Successfully establishing local presence requires anticipating and responding to these competitive threats. Wal-Mart has used several approaches to neutralizing local competitors in different markets:. Acquiring a dominant player. Wal-Mart used this approach in its entry into Germany. Having determined that building new hypermarkets in Germany would be ill-advised due to the mature European market and that strict zoning laws precluded greenfield operations, Wal-Mart spent more than two years exploring potential acquisitions, including Britain's Tesco, Germany's Metro and the Netherlands' Makro.
Wertkauf's stores, similar in format to Wal-Mart's, featured high-quality personnel and locations, and were larger than the average German hypermarket. Acquiring a weak player. Acquiring a weak player in the local market is an effective approach, provided the global company has the ability to transform the weak player within a very short time. This is what Wal-Mart did in Canada in acquiring Woolco. Launching a frontal attack on the incumbent. Attacking dominant and entrenched local competitors head-on is feasible only when the global company can bring significant competitive advantage to the host country.
Wal-Mart's entry into Brazil illustrates the potential - and the limitations - of a frontal attack. Carrefour, the French retailer, had been operating in Brazil since When Wal-Mart entered Brazil in , it decided to overtake competitors by aggressively pricing its products. This strategy backfired, as Carrefour and other local competitors cut prices as well, leading to a price war and initial losses.
Wal-Mart realized that its global sourcing did not provide any built-in price advantage because the leading sales category in Brazilian supercenters was food items, whose sourcing tended to be local. Competitors such as Carrefour had an advantage in local sourcing because of their long relationships with local vendors.
Major Companies of Europe : R. M. Whiteside :
So Wal-Mart chose to focus on areas where it could differentiate it self: customer service, targeted at neutralizing Carrefour, and merchandise mix, targeted at overwhelming smaller local competitors. An industry observer remarked: "While small shops in Brazil have a strong customer service component, most large stores, including Carrefour, have adopted the European ethic that the customer is fortunate to have them available and if they are unhappy about something, they are welcome to go next door. To entice shoppers away from these large but user-unfriendly stores, Wal-Mart stressed its customer service, an asset enhanced by its policy for hiring and promotion.
One way to evaluate its speed is to compare the company with other retailers such as J. As of , J. Penney's global presence was minimal; only three of its 1, stores were located outside the United States - in Chile and in Mexico. In , Kmart was a wholly domestic company, deriving all of its sales revenues from its United States stores. Further, international sales as a percentage of Sears' total sales remained more or less constant from to Thus it is clear that Wal-Mart established a global presence at a far more rapid rate than did its three large United States competitors.
Carrefour's first international move outside France occurred in , when it entered Spain. In , Metro A.
In , some 7 percent of its total sales were generated outside Germany compared with 4 percent in and 5 percent in As of that year, its degree of globalization was on a par with Wal-Mart's. In , Metro took the major step of acquiring S. Makro of the Netherlands.
Metro's consolidated sales revenues for are estimated at DM billion, out of which foreign sales would constitute 37 percent. Wal-Mart succeeds in the United States simply by selling branded products at low cost. But that doesn't explain it all. Following is an analysis of Wal-Mart's competitive strategy. Wal-Mart enjoyed scale economies in purchasing as a result of its more than 50 percent market share position in discount retailing.
Though Wal-Mart may be the top customer for consumer product manufacturers, it deliberately did not become too dependent on any one vendor no single vendor constituted more than 4 percent of its overall purchase volume. Further, Wal-Mart had persuaded its nearly 3, vendors to have electronic "hook-ups" with stores to reduce overall order entry and processing costs for itself and its vendors.
In-bound logistics About 85 percent of all the merchandise that Wal-Mart sold was shipped through its distribution system to the stores competitors averaged less than 50 percent. Wal-Mart used a "saturation" strategy for store expansion. The standard was to be able to drive to a store within a day from a distribution center. A distribution center was strategically placed so that it could eventually serve between and Wal-Mart stores within a day.
Stores were first built as far away as possible but still within a day's drive of the distribution center; then the area was filled in back to the distribution center. The distribution centers operated 24 hours a day using laser-guided conveyer belts and cross-docking techniques that received goods on one side while simultaneously filling orders on the other.
The company owned a fleet of more than 3, trucks and 12, trailers most competitors outsourced trucking. Wal-Mart had implemented a satellite network system that was used to share information between the company's network of stores, distribution centers and suppliers so orders could be consolidated, enabling the company to buy full truckloads without incurring excess inventory costs.
