LASA 2 Strategic Plan and Self Reflection Summary – The Case of Harley-Davidson

Strategic Plan and Self-Reflection Summary Assignment Instructions

Review the initial scenario and the Strategic Business Plan presented in Module 1 to make sure that the requirements of the Board and the Part II Strategic Plan are met. In order to meet the requirements of the Board, you will prepare the final Strategic Business Plan—Part II—Strategic Plan to the Executive Board. Ensure your strategic plan is thorough, succinct, and complete. Challenge yourself to link the targets to specific initiatives you have identified in the Strategic Plan you are developing.

Your written report should include a title page, table of contents, executive summary, and each of the following sections in an 8- to 12-page report:

  1. Part I: Global Economy & Factors Affecting the organization
    • Identify the organization’s Motivations & Risks
    • Motivations for Expansion
    • Risks in Expansion
    • Explain organization’s competitive advantage in Global Markets
    • Determine and explain entry strategies for global expansion
    • Recommend an Internet approach/strategy for organization
    • How the Internet adds value
    • Internet Business Models
    • Competitive Strategies
    • Leverage E-Business Capabilities
  2. Part II: Corporate Leadership
    • Develop the following: Current Direction Setting
    • Organizational Culture: In addition, evaluate the culture at the organization and define what attributes you think team members should possess in reaching the business goals set forth by the organization. If you were part of the management team at the organization, what motivational techniques would you implement to make these teams successful?
    • Organizational Design: As you have been completing the Strategic Business Plan, the management at Harley-Davidson has decided to take a team-oriented approach in various departments rather than the traditional, functional structure. Based on your knowledge of different types of teams and their focus, suggest what kinds of team strategies should be applied to each department. Be sure to explain your recommendations in detail.
    • Leadership Traits
    • Ethical Organization Characteristics
    • Identify elements
    • Identify missing elements
    • Learning Organization Characteristics
    • Identify elements
    • Identify missing elements
  3. Part III: Strategic Plan Summary
    • Conclusions
    • Recommendations
    • Implementation
    • Discuss how you will implement your strategic plans, including how teams should be implemented in each department
    • Develop a brief roadmap for implementation
    • Identify the primary benchmarks to assess success or failure
    • Risks
  4. Part IV: Self-Reflection Summary
    • Self-reflection is the key to good leadership and good management. Reflect on what you have learned in this class and on what you gained from your Bachelor of Science program. Based on your reflections, discuss the following:
      • Five or six key “lessons” learned from the textbook and the content that will help you in your career.
      • Consider what you have learned throughout this program. Discuss career opportunities that interest you in business.
      • Include what you have learned about yourself.
      • Evaluate how your personal biases and assumptions have affected your work in the past and how you plan to manage them in the future.

LASA 2 Strategic Plan and Self Reflection Summary – The Case of Harley-Davidson

Part I: Global Economy and Factors Affecting Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson’s Motivations and Risks

Motivations for Expansion

Diverse factors are motivating Harley-Davidson to expand. First, Harley-Davidson is keen on expanding to increase its revenue base by increasing production. Especially, the expansion of the company abroad will see it capturing new markets, thus increasing sales. The higher the number of dealerships it will open up abroad, the higher will be its capacity to attract more prospective customers (Eckes, 2011).

Second, the stagnation in the growth of Harley-Davidson’s core market in the US is compelling it to expand into new markets. Lastly, the company is motivated by the many opportunities that international markets have to offer. Most of the markets have segments that remain relatively untapped by motorcycle manufacturers.

Risks in Expansion

Even as it remains keen on expanding its business spread, Harley-Davidson faces various possible risks in its efforts geared towards venturing into new markets. One of the risks is that the aggressive growth of shipment of its products to foreign markets may harm its brand (Pride, 2011). In the past, its marked retail inventory occasioned exceptional promotional activity levels, which have been defined by decreasing motorcycle prices (Eckes, 2011). In the long run, considerable increases in its retail value may force it to review its product prices downwards, hurting its sales.

Another probable risk is that the expansion may force Harley-Davidson to maintain an unwieldy supplier network. The network may give the company complex, as well as extensive, challenges, which may decrease its production capacity. Besides, Harley-Davidson may have the capacity affected by the emergence of more and more stringent standards for noise emission, especially in Europe. Such standards reduce the attractiveness of motorcycles as transport means.

