The textbook uses the development of a small company into an international success story to demonstrate the importance of certain business practices. As described in Quality & Performance Excellence, The Bama Companies, Inc. began as a small, privately-held corporation in Cornillia, Alabama, and has since grown into a company with 1,100 employees and production facilities in both the U.S. and China (Evans, 2013, p. 247). It has established long-standing business relationships with suppliers, with the majority of these partnerships lasting ten years, or more (Evans, 2013, p. 248). The Bama Companies, Inc. is also fortunate to have a loyal customer base. The company sells its products to multiple international fast-food franchisors including McDonalds and Pizza Hut, and has for many years (other examples of long-term relationships) (Evans, 2013, p. 248). However, there are certain factors that contribute to the success of The Bama Companies, Inc. The first, is clearly defined vision and mission statements which are incorporated into management processes, driving the future direction of the company. The second, is The Bama Companies, Inc.’s ability to compete with other companies, despite its comparatively small size. Without these two conditions, The Bama Companies, Inc. may not have enjoyed the success that it has to date.
The vision and mission statements each serve a valuable role in the future growth of a company. Simply put, the mission statement of a company defines its “reason for existence” (Evans, 2013, p. 224). Since formation of The Bama Companies, Inc., the company’s declared mission is, “People Helping People be Successful” (Evans, 2013, p. 248). This is the guiding principle behind all business operations. The vision statement of a company defines “where the organization is headed and what it intends to be” (Evans, 2013, p. 224). The stated vision for The Bama Companies, Inc. is to “Create and Deliver Loyalty, Prosperity, and Fun for All, While Becoming a Billion Dollar Company” (Evans, 2013, p. 248). However, the planning for the success of the company did not end here.
In order to ensure that the company is successful in achieving its vision, the senior leadership looked to the future success of The Bama Companies, Inc. and what it would take for the company to get to that place. In response, senior leadership created what is referred to in the text as a “Future Picture” for the company, realized following a comprehensive strategic planning process (Evans, 2013, p. 248). In the Future Picture, the company tied organizational objectives directly back to the vision statement. For example, the company’s stated goals now include “becoming a billion dollar company, being first choice-supplier in all its target markets and providing employees and other stakeholders with unparalleled personal and financial opportunities” (Evans, 2013, p. 248). Each of these goals can be directly tied back to the vision statement, confirming that the established goals are, in fact, reflective of what the company wants to be in the future.
Part of the plans for the future of The Bama Companies, Inc. also included a different kind of planning. While senior leadership expressed that it was important for the company to each of its goals, it did not want to do so at the cost of The Bama Companies, Inc.’s “small company culture” (Evans, 2013, p. 248). This required that the company incorporate the focus on the following strategic outcomes into its management processes:
1) People – Create & Deliver Loyalty, Prosperity and Fun
2) Learning and Innovation
3) Continuous Improvement
4) Be Customer’s First Choice
5) Value Added Growth (Evans, 2013, p. 248).
As stated in the text, The Bama Companies, Inc. utilizes “short-term action plans” (specific actions to reach a goal), combined with a “Balanced Scorecard, to assess progress towards meeting the outcomes” (Evans, 2013, p. 248). These action plans and scorecard are incorporated into management processes at all possible levels.
The author offers that there are several factors which contribute to the success of The Bama Companies, Inc. Included in these are the company’s “agility, its unique approach to product innovation, and its System View pricing strategy” (noting that the company has not raised its prices in eighteen years) (Evans, 2013, p. 247-248). According to the text, the combination of these factors gives The Bama Companies, Inc. the ability to remain a player in the highly competitive market of frozen, ready to use food products (Evans, 2013, p. 248). Customer retention would also play a factor in this success.
The Bama Companies, Inc.’s customers have been existing customers with the company for many years. During the course of that relationship, the company has developed a unique understanding of the customer’s businesses and desires in a food manufacturer. The article cites The Bama Companies, Inc.’s ability to tailor its services to a particular customer, along with multiple service level indicators, as another reason for the company’s continued success (Evans, 2013, p. 248). However, quality is not specifically discussed in relation its food products and success in the market. While the original guiding principles for the company include “keeping an eye on quality”, it is unclear what impact this has on the company’s current success (Evans, 2013, p. 248). Absent this information, it would still be safe to assume that the company delivers a quality product, and this allows it to remain competitive.
The Bama Companies, Inc. is an excellent business model for companies who wish to look to a successful company that has managed to retain its focus, while still remaining competitive with much larger business adversaries.
Evans, J. (2013). Quality & performance excellence. Mason: South-western Cengage Learning.