Wal-Mart's distribution and logistics infrastructure saved transportation costs 2 percent to 3 percent cost advantage relative to competitors , increased flexibility, insured percent in-stock position and increased store selling space by reducing the space required for back-room inventory storage. Store operations As a result of better management of stores, Wal-Mart enjoyed cost advantages and sales per square foot advantages versus competitors.
These advantages were derived from several sources. Store location : In the early years, Wal-Mart's strategy was to build large discount stores in small rural towns. The locations resulted in lower operating expenses, especially payroll and rent. Competitors, such as Kmart, which were focused on large towns with populations of more than 50,, ignored Wal-Mart.
This built effective entry barriers as it became highly uneconomical for competitors to enter regions Wal-Mart had already saturated. Human resource management : Wal-Mart created a dedicated work force - with higher labor productivity, lower turnover and excellent customer service - offering profit sharing, incentive bonuses and discount stock purchase plans; promotion from within; promotion and pay raises based on performance, not seniority, and an open door policy.
Management information and control systems : Wal-Mart's management information and control systems helped the company manage its more than 3, stores in remote places thousands of miles away from headquarters. Store-level data were collected, analyzed and transmitted electronically to see how a particular region, district, store, department within a store or item was performing. This eliminated stock-outs, reduced the need for markdowns on slow-moving stock and maximized inventory turnover.
The benchmark information across stores was also a valuable tool to help "problem" stores. But the key features of an established culture still remain untouched, making differences in the operational style of the same company in different countries relatively stable. This thesis was confirmed by the research of Hofstede , , who studied the operational strategy of large international companies in different countries. The resulting strains in the case of Russia were analysed by Holden, Cooper and Carr They also mention as important the Russian tendency to make decisions based on intuition and the emergence of a generational gap between older managers especially those accustomed to Soviet-style authority and younger employees, who may be well educated and more open to new western ideas.
Basically the message of the authors is that Russian and Western managers, operating jointly in Russia, have a lot of misunderstandings, resulting from their roots in a different business environment and the specifics of the Russian management style.
This suggests two contrasting lines of argument concerning personnel recruitment in the globally operated BS sector in Moscow. They can be stated as two contradictory hypotheses: 1 The shortages of qualified personnel on the Russian labour market induce international BS companies to use more Western personnel than they would otherwise do to preserve the company management style and standards of work; 2 Local personnel better understands the specific nature of the Russian business environment, and international BS companies therefore have to rely mostly on local labour to get adapted to the Russian market.
The empirical analysis of this study cannot provide grounds for definitive choice as we lack the necessary labour market and personnel recruitment decisions data and the international comparative evidence. But we get a glimpse via some qualitative data on the actual composition of personnel in the Moscow offices of global BS companies including their background and career paths. Data on economic activity in Russian cities and regions remain relatively poor and unreliable.
Russian official statistics are changing very slowly and are to a large extent still based on old classifications. BS are not present in the sectoral structure given by the official statistics and are dispersed among various sectors, thus practically being hidden behind the screen. Statistical information on the largest BS companies and their employment structure is also not available.
To collect reliable primary data on the personnel structure within the Moscow offices of the global BS firms, I analyzed the websites of the top global BS companies. The list includes 6 sectors: banking, insurance, accountancy, advertising, legal and management consultancies. As indicated by the authors of the list, the main condition for selecting companies was pursuing a global locational strategy, which means having offices in at least 15 different cities including one or more cities in each of the prime globalization arenas: northern America, Western Europe and Pacific Asia Beaverstock et al.
Many of the companies with offices in Russia provide their websites with career descriptions of the top personnel. This information allows tracing the educational and professional background of the expatriates and the high-ranked Russian employees, working for the global top, as well as to identify differences between sectors. Two things became clear at first glance. First, companies, specializing in professional services aimed at analysis and advice lawyers and management consultancies provide as a rule much more information on their staff than BS of applied character with a higher share of routine operations advertising, accountancy companies and banks.
Second, companies, which are direct branches or subsidiaries of Western mother-companies, tend to give more information about their personnel than those operating as purely Russian legal actors. Information from the websites was arranged in a data set. Its analysis was followed by telephone and e-mail interviews with officials in the Moscow offices. Websites and interviews made it possible to trace the importance of international careers and educational background of different groups of BS employees. Although the main attention is paid to the top personnel, in some cases the profile of the support staff is also mentioned as a contrast to the professionals.
