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To: Robert Brazier & Senior Management Team of Airborne Express From: Strategic Analyst Re: Recommendations and Implementations for recent issues in Airborne Express Executive Summary: Airborne Express has many options available for sustainable growth and success in the coming years. After the recent 29% increase in revenue over the past year, there are opportunities to take into consideration that will boost this growth for the fourth quarter.
This company should join the “industry trend” of distance-based pricing.
This will result in higher revenues, and will give Airborne Express a more substantial budget to merge with Roadway Package System in order to create a more technologically advanced tracking system. This will not only increase revenues, but will also gain customer support by offering a new service. Although the express-delivery industry is extremely difficult to differentiate, it is necessary for Airborne express to keep up with Federal Express and United Parcel Service to ensure they maintain a competitive advantage in the industry.
While UPS is experiencing a strike, Airborne Express should take advantage of the distance-based pricing and possibly gain customers of UPS who saw RPS as a luxury service. Mission of Airborne Express: After the recent UPS strike, Airborne Express has experienced substantial financial results of a revenue increase of 29% over the previous year. The main concern for Airborne Express now is to recognize how secure their position currently is held in the industry. There are several ways to measure the success of this company, and I have found it most useful to use Porter’s Five Forces Model to analyze the options.
I have focused mainly on whether or not Airborne Express should follow the path of their major competitors, UPS and Federal Express, and move toward distance-based pricing. Also, the approach that Airborne Express takes with the international market needs to be taken into consideration with a “variable-cost approach”. The Roadway Package System (RPS) partnership should be further analyzed and possibly made into a more concrete operation. Marketing, technology, and employee satisfaction should also be considered for the future success of this company.
By focusing on distance-based pricing, maintaining international operations at a variable-cost approach, and forming more of an existent relationship with RPS, it will lead to a definitive strategy to sustain the competitive advantage of Airborne Express. Environmental Scanning of Airborne Express: Rivalry: This industry consists of 3 major companies, including Airborne Express, Federal Express, and UPS. The prices between UPS and Federal Express cause severe competition between these companies.
Revenue growth has been unstable within each company due to decreasing prices in order to reach the top of the competition. Innovations in this industry remain minimal, and they are easily copied by other players in the industry. This makes differentiating a difficult task, especially for Airborne Express. By using the competitors as guinea pigs, it will make it almost impossible to ever overcome it’s key competitors. Because the products are priced extremely low in this industry, producing return is based merely on a high volume of sales.
It seems as if since 1990, when UPS and Federal Express began “price wars”, the attractiveness to this industry has declined. Supplier Power: Lower industry attraction has also been a result of the main suppliers of this industry, the employees. The recent strike at UPS was caused by the employees demanding higher wages and benefits. The next most important supplier in this industry is airports, followed by fuel. These both are factors that this industry has little to no control over.
Clearly, technology and other equipment supply a great deal to the express mail industry, and these factors are capable of being negotiated. Threat of Substitutes: When dealing with this industry, there are minimal substitutes at stake. Fortunately, people will continue to demand express deliveries. E-mailing could possibly have a small effect on this industry, but this is not an option for most deliverable items, as well as legal documents. Depending on the urgency of a package being delivered, regular mailing systems propose a small threat on this industry.
It obviously costs less, but it doesn’t compare at all to the convenience of express delivery services. Buyer Power: The major consumers in this industry are basically anyone who intends on sending a package or letter to someone urgently or with the most convenience. It seems as if businesses use this industry the most, considering the importance of delivering and receiving products and other necessities to keep a company stable and on top of their game. Because there is barely any differentiation in this industry, it allows customers to easily shop around for the best prices.
This raises price sensitivity and gives the consumer more customer power. Barriers to Entry: The threat of new entries in this industry is equally low as the threat of substitutes. There are few major players involved here, and it shows that for a new one to even exist they would need to have the capability of covering a large amount of cities in the United States. In order to have a main convenient center of business, as well as aircraft and an extensive amount of vehicles calls for a high capital investment.
This would be extremely difficult for any new entries to be accountable for and would take years of hard work and sustainability to achieve economies of scale in this industry. Strategy Formulation: Given the information from the environmental scan, I find that it is most beneficial to begin following UPS and Federal Express with a distance-based pricing method. This will unfortunately increase prices, but it can be made up for with decreasing costs to the company by increasing the relationship with Roadway Package System. Airborne Express can set prices so that their margins will increase.
To decrease costs for the company, a long-term relationship can be formed with RPS. By merging with this company, Airborne Express can create a much more convenient tracking system for the customers. RPS can give Airborne Express a competitive advantage by allowing them to establish more efficient pricing methods. I feel as if Airborne Express should continue the variable-cost approach with international shipments, and I agree with the senior officers that “there are no significant service advantages which would justify the operation of [our] own aircraft on international routes. A possibility for growth in Airborne Express would be to boost their technologies, such as updating the Internet site. Currently it does not offer as many functions as those of UPS and Federal Express, and I feel as if the use of the internet to schedule pickups and/or create shipping paperwork will be in demand in the coming years with advancing technologies. Considering Airborne employees described the company as “strait-laced”, “frugal”, and “very conservative”, it would be beneficial to ensure that the middle-management is offered proper compensation to increase employee turnover in the future.
