An Overview of Thomas Cook Company

AN OVERVIEW OF THOMAS COOK COMPANY 23

AnOverview of Thomas Cook Company

Students

TABLEOF CONTENTS

1.0:Executive summary…………………………………………………………………………3

2.0:Introduction……………………………………………………………………….…………4

3.0:Situation analysis……………………………………………………………….……………4

4.0:Evaluation of current marketing strategies………………………………………………….10

5.0:Strategy implementation…………………………………………………………………….16

6.0:Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………..17

7.0:Appendices……………………………………………………………………………………………………………19

8.0:References……………………………………………………………..……………………20

1.0:EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

ThomasCook is a global Company based in Britain and listed on the LondonStock Exchange. The main Company itself is a merger that was formedby Thomas Cook and Son and Thomas Cook AG. The merger happened backin 2007. The owners of Thomas Cook are a force to reckon with in theindustry as they own a number of enterprises in the aviation andhospitality industry.

TheCompany was the first to gross over seven hundred billion dollars inthe Britain and this was mainly contributed by its aviation andhospitality sectors. The Company’s primary focus and objective havealways been to extend its products line including its airlinesglobally. The Company is a hub for the hospitality industry and rakesin millions each and every month through its daily transactions. Ithas also acted in sponsorship deals including on major soccer teamssuch as Peterborough United and Manchester City. Thomas Cook operatesa booking site for travelers, an airline and a travel agency (Beding,2000).

ThomasCook`s journey dates back in 1841. This presence in the market hasmade them stand out from the crowd as they work on their new qualityand trusted products as well as reflect their success in the growingsuite of online applications and tools. Thomas Cook has been able tocreate great values of innovation, personalization and trust whichhave made a great appreciation from their customers. To Thomas Cookcompany, innovation is what will shape their future just as it hasshaped their past. Thomas Cook`s essence in the industry has beeninstrumental in the travel industry. Thomas Cook serves more than 22million customers annually most of who are recurrent customers.ThomasCook Group plc is one of the world’s leading leisure travel groupswith sales of over £8.5 billion in the year ended 30 September 2014.Thomas Cook is supported by approximately 22,000 employees andoperates from 15 source markets it is number one or two (by revenue)in all its core markets.

ThomasCook company has enacted a brand in the name of a sunny heart whichunifies all the brands of its company. The unification happened in2013. This brought up their strategies of ultimate customerexperience to their customers. The unification of Thomas Cook brandswill make it easier for customers to understand the full strength andend-to-end value of the entire Thomas Cook Group coupled with theinnovative offering of services and products. Thomas Cook has sincethen rose to more responsibilities including social corporateresponsibility where they sponsor social activities such as football.

2.0:INTRODUCTION

Theaim this report is to give clearly a description of the Thomas CookCompany as well as to analyze the internal and external environmentof the Company. This report also provides an insight on the SWOTanalysis and also shows how the Company competes with itscompetitors. The report also clearly states the market strategiesthat the Company uses to outshine its competitors in the airline andhospitality industry. Finally, the report outlines therecommendations that should be put in place.

3.0:SITUATION ANALYSIS

Amarketing audit is one of the crucial processes of the marketingplanning processes. A marketing audit should be done both in thebeginning and also at various points in the implementation of anymarketing plan. Marketing audits are done by understanding all of themarketing activities of the Thomas Cook Company by researching deeplyon the internal and the external environments that surround theCompany. While analyzing the situations, both internal and externalanalysis are considered. (Menon,A. et al. 1999.)The internal analysis ultimately underline the strengths which arethe advantages that Thomas Cook as a company has, the weaknesseswhich are the improvements that would be made, the opportunitieswhich are the gaps and niches in the market and also the threatswhich are the obstacles which the Thomas Cook company may face in theprocess.

3.1:TOWS MATRIX

Koontz(2010), in his book the essentials of management describes the TOWSmatrix as meaning threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengthsmatrix which is a two-cell by two-cell matrix that assists companiesin determining strategic alternatives by examining externalopportunities and threats and how they compare to a company’sexisting strengths and weaknesses (Porter, 2012). All the threats,opportunities, weaknesses and strengths are listed on the outside ofthe matrix and compared within each cell.

Strengths (S)

Weaknesses (W)

Internalfactors

Opportunities (O)

SO Strategic option

Huge marketing and advertising capabilities.

Innovativeness and creativity.

High levels of financial vitality.

Strong brand.

Good location of Thomas Cook business.