Harley-Davidson’s Competitive Advantages in Global Markets

Harley-Davidson has three principal competitive advantages over most of its rivals in the international markets. The first competitive advantage is that its products bear the Made in USA tag, or label, which props the company’s image continually. Globally, many consumers readily pay premiums for products that are made in the US, for instance, compared to China-made products. Products bearing the tag command considerable price premiums as they are taken to be of good quality.

The second competitive advantage is that Harley-Davidson’s products are of better quality than those of its competitors like Polaris. Harley-Davidson’s vast workforce allows it to provide every motorcycle that it produces advanced particularized attention from several, highly competent employees (Pride, 2011). Its competitors have fewer employees than it, which limits their capacity to focus on motorcycles’ quality like Harley-Davidson. The other competitive advantage is that Harley-Davidson is a Fortune 500-listed company. Obviously, the listing projects it to international markets as a having a stronger and more dependable commercial foundation and background than its competitors.

Entry Strategies for Global Expansion

Companies that are keen on expanding their business operations into new global markets can adopt various market entry approaches or strategies. The strategies can entail the indirect or direct selling of the companies’ products to customers in targeted markets or selling of the products via intermediaries. For instance, Harley-Davidson can opt to sell motorcycles to customers in targeted foreign markets directly via the appointment of its local distributors of the motorcycles or representatives in the markets according to Bibb and Kourdi (2004) and Pavlovic (2010). The representatives would just promote the motorcycles while the distributors take possession of the motorcycles and the attendant risks from Harley-Davidson.

There are numerous indirect ways of entering new, possibly foreign markets. The ways include hiring companies that specialize in managing exports, hiring the services of export trading firms, counter trading, and entering into contractual arrangements with other companies. The contractual arrangements include licensing foreign companies to use particular products as their own for specified durations and franchising (Eckes, 2011). Franchising involves the supplying of other firms with intangible assistance and property for specified durations. Others indirect ways are equity-based. They include the establishment of strategic alliances, subsidiaries, and joint ventures with other businesses to enhance the capacity of given firms to get their products to global markets.

Recommended Internet Approach or Strategy for Harley-Davidson

Manufacturer’s Direct Model

Harley-Davidson should adopt a Manufacturer’s Direct Model (MDM) to allow the internet add value to its processes and operations. The MDM involves the setting up of an Internet-based catalog of a manufacturer’s products on a website. The model will allow local along with foreign customers to visit Harley-Davidson’s website directly and purchase their preferred motorcycles online according to Bibb and Kourdi (2004) and Pavlovic (2010). That will grant Harley-Davidson another advantage: it will require fewer salespersons in its local and international markets, helping it cut costs.

If Harley-Davidson adopts the MDM, it will have granted its customers the capability of having their preferred motorcycles customized as per their desires before delivery (Pride, 2011). The website that Harley-Davidson will develop in line with the MDM will support it in building an international trade promotion strategy and help it project a favorable image of itself globally. Another Internet-based business model that Harley-Davidson may consider is the Merchant Model. The Merchant Model is a company-to-company and company-to-consumer model involving the selling of particular products through websites. If Harley-Davidson adopts the Merchant Model, it will have gotten a platform for operating online storefronts, providing its customers with catalog shopping-like experiences.

Competitive Strategies

To ensure that it remains successful running the business online based on either the MDM or the Merchant Model, Harley-Davidson should adopt various competitive strategies. First, the company can sell motorcycles at highly reduced prices in the short-term to attract consumers to them. The consumers would be hooked to them owing to their high quality. After developing large pools of loyal customers in its target markets, the company can charge premiums for the motorcycles.

Second, Harley-Davidson can partner with companies with resources that are useful in its processes. For instance, the company can partner with companies that are involved in business processes that are useful to it such as shipping (Pride, 2011). If Harley-Davidson contracts another company to ship the products it manufactures in the US to all its markets, it will allow itself concentrate on the core business of manufacturing motorcycles. Possibly, that would see the quality of the motorcycles rise overtime, increasing their competitiveness (Eckes, 2011).

Leveraging e-Business Capabilities

Harley-Davidson can leverage e-business capabilities in some ways. It can create value for its customers by sending them updates on any novel design features or functionalities in the motorcycles it manufactures. It is quite easy to push such updates to customers regularly over the internet. As well, Harley-Davidson can use its e-businesses resources, including website, in tracking the behaviors of its customers. It can use the resources in forecasting the behaviors, thus allowing it to any related changes in knowledgeable and timely ways according to Bibb and Kourdi (2004) and Pavlovic (2010).

