Case Study: Fly Fishing Reels

Subject: Business
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 9
Word count: 2282
Topics: Macroeconomics, Management, Microeconomics

Company’s strategy and competitive position

Fly Fishing Reels enjoys a good competitive advantage over their main rivals. First and foremost, this can be attributed to the company’s insistence on quality of the reals. Fly Fishing Reels does not only emphasize on the performance quality, but it also places the design, look and feel of the reels as a priority. As a result, the company’s products have outperformed those of its major competitors thus propelling it at the top. The company also is fond of giving significant discounts on some of its premium products and hence enjoys better sales compared to the competition. Emphasizing on quality is an efficient strategy of giving a company a higher competitive advantage over its rivals (Dawar and Frost, 1999; 121).

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Additionally, the company has a diverse range of reels, which also places it at an advantageous position compared to its competitors. With the manufacture of over a hundred reels that come in different styles, designs, weight, and materials, the company enjoys a good competitive advantage since it can boast of a wider market. Different persons have different tastes and preferences for products and according to Srinivasan, Anderson, and Ponnavolu, (2002; 46), a company can ensure it remains competitive by meeting the needs of every customer. Furthermore, Fly Fishing Reels makes the fishing reels with different material such as plastic, aluminum, and solid materials. As such, it is able to satisfy the various needs of customers hence placing itself at a better competitive position. 

More so, the company has taken it upon itself to make products that meet the needs of various individuals. For instance, there are fishing reels for professional fishers and sportsmen. Albeit retailing at higher prices, this is an efficient strategy for ensuring that it grabs a wider market (Treacy and Wiersema, 1997; 39). As such, Fly Fishing Reels can afford to sell premium products and other non-premium products both at wholesale and retail, making profits from all. It is important for a company to ensure that it manufactures products for the different economic classes so as to realize higher sales and substantial profits (Pfeffer, 1998; 121). The company is, therefore, able to stand out since a bigger market share translates to more profits and hence a higher competitive advantage.

However, as much as the company enjoys a higher competitive advantage than its rivals, there is need to improve on several areas of its management strategy. Being the major manufacturer in the United Kingdom and its two major competitors being based in Japan and the United States, then the company needs to formulate strategies that will enable it to penetrate the markets enjoyed by its rivals. It could accomplish this through setting up production areas in those countries and embark on manufacturing more superior products. It also could accomplish this through offering better prices for better performing reels, as the price is a major factor considered by consumers prior to purchasing anything (Sinha and Batra, 1999; 244).   

Company’s position in relation to the make/buy decision and suppliers

With regard to suppliers, the company heavily depends on the knowledge possessed by the production managers, including new orders from clients and materials needed for production and their quantities. Furthermore, the production manager is tasked with the responsibility of knowing all the different materials required for the three categories of fishing reels manufactured and order for them as needed during the assembly and manufacturing processes. This is an excellent strategy since the company is sure of ordering only the required supplies and hence the company suffers minimal production losses or costs (Cleveland, Schroederand Anderson, 1989; 657).

Besides, all arriving orders for new reels have to be cross-checked by the production managers and again checked once all the products are produced. In cases where there might be a shortage due to various factors, e.g. a mix up of orders or minimum time, the production may make a decision to buy already made products so as fill up the required products. Such a buy/make a decision, however, depends on whether there is enough time to manufacture new products, availability of materials and personnel, requirements by the client and several others (Parmigiani, 2007; 295). Where one of the factors seems to cause a delay in delivering of the requested order, then the production manager may make the decision of buying already made items to complete the order.

Some of the strategies the company could implement in its make/buy decisions include the associated costs of making particular products and the associated costs of buying the products (Ellram and Siferd, 1998; 55). These costs are important since the company will be in a position to determine which is the best option in relation to profits garnered is. In addition, Fly Fishing Reels might also consider the quality of the product. As previously mentioned, Fly Fishing Reels heavily emphasizes on quality. Therefore, it is important that the buy decisions it makes are at par with its products so as to ensure total customer satisfaction. The company, on the other hand, needs to determine the reliability of suppliers whether it decides on making or buying the products. Unreliable suppliers will, of course, result to delayed deliveries of materials and components, thus posing a challenge to the company’s need of timely production or delivery of products (Boutellier and Wagner, 2003; 228).

Company’s manufacturing operations 

The manufacturing operations vary depending on the type of product being manufactured. Although the company implements a line assembly type of production, the manufacturing operations occur in several stages that are aimed at speeding up the manufacturing process. For instance, die-casted reels are the first cast, then machined, painting follows, and they are then sub-assembled and finally assembled. The same process is followed for fishing reels made from solid materials whereas plastic reels are manufactured with bought and finished components.

However, the company fails to implement a conveyor belt system for transfer of completed parts from one stage to the next. It otherwise relies on the workers to pass the parts hand to hand, which is an intensively exhausting process. Once workers get tired of passing parts, they tend to concentrate less on the finer details which might result to products that are of lower qualities (Bain, 1951; 302). The company can however not afford to produce poor quality products since its emphasis on quality ensures that it stays on top of the competition. Furthermore, the company depends on the diversity of its products to remain competitive. Therefore it has implemented separate production areas for different categories. This is an efficient production strategy since producing each product on its section ensures that it is of high quality and more importantly, it meets the expected standards by the consumers (MacDuffie, 1995; 218).