Huge marketing and advertising capabilities.

Innovativeness and creativity.

High levels of financial vitality.

Strong brand.

Good location of Thomas Cook business.

WO Strategic option

Inflation.

Risks and accidents.

Commercial and industrial weaknesses are leading to a damaged reputation.

Competitive human resource.

Products in this industry are undifferentiated in relation to competitors.

Inflation.

Risks and accidents.

Commercial and industrial weaknesses are leading to a damaged reputation.

Competitive human resource.

Products in this industry are undifferentiated in relation to competitors.

ExternalFactors

Threats (T)

ST Strategic option

UK is a leading tourist destination.

Strong marketing and advertising power through own media.

Developing market due to availability of the internet.

Potential for expansion.

WT Strategic option

Strong competition from related companies.

Increased cases of insecurity.

Risk of occurrence of fires.

Legal requirements and taxation

Measure strong competition from related companies.

3.1.1:Strengths

Oneof the major advantages that Thomas Cook enjoys is having hugemarketing and advertising capabilities as compared to itscompetitors. This is majorly advocated by the initial strategy ThomasCook adopted for sponsoring football clubs that are literally theowners of people in Europe and the people are the markets for theirservices and products. Although not having the largest advertisingbudget, the Company has one of the most efficiently usedadvertisements as seen from the uptake of its services(Reuss, 1993).This then means that the rivals of Thomas Cook Company spend moremoney than it does but in turn Thomas Cook amasses greater profitsthan the competitors.

Innovativenessand creativity are also other strengths that Thomas Cook Companyenjoys. Since the inception and founding of the Thomas Cook Company,through a merger of MyTravel Group PLC and the Thomas Cook AG, itsservices have not ceased to amaze people due to the new features thatare added every now and then and level of innovativeness in theCompany. Thomas Cook as a profit making Company has continuallygenerated new services that the customers enjoy and the quality ofservices remains adorable and high.

ThomasCook Company also enjoys some high levels of financial Vitality. Thisis whereby the Company has remained strong and stable in the market.Through resisting of any occurrence of market pressures and byforming an economic agreement, the Thomas Cook Company has been ableto conquer the idle market share for the travel and hospitalityindustry (Geroski, 2013). Thomas Cook has also gained listing on theLondon Stock Exchange and traded its returns favorably gaining thetrust of many of its clients in Europe as well as globally.

Thebrand is also a significant strength. Thomas Cook over the years hasgrown to become one of the most established and significant traveland hospitality brand in the globe, and this has therefore given themquite an immense set of Customers. This means that the Thomas CookCompany can acquire new customers for their products and also retainthe old ones giving them and ever increasing fans base for theirproducts and services.

3.1.2:Weaknesses

ThomasCook Company operates a chartered airline service mostly in Belgium,United Kingdom and Scandinavia. We all know that no transportationindustry has got the full surety of non-occurrence of risks. Thisplaces the Company at a risk of occurrence of accidents as well assetbacks such as climatic and technological hitches. When theseoccur, the Company probably counts losses in terms of millions andtakes time to recover and reinstate itself to the position it waspreviously. This is a major weakness that the Company faces in itsdaily operations (Lorenzen,2006).

Fora Company to establish itself competitively in the tourism andhospitality sector, it has to have a set of well-endowed leaders aswell as human resource department (Porter, 2012). It is a majorweakness to acquire leaders who can run the hospitality and tourismindustry well. This is because the leader should possess at leastmost of these attributes a good listener, a good facilitator, goodnetworking skills, persistence, personal and also professionalintegrity.

ThomasCook Company owns a couple of hotels as well as resorts in Europe andAsia. It also includes a media and entertainment sector known asThomas Cook TV. All these products are generally left open to publiccriticism. This becomes a weakness due to the varying expectationsand tastes of clients in their services hence a client might or mightnot be satisfied with the services provided for by the Company(Shephard,2012).This might spillover and cause resentment among customers over theservices that best suit other clients hence the Company makes lossesin relation to its public relations department.

ThomasCook Company operates in the hospitality as well as airlineindustries in the United Kingdom. These two are subject increasedcosts notably increased costs of production of food products andservices as well as increased fuel costs. This is generally due toinflation as food and fuels are the most hit particulars by inflationin the world (Hynes, 2004). When foods and beverages which are themajor primary inputs in the hospitality industry are expensive toprocess at specific durations within the year the cost of the outputservice tends to be higher than before making the services offered byThomas Cook quite expensive for typical customers and standardclients to afford. The same scenario operates the airline sectorhence high prices and fewer sales making it a weakness for theCompany and a high-risk weakness because it is a weakness that theCompany cannot really be able to correct by itself.