Strategy Implementation: In order to maintain a competitive advantage in Airborne Express, following the distance-based pricing method will include increasing prices for longer distance deliveries and decreasing them for shorter distances. This will not only give Airborne Express a great opportunity to increase their margins, but they will not lose many customers in the process. This new form of pricing is considered an industry trend to consumers. Federal Express and UPS both have been successful with this method, and as mentioned earlier there is not much differentiation between these competitors.
Even by implementing this method, Airborne Express can still maintain the lowest costs in their industry. By increasing prices at one end more than decreasing prices at another end, some amount of margin growth will occur. The fact that Airborne Express is a “low-cost strategy” company does show that they simply charge lower prices, but they have not developed a lower cost structure because it has extremely low margins. Although they hold a specific reputation with lower prices than their competitors, the distance-based pricing method also could lead to higher revenues that they seem to be missing out on.
The company would be able to produce a higher profit from longer-distance deliveries. By forming a more concrete relationship with RPS, I feel that Airborne Express will be capable of offering their customers superior information and tracking systems. If they plan on increasing prices, it is necessary to offer customers some form of incentive or “willingness to pay”. Higher revenues will be expected if a relationship is built with RPS, considering a higher quality service will be provided. This could possibly take away market share from UPS.
Because of the large amount of ground shipments made with Airborne Express, RPS can attract more customers and boost the margins for the company over the coming years. Airborne Express will not be able to differentiate itself in this industry, but I feel that if it is unable to do so, the only other option would be to keep up with it’s competitors as much as possible. In doing so, they should begin by re-formatting the company website and upgrading it to allow customers to perform the same tasks as those on the sites of UPS and Federal Express.
Technology will only continue to enhance in the future, and people will begin demanding these kinds of advancements. It is also necessary that advertising in the mass media should be taken into consideration in the near future. Although Airborne Express was the first company in the industry to accommodate early deliveries, now each of its competitors is capable of an 8 A. M. delivery. Customer needs are important to maintaining a competitive advantage in this industry, so I feel as if Airborne Express should expand their marketing.
Before anything I find it most necessary to move on to distance-based pricing and forming a more concrete relationship with RPS. With the new tracking system, middle-management will need to be trained properly to work with the computers and new technology. Offering middle-management, those who are not part of a union, enhanced pay rates will hopefully give Airborne a better reputation with their employees and they will feel properly compensated for their new tasks. Evaluation and Control:
For the upcoming fourth quarter, Airborne Express should join the industry with distance-based pricing; they will produce even higher revenues than those of the third quarter. The attached graph I have compiled is based on the latest revenue per shipment given at $8. 25 in 2006. At first, without this current flat-rate price system, it looks as if revenues will be under $8. 25 if the distance is less than 150 miles. I have shown that with distance less than 150 miles, revenue will be about $2. 00 less. This doesn’t ean the company is losing revenue, because when the distance exceeds 150 miles the revenue begins to increase heavily. The slight loss with shipments of less distance will easily be made up for and revenues will almost double with shipments with a longer distance. I also found that it would be beneficial to add an extra rate for “Remote Locations”. These locations can be Airborne’s decision, and could consist of particular locations that propose difficulty shipping to. For example, a small city which does not have a major shipping hub could be considered a Remote Location.
The rate can range anywhere from $20 to $30. This rate would clearly increase revenue, and would offer customers the advantage of shipping their package to any location in the country. This would be appealing to consumers, because they would still use Airborne Express for their local shipments, and it would save them money in the end. Building a more concrete relationship with RPS will enable Airborne Express to have a more convenient tracking system for the customers. The RPS partnership is crucial to the future of this company.
The cost to build on a tracking system will be minimal, and will only consist of a small portion of the extra revenue created by the new distance-based pricing system and “Remote Location” rate. This new system will allow Airborne Express to take advantage of the current main concern for their company, which I consider the tracking system. Having extra funds to merge with RPS will place Airborne Express in a concrete position with the technological future. In order to run the new tracking system properly it will be necessary to employ people who are capable of using these technologies.
This could possibly require higher pay rates to middle management. These pay rates will also be reflected on the implementation of the distance-based pricing system revenues. In the end, the loss with giving higher compensations will be beneficial for the future success of the company. With these recommendations and implementations, Airborne Express will have no problem keeping up with the two “900-pound gorillas” in the industry and will maintain sustainable growth in the future.
Bibliography “Airborne Express. ” Rivkin, Jan W. Case No. 9-798-070. Published 02/05/1998, Revised 5/23/2007. Harvard Business School Publishing, (23 pages). [pic]