STRATEGIC PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION INTRODUCTION For the purpose of this paper I have selected M/s. Apple Inc as an organisation. M/s. Apple Inc are considered to be one of the most competitive organisations in the globe who operate in a very fast environment of technology and computers, where the developments are so rapid and fast that the management are expected to revisit their strategies and implementation plans on a continuous basis to stay competitive and maintain that technological edge in the market place. The world of computers and electronic gadgets is so fast paced that newer technologies are launched in a fast pace.
The top level management is expected to undertake regular feedback from the market and also scan the environment for the needs and plan their strategies accordingly. Hence, I have selected M/s. Apple Inc for carrying out the study on strategic planning and implementation. The study would focus mainly on the strategy adopted by M/s. Apple for the launch of their much famed computer model ‘Macintosh’ in the year 1984. The other major reason for selecting this organisation in specific is that this organisation has faced multiple threats to its survival and faced numerous competitions but the organisation survived and grew in adversity.
This shows the planning and resources implemented by the management team to grow this organisation and their strategic resolve can be seen from the above. All this illustrate that this would be the perfect organisation to study the scope and the depth of strategic planning and the intricate implementation plans undertaken by this organisation for achieving this extraordinary turnaround and improving the confidence of the stakeholders and also the customers with their innovative products.
The company got incorporated on 03rd Jan 1977 in the state of California in United States of America.  Major Stakeholders The major stakeholders in the company are listed below: 1. Steve Jobs, Chief Executive Officer 2. Timothy D Cook, Chief Operating Officer 3. Peter Oppenheimer, Chief Financial Officer 4. Philip W Schiller, Senior Vice President 5. Mark Papermaster, Senior Vice President 6. Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President 7. Bertrand Serlet, Senior Vice President 8. Ron Johnson, Senior Vice President
Steve Jobs: The charismatic CEO of Apple Inc, was born on 24-Feb-1955, he is also the co-founder of Apple Inc, who was one of the founding members of Apple Inc, is one of the major stakeholders in the organisation.  Timothy D Cook: Cook is the Chief Operating Officer he is one of the important stakeholders from the viewpoint of management as he heads all the operations and sales of Apple Inc. He is also the head of Apple’s Macintosh division.  Peter Oppenheimer: Mr. Peter Oppenheimer is the Senior Vice President and also the Chief Financial Officer.
In this position he heads the treasury, investor relations, tax, information systems, internal audit and facilities functions. With such responsibilities his consent is imperative for undertaking any management planning or strategic initiatives.  Philip W Schiller: Mr. Philip W Schiller is the Senior Vice President of worldwide Product Marketing. He is part of the Apple’s Executive Team and is also responsible for the product marketing. In this role he becomes a key player for any management and strategic initiatives. 5] Mark Papermaster: Mr. Mark Papermaster is again another Senior Vice President who handles the key portfolio of new product development in this role he plays a key role on the marketing strategy with his valuable inputs.  Jonathan Ive: Mr. Jonathan Ive in his role as the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design plays a key role in the marketing of new technologies with his innovative designs. As such most of the Apple’s product’s designs are considered to be of remarkable art pieces. 
Bertrand Serlet: Mr. Bertrand Serlet is the Senior Vice President of Software Engineering in his role as the developer of software for all the systems launched by Apple Inc. He is regarded as a major stakeholder in the management.  Ron Johnson: Mr. Ron Johnson as the Senior Vice President of Retail has a major stake in any marketing strategy plans that are being developed and planned for implementation. His inputs and consent are important for implementing any strategic decisions in the organisation. 
All the above mentioned people are the major decision makers in the organisation and they form the first line of stakeholders for implementing the strategy and providing guidance to the organisation. Hence, it would be imperative that they be considered as major stakeholders from the point of strategy and implementation of marketing philosophies. The above mentioned people collectively or at times individually take decisions on the kind and type of strategy to be implemented to ensure maximisation of profits to the stakeholders of the organisation who are the general shareholders and other firms.
Hence, the agreement for any decision and implementation would be required from this peer group before going ahead with any management decision on strategy. We will review a scenario of the how the management of Apple Computers effectively implemented the launch strategy and placement of IPOD in front of the customer which is considered to fill the gap in the market between the net-books and multimedia phones. In this respect the strategy adopted by the think tank of the management is commendable we will now have a glimpse of the introduction strategy adopted by M/s.