3.1.3:Opportunities

TheUnited Kingdom where Thomas Cook Company is majorly based in, it isalready a leading tourist destination. Hence, Thomas Cook being abigwig in the tourism and hospitality sectors can reap maximumbenefits from this opportunity. The ability of Thomas Cook to houseits own private television station for advertising its services is anopportunity to increase its market considerably(Waters,2003). This program can help the Company increase its revenuedrastically through direct conveyance of information to its potentialcustomers and also standard clients. The Company can also increaseprofits through adverts for other products from other non-competitivecompanies through their television station.

ThomasCook as a Company has got enough space as well as potential forexpansion of its services in the world(Kaye, 2005).The company has a great opportunity to increase its market share aswell as to rake in more profits. This would help them tap in moreuntapped markets hence filling the niches left in the hospitality andtourism industries. Another key opportunity is the presence of theinternet. This enables potential customers to acquire information onservices offered by Thomas Cook directly without strain through theinternet.

3.1.4:Threats

Thebiggest threat that any corporation faces is the availability ofcompetition from companies producing similar products. Thomas Cookis not an exemption on this threat. In order to counter the threatthat has been found the Company will always keep its secrets from thecompetitors as well as find new ways to captivate and win overcustomers. The hospitality sector of any Company not only Thomas Cookis dependent on premises. This poses a threat of fire that wouldliterally be able to force out the building, as well as the clientsof the hotel. Fires are fierce-some and they can destroy firms fullportfolio hence termed as a major threat.

Anothermajor threat facing the Thomas Cook Company is raising insecuritycases globally(Narayman, 1986).This affects its returns as people travel less to their preferreddestinations due to fear of their lives. This threat can be coupledup with the threat of accidents occurring which would still adverselyaffect the Company negatively. Thomas Cook as a Company employsmillions of employees annually in both professional and casualcapacities. This subjects the Company to the employment law that cansometimes be unfair to the employers. This is because even in thequest to protect one`s financial returns they can accrue financialpenalties for reasons such as unfair dismissal and compromisedagreements and covenants.

4.0:EVALUATION OF CURRENT MARKETING STRATEGIES

TheSafe criteria for the evaluation of Thomas Cook Company strategieswould be:

4.1:SUITABILITY.

Suitabilityacts as a reassurance that the proposed strategy addresses the keyissues that have been identified in the SWOT analysis. It helps toanswer the question of if the investment is appropriate for theinvestor as expected (Kasshanna 2007).

Theproposed marketing strategy by Thomas Cook keenly addresses the keyopportunities and constraints that the Company faces. Key upon thisare the potential for expansion to overseas markets, strongadvertising power especially because Thomas Cook owns and operatesits own media station and also probability of expansion due to theavailability of the internet.

Suitabilityin a company such as Thomas Cook can embrace various key methods tohelp improve the strategy formulation process. These methods help thecompany to align its objectives to suite the market expectations oftheir key customers.

4.1.1:Retrenchment.

Retrenchmentis a strategy used especially by corporate institutions so as toundercut its size as well as diversification within the organization.In addition it helps the institution to minimize its expenditures soas the organization can maintain a viable level of financialstability. Retrenchment is mostly done through withdrawing some ofthe services offered by the organization as well as some of the humanresource involved in the daily operations of the organization(Kinnunen,2011).These retrenchment activities seek to strike a balance.

4.1.2:Market penetration.

Marketpenetration is basically the level of market share and is clarifiedto be the proportion of sales amount that a company is able toachieve relative to the competition it faces. According to renownedscholar J.Reibstein (2010),an organization has the ability to increase its own marketpenetration levels through implementation of various marketpenetration strategies such as increased levels of product promotion,value adjustments to products, increased distribution channels andalso enhancement of the quality of products.

4.1.3:Diversification.

Diversificationis also a corporate strategy that helps improve an organizationssuitability in the market. Berg (2007) defines diversification asthat course of inward bounding into a fresh industry which theorganization is not at present time involved in whilst still creatinga new item for the recently established market. Diversificationtheories have been explained by Caloriand Harvatopoulos (1988)to be concentric, horizontal as well as conglomerate. The twoscholars later on established the goal of diversification as a way tocreate both a defensive as well as an offensive approach to growthand expansion of a business enterprise.