Furthermore, the different styles and designs of fishing reels are of utmost importance in the manufacturing operations of the company. The company has therefore isolated specific areas for designing, painting, casting, machining, etc. Such designation of different operating areas ensures that the teams responsible for finishing up the required tasks do so without interruptions or influence from other areas (De Toni and Tonchia, 1996; 234). As such, the company is able to meet its competitive strategies of quality and diversity.

So as to improve its manufacturing and distributing operations, the company should embrace the use of technology to ease up the process (Guerrieri and Meliciani, 2005; 493). For instance, the company will save a lot of time since it is rare for the occurrence of errors while using technology (Duffey, and Saull, 2002; 87). Moreover, the company will also realize products of higher quality. Additionally, the company should make a review of its current manufacturing operations and upgrade where necessary. For example, it can introduce a conveyor belt for transporting the completed parts instead of relying on the workers to do so, and in the process achieving higher efficiency in its operations. More so, Fly Fishing Reels should implement an approach that continually improves its production and distribution operations.      

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Company’s position with regard to managing quality

Managing quality or quality management is a way through which a company ensures that it produces consistent and quality products (Flynn, Schroeder and Sakakibara, 1994; 341). To do so, Fly Fishing Reels should adhere to planning since the planning process ensures that operations are smooth and there is timely delivery of the ordered products (Umble, Haft and Umble, 2003; 243). In regards to planning, Fly Fishing Reels does not have any formal planning methods implemented. Every detail pertaining to the production processes and the distribution of completed products lies solely on the production manager. It is up to the production managers to decide the amount of reels to be manufactured, which styles and designs should be given priority and if there is to be any buy/make the decision to be made. Although the company considers this to be a good strategy, it is important to have a planning team in place as professional planning directly translates to improved production capabilities.

Another important sector of quality management is quality assurance. This is the manner in which a company ensures that there are minimal defects or errors in its manufactured products (Dale and Lightburn, 1992; 62). In this regard, the company has a very poor quality assurance since up to 40% of the products are found to have various defects and cracks. This is attributed to the numerous movement of components in various stages prior to the assembling stage. Furthermore, the numerous movements are through transfer from one hand to another, hence constant banging of the components as they are placed down. The result is small cracks and voids on the finished surface. To improve on its quality assurance, the company needs to embrace better ways of production. These include more use of lifting machines and transporting conveyor belts, as the use of such machines results to very minimal errors and damages.

On the other hand, Fly Fishing Reels also does emphasize on efficient quality control. Quality control is a process in which manufacturing companies ensure that all factors favoring quality production are met (Olian, and Rynes, 1991; 307). In the case of Fly Fishing Reels, all production details are the sole responsibility of the production managers. The production managers make production decisions based on the availability of materials and the number of orders placed by clients. As such, the production workers are well aware of the required reels, their styles and designs, and the materials required to make each product. There is therefore very little room for making products that are not of good quality, which has, in turn, made Fly Fishing Reels one of the most successful companies of manufacturing fishing reels when it comes to quality. However, the company should put a professional team in place since effective quality control is a recipe for making quality products.

Priorities the company needs to improve on

First and foremost, the company needs to prioritize the upgrade of the production operations and incorporate more use of technology. Efficient use of technology in production not only saves a lot of time, but it also reduces the costs of operations significantly. This is due to improved quality assurance since there are reduced reports of defects and other errors. Therefore most of the manufactured products are rarely discarded. In addition, the company will also realize more profits since there will be fewer defective reels, not to mention the lowered costs of production and distribution.

Secondly, it is imperative that Fly Fishing Reels also puts in place a professional planning team to oversee the sourcing of raw materials, production, and distribution operations. Placing all the work on the production managers is not sufficient enough since there is the possibility of orders being mixed up resulting to shortage and late deliveries. More so, the sole responsibility of a planning team is to ensure that raw materials are always available, the orders made by consumers and other retailers are met, and new clients are sourced (Thomas, Vollmann, William, Berry and Whybark, 1997; 22). Employing the services of a planning team will result to increased efficiency in production, a larger market share and a maintained competitive advantage by the company.

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Thirdly, the company needs to prioritize its marketing strategies in markets that its competition enjoys a strong market share. These include the respective countries which the rival companies are located. Such competition brings about new markets, and this will enable the company to cement its place as the top manufacturer of fishing reels. Also, such competition boosts productivity (Van Reenen, 2011; 311). As the company struggles to penetrate the markets, then it has to increase its production levels so as to meet the demands and needs of customers. Moreover, an increase in production results to more sales and hence higher profits. In any case, setting up new branches and production sites is an opportunity for the company to grow more and expand its operations. A stronger company will, however, require a stronger management. Hence, the company should also prioritize on how to have a professional management team in place as this will ensure that Fly Fishing Reels has smooth operations.

Last but not least, the company also needs to prioritize on how to improve its quality management. Having over 40% on most of its products being defective is a sign of poor quality management. Poor quality management has several negative consequences which include losses. In an effort to replace or repair the defective items, a company usually incurs additional operation costs hence cutting on its profitability. Furthermore, poor quality management causes a company to lose valuable time in the course of replacing the repairing the defects. The time lost could be spent improving other significant sectors of the company.

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