Smithfield Foods

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Smithfield Foods Pages: 5 (1729 words) Published: April 12, 2008
Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, with revenues approaching $12 billion in fiscal year 2007. In the United States, Smithfield is also the leader in turkey processing, cattle feeding, and several packaged meats categories as well as the fifth-largest beef processor. From national brands and regional powerhouses in the U.S. to some of the best-known European brands, Smithfield Foods packages meats that are purchased by retail, foodservice, and deli customers (2008). Headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia, longtime Chairman and CEO, Joseph W. Luter III, vision was to drive down cost and push up sales. Luter introduced a vertical integration strategy to control all aspects of a product’s development, manufacturing, and distribution in 1981 and to date; the company has completed 30 acquisitions. In the meat industry, vertical integration refers specifically to maintain control over both livestock production and meat processing which allows for greater product consistency and traceability (Thompson, 2006, p. C-172). Over the last decade, Smithfield Foods had met with mounting opposition to expansion of its business, particularly in hog farming. The main opposition is Smithfield Foods’ neighboring residents to its 8,000 plus North Carolina hog farms, who claim, hog farming has been imposed on them and that the adverse impact in low wages, environmental damages, maltreatment of the hogs, and overall water safety is not worth the profits (Thompson, 2006, p. C-172). In 2006, Smithfield Foods made Fortune magazine’s annual list of America’s Most Admired Companies, ranking third among all U.S. food production companies. Fortune describes its annual list of America’s Most Admired Companies as a “definitive report card” on corporate reputations (2006).

This case study will answer the seven questions listed below: 1.What are the key elements of Outback Steakhouse's strategy in 2005? Is the strategy working? 2.What role do you see that Outback's Principles and Beliefs have played in the company's success? What relevance do these Principles and Beliefs have to Outback's strategy? How does the STARS program support Outback's Principles and Beliefs? 3.What do you see as the key policies and operating practices that Outback is using to execute its strategy? 4.What do you think of Outback's emphasis on "taking care of Outbackers first"? What evidence indicates that this is a successful policy or not? 5.How would you characterize Outback's culture—strong, weak, healthy, unhealthy, high performance, adaptive? What are the chief components of the culture? Is the culture well-matched to the strategy? Why or why not? 6.What grade would you give Outback management for the manner in which it is trying to execute its strategy? What support can you give for assigning this grade? How close is this company to achieving operating excellence? Is this a good example of best practice and continuous improvement? 7.What recommendations would you make to Bill Allen, CEO of Outback, regarding Outback's strategy and its approaches to strategy execution? LO6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

Business ethics concerns the application of general ethical principles and standards to the actions and decisions of companies and the conduct of company personnel (Thompson, 2006, p. C-317). Chairman and CEO, Joseph W. Luter III, vision to drive down cost and push up sales is an admirable vision and a solid theory in our capitalist economy and I do not see a moral issue with his original vertical integration strategy. However, the results of his strategy and the now known effects of the strategy do impose moral and ethical issues ranging from the environment to poor working conditions and public safety (2008). In my opinion, I think Smithfield Foods did pass the moral scrutiny test in 1981 when they truly began their vertical integration strategy. To date, some of their actions are questionable and...
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