Apple Inc. Management Strategy Review The entire management strategy is based on the development of new technologies as M/s. Apple Inc are renowned to be market leaders in innovation. The launch of every new product is eagerly awaited by the general public. And M/s. Apple has capitalised on this advantage and create a buzz in the market before any launch of the product which helps them to introduce the new product in the market with minimum amount of risk. Traditionally it can be observed that Ms/ Apple Inc launches’ the new products in home market (i. e. United States of America) as the customers over there are considered to be of ‘low uncertainty avoidance’ culture as per Hofstede’s framework on assessing culture. This helps M/s. Apple to test their new inventions in the market as the customers are more inclined towards buying and testing new products. Once, the markets accept this product then it is launched on global basis when the new product has already created a cult status in the home market. This kind of strategy has been followed by M/s. Apple in most of their launches and has proven to be quite successful.
From the above it can be seen that M/s. Apple Inc has always strived on creating world class products with stylish design and the same are launched in low uncertainty avoidance cultures where the general acceptance levels are high and once they are successful in those markets they then are replicated in other markets. Which in turn ensures the success of the product launch on a global scale, now we will understand the situation of the launch of the Ipod, which everyone were sceptical at the time of the launch of this product. Marketing Strategy M/s.
Apple Inc created a new product which was supposed revolutionary in design and the characteristics’ were very innovative at that time. M/s. Apple Inc packaged the IPOD with such an enviable design that the competitors were left lurching. At that time the market was seen heavily bent upon to cut costs and make the mp3 player faster and better. Apple came up with this ultra modern design and had positioned the product in the line of designer segment and there by created a different marketing strategy altogether for this product and created new ways of interacting with the media with the launch of this device.
The IPOD was conveniently programmed to function well and fast the Macintosh systems that ensured that the sale of Macintosh also would be taken care off when the IPOD is launched in the market. This kind of strategy ensured the success of M/s. Apple Inc as an organisation all together. The market was studied for relevant trends in the music industry and appropriate tie-ups with the music bands and market players involved in music industry would be required to ensure availability of the music through the iTunes software which was to be installed in the computer for synchronising with the iPod.
Apart from that as most of the computers are running on windows operating system a compatible version of iTunes which would work in windows environment would need to be developed to ensure that the product reaches the target customers and can be marketed to all the segments of the customers irrespective of the computers that the customers are using. However, the differentiating factor of iTunes compatible with windows was that the upload and synchronising was not so robust as with any other Apple Macintosh product.
This would create a demand for other related products from the Macintosh stable. The other part of the launch strategy was that the product alone would not succeed unless proper support is derived from all available channels. These include likes of music companies, internet groups, bundled packages, customised playlists, and it also created a cult status for the product by maintaining the exterior of the product consistently which can be seen in different products which attained a similar nature like the Beetle (Volkswagen) and Mini (Cooper) etc. As we have seen the strategy let us now go ahead and understand the organisation’s business objectives, culture, ethics and how they are related to this particular scenario. Apple’s Business Objectives, Culture, Ethics The objectives and the measurements adopted by the company are as follows. The company’s main objective is well elucidated in its mission and vision statements itself which imbibe that the company would like to be the leading innovator of the century.
Accordingly in-line with this objective the company has embarked on a challenging sphere where in it has developed newer and customer friendly brands and launched them in the market place at regular intervals. Which has placed Apple Inc in a different sphere altogether. The culture in the organisation is open ended and encourages lot of innovation that was one of the reason why the company is at the edge of technological advances and innovates a lot of new products which are launched on regular basis in the global market place.
A brief description of the ethics would build a comprehensive look of the organisation and also provide appropriate guidance in this regard. Hence, I would like to explain the ethics followed by M/s. Apple Inc, like defining and implementing a program on greener environment and also providing an option for the general public to air their innovations and suggestions the company can be seen is very keen and receptive to ideas and innovations which in turn helps the organisation tap the potential and grow their businesses. Vision, Mission, Objectives and Measures
The mission statement of M/s. Apple Inc as per their website is “Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone”
The vision of the M/s. Apple Inc is ‘Man is the creator of change in this world. As such he should be above systems and structures, and not subordinate to them’. As can be seen from the above that M/s. Apple Inc is deeply involved in the creation of world class products and deploy them in the global market place and also create a sustained culture based on independence rather than dependence on the systems, which would enable the humans to be more resurgent and independent and have command over the systems they deploy in their homes / organisations.
