Strategic alignment and competitive advantage of major beverage soft drink firms in Kenya
The objective of this study was to determine strategic alignment and competitrve advantage of major beverage soft drink firms in Kenya. Cross sectional research design was used in this study. The population of interest for this research was all the major beverage firms operating in Kenya as listed in the latest edition of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Directory (Kenya Association of Manufacturers, 2013) which were seventeen firms. The study used primary data which was collected through selfadministered questionnaires. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics (measures of central tendency and measures of variations) and inferential statistic tools in which multiple linear regression models were used. The findings of the study were that competitive advantage achieved through strategic alignment included provision of customized products and services, differentiation through price and product innovation. Others included shorter-time to market, customer service establishment of brand image, collection of customer data which includes demographic data, product comments and potential demands for certain products/services. The findings further established competitive advantage as the creation of new inter-relationships among businesses and expanding the scope, reduced costs of obtaining, processing and transmitting information, cost leadership promotion, firm expansion thus facilitating a firm's growth strategy, development of geographical and global market, reduced cost of marketing, advertising, business operations of the firm, and improved customer relationships and alliance improvement through provision of an efficient and cheaper communication channel. The study established that there exist relationships between IT-business strategic alignment, and leadership, structure and process, service quality, values and beliefs, and sustainable competitive advantage. It was recommended that executives in the information technology/systems realm should share responsibility with senior executives in other fields, because strategic alignment has been proven to improve organizational performance.