Tesla Motors : Has it created (or does it seem to be on the way to creating) sustained competitive advantage in its industry? If so, how? How can other businesspeople learn from the way it created sustained competitive advantage?

Your goal is to identify a major problem or opportunity that the company currently faces in its international operations, analyze the company and its environment, and, based on your analysis, make specific recommendations about how the company should address this problem opportunity and why. You will write a thorough company analysis which includes four parts (please refer to Appendix II for a more detailed explanation for each part).
Title Page: Name and Executive Summary
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: External Analysis
Part 3: Internal Analysis
Part 4: Recommendations
Format guidelines:
Sub-headings are required
Exhibits should be labeled sequentially and in the order they are discussed in the text.
Include a title page with your names and an executive summary (1/2 page): If you submit projects without this section your grade will be significantly negatively affected.
The optimal length of the paper is 10 pages, excluding attachments such as figures, tables, references, and appendix. The total length of the paper 10- 20 pages.
Structure of the Project

The report you will present at the end of the term must be a comprehensive strategic analysis of the company you have chosen. It will consist of an Executive Summary, a series of chapters, each based on one of the modules discussed below, and any appendices you deem necessary.

The Executive Summary is a key part of the report. Many of the busy managers who buy these reports will never read anything but the Executive Summary. Therefore, it must tell what are the most important points a company competing with, selling to, buying from, or possibly contemplating a large investment in the firm must know. It must also tell what lessons other businesspeople can learn from the firm and from its efforts to compete.

The Executive Summary should be about 2 double-spaced pages in length, and identify the key conclusions of your report.

It is suggested that you not start writing the Summary until you have a good understanding of your company. But when writing your paper, keep in mind the need for a good summary of your study.

Preparing the Report

To write a high-quality final report, you have to operate from the beginning as an integrated team. The final report must be a coherent work. That is, though different individuals will write different parts, there must be internal consistency from one part to the next. You will need to pass pieces of the report from one person to another frequently so that the team presents a consistent view, and that each member has a comprehensive understanding of the company.

As you write the report, be aware that you will be building your understanding of the company and how the various pieces of its strategy fit together.

Your paper will need to answer the following general questions about your company:

1) What does it do for its customers?

2 Has it created (or does it seem to be on the way to creating) sustained competitive advantage in its industry? If so, how? How can other businesspeople learn from the way it created sustained competitive advantage? If not, what are the prospects that it will be a profitable and successful firm in the future? What lessons can be learned from its struggles?

3) What actions do you think the senior executives of your firm have to take to continue its success (if it is successful) or to make it successful (if it is not successful now)?

The first chapter of the report should be a brief history of the company, including important dates. You will want to discuss the companys business model (a general description of how it goes about its business) in this chapter as well. Keep in mind here that you are trying to show your reader how the company evolved, and how it works today. Each subsequent chapter will answer a group of questions about a different aspect of the firms strategic management.

In some of the chapters, the answers to questions depend on answers to previous ones. For example, in conducting your companys internal analysis no student can answer the question How have the strategies your firm has pursued in the past contributed to the distinctive competencies it has today? until someone has determined what the distinctive competencies are. That is the job of the person who answers the question Does your company have any distinctive competence or competences? Plan carefully to be sure the people writing later questions receive drafts from the people writing earlier questions in time for the later questions to be written and reviewed by at least one other person in the group.

Citations of Sources

For all factual information and all opinions of people outside your group, you must report the sources that provided the information. It is recommended that you use the Modern Language Association (MLA) system of citing references. A good short guide to this system is available on the web at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_mla.html. Note that MLA style includes methods for citing pages from web sites as well as articles from books, magazines, and newspapers.

Section I – Address, first, the history of your company. Briefly describe its significant milestones, successes and failures in an abbreviated timeline for your company and its industry, no more than two or three pages in length. The history and the timeline will help give you a sense of how your company succeeded and how its industry has developed. In this chapter you should also discuss your companys primary business model.

Section II -External analysis – Your firm and its industry context (Chapter 2 in textbook)

External analysis tries to develop an understanding of the companys industry, its important characteristics: What is the primary industry of your firm? (The primary industry is the one in which it has the most sales. In a few cases very diverse companies like General Electric, for instance you may prefer to analyze two or more industries.) Is the industry definition useful? Are the boundaries of the industry changing or have they changed in the past? In this section, it is recommended that you dont talk about your company specifically.

At what stage in the industry life cycle is the industry in which your company is based? What are the implications of this for the intensity of competition, both now and in the future?

How dynamic is the industry in which your company is based? Is there evidence that innovation is re-shaping competition? Has it done so in the recent past? What evidence is there to support your positions?

Apply the five (6?) forces model to the industry. (It is appropriate to write approximately one paragraph each on each of the forces.) What are the implications of your analysis?

Is you industry organized in strategic groups? If so, how are these groups different? What mobility barriers exist?

Are there other external factors not covered above that are important to your industry?

