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Thursday, January 20, 2011

It is the solved assignment of MI0030 SMU MBA Assignment. The question is - “List out the Ecommerce opportunities for industries and give an example of your understanding for all the opportunities.” The solve assignment is in the sequence of QR System of Wal-Mart and Functions of Supply Chain Management.

Global Reach: The net being inherently global, reaching global customers is relatively easy on the net compared to the world of bricks.

Cost of acquiring, serving and retaining customers. It is relatively cheaper to acquire new customers over the net; thanks to 24 x 7 operations and its global reach.

An extended enterprise is easy to build. In today’s world every enterprise is a part of the ‘connected economy’; as such, you need to extend your enterprise all the way to your suppliers and business partners like distributors, retailers and ultimately your end-customers.

Disintermediation: Using the internet, one can directly approach the customers and suppliers, cutting down on the number of levels an in the process, cutting down the costs.

Improved customer service to your clients: It results in higher satisfaction and more sales.

Power to provide the ‘best of both the worlds’: It benefits the traditional business side-by-side with the internet tools.

A technology-based customer interface: In a brick-and-mortar business, customers conduct transactions either face-to-face or over the phone with store clerks, account managers, or other individual.

The customer controls the interaction: At most websites, the customer is in control during screen-to-face interaction, in what the web largely employs a ‘self service’ model for managing commerce or community-based interaction. The customer controls the search process, the time spent on various sites; the degree of price/product comparison, the people with whom he or she comes in control can rest with either the buyer/seller or the community member.

Knowledge of customer behaviour: While the customer controls the interaction, the firm has unprecedented access to observe and track individual consumer behaviour. Companies, through a third-party measurement firm such Vividness and Accrue; can track a host of behaviours on web sites visited, length of stays on a site, page views on a site.

You have to solve the questions - “Why did Walmart implemented QR system” and “What are the functions of supply chain management?” These two questions are related to MI0030 (E-Commerce and Web Design) SMU MBA 4th semester. Last time we had talked about “How was ‘protectionism’ practiced?

QR systems was implemented in the 1980s by Wall-Mart. Wal Mart invested half a billion dollars in computer and satellite communications networks, bar-code systems, scanners, and other QR equipment linking each point-of-sale terminal to distribution centers and headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Many believe that it was this system that enabled Wal-Mart to manage the explosive retail sales growth that catapulted the company to number one position in the US retail business.

The system enabled the company to maintain high service levels and increase sales while reducing the inventory costs to one-fourth of previous levels. Also by empowering its individual stores to order directly from suppliers, even overseas, individual Wal-Mart stores reduced inventory restocking time from an industry average of six weeks to thirty-six hours. Moreover, by tracking every sale through the point-of-sales devices to see what product was selling in large quantities, Wal-Mart stores were better able to keep their stores well stocked while maintaining tight inventories and low prices.

Supply Chain Management Functions:

Supplier Management: The goal is to reduce the number of suppliers and get them to become partners in business in a win/win relationship.

Inventory Management: The goal is to shorten the order-ship-bill cycle. When a majority of partners are electronically linked, information faxed or mailed in the past can now be sent instantly.

Distribution Management: The goal is to move documents related to shipping (bills of landing, purchase orders, advanced ship notices, and manifest claims).

Channel Management: The goal is to quickly disseminate information about changing operational conditions to trading partners.

Payment Management: The goal is to link the company and the suppliers and distributors so that payments can be sent and received electronically.

Financial Management: The goal is to enable global companies to manage their money in various foreign exchange accounts.

Sales Force Productivity: The goal is to improve the communication and flow of information among the sales, customer and production functions.

In sum, the supply chain management process increasingly depends on electronic markets because of global sourcing of products and services to reduce costs, short product life cycles, and increasingly flexible manufacturing systems resulting in a variety of customizable products.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Students have to solve the question - “How was ‘protectionism’ practiced?” It is the question of SMU MBA MB0037 (International Business Management). It is the next assignment question of “exchange rate arrangements of developing and transition countries” and “five major product strategies in international marketing” for Sikkim Manipal University MBA MB0037.

Although trade generally benefits a country as a whole, powerful interests within countries frequently put obstacles – i.e., they seek to inhibit free trade. There are several ways this can be done:

Tariff barriers: A duty, or tax or fee, is put on products imported. This is usually a percentage of the cost of the good.

Quotas: A country can export only a certain number of goods to the importing country. For example, Mexico can export only a certain quantity of tomatoes to the United States, and Asian countries can send only a certain quota of textiles here.

“Voluntary” export restraints: These are not official quotas, but involve agreements made by countries to limit amount of goods they export to an importing country. Such restraints are typically motivated by the desire to avoid more stringent restrictions if there exporters do not agree to limit themselves. For example, Japanese car manufacturers have agreed to limit the number of automobiles they export to the United States.

Subsidies to domestic products: If the government supports domestic producers of a product, these may end up with a cost advantage relative to foreign producers who do not get this subsidy. U.S. honey manufacturers receive such subsidies.

Non-tariff barriers, such as the different standards in testing foreign and domestic products for safety, disclosure of less information to foreign manufacturers needed to get products approved, slow processing of imports at ports of entry, or arbitrary laws which favour domestic manufacturers.

Justifications for protectionism: Several justifications have been made for the practice of protectionism. Some appear to hold more merit than others.

Protectionism tends to lead to additional tariffs or other protectionist measures by other countries in relations, reduced competition, a weakening of the trade balance.

The question is - “discuss in brief the five major product strategies in international marketing.” The assignment question is solved very professionally. It is in the series of “exchange rate arrangements of developing and transition countries” and “bill of lading” for SMU MBA MB0037 assignment.

There are five major product strategies in international marketing:

Product Communications Extensions:

This strategy is very low cost and merely takes the same product and communication strategy into other markets. However it can be risky if misjudgments are made. For example, CPC international believed the US consumer would take to dry soups, which dominate the European market. It did not work.

Extended Product – Communications Adaptation:

If the product basically fits the different needs or segments of a market it may need an adjustment in marketing communications only. Again this is the low cost strategy, but different product functions have to be identified and a suitable communications mix developed.

Product Adaptation – Communications Extension:

The product is adapted to fit usage conditions but the communication stays the same. The assumption is that the product will serve the same function in foreign markets under different usage conditions.

Product Adaptation – Communications Adaptation:

Both product and communication strategies need attention to fit the peculiar need of the market.

Product Invention:

This needs a totally new idea to fit the exclusive conditions of the market. This is very much a strategy which could be ideal in a Third World situation. The development costs may be high, but the advantages are also very high.

The choice of strategy will depend on the most appropriate product/market analysis and is a function of the product itself defined in terms of the function or need it serves, the market defined in terms of the conditions under which the product is used, the preferences of the potential customers and the ability to buy the product in question, and the costs of adaptation and manufacture to the company considering these product – communications approaches.

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