Finance Managing Director Digitization Challenges

As a Finance Managing Director, its very critical for you to understand developing brand strategy is extremely critical. The most important asset your company has is its brand. Quite simply, it drives the direction of your business. So you should definitely have a well thought out brand strategy in place.

Increasing competition in business develops similar products with good quality from different manufacturers. But only an effective, innovative and Membership Costs & planning can make your business and products more popular.

For your profession as Finance Managing Director it becomes your responsibility to stay connected with like-minded supporting industry experts who can guide and help you deal with your day to day work issues.

Advantages Of Digitization Of Records

Is Predictive Intelligence the Frontier of B2B Marketing?

If you are entrepreneurial in nature owning a business is very exciting adventure. It can also be the most difficult thing for you to get into if you are not prepared.

The management of supply chains is constantly developing due to momentous changes such as the Internet, E-commerce and the globalisation of supply chains. Its success often relies on rapid, accurate and efficient handling of data. The trend towards lean and agile distribution channels and the growth of Fourth Party Logistic Providers (4PLs) within the supply chain industry requires significant organisation and management. The efficient control of these activities requires supply chain knowledge, operational information and importantly, timely and accurate data to support the decision making process. Essentially, effective and efficient data acquisition techniques are required.

RFID is a generic term for technologies that use radio waves to communicate the identity of individual items over an air interface. RFID works similarly to bar code technology in that an item has to be interrogated by a scanner or reader for it to be identified. Barcodes, however, have one significant downfall, they require line-of-site technology. That means the scanner has to see the barcode to read it, which usually means items have to be manually oriented towards the scanner for it to be read. Conversely, RFID does not require line-of-site and can be read as long as the item is within range of the reader.

RFID is now being considered as an integral link in E-Commerce environments. The technology in theory should enhance and complement Electronic Data Interchanges (EDIs) to facilitate quick response and the generation of exception reports. This should allow real time information to be transmitted to partners within the supply chain supporting the decision-making process. Ultimately RFID should provide immediacy of data right down to individual item level identification. This can help bridge the gap between the customer, the order and order fulfilment process to the satisfaction of the customer. This means that it can enable the enhanced responsiveness expected within an E-Business environment.

The supply of on-demand barcode label printers currently represents one of the most widely used AIDC technologies (technologies such as: barcodes, smart cards, magnetic stripes on credit cards, optical character recognition etc) in supply chain applications (e.g. EPOS, warehouse and inventory management). Due to mandates set by influential leaders in the retail and defence industries, barcode label printers with RFID enabled capabilities present a real opportunity for companies to develop and extend their product portfolios by providing products which will enable companies to meet compliance objectives. Opportunities also exist to provide printers for those companies faced with compliance for when usage and acceptance of the technology becomes more prevalent. An entire new market segment will have emerged, requiring a widespread ongoing supply of printers, peripheral equipment and consumables.

Bar code systems Bar code systems include the symbologies that encode data to be optically read, printing technologies that produce the machine-readable symbols and scanners and decoders that capture the visual images of the symbologies and convert them into computercompatible digital data. Barcode scanning reduces errors associated with manual data handling, and produces visibility to aid supply chain management. A significant benefit of bar codes is that they are extremely cheap to produce and provide an efficient means of item identification. Unfortunately, according to some sources, bar codes are proving increasingly inadequate in a growing number of applications. Bar coding is an optical technology, which introduces constraints regarding orientation of the product (invariably requiring human intervention) and cleanliness of labels and scanners for fast efficient data collection. Bar codes can be easily copied and so become an easy target for counterfeiting. In addition, standard barcodes have low storage capacity, cannot be reprogrammed and only identify the manufacturer and product and not the unique item. Industry bodies indicate that bar code systems are now a mature technology with limited potential for further growth.

RFID is emerging as a complementary technology to help overcome some of the drawbacks associated with bar code technology. RFID systems consist of transponders (tags), which are made up of a microchip with a coiled antenna and an interrogator (reader) with an antenna. The tags are attached to the items to be identified and the RFID readers communicate with the tags via electromagnetic waves. RFID middleware (software) provides the interface for communication between the interrogator and existing company databases and information management systems. RFID is a term used to describe any identification device that can be sensed at a distance by radio frequencies with few problems of obstruction and mis-orientation. The devices are often referred to as 'RFID tags' or 'Smart Labels'.

In its most basic form, a smart label consists of an ultra- thin RFID tag often referred to as an inlay. Inlays for smart labels are available in the 13.56 MHz, 860 to 930 MHz and 2.45 GHz frequency ranges. The inlays are embedded in label material, which is printed with human-readable text, graphics and bar codes (passive smart label). The printed data both supplements and backs up the information that is programmed into the tag. An evolutionary product to passive smart label technology is the smart active label (SAL). SALs can be defined using the same definition of smart labels above, but for one clear distinction, the inclusion of an integral power source. This distinguishing characteristic allows SALs to provide enhanced functionality over passive RFID smart labels including sensory, processing, display and locating capabilities. Smart labels are typically used for disposable applications and are not as durable as permanent RFID tags, which can be encased in materials to withstand harsh environments. Although one company suggests that the label material can be developed to withstand environmental conditions and that appropriate adhesive can ensure the label lasts the required duration.

