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案例分析:Gusto 公司营销战略




1.0 Introduction
Core competence is a key for a company to success. When the first time I knew core competence, I found there are many different kinds of competences for a firm to success.

As a successful company, it should run by integrated competences, beside that, it also should have a core competence for running and keeping business. There are different kinds of core competence for difference firms, which are technology, talent, brand or management and so on. But competence is changing, for example, today company A’s competence is talent, maybe fifty years later, company A’s competence will be technology. And nobody could answer how long a core merit could keep by a company. Core competence means the most important and most critical competence for a company, which must ensure a firm would get competitive advantage through a core competence in a long time. I think there are six characteristics a core competence should have, which are nobody can steal, nobody can buy, nobody can separate, nobody can take away, no one can sweep away and no one can change. 

Core competence must to be a long-term ability to gain competitive advantage; this is also a key factor for a company to stay longer. Technology, human resource, and management just could be a relative competitive advantage in a period of time.

Gusto Company was found in 2004 at Hong Kong, with the objective of supplying the highest quality auto parts and vehicle modification service. At that time, Gusto Company was one of a few businesses, which introduced vehicle modification to Chinese consumers. Currently Gusto is the exclusive importer of several well-known brands in China. They are including Supersprint, BMC, KONI, REVO, Ferodo and ECU tek. All of these brands are the 'World Leading' brand in Exhaust System, Intake System, Suspension System, Performance Software Tuning Program and Brake System. Further more, the ShenZhen branch of Gusto Company had been in service in South China from 2007. It focused on providing a steady and complete stock to its official dealer, in order to supply the demand of consumers from South China. Gusto also would provide the newest information of products and technology through its Beijing branch, which is servicing North China's dealer. The overall aim of this research project is to find out the core competence of Gusto Company.

Following are the research questions:
What is the situation of China’s vehicle modification market competition? What are key competitive advantages of Gusto Company, compared to other companies? How can Gusto create its market strategy depends on its competitive advantages?

2.0 Literature review
The purpose of this chapter is to analyze what has already been found by previous researchers on 'Chinese vehicle modification market ', and to what extent agree or disagree with what had been written in this project, and what points of view from this project is taken to answer the research questions mentioned above.

2.1 Concerns for vehicle modification market in China
According to the research of China auto market, (ChangJiang Securities, 2009) China vehicle sales topped 800,000 units for the first time in eight months in February 2009, as government's policy initiatives aimed at boosting consumption lured buyers back to showrooms. At almost the same time, China has overtaken the United States as the world's No.1 auto market in January. Yi Junfeng, the analyst of ChangJiang Securities, said that the figure of February 2009 was very impressive. It seemed that the new incentives were really having an impact on the auto market. In fact, the policies issued at the beginning of 2009, including the scrapping of some road fees and halving of sales taxes on small vehicles, have increased the number of consumers.

Another figure from China Association of Automobile manufacturers showed that automakers such as Chery Automobile, manufacturer of China's best-selling compact car QQ, recently unveiled ambitious sales target for the year. And a total of 827,600 vehicles were sold in February, up 24.72 percent from a year earlier. Remarkable development of China automobile market also can be found out from Ministry of industry and Information Technology, which in the first two months of 2009, cars with engines of 1.6 liters or below, benefited from the policy the most. Combined sales of the segment rose 18.8 percent, outperforming a 5.81 gain in overall car sales.

The whole automobile market is a huge topic and not the point of this research project. I will focus on vehicle modification market by market segmentation. In other words, this research will analyze how to satisfy the customers’ needs on vehicle modification issue. For example, it is a hot topic of modified cars area no matter in which vehicle exhibition in China.

Chinese consumers began to hear the information of vehicle modification in 2000. Due to the catching up with the global level, Chinese consumers have started to modify the inner parts of their cars more frequently. These consumers are looking for the modification of wheels, turbos, brakes, lights and even GPS systems, almost every parts of a vehicle. Concerns about the consumer psychology, especially young drivers, they felt the urge to make their cars different to others to draw people’s attention, to show their personality, to improve their car’s capability. Some consumers are organizing clubs to exchange information and experiences on modification. In addition to clubs, people usually go to vehicle modification shops to update their cars. These shops are, in most cases, distributors of auto parts imported from foreign countries
However, despite the enthusiasm, China's vehicle modification market lagged far behind the mature markets in western countries. For example, Chinese consumers still focus on basic medications like changing the appearance of the cars, updating the ignition system or making engines more oil efficient. On the contrast, western consumers are more interested in inner parts.
2.2 Concerns for the core competencies
Based on Prahalad and Hamel (1990), organizations must develop core competencies in order to meet their key success factors. Ideally these distinctive skills including:
● provide access to important market areas or segments
● make a significant contribution to the perceived customer benefits of the product or service
● prove difficult for competitors to imitate.
One developed organization should be exploited as, for example, Honda had exploited its skills at engine design and technology. Core competencies must, however, be flexible and responsive to changing customer demands and expectations.

