This business proposal is designed to guide a new firm that intends to join Malaysian Palm Oil Business. It has discussed the background, factors and challenges considered for a company to invest cross borders. These include legal requirements, supply chain management ability, human resource, technology, expertise, competition, political instability and governmental regulations through taxation. All these have been discussed in the context of Malaysian palm oil production. This paper also focuses on the marketing plan that has the sole focus on providing quality service for company positioning and for the purposes of increasing sales.
Globalization is the increasing economic transactions and interrelatedness between borders of different countries which are participating in various trades around the world. It is also the increasing interconnectedness of different nations which are participating in various activities that make the interconnections so close that may have some influence on each other Economic globalization in the modern business activities has resulted into the increase in the business and trade opportunities for different organization across the world. This has resulted into the widening of the opportunities in the international business and hence most businesses whether small or big are going global in order to cushion themselves against the hash trade conditions that they may experience in their mother nations.
The numbers of businesses that are currently moving passed borders have tremendously increased over the last few years. This is because economic globalization has leveled the business’s playing filed. Improved technology has made the world look like a village in which sourcing information from different parts is simple. Many businesses are therefore going passed their boarders to increase their operations and hence take the advantage of the increased market, less stringent regulations and low operational costs (Ahlstrom & Bruton, 2010). However, doing business in the international market is very complex, dynamic and often accompanied by several uncertainties in the business environment. These uncertainties in the business environment are changing all the time and hence the managers have to think and focus ahead so as to put their business at a competitive level with the other companies.
One of the most important aspects of economic globalization is that it has leveled the grounds for business activities and there is equal opportunities even for small scale businesses to interact with both the customers and the other business and hence go global. This has increased competition in the international; business and the differences between companies and profitability is only realized as a result of proper planning and actions that are intended to help a company gain a competitive advantage. Going global has been an alternative option for most organization as they seek non competitive and reduced operational costs so that they would be able to strategize (Ahlstrom & Bruton, 2010)
Many organizations are currently finding it uneconomical to operate within one nation because of the competition from other organizations in those nations. The companies that often go global are mostly those that have developed and due to their strength in terms of capital, they are capable of mobilizing the resources that they have in foreign countries to take advantage of certain factors that may include cheap labor, available market, available raw materials among other advantages that they may lack. These factors therefore determine the direction of their decisions to go global. This includes where to invest internationally as well as how much to invest in the foreign nations. While globalization has made it possible to sell or purchase in any part of the world, it has also been accompanied by several challenges.
Some of the important factors to consider are human resource management issues as well as supply chain management. Going global has also presented its own challenges in terms of sourcing for human resources as well as a complex supply chain that is often difficult to manage if it is not analyzed properly. One has to consider several factors such as; how the company would get the raw materials, how the company would source for the relevant technology that would be used in the production, Human resources and expertise with the right technology as well as acquisition of premises and or land to locate the company; whether to purchase an existing one or to construct and the location of the company itself.
There is also increasing concern the close relationship between the organizational identity and the various forms of image that influences the conception of the company and other stake holders. This influences not only what other people thinks about the operational ways of an organization. The identity of the organization should not therefore be taken for granted as it impacts on how people perceive the members of the organization. This has the overall effect on the same perception on the products of that particular firm. It is therefore important to note that the treatment of the organization is often complex and dynamic hence require critical analysis and thinking to ensure proper conception by the stakeholders.
Familiarity with the cross border trade regulations as well as the foreign legal system is very important and is some of the issues that multinational companies are taking seriously. One has to understand the laws regulating products or those that legalize or illegalize certain products in order to know whether it is possible to perform business activities in that nation . It is also important to understand the taxation system of the nation one intends to invest. Labor laws as well as work systems available are also important since different countries have different laws that govern labor market. Lastly it is important to understand the licensing procedures for foreigners.
Political stability is vital for the operations of a new company in foreign country such as Malaysia. Since it operates in different nations in which it delivers oil through trucks for export, it is crucial for the management of the company to analyze the political stability of the nations in which it passes before opening their brunches in those nations. As outlined by Michael (2009), political unrests that are witnessed in other nations in the East have made it difficult for most companies to invest. In this context therefore investments in those nations are not possible and may be considered to be very poor or the company may loose the whole investment as a result of unrest. Unstable governments have made it impossible for most companies to invest in those nations in the Middle East which are often in wars. As observed by Michael (2009), political instability does not only affect the manufacturing of a product but also influences distribution and the whole supply chain management. It is therefore important for the company to analyze the political situation before venturing into those nations.
