successful in the future he decided to step down as CEO. In 1995 R. Patrick Burns was appointed as the new CEO of Vermont Teddy Bear Company. Even thought the CEO changed the company’s name the focus remained the same, "to design and manufacture the best teddy bears made in America, using American materials and labor" (Wheelen and Hunger, 2006, p 22-6). In 1996 Vermont Teddy Bear Company changed its name to "The Great American Teddy Bear Company". This caused uncertainty with customers. The confusion caused a decline in sales and the company reinstated the Vermont Teddy Bear Company name. In another attempt to explore opportunities for growth, they decided to change their distribution from the signature Bear-Grams to retail catalogs. This also proved to be unsuccessful and eventually the Bear-Grams became the focal means of distribution and strategic marking again since this was the most thriving of distribution methods (Wheelen and Hunger, 2006, p22-4). Because of the declining performance, R. Patrick Burns stepped down as President and CEO of Vermont Teddy Bear Company in 1997. The Chief Financial Officer, Elisabeth Robert assumed the title with her vision for the future being cutting cost. Roberts decision was to explore offshore sourcing of materials and manufacturing alternatives to lower the company’s cost of goods sold and to broaden its available sources of supply (Wheelen and Hunger, 2006, p22-6). Elisabeth Roberts also thought they were not only in the teddy bear business but the gift business. She defined the competition as being business that "sold chocolates, flowers, and greeting cards. They target the last minute shoppers who want almost instant delivery" (Wheeler and Hunger, 2006, p22-4). They had an advantage by knowing that their competition went beyond toys, allowing them to market their product in several areas with victorious sales. Environmental scanning is the monitoring, evaluating, and disseminating of information from the external and internal environments to key personnel within the company. The easiest way to perform an environmental scan is through the SWOT Analysis.
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