Kudler Fine Foods Strategic Management

Kudler Fine Foods Strategic Management

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Introduction
Kudler Fine Foods (KFF) has excellent reputation for providing fine-quality, unique and gourmet grocery in the San Diego metropolitan area, and its recent value-added programs, such as to include organic produce from a local grower to its product selection and expanded customer service by offering catering food service, have increase tremendous assessment to the company. However, in order to maintain its competitive edge in the fine food grocery industry, KFF must assess the business opportunities that are created by the change in technology, and KFF must also identify the generic strategies that it is pursuing and tactics that would make these strategies a realization. Finally, KFF must constantly scan the internal and external environments of the industry in order to stay innovative. This paper intends to analyze KFF’s strategic management to help KFF maintain its status as supplier of distinctive gourmet products and services.
Change in Technology and Business Opportunities
The advancement in technology has helped a lot of business create new business opportunities, and more and more businesses are taking advantage of information technology (IT) to improve business performance by increasing market knowledge and raising the quality of strategic planning (Turban, 2003). For example, with the aid of Strategic Information Systems (SISs), companies are able to gather information of their competitors, known as the competitive intelligence, and thus able to monitor competitors’ prices and performance. Competitive intelligence can be enhanced by using Internet tools, such as search strategies, to make information gathering easy, quick and relatively inexpensive (Turban, 2003). Armed with competitive intelligence, KFF would be able to modify and adjust its strategic planning to either meet the competitions and challenges, or better yet, to exceed those of its competitors. KFF may also use IT to monitor internal performance and to increase productivity. For instance, if each KFF store is equipped with its own computer network to handle all point of service (POS) transactions, multiple inventory functions, maintains payroll and communicate in real-time with home office and other KFF stores, a lot of time can be saved on generating reports and accuracy of reports will be greatly improved as well. In addition, with the ability to real-time communication, each store will be able to exchange information on inventory and other internal functions.
Generic Strategy and Tactics
KFF seems to pursue several generic strategies including Differentiation Strategy, Customer-Oriented Strategy, and Innovation Strategy, Alliances Strategy, Internal Efficiency Strategy, and Growth Strategy.

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According to Turban (2003), Differentiation Strategy means being unique in the industry such as providing high-quality products at a competitive price. This is exactly the reputation of KFF. Since it’s opening in 1998, KFF is dedicated to provide the finest quality of unique and gourmet products to its customers; in fact, KFF is willing to shop around the world to achieve this mission. Moreover, part of KFF’s company mission is to provide the highest customer satisfaction to ensure each customer’s shopping experience at KFF is pleasant and delightful. KFF concentrates on making the customers happy by maintain a balance of marketing mix – product, pricing, promotions, and place. For example, Kathy Kudler, founder and president of KFF, insists on inventory management to ensure that customers are able to find the merchandise they are looking for at 95% of the time, and it is this level of customer service that gives KFF the unmatched reputation, aside from its high-quality products. Over the years, KFF thrives on developing new products and services, or otherwise known as Innovation Strategy. For example, after introducing new customer focused programs such as in-store cooking socials and frequent shopper program to retain loyal customers, KFF recently added catering services to help make celebration a breeze for customers. KFF continues its quest by partnering up with a local grower to provide healthy organic produce to its customers. This partnering with other business strategy, according to Turban (2003), is called the Alliance Strategy. Internally, KFF focuses on increasing the efficiency of both frontline and behind the scene employees by developing training programs and integrating new software systems to facilitating the effort. For instance, with the assistance of IT, purchasing department has developed a relationship with supplier to ensure food cost is low and storage is minimum while still maintain the zero stock out policy. KFF’s tireless transformation in its business ideas, products, services, developments and innovations strengthen the company’s human capital and financial growth.
Strategic Management
“Strategic management is an ongoing process that assesses the business and the industries in which the company is involved; assesses its competitors and sets goals and strategies to meet all existing and potential competitors; and then reassesses each strategy annually or quarterly [i.e. regularly] to determine how it has been implemented and whether it has succeeded or needs replacement by a new strategy to meet changed circumstances, new technology, new competitors, a new economic environment., or a new social, financial, or political environment” (Lamb, 1984). Strategic management involves the study of external environments to identify opportunities and threats in the marketplace, avoid surprises, and respond appropriately to competitior’s moves. External environmental scanning allows a firm to efficiently allocate its resources and to make short-term and long-term plan for the organization. Strategic management also involves the analysis of internal environment to identify a firm’s strengths and weaknesses. The analysis of strengthens, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of a firm is commonly known as the SWOT Analysis, which draws a clear picuture of the position of the firm. Strategic management is imperative to a firm because it scans industry environment to identify threat of new entrants and threat of substitutes; it monitors activities of suppliers and customers; it assesses the intensity of rivalry among competitors, and it forecasts any changing forces, anticipated or unanticipated events in the industry. Internally, strategic management allows a firm to correctly identify and allocate its resources, both tangible and intangible; it also allows a firm to analyzing its capabilities in corporate management, information management, research and development, manufacturing, product design and marketing, and sales distribution. Most importantly, it allows a firm to benchmark (Gomez-Mejia & Balkin. (2002). “Benchmarking is a process in which a firm evaluates various aspects of their processes in relation to the best practice in the industry. This then allows the firm to develop plans on how to adopt such best practice, usually with the aim of increasing some aspect of performance” (Wikipedia, 2007). Benchmarking is an important tool in strategic management used by a number of well-known companies. Currently, KFF is benchmarking Nordstrom department stores in service perspective, and KFF is moving toward the trend of partnering up with other businesses to provide a convenient one-stop-shop for its customers. For instance, many big grocery chains like Albertson’s and Vons partner up with florists, banks, coffee houses, and dry cleaners in which each of these business partners have a small counter within the supermarket, so customers may take care of other businesses while shopping for grocery. These extra services keep the customers in the stores and also bring them back. By partnering up with a local organic produce grower, KFF has opened its door for business partnership.
Conclusion
Kudler Fine Foods, famous for its unique gourmet products and outstanding customer services, is heading the right direction guided by its strategic management. Through consistent environmental scanning, KFF will continue to modify and adjust its strategies and tactics to meet the competitions and challenges within the industry. By pairing with the advancement in information technology, KFF will be able to monitor internal processes and increase productivity and efficiency of its frontline and behind the scene employees. KFF will also be able to increase market knowledge and improve the quality of strategic planning with the aid of information technology. As long as KFF keeps this vigorous attitude and continuously improving and growing with the help of available resources, KFF is heading to a very bright future.


References
Apollo Group, I. (2003). Kudler Fine Foods. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from MBA/502 Managing the Business Enterprise. https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/aapd/CIST/VOP/Business/Kudler/Operations/KudlerOps001.htm

Gomez-Mejia & Balkin. (2002). Management (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Lamb, Robert, Boyden Competitive strategic management, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1984

Turban, Efraim., Rainer, R. Kelly, & Potter, Richard E. (2003). Introduction to information technology (8th ed.). New York: Wiley

Benchmarking. (2008, April 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Benchmarking&oldid=205005662
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