Smart labels are referred to as smart because of their flexible capabilities provided by the RFID tag embedded in the label. The tag can be programmed and/or updated in the field allowing the same label to be reused serving multiple needs and disparate applications. Subsequently, the label is no longer static as a bar code label, but dynamic in its capability when equipped with RFID. Supporters of RFID suggest benefits which include: cost savings through automating the check-out process, a reduction in labour associated with performing inventory counts; improved theft prevention and increased authenticity control, a reduction in inventory holding cost, diversions and improved product availability. Unfortunately, an exact description of how the benefits are attainable in practice has often remained vague. The main criticisms on RFID technology are that it is too expensive and that it is unlikely that the investment will pay off. It is also argued that RFID is an over-marketed, hyped technology and that existing bar code based systems already provide most of the needed functionality.

Common Problems In Supply Chain Management

An Overview of Proper Supply Chain Management For Your Business

With the support of our professional business network, you get the opportunity to exchange experience and knowledge at a top professional level, and to strengthen and develop your own skills within your management and specialist areas.

Through business relationships and experience sharing in confidential settings for Finance Managing Director, we strive to create personal and business value for all our network peers.

Workplace Wellness Programs

Starbucks portrays itself as a high quality coffee for the high class and is priced slightly higher than the coffee of Caffe Nero. It stays true to its American originality and emphasizes solely on its wide range of coffee drinks with only a few snacks and desserts. Apart from that, Starbucks distinguishes itself from other cafes by providing a very comfortable atmosphere with facilities like Wi-Fi so their customers can enjoy surfing the web while drinking their coffee.

On the other hand Caffe Nero emphasizes on its Italian blend and portrays itself as not only a café but also a bar and restaurant. It has quite an extensive menu with a variety of popular Italian dishes. Due to this many people visit Caffe Nero to have meals rather than just a cup of coffee. They have brought a pure European vibe to their cafes thus remaining true to their originality. For the convenience of their customers and to add to their attracting they have also launched loyalty cards.

MARKETING STRATEGY:

Marketing strategies help businesses in promoting their products and services in a certain way that they want to. While cashing on their most important points they try to create an image of their brand in the minds of their target customers so as to achieve their target sales and a favorable market share. Marketing strategies help businesses in gaining a competitive edge by catering to those specific niches that others fail to identify. Marketing strategies devised by organizations vary in duration from one year plans to those extending well over many years. A lot of factors are taken into consideration when devising marketing plans and strategies that are defined by the environment within which the company operates. This is most often referred to as a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis which helps businesses in pinpointing the areas which they can take advantage of and the areas which they need to be careful of.

The most important factor that any business has to take into consideration, when creating its marketing strategies is its competitors. Competitors' actions have a huge impact on what an organization should do. In the coffee chain industry there are now plenty of independent coffee shops in UK like the most popular Starbucks, Monmouth Coffee, Coffee Aroma, The Apple Tree and Caffe Nero. In this assignment the marketing strategies of both Starbucks and Caffe Nero will be reviewed after which a critical analysis will be given of the both.

STARBUCKS

The first Starbucks outlet was opened in Seattle well over thirty years ago. Today Starbucks proudly stands at $4.1 billion with thousands of outlets not only in the United States but all over the world. Many companies have studied the secrets and strategies adopted by Starbucks in an attempt to learn how Starbucks grew so fast. The marketing strategies being adopted by Starbucks at present will be discussed in this assignment (voteforus.com 2011).

Unique marketing strategy:

The marketing strategy adopted by Starbucks has remained unconventional. They didn't adopt the common styles of advertisement using billboards, newspaper ads or television commercials. Rather they relied on word - of - mouth to promote their brand name.

Product quality:

The most important thing that Starbucks never lost control of is the quality of their coffee beans. They were the first ones to introduce the true Italian "burnt espresso" flavor to the Americans. They justify their high quality by charging a slightly higher price than most other cafes.

Comfortable environment:

Another focus of Starbucks outlets is the environment they provide in their cafes for their customers. Starbucks has always been promoted as that perfect place to relax when out of home and out of the office. They have started offering Wi-Fi connectivity in their outlets so that their customers can browse the internet as well while they enjoy their cup of coffee.

Customer satisfaction:

Customer satisfaction is the strongest favorable point of Starbucks. Each customer that enters a Starbucks outlet is given such a special treatment that they truly feel like they are in a special place.

The Starbucks community:

Starbucks has truly taken full advantage of the latest hype of social media. They have adopted their latest marketing strategies around social media websites like creating fan pages on Facebook and Twitter where they actually respond to all customers and keep in touch by posting pictures, videos and all the latest promotional information.