4.1.4:Product development.

Thiscan be defined as the process of bringing up a completely newlycreated product in the market. Thus it incorporates the of a marketchance into a product accessible for auction by an organization.Product development is highly valued by the cost, quality as well astiming prowess for its success to be beneficial (Hardy, 2013).Product development has a key procedure which involves synthesizingthe opportunities, the market available, evaluation of the customersand finally implementation of the product ideology.

4.1.5:Market development.

Marketdevelopment is basically a strategy for the recognition of freshmarkets for the already accessible products. This strategy helps totarget the customers already in the potential market for a productbut do not use the product yet. Market development can be donethrough declaration of new demographic, geographic as well asinstitutional market gaps for an organizations product(Haines, 2004).

4.1.6:Mergers and acquisitions.

Mergersand acquisitions are basically almost similar details with bothentrusting mutual agreements for either joint ownership or completetake-over of ownership between two interested organizations. Thesehelp in the exploitation process of strategic capabilities as well asobtaining new capabilities whilst maintaining the already existingcost efficiency in the organization. Colleen,(2012) states the motive for acquisitions and mergers as being astrategic process for salvaging a competitive situation in theindustry, consolidating opportunities and also enhancing the speed ofentry in the market especially financial markets.

4.2:ACCEPTABILITY.

Acceptabilityis strongly related to a person`s expectations hence covers the issueof to whom the investment is acceptable. It seeks to answer certainkey investment questions such as the profitability question,financial risk question and also capital structures as well asgovernment acceptability(Beding 2000).

Thisproposed marketing strategy meets all the expectations of thestakeholders. This is because the strategy aims at utilizing all theavailable opportunities for the benefit of the Company as well asdealing with the constraints to avoid them hindering the success ofthe Company. The level of risk is quite high though acceptable due tothe presence of high returns thereafter. There is a high probabilityof the stakeholders accepting the strategy as it will improve thecompany’s returns massively especially because it is a marketingstrategy. Acceptability has three key aspects which are:

4.2.1:Risk.

Arisk can be defined as the extent to which the outcomes of aformulated strategy can be predicted by the high line staff of anorganization. This is done through a process of risk assessment. Riskassessment is then defined as the process of determining thequalitative as well as the quantitive level of risk and threat that acertain strategy faces in its quest for its success. An acceptablerisk level creates an acceptability criteria that gives the go aheadto the implementation of the formulated strategy (Hana R. 2011). Risk assessment methods can be sensitivity analysis, financial ratiosand break-even analysis. These methods vary within differentindustries.

4.2.2:Return.

Returnsare defined as the financial considerations in form of benefits thatthe stakeholders to a particular organization expect to receive froma strategy once it has been implemented. Return is described byPogue,M.(2004), as a rate formulae for satisfaction of stakeholderexpectations. It can be assessed through financial analysis,shareholder value analysis, cost-benefit analysis and also realoptions. If these methods of assessment prove that the strategy isunacceptable then it is most likely to fail during its implementationstage.

4.2.3:Reactions.

Reactionsare the powers that stakeholders possess for a strategy to succeed.The interests of stakeholders are key to the acceptability of anystrategy. These reactions to some extent help in the evaluation ofthe acceptability level by understanding the political context ofstrategies, understanding the political agenda and also gauging thelikely reaction by stakeholders to certain strategies beingformulated in the organization. This is enough evidence to prove thatthe level of acceptability of a strategy by the stakeholders plays akey role in the success of the strategies.

4.3:FEASIBILITY.

Anassessment of the feasibility of any strategy is concerned withwhether it can be implemented successfully. Thescale of the proposed changes needs to be achievable in resourceterms. As suggested earlier, this assessment will already havestarted during the identification of options and will continuethrough into the process of planning the details of implementation.However, at the evaluation stage there are a number of fundamentalquestions which need to be asked when assessing feasibility.

Ibelieve that this marketing strategy would most suitably fit inpractice and provide for the most desired results. The strategy canalso be financed to enhance it through strengthening the factionsthat will be considered during the implementation stage. Ahlstrom(2009) opined that the skills required for this strategy to beimplemented are available and can be obtained through extensive humanresource action in the Company. The required resources can also beobtained and integrated into the Company hence making the strategy asuccess for the Thomas Cook Company.

