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Strategic Management 3M in the New Millennium: A Case Study - Essay Example

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3M is a company with a long and rich tradition of providing innovative, successful products to a diverse market. Built upon the foundation of creativity, research and development, as well as fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in its workers, the 100 year old organization must still maintain competitiveness in the modern marketplace.
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Strategic Management 3M in the New Millennium: A Case Study
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Download file to see previous pages The company needs to carefully manage its new product development process, preserve the culture that has fostered creativity successfully, and reorganize its operational processes to achieve efficiency without harming innovation.
As a company with over 100 years' tenure in both national and international business,1 3M has exhibited the ability to survive through good times and bad. The keys to its success are no-doubt found in its commitment to innovation as well as its unique corporate culture. While these components have served the company well in years past, they are not an insurance policy against the future and the organization must take steps to position itself properly in the modern marketplace. This will require a delicate balancing of two challenging and competing principles; how to increase efficiency and operational cost controls while preserving the very unique corporate culture that has made such a large contribution to the company's success.
From its founding in 1902, the organization has been unique in terms of its products and in its approach to the people working there. Early growth can be attributed to the researchers and scientists who developed in excess of 50,000 products over the course of a century. Supplying everything from sandpaper to drug delivery systems, 3M demonstrated that high product diversity could prove to be very profitable, especially given the innovation of those products. Beyond the establishment of a very unique culture and diverse product line, two other key events in the company's history were the management style of Desi DeSimone as well as the hiring of Jim McNerney. In fact, McNerney's management practices could be the most important strategic element of all as the implementation of his changes will impact the company's future dramatically.
CRITICAL STRATEGIC ISSUES
External. From an external analysis perspective, 3M has both significant opportunities and some notable threats. In terms of the overall industry trends toward globalization, the company has momentous supplier power given its long-standing focus on developing international market relationships. Given the vast number of innovative products developed by the company, and the fact that the organization enforces its patents in foreign countries, the likelihood of substitute products successfully penetrating the market is small. Additionally, the fact that 55% of the company's sales are derived from international markets means that 3M will need to ensure that entry barriers stay in place; maintaining brand identity and access to distribution will give them a sizable advantage over the competition. That is not to say, however, that there is no competitive threat. Given the wide variety of products offered, 3M is vulnerable to smaller companies with similar technologies that might be in a position to effectively target one section of its product line without competing against 3M as a whole. While the threat of substitutes across its entire product line is unlikely, a more efficient manufacturer of certain segments could successfully enter the market and gain ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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