Economic environment is also another factor that affects the investments in different nations. Economic aspects include the taxes, duties as well levies that are charged on the products. Other aspects of economic business environment are operational costs which include the cost of labor, raw materials as well as the cost of manufacturing. Taxes have the impact of encouraging business investments or discouraging investors. As stated by Michael (2008), these taxes have the impact on the overall costs of the product and hence give a company at a less competitive advantage. A new company can be forced avoid other nations or partner with other companies in foreign nations because the cost of doing business in those nations is high.
The differences in the cross boarder legal system play an important role in the determination of the success of an international company in the world market. This is because some laws promote investment while others are mainly designed to make it difficult for the foreign investors to open businesses in those nations (Schaffer & Agusti, 2009). However can take advantage of the less stringent laws in the other nations such as Malaysia and hence take the advantage of the market as well as the availability of labor and cheap raw materials. As outlined by Schaffer & Agusti (2009), stringent labor laws, quality standards as well as the overall time and cost of starting new business enterprises are very important for a company that intends to go global. For example, a new company venturing into Malaysian market is not affected by the quality standards and hence it is capable of doing business in that nation.
Different cultures in different parts of the world influence the market size and the type of goods that are supplied to the market. It is important to note that people from different countries use the same product or service but differs in terms of the content or the processes of delivery or manufacture. As stated by Ahlstrom & Bruton (2010), critical analysis and understanding the market is very important for any company that intends to go past boarder. This is because culture is not homogenous in the world market and hence there is need to provide for all the needs of the target market if one is to stay in the market. It therefore means that the company has to diverse its products so as to meet the specific needs of the consumers of such products and hence compete well in the global market. This requires specific market world market research.
Competition threats and other risks are also important aspects of business environment and affect the company. As a manufacturer of edible oil products, the new company venturing into Malaysia faces stiff competition from the well established companies within Malaysia which determines its operations. Ability to deliver high quality products at the least cost possible is the key to the success of multinational company (Johnson & Turner, 2003). This is because the company will gain a competitive advantage against others and hence lead to increase in the market share. A new company investing in edible oils in Malaysia must develop strategies to counter challenges and competition from others in the market. It is therefore important to note that critical analysis of the international business environment is important before any company can invest globally.
Analysis of the Malaysian edible Oil Market
Over the past period of approximately ten years, the capacity of land that is under palm oil production in Malaysia has grown from an average of 640 hectares of land to almost five million Hectors according to the national statistics of Malaysia. Sabah part of Malaysia has the greatest oil capacity standing at 30% of all the palm oil produced in Malaysia. Sabah is then followed closely by Sarawak. Other areas of potential oil production include the peninsular which has realized close to 1.6% in the last decade. By the year 2006, Malaysian oil plantations consisted of approximately 35 million hectors which is an average of 90% of all the plantations in the country. These figures show that Malaysia does not only have large plantations of palm oil, but the nation also has the greatest capacity of mature palm oil at any time of the year. This has singled Malaysia as the nation with the highest potential in the production of palm oil in the world.
Malaysia exports its oil to several nations across the world. Many companies in the United States America, Africa, Vietnam and Jordan are some of the major of Malaysian palm oil. It is important to note that the palm oil is not only utilized by these nations for their own consumptions, other re-export the same palm oil especially after processing. Jordan is a good example of a nation that imports a lot of palm oil from Malaysia and then exports the same to Iraqi market. This is an indication that there is great opportunity for a new firm entering into the business. Although there are many other firms from Malaysia, there is a large market that is still under supplied with palm oil. A good strategy will therefore put a new firma at a competitive advantage. With the introduction of trans-fat labeling law in the United States of America, U.S. has become one of the major importers of palm oil from Malaysia. This has opened large market in the western nations.