Part II: Corporate Leadership

Organizational Culture and Current Direction Setting

Harley-Davidson has a rebellious, or non-conforming, culture. It projects as a company that draws lots of strength and success from being different. Its employees work in an excessively interactive environment and come to work in casual wear. It encourages intellectual curiosity, allowing its employees to embody innovation and creativity. To attain Harley-Davidson’s business objectives, its employees should demonstrate reliability (Thompson, Strickland & Gamble, 2007). They should communicate constructively, listen actively, and share willingly.

As well, they should pitch in to assist their colleagues with challenging tasks and exhibit flexibility. The management cadre at Harley-Davidson should share the company’s organizational vision with all its teams to make them successful. Team members who are aware of their shared visions become highly motivated to partake and succeed in shared, or organizational, activities.

Organizational Design

Harley-Davidson comprises of diverse departments, including service, transformation and organization, financial services, human resources, manufacturing, engineering, legal, and marketing departments. Each of the departments is run by a team working in a rather interactive environment. If a team-oriented approach is adopted for each of the departments, the team running each department should be energized, or incentivized, regularly to make them view the company as appreciating the efforts they contribute.

The management should focus on staff relationships in all the departments to give the team members the notion that the company values them. Each of the teams should be allowed and supported to optimize own function autonomously. The targets set for each of the teams should be hinged on its function. The members of each of the teams should be encouraged to volunteer feedback on its functioning to give pointers to the areas requiring adjustments. Besides, the teams should be allowed ample time to celebrate own successes, socialize, and develop helpful relations among team members (Thompson, Strickland & Gamble, 2007).

Leadership Traits

Presently, the management cadre at Harley-Davidson has staff members with leadership attributes that support the growing, as well as success, of teams. First, the staff members are effective communicators, verbally as well as in writing. They demonstrate cultural fluency, making them at ease when communicating with individuals from diverse backgrounds (Buller & Schuler 2003).

Second, the management staff members are inspiring and approachable. They have genuinely adopted open-door policies in their interactions with other employees, persuading the employees to open up to them regarding any extant work issues. They inspire the teams they lead to get over particular challenges, however, their difficulty. Besides, the managers are effective in leading teams since they provide them with clear directions. They are adept at giving clear directions since they are organized and quite clear regarding workplace guidelines, measurements, procedures, and expectations.

Ethical Organization Characteristics

Harley-Davidson projects itself as an ethical organization. There are various elements present in it which support its projection as an ethical business; respect, honor, and customer focus. The company encourages its employees to respect themselves and work in teams whose members they can respect according to Bibb and Kourdi (2004) and Pavlovic (2010). That makes the employees express considerable trust in each other. Harley-Davidson encourages its members to remain honorable in executing their roles. It gives employees who come off as honorable significant attention and rewards them at times. Harley-Davidson’s focus on own customers bolsters the responsibility it has to its markets.

In the past, Harley-Davidson has been accused of lacking some ethical elements as an organization, especially integrity, and persistence. As expected, the company has always fought off such accusations (Rigsby & Greco, 2003; Sugiyama, Shirahada & Kosaka, 2015). Businesses that retain or contract individuals who are devoid of integrity may lose the trust of some of their stakeholders (Bibb & Kourdi, 2004). Persistence helps organizations cope with particular challenges, for instance, dismal performances.

Learning Organization Characteristics

Harley-Davidson projects itself as a learning organization. There are various elements present in it which support its projection as a learning organization; sharing of extant information, valuing learning, and forgiving failures (Thompson, Strickland & Gamble, 2007). In the organization data sets, culture, as well as information, are shared freely by the management rather than hoarding them. The organization values and emphasizes continuous training of its staff members, offering them many learning and training opportunities.

Those who make mistakes or fail to achieve the targets set for them are not punished. They are supported to enhance their performance in the days ahead. Even then, unlike other learning organizations, Harley-Davidson has not made learning a core element of its culture. Its employees do not practice learning sporadically. Rather, they are obligated to take up the opportunities.

