The NFPA estimates that there is 1,148,100 firefighters in the United States, of these 29% or 332,949 are professional/full time firefighters and 71% or 815,151 are volunteer firefighters. (Source: US Fire Department Profile Through 2009, Michael J. Karter, Jr., NFPA, Quincy, MA, October 2010). In the training/education industry as it pertains to firefighters we can assume that our customer market is comprised of 1.1 million potential customers. Our primary focus for our product/service is geared towards the Volunteer Fire Departments and their internal training systems.
Analysis of Porters Five Forces
Threat of New Entry
Our strategy will need to include a means to manage the threat of new entry. Though we have not been able to find companies that provide a comprehensive training solution it will not be difficult for existing training and education companies to devise programs similar to the one we are proposing. Our strategy will require us to quickly enter the market place and secure customers.
Within the training and education industry for firefighting there are not any competitors that provide a program geared specifically to the volunteer fire service. Technology is the driving force behind the growth of the firefighting industry. As new techniques and new equipment is developed the training most also be developed to ensure that proper techniques be utilized for safety purposes. The product we are proposing provides industry differention because of the unique way the program is packaged.
Bargaining Power of Suppliers
Our dependency of suppliers is regulated to our DVD sales portion and their distribution to those ordering. However there are many DVD producers in the United States as well as globally that can maintain a competitive price and reliability to make sure our products would be provided when required.
The Industry – Jockeying for Position Among Current Competitors
An analysis of the training and education industry shows the following current educators in the firefighting educational system:
•State Colleges and Academies (Normally run through Community Colleges) •Fire House and Fire Engineering Magazines
•Manufacturers of Various Firefighting Gear and Equipment •You Tube and Social Firefighting Networks (i.e. Facebook)
Bargaining Power of Customers
What we are selling is the convenience of having an entire years training program completely mapped out for the busy volunteer training officer. Our customers will have the opportunity to cater the program anyway they want. Within the industry the firefighters that select these types of programs normally control finite public budgets and therefore will have much control over which training tools they wanted represented at their respective fire halls. These individuals have much to choose from in the way of training and can create their own programs from all of the materials available online and through manufacturers.
Threat of Substitute Products or Services
The industry has many options for training but no comprehensive program. However when our program is developed and marketed other companies that are already established in the market place will have an easy time to copy our program. Any strategy that our company has will address this threat through a swift marketing strategy and specific training program that is professional, comprehensive and convenient.
Review of the Value Chain
There will be two major means of delivery for our products: the World Wide Web and delivery of a training package that includes DVD’s. The production of the video, the educational tools (paper products to support the videos) and the assembly of the package will need to be completed utilizing the most value and cost efficient manner.