Innovation:

Starbucks has always kept its menu fresh by constantly coming up with new items and different blends and flavors in their coffee. Some of their latest hit drinks have been the Green Tea Latte considering the health conscious consumers along with iced tea and Frappuccino for their outlets in warmer climates.

Brand Marketing:

Starbucks has always portrayed itself as a high quality product and thus decided to rely on word - of - mouth promotion only. This served to be a quite useful marketing strategy as comparison to going for promotional ads in magazines, newspapers, billboards etc. They have recently begun utilizing the social media websites in the most effective manner ever. Their Facebook and Twitter pages have proved quite useful in promoting the image of Starbucks while also enabling them to have direct communication with all their customers on one platform

CAFFE NERO:

According to chairman of Caffe Nero, Gerry Ford (2008), Caffe Nero Group Ltd is 'the largest independent coffee retailer in UK, with over 400 stores in the UK'. It was founded in the year 1977 and today has its outlets open overseas as well in Turkey and Middle East. They distinguish themselves from other café's in UK by emphasizing on the fact that they are an Italian Coffee Company. Their main aim, as in the words of Gerry Ford (2008), 'is to provide a European style coffee house experience offering premium espresso - based gourmet coffee, authentic Italian food products and a relaxing atmosphere in every store'.

Caffe Nero has been given many awards for its high quality coffee over the years and for its outstanding experience that they deliver in their shops. Tatler has rated Caffe Nero as 'The best espresso this side of Milan while Egon Ronay has labeled it as "The Traditional Italian Café". Caffe Nero has also been given the label by UK consumers as "The best UK Coffee House" in nine consecutive years (Allegra Report, the UK's definitive guide for the coffee industry).

CAFFE NERO'S USP:

The Caffe Nero's marketing strategy mostly emphasis on its unique selling point which is a pure Italian theme. Caffe Nero portrays its self from more than just a café. Rather it has created a perfect blend of a café cum bar and restaurant. Therefore Caffe Nero is not limited to only providing a place for coffee and snacks rather you can go there just to enjoy a meal. They have a wide range of exquisite desserts along with many Italian dishes like the Italian wraps, soups, sandwiches, pasta and paninis.

CAFFE NERO'S TARGET MARKET

Caffe Nero mainly targets tourists in UK or the Italians searching for their Italian taste in cuisine. They are targeting the middle - income group of people who are middle - aged, students or business people who prefer to go to a café during their lunch breaks. Furthermore, Caffe Nero has formed a partnership with the famous chain retail store, House of Fraser, due to which around 145 cafes opened up, many of which were located within House of Fraser stores (James, Situation Analysis of the Caffe Nero Group Ltd - Festive City

Critical Analysis Between the Two Companies

Now that a basic review has been given on the marketing strategies being used by both Starbucks and Caffe Nero, an analysis will be done on what differentiates them from each other.

  • Caffe Nero and Starbucks are direct competitors but Caffe Nero distinguishes itself from Starbucks by selling cheaper coffee than Starbucks.
  • Caffe Nero offers a wider range of food items along with its coffee beverages which makes it stand apart from Starbucks which does not have such a wide range of assortments.
  • Caffe Nero adopts a strong brand positioning by emphasizing on its European - style coffee shop as compared to Starbucks which is of American origin. Caffe Nero has a unique selling point which emphasizes on the cafes continental - style whereas Starbucks is of American style.
  • Starbucks has successfully opened thousands of outlets overseas and in the international market whereas Caffe Nero still lacks in international expertise and has just recently opened its stores in Turkey and the Middle East.
  • Starbucks has plenty of outlets all over UK whereas Caffe Nero does not have sufficient outlets in Central London.
  • Caffe Nero has a lot of potential of growing because it enjoys many unique selling points like its pure European authenticity.

References

1. Ford, G (2008), 'THE BEST ESPRESSO THIS SIDE OF MILAN'

2. Voteforus.com (March 29, 2011) Starbucks Success Is It's Word Of Mouth/Social Media/Viral Marketing Strategy

3. James, S, Situation Analysis of the Caffe Nero Group Ltd - Festive City

4. VoteforUs.com Starbucks Marketing Strategy Unconventionally Effective

5. Kembell, B, Hawks, M, Kembell, S, Perry, L, Olsen, L 2002, 'Catching the Starbucks Fever', Missouri State University. Unpublished.

6. Rajul (2010), 'Starbucks vs Caffe Nero vs Costa: who wins?'

Networking has always been considered a powerful tool for improving business prospects, advancing a career, and developing ideas. Other than some brief, structured events, networking has been mostly informal and inexpensive in comparison to cost they otherwise spend on different channels. But membership is growing in many formal, long-term networking groups, and so is the price tag.

Our groups are not groups for generating sales leads, nor are they places where individuals can drop-in to gain quick advice on an immediate challenge.  Members also sign a confidentiality agreement and benefits from the guided mentoring to help each other.

These groups include an experienced facilitator and use a structured discussion method to ensure appropriate participation.