Part III: Strategic Plan Summary

Conclusion

Harley-Davidson is keen on expanding to increase its revenue base by increasing production. In its expansion efforts, it faces various possible risks, including that the aggressive growth of shipment of its products to foreign markets may harm its brand. Its major competitive advantage is that its products bear the Made in USA tag. Concerning Internet business models, it should adopt an MDM and create value for its customers by sending them updates. Harley-Davidson has a rebellious culture, and highly interactive teams run its departments. Its leaders are effective in leading teams since they are effective communicators, inspiring and approachable, and give clear directions. The organization projects itself as an ethical organization although it is accused of lacking a firm commitment to integrity and persistence. It projects itself as a learning organization although it has not made learning a core element of its culture.

Recommendations

  1. Harley-Davidson should plan its expansion cautiously to ensure that the aggressive growth of shipment of its products to foreign markets does harm its brand and that its networks do not become unmanageable (Pride, 2011).
  2. Harley-Davidson should always adhere to the set standards for noise emission, especially in Europe.
  3. Harley-Davidson should adopt an MDM and develop a website to support itself in building an international trade promotion strategy and projecting a favorable image of itself globally.
  4. The management should focus on staff relationships in all the departments to give the team members the notion that the company values them. Each of the teams should be allowed and supported to optimize own function autonomously.
  5. It should strengthen its commitment to promoting staff integrity and persistence and make learning a core element of its culture.

Implementation of Teams in the Departments

In each of the departments, the company’s management should formulate team objectives and facilitate the election of a team leader by the employees in the department. The leader and the rest of the employees in the department will constitute a team charged with the realization of the objectives in specified durations (O’Connor, 1983; United States, 2003). The leader will be tasked with leading the team accountably, making the requisite modifications. The team will be required to come up with and adhere to a strategic plan geared towards the attainment of the objectives. Besides, the progress made towards the realization of the objectives will regularly be evaluated (Fogg, 1999; Wheelen & Hunger, 2004).

Strategic Plan’s Implementation Roadmap

Step Activity
1 Appraisal of the plan
2 Development of a vision to guide those implementing the plan
3 Selection of the group of team members to be charged with the plan’s implementation
4 Holding of team meetings to evaluate and discuss the progress made
5 Informing the management on the progress made regularly

lllPrimary Benchmarks

There will be several elementary benchmarks set to examine the success, as well as the failure, of the strategic plan together with its implementation. The first benchmark will be a 20% increase in the productivity of the Harley-Davidson’s teams in the first year following the implementation of the plan. The other benchmark will a 50% decrease in the number of reported cases of staff conflicts the Harley-Davidson’s teams in the first year following the implementation of the plan.

Risks

Several risks may define the implementation of the plan. They include lack of organizational commitment to the plan’s implementation, lack of appreciation of the business’ operational environment among team members, and having persons who are not well versed with the implementation of strategic plans leading others to implement Harley-Davidson’s strategic plan. Others include resistance to planned changes and lack of the requisite leadership (Fogg, 1999; Wheelen & Hunger, 2004).

Part IV:  Self-Reflection Summary

From the course textbook, as well as content, I have learned several lessons that will assist me in own career. They are that:

  1. In the long run, considerable increases in its retail value may force it to review its product prices downwards, hurting its sales.
  2. The MDM grants customers the capability of having their preferred products customized as per their desires before delivery.
  3. A rebellious organizational culture encourages intellectual curiosity, innovation, and creativity.
  4. Managers should focus on staff relationships to give the team members the notion that they are valued by the company.
  5. When companies focus on own customers, they bolster the responsibility they have to their markets.

The program has increased my interest in several business careers. It has encouraged me to pursue a career as either a business ethics consultant or an import-export specialist. Business ethics consultants appraise and advise on organizations’ ethical practices. Import-export specialists facilitate international shipments.

The program has taught me that I need to develop an acute eye for details and view businesses in ways that are holistic. It has brought to the fore the assumptions and biases that I harbor, and which may be affecting how I work. One of the assumptions is that ethics have no significant place value in the business world. Actually, I have been biased against businesses that insist on marketing themselves as ethical organizations. The assumption and bias have made me pay no attention to examining the ethical foundations of businesses when appraising them. Without examining the foundations, one cannot claim to have a holistic appreciation of given businesses and their workings. In future, I will manage the assumption and bias by striving to gain insights into them always endeavoring to have an open mind when executing all tasks, including appraising businesses.

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