The paper "Fentimans Company - Enhancing the Organization’ s Strategic Capability by Influencing the Strategy in Action" is a great example of a business case study. Fentimans is a company that has its ancestry in the North East of Great Britain that sells soft drinks and beer. It was established in 1905 by Thomas Fentiman in Gateshead. Fentiman was approached by a colleague for a loan for which the security provided was a recipe for brewing ginger beer using botanical methods. The debtor defaulted and Fentiman as per the agreement became the owner of the recipe.
The company specializes in botanical methods of preparing soft drinks, by use of old recipes and drinking styles. Botanical Brewing is a simple process involving herbs and plant roots. Initially, Fentimans beverages were distributed door-to-door in stone jars as fermentation continued. Eldon Robson, Thomas Fentimans great-grandson, introduced glass bottles and pasteurization which increased the products shelf life while retaining the firm's tradition of botanical brewing and fermentation over a seven day period (Buchanan 2005, p. 85). In comparison, the soft drinks that are Fentimans competitors take only a few hours of production time.
Fentimans soft drinks, mixers and beers are targeted at the adult market. Fentimans product catalogue includes Curiosity Cola, Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger, Traditional Ginger Beer, Tonic Water, Shandy, Dandelion and Burdock and Victorian Lemonade. The company has faced several challenges that have restricted its success. It is important to view the company’ s growth or lack of growth in comparison to its “ age mates” in the beverages market such as Coca Cola (1886) and Pepsi (1893) which have become well recognized global brands and cultural icons.
One of the major challenges has been environmental as the company prides itself in the use of herbs and plant roots as the main ingredients. Environmental degradation has made them hard to come by and in some instances, the company has been forced to rely on imports such as of Chinese ginger (Anderson & Coughlan 1987, pp. 75-80). A businesses strategic capability is the actions a company needs to take in order to accomplish the goals of its business strategy. It is an amalgam of people, processes and technology that is directed towards a specific purpose as envisioned in the company’ s business plan.
Strategic capabilities are those in company planning, strategy and investment. A strategy is a method that takes into account the wider context in which the company functions, its strength and weaknesses, and the obstacles it is attempting to overcome. The strategy provides a working framework, clearly shows what the company intends to achieve and the tactics it intends to use without the details of specific activities. The subject for the company to perform different activities effectively is well examined by its capability to work within its capacity.
Understanding the company’ s capability is the most significant things in defining and assessing what has been achieved and what is also supposed to be worked out within the stated time frame. In the case of Fentimans, its strategy is to carve for itself a niche in the beverage market which is dominated by artificially carbonated drinks. It plans to use its heritage as one of the few companies that still use botanical methods in producing soft drinks and beers as a marketing strategy.
The problem, according to me, lies in the fact that the market for its products which consists of consumers who are willing to appreciate the uniqueness of its brands is rather small. Furthermore, the company would find it hard logistically to satisfy demand if the mass market were to wholeheartedly embrace its product. This is because the processes involved in making the product take days rather than hours that its competitors in the beverage market take and it would be difficult to accelerate the manufacturing process without compromising on quality.
This strategy limits the company’ s horizons and once led to its closure in the mid-1960s.
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