Overall, what conclusions do you draw from the external analysis of your company? What are the most important issues?

Section III – Internal Analysis

The knowledge you gain from this section should help you understand how your company fits into the industry described in the previous section (although HOW it does is the subject of the next chapter).
What are your companys values and mission statement? Are they relevant?
Identify whether your company has a competitive advantage or any distinctive competencies in its primary industry.
For the industry where your company has the most sales, evaluate your company against the four generic building blocks of competitive advantage: efficiency, quality, innovation, and customer responsiveness. In which has it achieved a distinctive competency? Where does it seem to be developing one? Has it lost any due to imitation or other competitive actions? On which building blocks is it strong? On which is it weak? What lessons can you draw from this to understand the performance of your company relative to its competitors?
Are there any aspects of your companys success that are not captured in the four generic building blocks? What are they? Do they represent additional building blocks of competitive advantage in your companys industry? How does your company perform in these areas?
Does your company have any distinctive competence or competences? If so, what are they? If not, is it trying to build any?
How have strategies your firm has pursued in the past contributed to the distinctive competencies it has (or is trying to build) today? How has luck contributed?
Do the strategies currently pursued by your company build on its distinctive competencies? Do they involve attempting to build new competencies?
What are the barriers to imitating the distinctive competencies of your company?

Section IV – Business-level Strategy

Some companies perform just one business. (For example, a local company that operates a single restaurant.) Others have several businesses, but one is overwhelmingly dominant. (For example, discount retail is the dominant business of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., though the company also sells on line and through Sams Club warehouse stores.) Finally, in some companies several businesses have to be understood to gain a good sense of the firm as a whole. (For example, Shell Oil has businesses that find and produce oil, that refine oil, and that sell oil to end-users. You cant understand Shell by looking at just one of these businesses.)

How many different businesses need to be analyzed to give a picture of the overall success of your company? (Usually if you analyze business units representing 70-80% of the firms total sales and profits, you can get a good idea.) If one business unit is dominant, answer the following questions for that business unit. If more than one is important, pick two business units and answer the questions for each.

How differentiated are the products/services of this business? To the extent that they are differentiated (that is, to the extent that customers see them as superior to competitors), what is the basis of their differentiated appeal?

What is the business strategy toward market segmentation? If it segments its market, on what basis does it do so?

What functional units seem the main driving forces in your company? Are they adequate to support its business-level strategy?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the chosen business-level strategies?
NOTE: If you say a business is pursuing both differentiation and cost leadership, indicate to what extent you think the company is or is in danger of being stuck in the middle.

Based on all the information you have gathered so far, do you now believe your company has a sustainable competitive advantage? If not, what might it do to create a sustainable competitive advantage? Could you improve the business-level strategies you have discussed?

Section V Additional Strategic Issues

Choose one of the following topics to discuss: technology, corporate, or global. You will find it best to select that topic most relevant to your company. How does your companys distinctive competencies relate to the chosen area? For your chosen topic, consult the textbook and class material for additional ways of analyzing the company.


Is technology an important aspect of the products and services your company provides? Or is your company just using other companies technologies? Can you identify any dominant product technology or technologies used in the industry where your company has most sales? Are technical standards important in this industry? If so, what are they? How were they set? Is you company driving the dynamism in the industry? How so?

Where is the dominant technology in your industry on its S-curve? Are alternative competing technologies being developed that could be (or are) disruptive technologies? What is the risk that your industry will experience a paradigm shift?

Global Strategies

Is the competition in your industry global? Or do companies compete mostly within a single country or region? Is there evidence that competition is becoming more global?

Analyze the impact of the national context on the industry in which your company is based. Do local demand conditions, factor conditions, related and supporting industries, or the intensity of rivalry in the country where your company is based help or hinder it?

1. Analyze the impact of the national context in your firms home country on the industry in which it is based. (See the discussion of the Porter Diamond in Chapter 2.) Do local demand conditions, factor conditions, related and supporting industries, or the intensity of rivalry in the country where your company is based help or hinder it?
2. How responsive is your company to differences among nations? Does it vary its product and marketing message from one country to another? Should it?
3. How intense are cost pressures in international business in the industry in which your company is based?
4. Can your companys approach be summarized with one of the strategies identified in the text (international, multi-domestic, global, transnational)? If so, which one? Or is there a mix of these strategies? Do you think it is the correct strategy, given cost pressures and pressures for local responsiveness?

Corporate Strategies

1. Has your company carried out any diversification outside of its existing businesses recently (past 5 to 10 years)? Do you believe it has been wise? Based on the above analysis, would you recommend your company embark on any diversification? Analyze the dangers of that bureaucratization costs or failure to understand the competencies needed for the new businesses might cause serious problems as relevant to your company.
4. Has your company carried out any horizontal integration recently? Should it?

1. Describe your companys strategy toward vertical integration. Would you recommend your company have more or less vertical integration?