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Introduction and Background Information

The company was established way back in the 1976, and its first store was situated in California. The main agenda of this company is to provide the electronic products and computer products to the people worldwide. It only started as a single retail shop which has soon expanded to an approximate of 317 retail stores in the ten countries, also including an online store for the sale of hardware and software products.

The Strategy of the Company and Human Resource Importance

There is a need for any organization to understand the operational world in their businesses. Any organization has the need to know where it is heading and the possible environmental driving factors. Thus, the strategy is targeted for the survival of the provided business from the minimal perspective, and then the maximum perspective being concerned with the creation of the value-added goods. This drives it to the major role of ensuring that their businesses are competitive enough.

The objectives of organization in most cases originate from the better strategies of planning. This is, however, arrived at after a close analysis if the given environment has been reviewed and figured out of a competitive environment.  Apple Inc. analysis on the environment is done through developing on its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and the possible Threats to the business (SWOT). Other strategies in the business operation include looking at the Political analysis, Economic analysis, Social analysis and finally the Technological analysis (PEST). When taking all precautions and good measures through the SWOT and PEST analysis, the business is focused and, hence, maximum profits and least possible operations costs (Chen 2009, p. 11) are achieved altogether.

PEST Analysis

 The Political Environment: Apple Inc. is set up in the United States of America and, therefore, enjoys the political stability which does not affect its operation at all. It is believed that in the United States, politics takes place maturely without affecting the operation of the economies.

The Economic Environment: having been set in the United States, particularly, the State of California, Apple enjoys the large economies of scale. Most of the demographics are upper-middle income households who are willing and able to buy there products as a whole.

The Social Environment:  the company is set up in a state, whereby, the social frameworks take the center stage. In this sense, it enjoys the cohesion of the target market as well as the expanded one.

The Technological Environment: having been set in the California, Apple enjoys easier access to both technological materials, that is, silicon and technological expertise, which is the human population. It is, therefore, wise to indicate that technological-wise, it is far much ahead.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths: the fact that the company is a well established company and has a rich historical background ensures that it competes well with other companies in the industry altogether. The company has also managed to keep up with the changing environments in order to fit in it. Weaknesses; the company has been situated in a location, whereby there are other competing firms and it has, therefore, made deliberate investments to keep up with production, thus, reducing it production capabilities. The major opportunity of this company results out of the fact that it is still new in the market and has taken the center stage of customizing its products and, as a result, attracting a huge number of followers and loyal customer’s altogether. The major threat of the company is that it is located in a competitive environment, whereby the other key players like Microsoft are as well competent and capable as they are altogether.

The operations role is also to look at the quality performance of the organization. There are five key objectives of performance that need to be achieved. The quality being the first, there is no customer who will be interested in low quality products, hence, Apple Inc operations ensures that the products sold to the customers are of high quality. This, in the long run, builds a mutual relationship, whereby the customers trust the commodity and, thus, do not care of the resultant cost provided their customized needs are met. Flexibility is yet another requirement in the operations role. The organization needs to be innovative enough in terms of tastes. Customers could end up shifting to the next option if the products produced are the same due to monotony. It is, thus, preferred that the organization invents adequate products through new models and colors so that the customers are pleased and satisfied.

The operation has also to strategize on the issue of dependability. When the company reaches the market standards, the clients are expected to build trust in it and, thus, end up making some of the products core in their lives. This creates dependability. There is, therefore, a call for the operations management to ensure that there is consistency in the product availability in the market. In the current technology, people cannot do without computers, thus, Apple Inc ensures that the number of products manufactured is enough to cater for the high demand in the market.

The next stage that the operation has to strategize is the costs and quality of the products. It is most important that the company offers its customers the least available costs to the products without jeopardizing its profits. This is based on the economic perspective. The operation, therefore, has to ensure that the least available options are used to ensure the products are produced well so that the customers can receive them at the affordable prices. As a result of this, the companies’ sales will definitely go up and, hence, the rate of profits will increase in general. 