This difference is especially worth mentioning for the companies, providing packaged services of an applied character, mostly financial ones, because the share of the support staff in this type of firm is quite large. It is important to remember that because of permanent mergers and break-ups within the BS sector based in Moscow, many of these Moscow offices are only temporarily linked to specific global companies. The data set used in this article refers to August-November Several of the offices in the dataset turned out to operate in a different guise a couple of months later.
Some of them apparently felt strong enough or were forced to become autonomous Russian companies; others just got different global partners. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing the overall volatility of these business structures so far. But even now expatriates still occupy many of the key positions in the Russian offices, although their involvement strongly varies among the sectors and among companies with a different legal status.
My previous research Gritsai, indicated that companies with a different modus operandi have different personnel requirements. Advanced BS lawyers and management consultancies generate recommendations, advice and evaluation, for which good education, diplomas and formal training are needed Coffey, They are relatively small-scale, both in terms of employees and office space, and have more professionals employed than support personnel.
Financial services banks, insurance and accountant companies , as well as advertising, have a more practical profile of activity and have a high share of standardised operations and routine jobs, offering numerous packaged products or sets of services, and employ many people without high skills.
The middle level of management and the routine jobs are executed mostly by the local employees. The second factor explaining the share of expatriates, is the legal status of a company. There is more chance to meet an expatriate in a firm operating as a direct branch of a Western mother company, than in a Russian subsidiary or network partner.
All the global law firms and most of the management consultancies operate in Moscow as purely Western companies; this also partly explains a higher presence of foreign personnel there.
Books by R.M. Whiteside
Global accountancies and advertising firms are organized not only as direct regional offices but also as Russian partner companies, joint ventures and subsidiaries, operating as Russian legal actors Gritsai, Recently it became quite common for big advertising agencies, even in purely Russian companies, to employ one or two expatriates, which provide information about Western experience and lobby for the Western clients.
In this way Russian agencies try and quite successfully to compete with global BS companies. A similar pattern is common for the global banks. Two-thirds of them have a representative office, run mostly by the expatriates. The remainder are subsidiaries operating under the name of the main bank but registered as a Russian legal actor , where the top-level personnel are mostly Russians The only global insurance company, present in Russia, Allianz, operates in Russia indirectly, as one of the two major shareholders of the Russian largest insurance company Rosno.
Rosno, being legally a Russian company, also has only Russians among the top-managers. Most of the expatriates, working for the Moscow branches of the global law firms and management consultancies, have got an education in highly reputed universities Oxford, Berkeley, Princeton, New York, Georgetown and Boston universities and others. For many of them Moscow was not the first destination in their professional career: quite a few had already an experience of working in other world cities.
Among the previous places of work London and New York are most frequently mentioned, followed by Frankfurt and Tokyo. For the financial companies banks and accountants the experience of working in Central and Eastern Europe or CIS countries seems to be more important than the educational background. Those without an East European experience have, as minimum, passed training courses on Russian language and business culture in one of the world top universities.
Michael B. Education: - Princeton University, B. Mikael N. Mikael C. Jean Michel B. Prior to joining Baring Vostok, Mr. Prior to this, Mr. Some global BS firms establish special daughter companies, running all the operations in Central and Eastern Europe. In these cases rotation of the expatriate personnel takes place to a large extent between the East-European offices and there is a big chance to see well-educated East-Europeans among the staff of Moscow offices.
For instance, the advertising company J. As a result, the top personnel of the Moscow office include two Westerners, two Czechs and two Russians.
- The Contest for Knowledge: Debates over Womens Learning in Eighteenth-Century Italy (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe).
- Sugar and the origins of modern Philippine society!
- Numéros en texte intégral?
- Major Companies of Europe 1992/93?
- Beginning Game Programming.
- The Art & Science of Interpreting Market Research Evidence.
The East-Europeans are also more and more recruited by the Russian companies network partners in a global conglomerate , which in the past were working with Russian personnel only. A good example is the advertising company Media Arts-FCB, which has recently contracted a creative director from Poland to work in their Moscow office. Maciek N. He graduated from Warsaw University majoring in Political Sciences, but in his pre-advertising incarnations happened to be radio DJ, TV anchorman and paparazzi among others.