Successful products and services, then, are the manifestation of important, underlying core competencies; and the true competition between organizations is at this potency level.

Prahalad and Hamel (1990) acknowledged that there are three strands to core competency:
●process (or capabilities) and
●strategic architecture

Prahalad and Hamel (1990) also believed that competitors in the same industry may well build their success by emphasizing different key competencies. While the particular expertise may be different, they all need to be competent in a number of key activities, the key success factors.

Further more, Stalk et al. (1992) argued that strategic success is based on capabilities-processes that enable the company to be an effective competitor. Distribution networks that achieve both high service levels (effectiveness) and low costs (efficiency) would be an example. Hamel and Prahalad (1993) developed these idea further when they argued that understanding processes should generate intelligence that can be used to create added or greater value from resources, in order to strengthen or enhance competitiveness. 

According to Hamel (2008), there are four key tasks in the management of core competencies: selecting core competencies, building core competencies, deploying core competencies and protecting core competencies.

Followed by this theory, organizations are likely to differ in terms of their abilities to select, build, deploy and protect core competencies. These differences are, in turn, likely to yield differences in corporate performance. The following discussion points presented by Hamel to some of the vectors along which a company’s capacity to manage core competencies may be assessed.
●Selecting core competencies
If the strength of a company’s core competencies determines, in large part, the competitiveness of its current products or services, and its capacity to generate future new business opportunities, then the identity and health of those competencies should be of concern to senior managers. On the other hand, the almost embarrassingly positive reception given to the concept of core competence by managers suggests that the notion, if not entirely novel, has certainly not occupied much ‘share of mind’ among corporate executives. This is not surprising, given the strength of the product-market paradigm in management theory, and the dominance of the product-market-constrained strategic business units as an organizing principle inside large companies.

A firm cannot actively ‘manage’ core competencies if managers do not share a view of what those core competencies actually are. Sometimes one competence may display another as the most efficient way of delivering a particular customer benefit.

●Building core competencies
Building core competencies requires the accumulation and integration of knowledge, residing both within the firm and without. In building core competencies a capacity to integrate may be just as important as a capacity to invent.

When a competence becomes imprisoned within a single business the firm suffers in two ways. First, because potential opportunities to exploit the competence in new market arenas go unexploited, growth is slower than it might otherwise be. Second, because the people that comprise the core competence are not as stretched nor as fully utilized as they might be, their skill, and hence the core competence, erodes.

●Protecting core competencies
Protecting core competencies from erosion takes continued vigilance on the part of top management. While most senior managers can easily dredge up competitive measures of sales performance, market share and profitability, few are able to offer a quick and convincing judgment on whether or not their company is staying ahead of competitors in core competence development. There is no way to protect a firm’s core competencies from erosion if the health of those competencies is not visible to top managements.

Core competence leadership may be lost in many ways. Competencies may wither through lack of funding; competencies may become fragmented through divisionalization, particularly where no single executive feels fully responsible for competence stewardship; competencies may be inadvertently surrendered to alliance partners; or thrown out with the bath water when an underperforming business is hived off.

There are many other issues involved in the management of core competencies than the ones identified here. Nevertheless, it is hoped that this tentative agenda will be a spur to managers, consultants and academics to better understand the challenges and rewards of better managing core competencies.

Followed by these research results, my mission in this research project is looking for the key success factors of the Gusto and find out the solution to manage its core competencies.

The possibility of high or low chance of winning depend on access to opportunities, whether it is the key factor in the success of businesses owned by the strengths; threats is the opposite of the opportunity that change in the environment may bring adverse consequences for businesses. For example, if the RMB appreciation would reduce the competitiveness of export-oriented manufacturers. Threat could be threatened by the likelihood of its influence on enterprises to assess the severity of harm.

The external environment is grasped the opportunities and threats, also understand the basic business to do; grasp the strengths and weaknesses of enterprises, also understand the basic business can do. SWOT matrix can be simple and clearly reflects the market in which enterprises, which in practice is also the matrix is usually used for general business.

2.4 Concerns for value chain management
While analyze core competency in this project, it is important to present the role of value chain in the organization. Because a cost advantage can arise from low-cost distribution, efficient production or an excellent sales force that succeeds in winning the most appropriate orders. Differentiation can be the result of having an excellent design team or being able to source high-quality materials or high-quality production. In conclusion, value chain is a systematic way of studying the direct support activities undertaken by a firm. Form this analysis should arise greater awareness concerning costs and the potential for lower costs and for differentiation. Quite simply, argues Porter (1985), competitive advantage is created and sustained when a firm performs the most critical functions either more cheaply or better than its competitors.

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