Personal and customers’ needs have to be taken into consideration. The operation, therefore, manages and determines the work periods of the employees, monitors how new employees are employed, sees to wether the employees are paid well as per the services and qualifications. The availability of the customers also matters since they are the product consumers. When there are no customers, then there will be no operations in the long run, thus, the operation has the task of surveying and determining whether the customers will be there for the products that the company intends to manufacture (Barney, 2002).The business operation also has the task to monitor wether the security and possible investors to the business are available. The place where the business is intended to operate needs to be secure enough for the people and the business facilities. Also investors are sources of capital, hence, their availability influences the business idea to operate in the given area. Apple generated a higher capital than any other IPO due to fine security in its activities as well as the advancement made in its marketing strategies.

The Business Environment

A better operating environment for any business has to be politically stable, thus, the environment in which the company performs and manufactures its products has to be convenient. An unstable environment full of political clashes is unhealthy for the business. The environment should be taken more seriously when starting any business. Any business is supposed to support the environment in one way or another. The environment, therefore, detects whether the business will be brought up. The US government is encouraging more companies to be brought up, especially those supporting the environment. In such case, Apple Inc enjoys such privileges since it became the first laptop manufacturer to avoid using PVC and BFRs in its products. Some of the privileges could be reduced government tax duties, hence, making such a business run well in the US market.

Centralization Structure

Location determines the durability and perishing resultant goods. It also helps to cut costs that can be used to transport these goods. For the case of Apple Inc, all the products are durable. This, as a result, puts the company in an advantageous position since it can put up its store anywhere provided there are adequate markets (Barney, 1991).

The location of a business also makes it easy to access the investors. Most of the prominent people with enough capital are always located in developed areas and, thus, they are the ones who provide the capital needed in the daily business operations.

Company’s Performance in 2012

In January 24th, 2012, Apple announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2012, which spanned for 14 weeks, a period that ended on December 31st, 2011. This time round, the company recorded quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion, and the net profit recorded was $13.06 billion. This was great improvement from the previous quarterly report which was revenue of $26.74 billion and a profit of $6 billion. The gross margin was 44.7 % as compared to the 38.5 % in the previous years.

The company made the record sales of 37.04 million iPhones in the quarter, the figure representing 128 % unit growth as compared to the previous year quarter. The company also sold 15.43 million iPods, which was 111 % increase. There was also a record sale of 5.2 million Macs during that year quarter, which represented 26 % unit increase as compared to the previous year. There were also 15.4 million sales on the iPods reported on that quarter, which is a 21 % increase (Campbell & Stone house, 2011).    .

3M Company LTD

Introduction and Background information

The 3M Company was formally known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company based on the multinational conglomerate corporation of America that is situated in the Maplewood, Minnesota. The company has more than 84,000 employees and the products produced by the company are over 55,000. These products include the adhesives, the abrasives, laminates, passive fire protection, the dental products, electronic materials, the medical products, and even the car care products. The company operates in more than 60 countries of the world, with 29 international companies having the manufacturing operations, and also 35 laboratories. The 3M products are available to the customers through the distributers and the retailers who operate in over 200 countries, also the same products may be obtained from the online sources from the company itself (Campbell & Stone house, 2011).    .

SWOT Analysis

The major strength of the company revolves around the fact that it has diversified well enough to involve itself with a variety of goods and services. This facet ensures that it receives a substantial amount of revenue altogether. The fact that it has also diversified in other international markets ensures that the products enjoy a substantial amount of market across the globe. The major weakness is the fact that the company has diversified its production, thus, inhibiting it from setting a clear and concise market strategy over which to conduct its business operations altogether. The major opportunity arises out of the fact that it is able to gather relevant information from across all the industries to come with an effective revenue collection strategy. The threat of the company results from its diversification of products since it has a wide range of products, thus, not being able to focus on a particular line of production; this may tumble future operations of the company as a whole.

PEST Analysis

Having been established in the United States, the company enjoys a favorable political stability as a whole. The Economic environment of the company is also filled with upper-middle income households who are willing and able to purchase the products. They have a strong purchasing power. The Social setting is also favorable in that it is filled with strong intertwined social structure that is capable of adopting purchasing activities altogether, thus, an advantage on their part. Minnesota is quite an expansive terrain, this facet has enabled the company to expand it manufacturing plants with ease without affecting the normal operations of production activities. The state is also well known to be rich in human labor with technological expertise, thus, the survival of the company as a whole.

