Can Albertsons Trounce Wal-Mart with Advanced Information Technology?

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Case Study: Can Albertsons Trounce Wal-Mart with Advanced Information Technology?

1.Analyze Albertsons using the value chain and competitive forces model.

The grocery industry as a whole is competing aggressively for razor-thin profit margins. Albertsons has much to do to gain a competitive advantage against Wal-Mart who are famous for keeping the prices of its merchandise low, but still reap a 3 cent profit for every dollar of sales whereas the industry average is one cent per dollar of sales and Albertsons is about 1.4 cents. Albertsons value proposition is to keep costs as low as possible but try to provide superior service and product selection, since its costs will never be as low as Wal-Mart’s.

In the value chain model, Albertsons commits a substantial amount of resources toward implementing new technology,and beefing up its administration and management support. Albertsons uses technology in order to reduce costs in its supply chain by consolidating distribution centers and using the Web to coordinate shipments and to reduce billing and invoicing costs. The company has also upgraded its core corporate systems, moving financial applications to software from Oracle and its human resources management to PeopleSoft sofware. The company’s high-speed network infrastructure has also been upgraded and electronic data interchange capabilities have been added, resulting in better processing of transactions with suppliers. Albertsons must work on its marketing strategies to gain customers who are open to the use of such innovative technology.

In looking at Figure 3-15, “Porter’s competitive forces model,” Albertsons has not given enough attention to the fact that the traditional industry competitors will be a momentual challenge. The nature of the top three players in the industry and their relative bargaining power will greatly determine industry structure and the overall profitability of doing business in the grocery environment.

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