The continuous merging of the plantations such that which occurred in the year 2006 has resulted into large firms. This resulted into the greatest palm oil firms in the south East Asia and the world as a whole and the rest of the world. These are some of the strategies the existing companies are taking to continue controlling the world palm oil market. Moreover this was approved by the government of Malaysia because it is believed to reduce the production costs and ensure optimization of capital use. This is expected to drive the economies of scale and economic synergies.
Palm oil is slowly becoming source of bio-fuel in Malaysia further increasing the opportunities for development of palm oil plantations. As stated by (), Malaysian Palm oil Council has already approved the use of palm oil in the production of bio-fuel which have very little carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. The research conducted by Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) show that the fuel generated from palm oil has the capacity of reducing carbon dioxide to up to 80%. However, this has not been produced in large quantities due to available large market for edible palm oil in the European Union, United States of America as well as Japan. The surge in the international oil prices has also contributed top the dizzy growth in bio-fuel production. However, experts have argued that if the government can put in subsidiaries then the bio-fuel production can grow as well.
It is projected that the demand for vegetable shall increase by the year 2012 in Malaysia by an average of three million tones to reach close to twenty one million tones. This is due to the campaign towards the use of bio-diesel fuel instead of petroleum. This projection is more than what is required for consumption by close to fifty percent. In this respect, the growing demand will not affect the supply of palm oil to the market because this can always be used as a biodiesel fuel. As most European nations are putting strategies to control environmental pollution, biodiesel may serve as one the other best alternative fuel. This therefore provides a stable market across borders for the excesses that shall have been produced in Malaysia by the new firms. This is because whether used as edible oils or used to make bio-fuels, palm oil prices can still compete effectively in local as well as world market compared top other vegetable oils.
Key institutional & Business environmental Forces
The idea of a new firm to cross boarders and look for greener business in foreign nation such as Malaysia is not only a strategy to position itself but also bring great opportunity for that firm to expand. Currently it is becoming a trend in almost all multinational industries in the world. The companies are moving to the other countries in which they intend to expand their operations and hence increase their market and profitability. This has been influenced with the constant increases in the operational cost as well as stiff competitions in their mother nations. Companies often expand their operations to other nations in order to take the advantage of the favorable labor costs, cheap raw materials, market availability, available less stringent legal barriers and to look for market away from the stiff competition faced at home. However, for these companies to move to the international market and begin international operations, it is important and mandatory for these nations to meet certain boarder requirements before crossing such boarders.
Sourcing for the human resources as well as supply chain management issues is often important. The new company intending to invest in Malaysia will have to strategize well so that it is assured of the supply of the raw materials from a constant source. In the Malaysian palm oil industry, supply chain is often complex and requires earlier analysis and preparation. This is because sugar cane takes almost two years to mature and there would also be the issue of ensuring that there is constant supply of sugar cane. There would be prior arrangements by the company and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) in order to secure license from the government and good source of this raw material before establishing the company. This can be done through buying of the existing firms in and improving on them to increase their capacity and efficiency. The other alternative is to use the private suppliers of Palm oil or the farmers. However, which ever the alternative the new company chooses, it is important for the company to have its own supply of Palm Oil and not to depend on the other firms, partnering or just through private contractors. Ability to manage the supply chain is therefore very important for any company that wishes to cross the boarders.
Human resource management can be a barrier to the entry into the Algerian sugar market. Whether a nation chooses to export from Mexico or to locate sugar milling plants in Algeria, the issue of human resources management is very important. This is because the regulation in this sector differs from one nation to the other and it is also important to look at the cost of labor. This is because while other nations pay higher labor costs others have stiffer regulations in the labor industry that may not be favorable. However, The Malaysian Ministry of labor do not have strict labor measures that discourages investors, most of the regulations aims at ensuring job security and better realistic pay.
