Whole Foods Market is an American company specialized in foods without artificial hydrogenated fats, colors, flavors, and sweeteners (Harbin & Humprey, 2014). The corporation embraces the best business practices to create a sustainable future. The firm has outlined specific quality standards that must be met by its suppliers. In the recent past, the company focused on the best practices to improve the health conditions of its customers (Whole Foods Market, 2012). Consumers are allowed to rate the company’s practices frequently. Such ratings are used for product improvement purposes. The firm’s current business model has continued to support every targeted objective. However, some issues should be amended in order to ensure the company realizes its business potentials. The McKinsey 7-S Framework developed by Robert Waterman and Tom Peters can be used to realign the firm’s strategies. The model will be used to analyze how Whole Foods Market can embrace new initiatives to achieve its objectives.
Whole Foods Market Strategic Position: Mission, Vision, and Values
Whole Foods Market strategic position is supported by the concept of sustainability. The firm acquires and markets organic food materials to its American customers (Whole Foods Market, 2012). The leaders at the firm work hard in an attempt to create a sustainable future for every person. The company educates its customers about the best practices towards producing healthy foods and ensuring every surrounding environment is sustainable. The firm’s “core value is to continue supporting the health and wellbeing of its customers, employees, and business partners” (Harbin & Humprey, 2014, p. 3). In order to achieve this goal, Whole Foods Market acquires healthy products from local producers. The company makes sure every targeted customer is conscious and aware of the products. This forms the basis of the company’s mission which is “to create a sustainable future characterized by health food materials” (Whole Foods Market, 2012, para. 4).
The company’s vision is to become the leading marketer of healthy food products to more informed customers. The major values supported by the firm include “excellence and happiness, selling quality natural products, creating wealth, promoting environmental stewardship, supporting local communities, attracting more healthy suppliers, and improving the health outcomes of its stakeholders” (Harbin & Humprey, 2014, p. 12).
Strategic Goals and the Competitive Environment
Whole Foods Market uses different strategic goals in order to realize its business goals. Such strategic goals are guided by the organization’s operating model. The organization’s model focuses on the best strategies focusing on supporting the welfare of every stakeholder. The key stakeholders include community leaders, employees, suppliers, consumers, and business partners (Reuters company profile, 2012). The firm’s first goal is to create a powerful capable of supporting the concept of sustainability. The consumers are educated about the company’s rating system for various food products.
The other goal is ensuring the major products improve the company’s profitability. The accrued profits are used to improve the welfare of different communities. This goal is achieved through charities (Harbin & Humprey, 2014). A good example is “the Whole Cities Foundation that focuses on healthy eating practices” (Harbin & Humprey, 2014, p. 17). The firm’s business model embraces new practices that can support the welfare of its employees.
Despite such initiatives and goals, Whole Foods Market encounters a wide range of obstacles. For instance, competition is a major issue affecting its performance. The leading competitors include Trader Joe’s and Sprouts (Thompson, 2015). These companies have developed similar models in order to market healthy food materials to their customers. Competition has also increased because new companies focusing on healthy and organic food materials have emerged. Whole Foods Market has found it hard to compete with companies such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds. These companies market different foodstuffs that are admired by many consumers in different markets across the globe. However, the firm convinces more people to consume organic and natural foods. This strategy explains why the company has been successful in the industry.
Opportunities and Threats
The global market is characterized by different changes that can support Whole Foods Market’s future performance. The current level of competition is attracting more players in the industry. At the same, more customers have understood the importance of consuming healthy food products (Reuters company profile, 2012). This is a new opportunity for a company that has specialized in natural and healthy foods such as Whole Food Market. The developing world is availing new opportunities for the company. This development explains why the firm can identify new regions and expand its operations globally. Expanding its operations across the globe will deliver positive results. The company has been using increased prices for its products. Incidentally, it has managed to attract more customers. Any effort to reduce the prices further will definitely attract more customers.
On the other hand, Whole Foods Market faces different threats that might affect its operating model. To begin with, the current changes in the global climate will have adverse impacts on the company (Varner & Cooper, 2007). Many countries are supporting the consumption of genetically-modified foods. This change will definitely make the company less productive. As mentioned earlier, competition from corporations such as Wal-Mart is a major threat affecting the firm.
Summary of Whole Foods Market’s Strengths and Weaknesses
The success of Whole Foods Market is attributable to its set of strengths. For instance, the company has established sustainable relationships with its customers, shareholders, and employees (Harbin & Humprey, 2014). This situation supports the company’s business model. The firm is associated with high standards when it comes to food quality. The number of customers embracing such foods increased significantly within the last six years (Thompson, 2015). The company’s brand name is admired by many people across the globe. This brand attracts more potential customers every day. The firm uses its resources to hire and train skilled workers.
Some weaknesses have been associated with the Whole Foods Market’s internal environment. Many experts believe strongly that the firm’s supply chain and market presence are ineffective. This is the case because the supply chain fails to support business growth (Thompson, 2015). The firm’s marketing strategy forces more customers to pay high prices for different food materials. The absence of marketers explains why the organization finds it hard to achieve most of its business potentials.
Supporting the Need for Strategic Changes
This discussion shows clearly that Whole Foods Market’s business model has been successful. However, it is agreeable that the company has not succeeded to deal with the increasing level of competition (Harbin & Humprey, 2014). The above analysis shows clearly that new changes are needed in order to streamline the company’s performance. The McKinsey 7S Framework can be used to analyze the major gaps making it impossible for the firm to achieve its objectives.
The model entails the application of seven interdependent forces. These forces are subdivided into soft and hard elements. The hard elements are structure, systems, and strategy (Thompson, 2015). The soft elements include “staff, style, skills, and shared values” (Thompson, 2015, p. 3). The leaders at the company can align these elements with the current model. This strategy will improve the company’s performance and eventually make it profitable. The model explains why the firm should restructure its pricing strategy. More customers are becoming price-conscious. That being the case, Whole Foods Market can use reduced prices to market its healthy products.
The company can also reexamine its strategy. The firm should identify more suppliers and outlets. The newly-established supply chain will ensure more products are delivered to the targeted customers. By so doing, the firm will expand its operations and eventually realize its potentials. The company has been associated with a slow growth rate (Reuters company profile, 2012). The 7S framework will encourage the firm’s managers to embrace powerful models and acquire more healthy products. Whole Foods Markets is associated with some of the best values and approaches to sustainability. The soft elements of the 7S model have the potential to improve the company’s profitability. This can be achieved using better marketing strategies. New skills should be identified in order to ensure the firm’s employees are motivated.
Although Whole Foods Market has been characterized by a successful business strategy, the most agreeable fact is that some changes are needed in order to increase its competitiveness. It will be appropriate to change the existing pricing strategy, increase its products, and market its products to more customers in every continent (Harbin & Humprey, 2014). Combined with new leadership styles, the firm will attract more customers and eventually become a market leader in its industry.
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Varner, C., & Cooper, H., (2007). Product markets in merger cases. The Antitrust Source, 1(1), 1-10.
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