Environmental Scan

1 January 2017

Internal and external factors help an organization in the decision -making process of its future state. Internal factors surround strengths and weaknesses and external factors identify the potential threats and opportunities outside of the organization’s span of control. In this paper, the author will describe the research of internal and external environments of OfficeMax and Sprint. This paper will determine the competitive advantages of both companies and what each is using. It will determine how each company creates value and sustainability of competitive advantages through business a strategy.

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The paper will also explain the measurement guidelines that each organization is using to verify its strategic effectiveness and the effectiveness of the measurement guidelines. OfficeMax OfficeMax is a leading provider of office supplies, ink, office furniture, and print services. Specifically, OfficeMax offers paper, writing instruments, printers, computers, desks, chairs, copy, and print services. OfficeMax vision focuses on supplies companies need to manage workloads so they can be at the frontline of business. They are also there to help organizations succeed with top, trusted brands of office products; technology and office furniture that delivers the performance and quality that is deserved” (OfficeMax, 2012). OfficeMax internal environment consist of the ideas and beliefs of the employees working toward the strategy of serving over 800 stores through direct sales, catalogs, and e-commerce. “With 40 years experience, innovative technology, convenient retail presence and most knowledgeable and friendly associates to back it up, we’re confident our customers won’t find another company who can deliver at every level”( OfficeMax- Who Are We, 2012).

In order to determine competitive advantages, A SWOT analysis is completed. OfficeMax strengths surrounds what the company does well and resources that it can draw on, such as being a leader in both office and retail office supplies and the ability to provide document services and furniture to small, medium, and large businesses. The weaknesses of what OfficeMax could improve on or where it does not have as much resources as others could stem from additional marketing capabilities and being able to stand up to the competitor Staples, who is well known in the industry.

OfficeMax should consider more advertising and marketing in order to get its name out there more in order to be sustainable. Opportunities that are open to OfficeMax and things that the company can take advantage of are: new technology and ways to attract more customers. A threat that could possibly cause issues would be their competitor, Staples, who seems well known in this industry. In the scanning process, OfficeMax has identified itself with innovative technology, but could look into new ways to provide newly developed software annually and move into areas that have not been targeted. OfficeMax has achieved the following environmental milestones: The first nationally distributed 100% post-consumer copier paper developed by their company and the first nationally distributed 100% post-consumer color copier paper manufactured by wind power (OfficeMax, 2012). Sprint Sprint is one of the leading providers of wireless communication. Innovation of implementing creative ideas is a cornerstone to the company’s success. Sprint focuses on services by looking at ways to bring the customers in and retaining them. The biggest seller for Sprint currently is the unlimited data plan.

Sprint is the only network that has this program. With their competitor, AT&T, customers tend to go over their plan usage, which causes more fees and the uncertainty of interrupted services. Sprint had to research and become creative in order to stay a step ahead of its competitors and provide innovative ideas. “Sprint Nextel served more than 55 million customers at the end of 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering, and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States” (Sprint, 2012).

In order to continue being one of the leading providers in wireless communication, Sprint will have to continue looking at innovative ways to stay ahead of its competitors and providing customers with excellent services. In taking a look at the environmental scanning process for Sprint, it must be noted that external information must be gathered from all levels need to be evaluated to see what kind of information is being distributed inside the company that could possibly cause concerns for management as it relates to any changes. With the market changing, Sprint has to scan the market environment by looking at technology and the competition.

Sprint tracks trends that alert them what age groups, nationalities, and genders are purchasing certain phones and phone plans. Some external environmental forces that affect Sprint are shifts in demographics, amount of money consumers make, technology changes, and its competitor. In looking at a SWOT analysis, Sprint strengths focuses on providing a Sprint Nextel phone that has “served more than 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies” (Sprint, 2012).

Some weaknesses are the need to continue to look at more innovative ways to stay ahead of its competitors and providing customers with excellent services, a better supply chain, and bad signal communication. An Opportunity for Sprint could be the idea of acquiring another company to merge with. A possible threat could be that one of its top selling phones would be sold by one of its competitors such as AT&T. In conclusion, an environmental scan is very important to any organization interested in being competitive and knowing the advantages and disadvantages that face the company.

In this paper, the author discussed a SWOT analysis as a way to determine a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as it relates to factors that play a part in environmental scanning. In the corporate business strategy, information is needed to determine the future and ways to remain sustainable. Sprint and OfficeMax are two companies that the author’s organization uses and supports. They are both reputable companies, but should always continue to look at way to be more resilient and continue to focus on marketing because it produces longevity.

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