The Strategy of the Company and Importance of Human Resource

The original plan of the company was only to sell the mineral corundum to the manufacturers in the east which could be used for the making of grinding wheels. After the sale of the first load on June 13th, 1902, a deal was signed by John Dwan, the secretary by then, that made Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing a corporation. According to Mr. Dwan, the company was not really selling what people thought, but they were only selling the mineral anorthosite which was worthless.

The human resource strategy of the company is also focused on hiring the best possible staff to operate and market the activities of the company. It is with the help of the skilled hired personnel that the company was enabled to come up with the new innovations, such as the waterproof sandpaper in 1921, the masking tape in 1925, the cellophane and also the sound absorbing materials for the cars. These new innovations are considered to be marketing strategies for the purpose of controlling the market shares, since the competition requires that there should be consistence in production and innovations.  The 3M Company’s corporate image is majorly built by the uniqueness of its products; new innovations and an increase of 33 percent on the sales have been reported each year.

After the great expansions in the 1950’s to countries like Canada, Mexico, Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom, the company made the international sales that were approximately $20 million. In the 1960’s and the early periods of the 1970’s, the company published line of board games using the 3M’s bookshelf game series brand. There was adequate marketing of the games to the adults through the departmental stores, using the simple rules but having the complex game play. These games covered various topics that ranged from the business and the sports simulations to the word and some abstract strategy games.

The 3M’s Mincom division also introduced several new models of the magnetic tape recorders for the purpose of use in the instrumentation and also studio soundings. Example is the model M79 recorder, which still has great following in the present market. There was also an involvement of the company in the manufacturing of the video production equipments of different models which is still in use today (Ullah, 2006).

In another growth strategy, 3M entered into a major partnership with Roush-Fenway racing, which is one of the NASCAR’s premier organizations. The company then sponsored Greg Biffle in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series when he drove the No.16 Ford Fusion. The company went ahead and involved itself in many more public activities which were aimed at popularizing itself, thus, leading to the great increase in its sales as more profits were reported. This was based basically on the use of the SWOT analysis to defeat their competitors in the market (Ullah, 2006).

The Business Environment

In the year 1999, US Environmental Protection Agency began its investigations on the per-fluorinated chemicals on the receiving of data on the global distribution and toxicity. 3M was the core producer of such products in the United States but recently announced that it had phased out the per-fluorinated products and its related activities in 2000. Since the phasing out of such products, the environment has been sustainable and more support is received from the government, like protection from the political risks. The government favors companies that do environment friendly activities, and the benefits associated to such activities involve the reduced taxation duties.

In the year 2002, 3M was ranked 70th by the Political Economy Research Institute list of the top 100 corporate that emits airborne pollutants in the US. Come in March 2010, PERI ranked 3M as number 98 on the list which showed a great improvement towards doing only the environmental favoring activities. To add more advantage to the environment friendly activities, 3M created the Renewable Energy Division within its Industrial and Transportation Business (Campbell & Stone house, 2011).    

The Company’s Performance in 2012

3M has been ranked position 18 as one of the top 50 most admired companies by the Fortune magazine. It is also listed on the 4th position on the Chief Executive Magazine’s of 2012, following the basis of the 10 Best Companies for Leaders. The company was also among the 13 companies in Minnesota to have received the 100-% index following the rating in the 2012 Corporate Equality Index for the workplace inclusiveness (Campbell & Stone house, 2011).   

Also for the record-setting eighth consecutive year, the company received the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award that was given by the US environmental protection Agency and also the US Department of Energy for its comprehensive continuous worldwide energy conservation efforts. To add to achievements in 2012, 3M Security Systems Division scientist Alan Hodgson received the 2012 HP Image performance Award for his continuous support of the academic research and training facilities to the next generation scientists (Campbell & Stone house, 2011).    .

In conclusion, any company that has to enjoy the friendly business environment has to ensure that all strategies for success are well followed. These commence from conducting all the PEST and SWOT analysis and also by ensuring that its activities are environmentally friendly. This is the only way to beat the competitors in the market and, hence, enjoy the profits. A successful business is one which satisfies all its employees, the surrounding communities, the customers, and the owners.

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