The report highlights differentiation strategies through marketing, the role of internal business culture, and a variety of methodologies which contribute to successful business strategy. The evidence would seem to suggest that strategic management is more of a science than an art.
Michael Porter, a renowned strategic business expert, discusses his Five Forces model which recognises a variety of external forces which can significantly impact business direction. From a competitive viewpoint, this model suggests that the threat of substitute products can impact sales and growth success (Quickmba.com, 2008). Substitute products represent similar product offerings in similar marketplaces which can detract from sales success simply due to these products creating excess competition in a firm's market environment. Bean and Radford (2000) identify that product innovation, creating unique product offerings, is one method to overcome competition and will create a sense of differentiation in different consumer buyers. Innovation might be categorised as an art form, as this is often based on internal staff ingenuity, however innovation would seem to be more scientifically-founded as before an innovative product can be launched, examination of competing products and their function must occur. This requires analysis of the external competitive environment which is grounded more in scientific research on behalf of a company. With the high level of competition in a wide variety of different product markets causing problems with being able to compete successfully, innovation as a strategic tool would seem to point toward business success.
Porter's model also identifies threats to businesses in terms of supplier power, such as the level of control which suppliers have over raw material delivery or the development of a low-cost distribution infrastructure. Cohen and Roussel (2005) offer that a successful strategic business practice involves designing a supply-chain metric which measures the impact of supplier power on the ability to launch new and innovative products. The first proposed task is to set up a supply chain strategy objective which examines costs and the feasibility of distribution in a method which is both efficient and satisfies budget restrictions. This again would point toward supply chain considerations as being more of a business science, as it involves face-to-face negotiations with different suppliers and a strategic analysis of the strengths and weaknesses along the existing supply chain network. The role of strategic management in regards to suppliers is to identify whether deficiencies exist in the supply chain and work consistently to improve efficiency and budget. In terms of supply, luck and opportunism would seem to be aspects of business strategy which are not relevant to creating a workable supply network.
From a marketing viewpoint, Porter's Five Forces model also recognises the threats stemming from different consumers in terms of their price flexibility (the