Boots UK is a private company located in the United Kingdom. The company is a member of Alliance boots and has branches in Ireland, Sweden and many other countries. It offers skincare and cosmetic products; and prescribed medicines such as tablets, liquids, creams as well as inhalers.
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A general management overview of the company reveals the following:
- The company is generally characterised by a flexible management scheme. This is in line with achieving its ambition to become the world’s leading health and beauty company. In 2008 the company restructured its marketing and trading departments by combining them to form one team known as a commercial. This move greatly assisted the two departments to combine their efforts in analysing the market demand for their products.
- The company faithfully adheres to value based management from the smallest changes in the products way up to the company’s grand strategy. This management policy requires that a project is only worth investing in if it creates additional value for its shareholders therefore implying that the long term return should be in excess of the cost of capital finally maximising the long term cash flow.
- Boot’s marketing team comprises three areas one of which is a customer communication department, a new strategy which has propelled the company’s customer rankings to much higher than they were before. Consequently this has translated to higher demand for products. It has been adopted to propel product and brand development from a customer led strategy. The team ensures that most if not all and even specific consumer needs are met.
- An innovative cross-channel marketing strategy is also in use by the company. It has optimised its customer contact strategy across a variety of marketing channels incorporating loyalty program declarations and in-store ‘kiosk’ marketing products. This balances marketing goals, rules; business constrains and contact preferences to determine the optimal contact strategy. However, innovation does not end there; the company also develops and sells its own-brand health and beauty products.
- The company operates different sick- pay schemes and ways of managing absence. It introduced a new sick-pay system that involves reduced sick- pay for some staff and initiatives such as rewarding 100% attendance. This greatly reduced both costs to the company and absence levels.
- A clear development framework is in place to achieve career development goals. This assists both internal staff and graduates new to the organisation, which, as Kotler (1998) stated, to progress into management roles either in store or support offices (Kotler, 1998).
- The governance structure is fully integrated and established. Management reports regularly to the boots UK steering group to provide robust operational management of the company’s agenda together with the full alignment of the overall business strategy.
- Despite the clear investment guidelines and strategically developed analytical tools, decision making in the company is made easier as it is delegated to junior management hence hastening the decision making process. The heads of the company’s nine divisions enjoy the freedom of a decentralised decision making system.
Boots UK should be a market leader in the product leadership discipline because of the following reasons.
- Its business structure is loosely knit and ever changing to adjust to current initiatives and changes that result from working in different conditions. This is a feature of Boots Company which is evidenced by its flexible managerial scheme such as restructuring of the marketing and trading teams. As stated by Christensen (1997), firms with few profitable investment opportunities should use high levels of debt and thus have a substantial interest payment, which means imposing managerial constraint through debt (Christensen,1997). The company’s adoption of new and innovative state of the art management techniques also attests to its adjustment.
- Managerial systems that are results driven, advocate for innovativeness and measure and reward new product success. This is evidenced by the company’s development of strategies to maximise the use of its human resources by offering an incentive for full attendance by its employees. Implementation of a cross-channel marketing strategy is a clear indication by Boots UK in advocating for experimentation of the company. Moreover, as research by Williams & McWilliams (2009) showed, the requirement by management to report to a steering committee is another obvious indicator of the company’s urge to obtain satisfactory results by close monitoring so as to make necessary changes and or adjustments (Williams & McWilliams, 2009).
- It embraces a culture that encourages individual creativity, unique ideas, great achievement and a purpose driven desire to develop the future. As Treacy and Wiersema (1995) stated, the existence of a clear development framework is evidence of this as offering career development opportunities to both graduates and in- house staff is a future asset for the company due to improved human resource (Treacy & Wiersema, 1995). The company managing director, Steve Russell encourages the staff to openly present their ideas when he says,” If you’ve got the ideas and can articulate them convincingly, nothing stands in your way”.
Christensen, C.M. (1997). The innovator’s dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail. Cambridge: HBS Press.
Kotler, P. (1998). Marketing Management. London: Prentice Hall.
Treacy, M., & Wiersema, F. (1995). The Discipline of Market Leaders. Boston, MA: Addison Wesley Publishers Co.
Williams, C., & McWilliams, A. (2009). MGMT. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
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