Apple is a company that is largely based on technology and innovation. Apple offers a range of products to their large customer base starting from desktop computers to online media store. Apple always has the upper hand with their innovative products when it comes to fierce competition. Users of Apple products can be very picky (Mallin and Finkle, 2011, p. 64) for which case Apple always forecasts what people want and put innovative technology to use and keep themselves ahead of their competitors.
This shows how important technology is in Apples competitive edge and how much planning helps with maintaining the advantage. In changing times Apple has to struggle with using technology and give themselves the edge over competitors. Technology is going to reach its peak and flat line in the near future (in Lundstorm, 2003, p. 210). This will affect in Apple’s technological innovation and allow other competitors to catch up. The management problem they are facing with now is planning for the inevitable technological downturn and how they can keep themselves ahead.
This report argues about Apple needing to change their planning strategy from S. M. A. R. T to a mix of scenario planning. 2. 0 Problem identification The management problem with Apple is how they’re going to keep their competitive edge in the near future in terms of technology. According Lundstorm, 2003, p. 210 “the number of transistors on a chip should double in each technology generation” but as Lundstorm explains, there might be restrictions to how far transistor’s dimensions can be reduced.
This means that the development or improvement of technology might come to a stop in the near future. This is in indeed a problem for Apple because Apple’s main reason for their competitive edge is their innovation in technology and if the development of technology flat lines, they won’t be able to keep their competitive edge. It is necessary for Apple to properly plan for this likely future and decide what to do as according to Chermack, (2004) it is essential for business leaders to effectively plan for changes to keep their company running and profitable (p. 5). 3. 0 Critical analysis According to Chermack, (2004) scenario planning has been proven to be effective in identifying critical uncertainties in an organizations future (p. 15).
Scenario planning deals with having to foresee what possibilities might occur in the future by analysing business data and trends and predict some possible scenarios in the future. According to Fahey and Randell (1998) as cited in Mietzner and Reger (2005, p. 24) the purpose of scenario planning “augment understanding by helping to see what possible futures might look like, how they might come about, and why this might happen produce new decisions by forcing fresh considerations to surface reframe existing decisions by providing a new context for decisions identify contingent decisions by exploring what an organisation might do if certain circumstances arise”.
Managers consider the influence of the changes in their current strategy and review alternate strategies to each scenario and prepare a contingency plan or a strategy in the end (Raspin and Terjesen, 2007, p. 17). Mason (2007, p. 14) states that successful managers use fast and disruptive strategies according to the scenario they are faced with. Furthermore, the use of scenario planning is effective for very large and long term companies preferably when a company heavily relies on the external general environment such as technology. The environment is always in constant change and effective scenario planning can help the organization stay ahead.
But when the changes are bad for an organization, something that might disrupt the organization’s competitive edge or profitability, for example the end of computing power, they have to come up with a strategy to keep them running. In cases like such where technology (computing power) might flat out an organization should consider to work up in their strategy on the corporate level as an alternative. In other words, the organization should have something in their culture that will help them overcome problems. Organizational culture means to have a set of rules and beliefs in the organization among all workers in the workplace.
This includes having a set of common understanding, common set of goals and having similar action in terms of work (Ghinea, 2012, p. 259). In attempting to overcome difficulties an organization should something in their organizational culture that will help them work past the obstacle. For example when overcoming technological problems the organization should have a culture where people are keen towards technology and new ideas. What would be even more helpful is that is the organization had subcultures in each level of the organization.
For example the engineers in the company might have a culture where they would attempt to improve effectiveness or seek innovation and the middle managers might have a culture where enforce teamwork and new ideas (Schien, 1996, p. 237). So putting this culture to use, the workers just might be able to come up with different ideas on how to overcome problems. The thing about working on an organization’s internal culture is that it is very hard to change. People in an organization are reluctant to changes when they get used to their current setting.
As Parr (1992, p. 18) states, there is always a big unwillingness to changes in an organization’s paradigm. The same theory can be applied to culture where people will more likely prefer the setting they are in as opposed to having changes in it. So if an organization doesn’t have an internal culture with people being able to overcome problems, changing the culture would not be a viable option. Scenario planning on the other hand is a feasible alternative because it doesn’t take as much time and effort compared to modifications in the internal culture.
All it requires are the right people in the group and coming up with the correct strategy (Mclean &Egan, 2008, p. 245) 4. 0 Recommendation To help Apple keep up their competitive edge the following is recommended. Apples main goal now is to keep their competitive advantage. With the likely end to computing power in the near future and Apple heavily relying on technology, they have to plan for the possible scenarios that might possibly happen in terms of technology and how they can keep their competitive edge. As Powell (1992, 552) suggests, proper planning in an organization is what gives them a good competitive advantage.
For Apple, right now they are using an S. M. A. R. T strategy. But because of the problems they are likely to face with technology, it is better for them to move to a scenario planning. According to Kahane (as cited in Chermack, 2004, p. 15) “Scenario planning has gained increased attention during the last 20 years as an effective method for identifying critical future uncertainties and investigating blind spots in the organization”. So this will be helpful for Apple to overcome the technological problem but they also need something in their internal culture to apply a good strategy.
When it comes to Apple, they have a business strategy where bring the best of innovative hardware and software to range of customers from students to government (Apple Inc. Annual report, 2008 as cited in Mallin and Finkle, 2011, p. 65). This means that Apple has an internal culture of highly motivated people with creative ideas and legible qualification which can sure help them overcome any problem. So in order for them to help themselves with this problem with computing power, Apple should change to a scenario planning from S. M. A. R. T so see what they have to face with and put their internal culture to use to apply a strategy.
In the and after applying the recommendation, Apple can hopefully overcome their technological obstacle and still keep their market advantage. 5. 0 Conclusion In conclusion, it is known that Apple’s management problems is come up with a new planning strategy which they can use for the likely end to computing power. The way Apple could plan for this is to first come up with a few scenarios about what can happen to the external general, external specific and internal environment and apply the correct strategy accordingly. In the end if Apple plans properly past the problem, they can hopefully still be able to keep their competitive advantage.