Temple University Three Discussion Questions and Responses

First post:  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the strategic- planning process secret versus placing the firm’s strategic plan on the corporate website and discussing strategies and planning publicly?     TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX), headquartered in Framingham, MA, is an international parent company of six subsidiaries with an operation of over 4,500 stores (Nasdaq, 2021).  TJX largely refrains from divulging its proprietary information to the competition and public (David et al., 2020).  David et al. (2020) indicate TJX’s CEO, Carol Meyrowitz, and top executives protect the corporate strategy.     There are advantages and disadvantages to keeping the strategic planning process secret. The advantages are to keep the insights, plans, and strategies within the company and from the competition (Lonsdale, 2013). In the case of TJX, a few large companies exist in the same space with the ability to capitalize on access to TJX’s strategies. Organizations can implement strategic planning secretly to prevent competitors from luring stakeholders and leaking information to competitors (Lonsdale, 2013). Additionally, it is beneficial for secrecy in strategic planning because it lessens the duplication of critical strategies.      Firms need to make the strategic plan available to the employees to understand the company’s vision and mission (Lonsdale, 2013). Therefore, keeping the strategic planning secret from the employees would be a disadvantage to a company (Lonsdale, 2013). Employees can assist with ideas and contribute to the processes the firm institutes. Secrecy would prohibit the beneficial exchange of ideas and strategies.   1. What are three types of industries where secrecy is warranted and three industries where secrecy is not warranted, or does type of industry even matter?     A secret strategy is necessary for the retail clothing industry.  The technology business requires techniques to be retained as confidential. For example, Apple’s success is based on the secrecy of its strategies. The secrecy puts Apple at a high rate of sales and competitive advantage. Another type of industry where secrecy is warranted is military defense companies (Gregg, 2020).  Military secrecy is critical to the security of the country. The food industry deserves secrecy (Hannah, 2006). Recipes are easily duplicated when shared with competitors.    Secrecy is not necessary for public organizations. Sports, media, and communication industries and marketing do not benefit from secret strategic planning. The industries include many stakeholders in their strategic planning process. It is vital to share strategies with the stakeholders to ensure mutual understanding of the firm’s goals (Linton, 2019). 1. Many colleges and universities have their strategic plan posted on their website. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this practice?      Colleges and universities benefit from publicizing strategic planning. Universities showcase strategic planning on their websites (David et al., 2020). This strategy is targeted to potential students in the efforts of recruitment. Additionally, publicizing the strategic plan allows the institutions to display what the institution offers compared to the competition. The disadvantage of publicizing the strategic plan is allowing the competing universities access to the plan.  1. Rank order the four “secret” practices listed in terms of how important you think the items are to TJX’s overall success. Rank the four items from 1 = most important to 4 = least important.     David et al. (2020) reveal four secret practices in the TJX scenario. The most critical to TJX’s success is the quick inventory turnover (David et al., 2020). TJX’s turnover for inventory occurs every 55 days, whereas 85 days for competitors. The second most critical secret is to provide trendy apparel at a value to the customers. This secret strategy allows new inventory to be displayed but maintains customer loyalty. The third most important secret is training the buyers to buy expansively. David et al. (2020) indicate autonomy should be given to buyers to negotiate purchase prices from suppliers year-round. Lastly, TJX provides a treasure hunt experience to the customers (David et al., 2020). This least important strategy facilitates the shopping thrill that customers from all demographics enjoy. Second post:  **1. How much is Hasbro worth today compared to the $11 billion figure in late 2017?** As of June 4, 2021, Hasbro’s worth is $13.15 billion ( _Hasbro Net Worth 2006-2021: HAS_ n.d.). That is a $2.15 billion increase over four years.    **2. How much is Mattel worth today compared to the $5 billion figure in late 2017?** As of June 4, 2021, Mattel’s worth is $7.28 billion ( _Mattel Net Worth 2006-2021: MAT_ n.d.). This amount shows a $2.28 billion increase since 2017. **3. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of these two firms combining?** The advantages of combing firms would lead to strong projected financial statements because of the strengths of both companies (David et al., 2020). Combining companies would present more substantial revenues by cutting repetitive jobs. This merger would be horizontal (Brekke et al., 2017). Together these companies could consulate marketing strategies and develop new products with less competition. If the merger is successful, then both companies could marry their best strategic practices and build a stronger company together with a single focus. This combination would produce greater profits. By reducing the competition, companies can create expanded products and increase advertising, leading to a price increase for the items getting made ( _Horizontal Merger Guidelines_ 2010). One disadvantage of combing firms would be the merging firm usually reduces the quality while the non-merging firm responds by increasing their quality (Brekke et al., 2017). This effect would create changes in the products and can produce disappointed customers. The prices of the products will change because of the merger, whether they increase or decrease results from several variables that exist as the merger takes hold (Brekke et al., 2017). Working through communication issues between both companies could create delays or costly missteps. During this horizontal merger, there would be disruption in the corporate culture. This disruption could lead to employee dissatisfaction and could lead to the loss of employees. It could create layoffs depending on how the merger was structured; layoffs could occur for jobs that would be considered duplications.  **4. Assess the extent that antitrust regulators would approve a combination of the industry’s two biggest players.** Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with the Department of Justice (DOJ), reviews merger information to ensure they meet the guidelines for the merger to proceed ( _Mergers_ 2017). As this would be a horizontal merger, Hasbro and Mattel would need to meet the Horizontal Merger Guidelines to approve this merger. Antitrust regulators with the FTC and the DOJ work to see if all conditions get met to allow the merger ( _Mergers_ 2017). The antitrust regulators would look at the particular market, in this case, the toy industry looking at how the merger would affect competition between businesses and how it would affect consumers ( _Mergers_ 2017). If the merger met the requirements and did not produce a monopoly in the industry, it would be approved.  I am glad the companies did not merge; I am a fan of open markets and competition. I remember when Sears and Kmart merged (Patel, 2021). I did not see the benefit as a consumer now both companies are out of business. Mattel did buy out the Learning Company in 1998 (Patel, 2021). It was not a well- thought-out acquisition they wound up selling the company later (Patel, 2021). For a merger or acquisition to happen, it would need to contain a well- thought-out strategy with every possible scenario listed and analyzed. I like competition. Competition keeps companies from price gauging and brings better products to the industry. This result benefits both the company and the consumer.  Third post: **1) What are the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the strategic planning process secret versus placing the firm’s strategic plan on the corporate website and discussing strategies and planning publicly?** The TJX Company consists of discounted retail stores throughout the United States (David et al.,2020). The company has a headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts (David et al., 2020). By having over 4,000 stores amongst nine countries, the number of sales and profit is increasing (David et al., 2020). With such a large firm, an advantage of keeping strategic planning a secret is to hide from competitors (David et al., 2020). In response, TJX is known as one of the most secretive firms in all of retail (David et al., 2020). Carol Meyrowitz, a higher authority within the company, explains TJX refused to speak about corporate strategy, due to rivalry lurking to copy and re-iterate a similar strategy to their company (David et al., 2020). For the disadvantage of keeping strategies a secret, the staff and employees of TJX will become blindsided by certain procedures and decisions made within the company. For example, if “value, trendy merchandise,” is the motto presented for TJX company, then the employees would benefit from engaging in this type of practice and style of marketing (David et al., 2020). **2) What are three types of industries where secrecy is warranted and three industries where secrecy is not warranted, or does type of industry even matter?** There are multiple industries where the secrecy of strategies is the main idea and focus. The first industry where secrecy is implemented heavily in the military. If the United States military shared strategies, there would be a wide gap for enemies and other countries to have an insight on ideas and plans. One industry where secrecy is implemented into their company is professional sports. If a team from the NFL, MLB, or even NBA shared their strategies and made them accessible, competitors could benefit and have an easier way to access scouting reports and talent levels of players. The retail industry is another highly competitive resource individuals engage in daily, which can lead to secrecy with strategies and the way clothing is made. For example, one clothing brand I like is Lululemon. Lululemon sells workout clothing, and there is great competition with Nike, Gym-shark, and even Adidas for sales. If Lululemon were to make their strategy known to competitors, the number of sales for them could potentially decrease and increase for competitors instead. Secrecy is not granted in all industries. One industry secrecy that is not implemented is media. One example where all information is found in the local news. If an event happens in your hometown, there is an increased chance there will be a story followed by details. There is no competition or competitors in the media world, which means there is no need for secrecy. Secrecy matters in some industries more than others. The focus is whether competitors can gain an edge from knowing other company’s strategies. However, knowing another company’s strategy means nothing, if a company fails to take advantage of knowing that strategy. **3) Many colleges and universities have their strategic plan posted on their website. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this practice** If a student is visiting a university’s website, he/she should view the mission, vision, or strategy and have an idea of the atmosphere and culture being formed. Universities and colleges utilize strategic planning to attract students and stand out from other colleges (David et al., 2020). By implementing a strategic plan, a university can showcase attributes and accomplishments to students, while also advertising why their school is the better option compared to another. However, if the strategic plan is available to students, then it becomes available to other schools as well, which can be a downfall. **4) Rank order the four “secret” practices listed in terms of how important you think the items are to TJX’s overall success. Rank the four items 1 = most important to 4 = least important.** TJX revealed a few secrets to achieve overall success (David et al., 2020). The most important strategy is turning inventory over rapidly (David et al., 2020). By doing so, TJX can turn inventory over in 55 days compared to the original 85, which is a big step in sales and profit (David et al., 2020). Secondly, on the importance scale, it providing valuable and trendy merchandise (David et al., 2020). Instead of focusing on quick, low-quality, and cheap merchandise, quality is just as important as making a profit (David et al., 2020). Thirdly, the treasure hunt for lower-income customers is a successful strategy to implement (David et al., 2020). If the company targets these customers, while also upholding business from medium-high income customers, then the company will be able to relate to all customers and include all demographics. Lastly, the least important would be to train buyers extensively to allow customers to negotiate prices and sell annually, instead of seasonal (David et al., 2020).

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