Strategies adopted by Mumias Company Ltd to gain competitive advantage
The focus of the study was to establish the strategies that Mumias Sugar Company Ltd has adopted to gain competitive advantage. The research design was based on case study which involved detailed investigation of the company. Both primary and secondary data were gathered. The former was from interviews with senior management of the company while the latter was from the company's strategic plans and annual financial reports. The findings of the study have largely indicated that the company has endeavored to gain competitive advantage vide adoption of differentiation and diversification strategies. Differentiation strategy was manifest through initiatives put forward by the company like, branding of its sugar products in diverse sizes of a quarter, half, one, two and five kilogram packets which cater for all classes of consumers in the market place. Lately the company has availed fortified sugar to the market; the sugar is fortified with Vitamin A to cater for changing consumer needs. The company's strategic function is being steered by a strong corporate and marketing department headed by a director. Regular advertising in the local media assists in reinforcing the company's products in the market. The company's corporate social responsibility function is strategic. The company is the major sponsor of AFC Leopards football club, a major football club in the country with a fanatic club base nationally. The players don jerseys with Mumias Sugar clearly written on them whenever they play football league games thus fully advertising the company and entrenching its products in the consumers' minds. The company has invested a lot in the construction and running of schools which post very impressive results in national examinations. Names such as Booker academy with their regular good performance in examinations are strongly associated with Mumias sugar hence the good performance translates to a perception of excellence in the company and its products. A perception that has greatly assisted the company differentiate itself from the competition. Diversification initiatives include, electricity generation whereby a 38 Mega Watts (MW) cogeneration plant commissioned in 2009 presently produces 34 MW out of which 26MW is transmitted to the national grid. The company sells molasses which is a syrup, by-product from the processing of sugarcane into sugar to Industrial users, Individual users and traders. It has finalized installing an ethanol production plant that they forecast is capable of converting their molasses output into 65,000 litres a day of ethanol. Water bottling and sale project was completed in May 2012 and bottled water brand named Sprinkles is presently available in the market. The findings of the study have provided useful insights on how an organization can utilize differentiation and diversification strategies to better its position in the market. The recommendations of this research are that similar studies be conducted industry wide in order to come up with an industry position on strategies employed by various millers to overcome the numerous challenges they are encountering. Comparative studies may also be undertaken with related agricultural industries such as Dairy and Horticulture in order to compare the position with the strategies applied in these industries to achieve competitive advantage.