Strategies used by Diversey Eastern and Central Africa Limited to create sustainable competitive advantage
An organization's success is environment dependent. Organizations function within the environment. The environment offers opportunities and poses threats to an organization depending on the capabilities of an organization. For an organization to survive it has to pay keen attention to its environment. Thomson et al (2010) posits that a company's competitive strategy deals exclusively with the specifics of management plan for competing successfully. Barney and Hesterly (2008), posit that the ultimate objective of the strategic management process is to enable a firm to choose and implement a strategy that generates a competitive advantage. In general, a firm has a competitive advantage when it is able to create more economic value than rivals. This study set out to address two objectives which were firstly to establish the strategies Diversey Eastern and Central Africa Limited (DECAL) had used to create sustainable competitive advantage and to establish the challenges DECAL had faced while in pursuit to creating sustainable competitive advantage. To achieve these two objectives the study made use of both primary and secondary data. Primary data was collected through personal interviews with the senior management at DECAL. Secondary data was obtained from DECAL's financial statements, website and in-house publication. A content analysis was carried out on the data obtained to allow for an in-depth understanding of issues in the case study. The study found out that DECAL has a formal strategic planning process which is driven from the global corporation and tailor made to suit local concerns by the country leadership team. The study found out that the company was able to respond to most changes in the environment which impacted on the company activities. The study identified the following factors which the company has been able to put up strategies so as to create sustainable competitive advantage. In the political environment the key variable had been the post election violence which took place after the disputed 2007 elections. In the legal environment the key variable had been taxation. In the technological environment the key variable was mainly obsolescence of raw materials and products due to innovations and restriction of raw materials having ecological impacts. In the economic environment the key variables have been cross border tariffs, inflation rates, high interest rates and cost of electricity. In the competitive environment the key variables have been low barriers to entry by competition, bargaining power of customers and cheap low quality materials from some local suppliers. The study suggested that in order to understand other possible strategies that can be used to create sustainable competitive advantage at DECAL further studies could be carried out in other companies within the Basic industrial chemicals sector. A further study could also be carried out to determine why DECAL chooses to use the strategies it had adopted and lastly further suggested study could be carried out on DECAL to determine how the company would alter its strategies to other changes in the environment in future. This study concluded that even for companies that were successful, it is prudent that they continuously engage in strategies that are aligned and match with changes in the external environment to create sustainable competitive advantage. Organizations also need to selfishly protect its core competencies and unique resources to be able to create a sustainable competitive advantage.