Palm oil company is a highly labor intensive company and utilizes a lot of human resource in the process of its operations and to ensure that the operations are a success. The right expertise is also a barrier to expansion as the company may wish to move to world markets where there is large market for the product while it would not be able to find the right expertise in Malaysia to manage the production of the sugar. This may result importation of labor which is much costly. As stated by Michael (2008), the choice of the location of a company as well as the ability to get the right technological skills is very important
The cross boarder trade regulations may be a barrier for a new firm to go to the Malaysian market. It is important to look at the foreign legal frameworks with respect to your product in the international market. Knowing the regulations that control the production of palm oil and it derivatives such as bio-fuel will be of great importance to a new firm. While most Firms are merging as mentioned earlier, new firms may find it difficult to do business in Malaysia due to high operational costs of individuals firms. Malaysia has strict legal measures that control the production of bio-fuel and this may be a barrier to the production or exportation of palm oil products from Malaysia. While other nations put barriers to the production and promotion of those products, others have made it illegal for some product to be manufactured, promoted, marketed or consumed in its lands. However, in Malaysia, Palm Oil production does not have such controls by the government. The labor laws as well as the legal issues that control the labor markets in those nations may be barriers if a particular firm will not be able to meet the legal requirements. Generally, there exist legal, human resources, supply chain management, and product marketing barriers to the foreign markets.
A new would strategize to overcome these barriers and venture into the Malaysian palm oil market. The company may adopt a human resource management system that would be very important in their international operations. The application of a strategic human resource management system would be important in the international operations as it will ensure that the company keeps and retains accountable, credible, and transparent human resource. New company may also strategize to purchase the other existing and willing companies in Algeria. This will be effective because the company will eliminate the other logistical problems that would also reflect in the cost of investment. Purchasing the available firms in the international operations is important since it results into the reduction in the initial costs that are often incurred in the construction and initializations of the business operations in those countries. The search for the location of a company is often a bigger task that would be avoided through this strategy. It would also result into the company acquiring immediate customers, suppliers and hence maximize on the expansion rather than building a new firm
There would be need for research by the top managers of the new firm in Malaysian market in order to identify the potential location sites. There would be need to look at the feasibility of exporting as a strategy to cross border to other nations with potential markets or the need to locate new plants in those respective countries and just export crude oil and then refine abroad. It would be of importance for the new company to move to the nations with less stringent legal laws with respect to the palm oil refinery and its derivatives. Labor laws will also be analyzed so as to ensure that the company comply and acquire business licenses in prior to the beginning of the operations in those nations or Malaysia.
The analysis of the political environment in another nation determines the success of the business venture in that particular nation. AS outlined by Clemate (2007), a business venture in an otherwise volatile environment with respect to the political stability of nation may just be a game of gamble. It is therefore important for the companies with intensions of going to the international market to first analyze the political stability of the nation so as to determine if it would be possible for the company to make profits. For example, in case the government of the nation in which a company intends to venture is unstable, it would be very difficult for the company to do business or make profits. This may result into such investments being very poor.
However, political instability may not prevent a company from investing. One of the strategies that a new company can adopt in its international business is that of corporation and partnership with the others in the nation in which it is venturing. This is evident in the volatile country of Somali and the other nations in Africa in which the political situation is unpredictable. In this way, the new company investing in palm oil products in Malaysia can comfortably sell in volatile nations. This will reduce the losses that may occur as a result of the political unrest in those nations. This new company can also use the mother companies through assurance of the trade licenses to these companies to manufacture on its behalf while they just perform the distribution. This is evident in Kenya in which most companies have contracted domestic firms to manufacture on its behalf.
It is also important to note that there is diversity in the views of the nations with respect to the international business. Some nations across the world encourage investors while others do not and instead put harsh conditions that have to be met by the foreign investors. These are done through the regulatory constraints that make it almost impossible for the company to perform or operate businesses. As outlined by the World Bank report on the ease of doing business in the ten nations with the best practice, India is outlined as one of the nation that has opposed foreign investments. The report also asserts that India does these through imposing stringent regulatory measures on the foreign investors who intend to open businesses in India (Clemate, 2007. The process such as business registration, tax, property registration and the procedures for starting businesses in India are not just expensive, but have also proven to be time consuming. However, in Malaysia, company registration is not very hard as in India.
The new company being a multinational company with well established reputation in different parts of the world has developed a strategy to navigate these impacts. A multinational organization without proper structures may also use contacts persons in other nations to enable them open businesses and operate. This ensures the company receives reputation and loyalty in the international market. However, getting trustworthy contact persons may be a problem. Through the contact parsons, the company can be able go through the processes as outlined by the regulations in those particular nations. Many companies especially in Asia and India are not registered under the name of their major companies but they are known to distribute the companies’ products (Ahlstrom & Bruton, 2010). This will not just eliminate the cost and time of opening business enterprises but has also increased the effectiveness and the efficiency in the distribution channels. The new company may also use the trustworthy partners to enable them get to know the customs, preferences and the laws which may impact on the business in one way or the other and hence they also forecast and plan on behalf of their client.
