Innovation as a basis of creating sustainable competitive advantage among shipping agents in Kenya
This study was conducted with the aim of establishing how Shipping agents in Kenya were using innovation as a basis for creating sustainable competitive advantage. The study also sought to establish how effective innovative strategies had been in creating sustainable competitive advantage in the Shipping agency business in Kenya. The study adopted a census survey research design. The population of the study comprised 40 registered ship agents at the port of Mombasa as at December, 2012. Primary data was collected through the use of questionnaires. Analysis was conducted through the use of descriptive statistics. The results indicated that innovative superior customer service was the competitive strategy that shipping agents employed the most; the study also established that respondents thought that innovation was driven by customer needs to a very high extent; additionally, the study found that a bulk of the respondents indicated that they had an innovation policy at their respective firms; the study also found that the bulk of respondents thought that innovations are based on product/service to a very high extent. The study also found that most respondents thought that innovative strategies in the shipping agency business were effective to an average and above average extent; in addition, the study also found that a majority of the respondents thought that innovation was a source of competitive advantage to an above average extent. The study consequently concluded that; first, innovation is indeed widely used as a basis of creating competitive advantage in the shipping agency business in Kenya; secondly that, though innovative strategies are widely acclaimed as means of creating competitive advantage, they are soon or later imitated and resulting in the loss of the advantage. To that extent therefore the study gave innovative strategies an average score; neither very effective nor ineffective. On the basis of the findings, the study recommended that the innovation platform should continue being used as a key avenue for creating competitive advantage in the shipping agency business as it was demonstrated that it actually and continually accrued market strength.