As we have understood the organisation’s vision, mission and objectives now we will move forward and discuss the strategy deployed by M/s. Apple for the launch of IPOD which would create an understanding and how it could have been differentiated. Launch Timelines The original IPOD was launched way back in 23rd October 2001, however it can be seen that the growth of the iPod sales did not hit the expected numbers at the beginning as the market was not conducive to this kind of product. It would have been perfect if the launch was positioned when the elated infrastructure like availability of broadband network and other items are in place. It can be seen that the sales of iPod started to gain momentum only after M/s. Apple Inc ensured the compatibility of its iTunes software with the windows operating system and also the availability of the broadband networks that the product took on and the sales improved dramatically. Hence, it is inevitable that the markets are understood and a suitable and conducive environment created before launch of a new and advanced product in the global market place. Dissemination Process
At the launch of the iPod the market was not provided with the right information and the features were not available for everyone to understand and then use the same. Hence, in the beginning years of the iPod it was not successful as it is now. This can again be attributed to the lack of clear and systematic information flow from the organisation. This can be best avoided by ensuring that the process and infrastructure are available and compatible for the usage of the product before launching any product to ensure that the product sustains its expected sales targets.
Apple failed to create to environment before the launch. It took such a long time for the iPod sales to reach astronomical levels which it has now reached. At any launch of new product it is to be ensured that suitable and possible information on the product are widely available and the same is marketed using different channels of marketing to gain the marketing advantage. This kind of strategy was deployed by M/s. Apple in the later part of the iPod life cycle which ensured that the product sustained the S curve and continued its growth momentum.
It can also be seen that M/s. Apple Inc then embarked on a detailed mission of pooling in different vendors and suppliers for developing relevant content for the product which ensured that new and updated information is flowing from different channels and new ideas were used to build and sustain the product. And the information and the content were gathered from different cultures and different geographical locations thereby ensuring market penetration to different markets. Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy
The monitoring and evaluation strategy deployed by M/s. Apple Inc was a constant business intelligence thereby they understood the flaws in their initial strategy which ensured that the iPod was compatible with only Macintosh machines. As the same was reversed by ensuring its compatibility and other similar nature of tweaks in the strategy are to be undertaken and ensured that the feedback received from the market place is constantly analysed to ensure that the product is sustained with new and improved versions of the product.
As can be seen from the developments undertaken by the organisation to ensure that the product stays in the limelight by opening different channels of sales and distribution and also opening of different channels of supply chain, in this case the supply chain would be the availability of music online in the iTunes store for which constant tie-ups with different bands and music companies would be required to ensure that the product is usable and the same can be purchased by the customers online without any hassle.
By this way more and more customers can be retained and new customers attracted which would ensure the sustainability of the product in the long run. Apart from that the technology would need to be relooked on constant terms and a eye on the market place and competitors development would ensure that the product is successful. With regards to the evaluation strategy, the best way to understand whether the strategy deployed is successful or not in this regard would be to see the growth in sales and the amount of sales at the iTunes store which would definitely provide the right information whether the strategy deployed is successful.
References: 1. Apple Investor Relations Investor FAQ, FAQ, Available at: http://phx. corporate-ir. net/phoenix. zhtml? c=107357&p=irol-faq [Accessed on 11-02-2010] 2. Telegraph, Steve Jobs, Apple’s iGod: Profile Available at: http://www. telegraph. co. uk/technology/apple/4242660/Steve-Jobs-Apples-iGod-Profile. html [Accessed on 15-01-2010] 3. Apple Press Information, Timothy D Cook, Available at: http://www. apple. com/pr/bios/cook. html [Accessed on 11-02-2010] 4. Apple Press Information, Peter Oppenheimer, Available at: http://www. apple. om/pr/bios/oppenheimer. html [Accessed on 11-02-2010] 5. Apple Press Information, Philip W Schiller, Available at: http://www. apple. com/pr/bios/schiller. html [Accessed on 11-02-2010] 6. Apple Press Information, Mark Papermaster, Available at: http://www. apple. com/pr/bios/papermaster. html [Accessed on 11-02-2010] 7. Apple Press Information, Jonathan Ive, Available at: http://www. apple. com/pr/bios/ive. html [Accessed on 11-02-2010] 8. Apple Press Information, Bertrand Serlet, Available at: http://www. apple. com/pr/bios/serlet. html Accessed on 11-02-2010] 9. Apple Press Information, Ron Johnson, Available at: http://www. apple. com/pr/bios/ronjohnson. html [Accessed on 11-02-2010] 10. The Poverty of Management Control Philosophy Geert Hofstede The Academy of Management Review, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Jul. , 1978), pp. 450-461 (article consists of 12 pages) Published by: Academy of Management Stable URL: http://www. jstor. org/stable/257536 11. Apple Press Information, Apple presents iPod Available at : http://www. apple. com/pr/library/2001/oct/23ipod. html [Accessed on 15-02-2010]
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