Economic aspects in the international business are those factors that determine the cost of business operations in those nations. These factors include the taxes and the duties levied on the imported products and hence have the impact of either increasing the prices or lowering the prices of such imported products depending on the impact of the taxes (Reid, 2009). It is important for the multinational companies to have a know how of these regulations and hence diverse a planning strategy that would increase the possibility of their investment being a success.
However, important to note that this is not a risk but has an impact on the distribution of the product as well as the supply chain management. It has the overall effect on putting the company at a non competitive advantage compared to the international companies due to the increased prices compared to the domestic products. These may discourage the consumption of the products. The reason for the imposing of the taxes on the imported products is some times meant to encourage the consumption of the domestic products or promote the natural products in a country. However, in Malaysia, the government has always supported investment in Palm Oil production by giving subsidiaries. This is therefore seen as an opportunity for a new firm in Malaysia and not as a threat.
It is important for the new company to understand well the cost of distribution of the Palm oil product and determine its prices well so as to know whether it would be a loss to invest in those Malaysia or not. In this case it will be profitable. This would ensure that the business company does not collapse due to inability to operate in the foreign market. With this regard, the company should the new firm managers should choose to locate the business within those nations. Most multinational companies usually do this by establishment of their manufacturing plants in those nations. In this way, the investor Company imports the crude palm oil from their headquarters in Malaysia and just does refining and distribution.
This is one of the widely used strategies by the multinational companies like Coca-Cola limited in the international market. Various governments have also encouraged it because of the employments that it provides to the people. As outlined by Clemate (2007), the government restrictions on the importation number as well as the percentage of employees from the domestic market who may be employed are very important. Hidden taxes are common in some nations but not in Malaysian palm oil industry. This is because it has the overall effect on the cost of business in that particular company. However, some companies have been very vigilant and the production, distribution and the supply chain management has been very effective and profitable.
Strategic Marketing plan
Marketing strategy is designed to introduce a product which is new to the market, promote an existing product or generally change the characteristics of the product to some favorable ones. When the characteristic of a product is enhanced or a strong strategy is put in introducing a new product in the market, there are all possibilities that the product would fair well in the market. Marketing strategies for a product are based on four major components generally referred to as 4 P’s. These are: product strategies, promotional strategies, pricing strategies and placement strategies. The focus in achieving the above 4 P’s is based on the objectives set by the organization on how best to conquer the market in terms of getting closer to the estimated profit generation. For this discussion we will discuss the marketing strategies for a new firm investing in Malaysian Palm oil market.
An effective and efficient marketing plan is very essential for an organization to increase sales as well as meet the expectations of the consumers. An international company faces a diverse and dynamic marketing challenge that has to be critically analyzed and evaluated at the beginning, during and after any trading period to ensure that it retains its customers for continual improvement of the sales. This is because the challenges it faces in terms of marketing and the targets are not homogenous across the world. However, an effective marketing plan is only possible through an effective audit of the marketing plan which gives the effectiveness and efficiency of such marketing strategies. This would then be useful for this new Company since it would give the insights on what needs to be changed.
Marketing audit is the key and the initial process to the development and the drafting of a marketing planning process. It is important to look at the external and internal influences on the planning for its marketing process. One of the auditing tools that would be relevant for use by the new oil company in the analysis of the organization’s marketing process before drafting a marketing process would be SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis means strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis. SWOT analysis would be the first stage for the development of a marketing process. It looks at both the internal and the external influences that are capable of impacting on the organization’s marketing process either negatively or positively and hence provides an insight of what the company needs to change in any marketing planning processes. The following marketing mix can e used by a new firm venturing into palm oil business in Malaysia not only to get market share but also to co0mpete well with the existing firms.
Product differentiation is very important in selling new company products in the market. Some consumers are influenced to purchase a product just because of taste, color, smell etc. These brands are necessitated by the demands from the people of different nations as well as the culture and the changing lifestyles. The diversity of products also gives the consumers an opportunity to choose from a variety hence increases sales volumes. .
China is one of the countries that Malaysia rolled its operations in the early 1900s; however this country has then seen a lot of competition that has seen most Malaysian oil firms change and bring different brands. During the year 1990s, the company introduced a good number of vegetable oil brands the U.S. In Shanghai people of China also raised concerns with respect to nutrition and vitamins. This resulted to the provision of vitamin through fortification for this people. All these are marketing strategies that are meant to keep the sales and restore consumer confidence on the product. In this way, the Company will be capable of positioning itself and often survives all the turbulent market tides.
Pricing is the most important element of marketing mix. This is because it is the price that determines the final turnover of the organizations and hence profitability or losses may be realized (Mooij 2009). The other three are just adding up to the cost of business operations. It is therefore important to note that for a company to be successful, price has to support all the elements of mix. In the United States of America, a company such the one just about to join Malaysian palm oil can adopt the product line pricing in which different products with different qualities are priced differently. This is to cater for the demands and the needs of the people.
For example, fortified oil is priced different to the ordinary palm oil. This is to cater for the additional value that is added. This is possible because the people of America are ready to pay for such value additions. This can also be seen in the vitamined water in China. However in the republic of South Africa, there are different products that are priced at the same prices despite their differences. This is actually competition prices with which the company will try to set the prices below its competitors in order to keep the competitors away from all their products.
Place and distribution
The distribution of palm oil is another method that a new company ensures that it maintains its supply of products to the customers. The company may decide to manufacture its product only in the United States of America, Malaysia, and Japan then distribute to the other parts of the world. In Malaysia most palm oil firms are actually using several automated vendor machines to ensure that the products are reaching the local people in the villages and other rural and remote areas. There is also extensive development of palm oil refinery plants in the rural parts of Malaysia due to good performance. In most African nations, the new company may use the locally based companies bottle most of their products. There is also the distribution through containers at low costs to the retailer so as to ensure the products are delivered at the right quality required by the customers. In this way, the new palm oil company will be able to cut on the costs of distribution and hence maximizes on the profits. The opening up of new palm oil firms by the new company is also important in helping achieve proper distribution of the edible oil products. In this way, the company is capable of minimizing the cost of distribution especially in these areas where transport may be a problem. However, in the U.S. the distribution system can be different.
One of the marketing opportunities that are available for the new palm oil company is promotion through event sponsorship. It is considered to be expensive since it would mean spending additional funds in marketing; however, the company may get a good opportunity to market new product. It is very difficult to market with a new brand name because it will take customers longer to get familiar with the product in the market (Mockler 2005). The recent sponsorship of the FIFA 2010 world cup by the coca cola company is an example of such sponsorship. This was just one among the other sponsorships that Coca-Cola is using to promote its products in South Africa (Haberer 2010). However, with branding, the new palm oil company will b capable of capable of familiarizing its products among the customers and hence meet a specific requirements of a market segment.
The second promotional opportunity for this company would be print advertising that would however reach just to a specific market segment. This may be through the print media such as the newspapers, or in an upcoming event that is popular. This type of promotion opportunity has been explored in the United States by many firms. Others do this by sponsoring certain beauty, athletic and football competitions. There is a unique feature of promotion that a new company going into Malaysian palm oil business can use to promote their products. This can be done through the media and advertisement. The company has partnered with the multi-choice and super sport to advertise in several sport shows aired in that media. In this way, the Company would attract public attention and recognition hence increased product awareness, sales and consumer confidence.
The Malaysian palm oil market is big and has never been exhausted by the foreign investors. There are several opportunities in this industry due to less stringent procedures for company registrations. This is generally an open market that is still on the exponential stage of growth with great opportunities to be tapped. In our discussion, we have noted that a marketing plan framework or the process of getting the goods and services of any company across to the customers is an all inclusive and requires much planning. There are eight plans or processes that are supposed to be achieved. These have been highlighted as definition of the vision and the goals, identification of the ideal clients and the prevailing competition, development of the core messages, identification of the brand identification, determination of the marketing strategies, identification of the tactics for each strategies, creation of the tools for sales and support tactics, and execution, tracking and measurement of the results.
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