ThomasCook as a Company has achieved what many other hospitality andtourism companies have tried to do over the years. It has created acustomer base that is loyal to the services offered by the Companyhence ever increasing the profitability of the Company. New customersare also joining the Thomas Cook world each and every day globally(Norman, 2013).

ThomasCook usually provides a variety of different types of their services.This enables the customers to choose from the variety what they likehence increasing the sales from their services. The various types andbouquets of services also help the customer to choose the servicethey desire according to the prices they are able and willing toacquire the service at. This is part of the segmentation strategyapplied by Thomas Cook Company in the sale of its services. However,behavioral segmentation has been common even with the introduction ofnew services by the Company where customers tend to stick with theirinitial preferred services rather than experiencing the worth of thenew services by the Company (Cinzia,2005). This is thus a majorsetback for the segmentation strategy by the Company.

ThomasCook over the years has captured a target market of the agingpopulation especially in Britain seeking tourism adventures. Researchshows that 63% of the Thomas Cook service users are above the age of46 years. Thomas Cook has been able to target this group with clearand precise offers. This has enabled the Company to create a strongcustomer base as well as a clear market target for the Thomas CookCompany.

5.0:STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION

Forthis strategy to be implemented successfully and effectively, theobjectives of the Company have to be reviewed regularly. Theimplementation process will involve managing forces during theaction, inputting clear focus on efficiency, inputting specialmotivation and leadership skills and also fostering co-ordinationamong many people in the Company (Ferguson,1994). The leaders shouldbe able to address management issues such as annual objectives,policies and resources, rewards and incentives, natural environment,supportive culture, human resource, marketing and also finance andaccounting for the Company.

All the resources must be well utilized and this involves thephysical resources, financial resources, human resources and alsointellectual resources. The resources can only be fully utilizedthrough clear financial planning, human resource planning, physicalresource planning and also intellectual resource planning. Conflictsshould also be appropriately and also timely managed by the leadersto avert any crisis in the Company. Any change administered to theCompany should also be handled in accordance with the objectives ofthe Company and should not be against the success of the marketingstrategy formulated by the Company (Gutterman, 2011).

Someof the main strategy implementation choices have to be the designschool as well as the planning school. The design school is a welllaid out implementation plan where the structure should follow thestrategy set out completely and be determined by it whole fully. Inthe sense of Thomas Cook company the structure is likely to bechangeable at will by the CEO after consultation. The strategiesbeing implemented in all ways should be connected to each other aswell as mutually supportive of the objectives and ideas of the ThomasCook company.

Thesecond main implementation strategy has to be the planning school.This means that formulation of the strategies has to be open ended and also divergent hence creating ideas as well as making theimplementation process more innovative. Thomas Cook as a companywould use this better as it assumes the position of a more freeimplementation process. This is because the top management will onlybe directly responsible with the preparation of corporate strategiesand goals for the company staff to implement and strive to achieve(Hirshleifer, 2005).

6.0:CONCLUSION

ThomasCook Company has an aim of expanding its market to new customersworldwide. Although enjoying quite an enormous customer baseglobally, the Company also needs to expand its services to freshclientele who are yet to access its services. This is being done bydeveloping the service distribution network to reach more customersand hence increase the awareness of the brand (Huber, 2002).

ThomasCook`s values include pioneering a great future, being resultoriented, obsession with ultimate customer service and also unity asa team. Thomas Cook works to a consistent vision which is to seekreputable and respectable positions in the market worldwide. Thisresearch will ultimately help the company come closer to its values,mission and also vision (Barney, 2001). This is because it hasanalyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and also threatsexperienced in the industry.

Inconclusion, this report aims at looking at the SWOT analysis, thePESTLE analysis and also reviewing the marketing strategies of theThomas Cook Company regarding the services they offer and theirposition in the tourism and hospitality industry (Porter, 1970). Itlooks at the strategies and the recommendations of the plans to takein future. It also views the Situation analysis of the Thomas CookCompany and the various means of segmenting and choosing the marketthat it uses and which it can use in future to exploit more markets.It also comprehensively gives an outlook at the major strengths,weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the Company in its questfor success in the hospitality industry.

7.0:APPENDICES

SWOTAnalysis for Thomas Cook Company (Internal and external analysis)

PORTER`SFIVE FORCES

1.Bargaining power of suppliers.

2.Threat of substitutes.

3.Bargaining power of buyers.

4.Threat of new entrants.

SWOT

PESTELANALYSIS

1.Political.

2.Economic

3.Social.

4.Technological.

5.Environmental.

6.Legal.

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