Walter Thompson Warsaw, where he worked the last three years. As the creative director he managed to elevate the JWT Warsaw creative department from the last place in the Region 35 countries creative ranking to the 13th place in the first year and 8th place in the second year, ahead of well established offices like Paris, Frankfurt, Rome or Barcelona.
It is quite common for many firms especially lawyers and consultancies to recruit emigrants from the former Soviet Union, or rather their children, which after getting a higher education in the West return to Russia as Western experts with a good knowledge of Russian language and culture. Irene , partner, McKinsey- Moscow, Started in Education: M. When I joined the Moscow office in , it operated partially out of an apartment, had two clients, and was home to a group of associates you could count on one hand.
Selling that position as a great career move to a newly minted Harvard M. I clearly remember two Moscow Partners' pitch to me as I was deciding whether to go into investment banking, pursue a more traditional consulting career in London, or join McKinsey in Moscow. Gennadii , partner, McKinsey-Moscow, started in There, he graduated from Cornell and Stanford universities with degrees in Electrical Engineering.
After working for defense and telecommunications enterprises, Gennady decided to enter Wharton Business School. After spending several months as a summer associate in McKinsey's New York office, Gennady felt that he had finally discovered something that could keep him interested for at least "the next 2 years.
Gennady has since moved to Moscow. It is just that when I was leaving the Soviet Union, things were very different. Six years, two children, and many projects later, I know I have made the right decision. In short, expats are vital to the functioning of the Moscow offices of globally operating producer services. This is particularly the case for advanced business services like lawyers and management consultants and for offices that are directly owned by foreign firms. These expats are highly educated professionals some particularly aimed at Eastern Europe as a whole and a considerable number with emigrated Soviet family backgrounds.
However, expats have never monopolized these jobs and their predominance seems to diminish somewhat over time. In the last few years a new trend is detected: Moscow is becoming a more and more attractive place for the young Western professionals, encouraged by the possibility of making a quick career and finding here a rapidly developing social and cultural environment, essential for this group of people. Interviews with representatives of the large headhunting agencies show that the number of graduates of the well-known Western business-schools and universities, interested in getting a job in Russia, is growing.
They look at Russia as an elevator, able to lift them to a certain level within a twice-shorter period than in any Western office of the same company. The offer of Western specialists, who want to work in Russia, is big enough to make even purely Russian companies recruit staff from abroad.
It makes them highly selective in their choices, demanding the knowledge of the Russian language as one of the essential criteria for getting a job Vasiljeva, The Russian professionals, working in BS companies, are rather different from their colleagues-expatriates by age and sex composition, educational background and career path. Their most distinctive attribute is their young age. Russian professionals working for the global companies are generally much younger than expatriates because 1 it is mostly the young generation of Russians which has adequate computer skills and knowledge of foreign languages, 2 Russian universities formerly did not produce diplomas, necessary for working in global BS, 3 possibilities of getting a Western education until recently were rather limited.
There is a clear difference between sectors, which existed in Russia before the transition and were relatively easily restructured under the market economy like law or to some extent banking and those, which had to be built from scratch like commercial insurance or management consulting. The former had already a certain pool of specialists, which after some extra re-training could fill in positions in new companies.
The latter had to recruit personnel from somewhere else. The extreme cases of this contrast are accountants education in book-keeping existed for years and advertising diplomas in communication sciences are still rare. Especially striking is the situation with specialists for the advertising business, as communication sciences are still barely included in the curriculum of Russian universities. As a result, personnel mostly low- and medium-ranked staff members are often recruited directly from universities with different degrees, and develop necessary skills in situ, mainly after short training courses, or just learning by experience.
The age of these Russian employees in advertising normally varies from 21 to 35 with only the higher ranked managers being older. In advanced BS especially lawyers , where getting qualification and academic degrees take years, careers, especially the international ones, start later, and most of the Russian partners or associates of global BS are in their thirties, with only few over This is about 10 years younger than the average ages of expatriates, who work for the same companies and have followed more linear and steady career paths most of them are in their forties.
In financial services, where professional experience counts more than education, the average age of the Russian top-personnel varies between 35 and 45 for accountants and for bankers. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.
If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Address for correspondence: Gordon C. Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article.
Related Major Companies of Europe 1992/93: Volume 2 Major Companies of United Kingdom
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved