The company's situation
The first store for Wal-Mart was opened in Rogers Arkansas in 1962 with high success expectations since they had the motive of providing goods to the consumers at a lower price. Their main motive to consumers, "Every Day Low Prices" with superior customer service led to the company being named the United States most admired company. They have superior customer services that make the customers feel welcomed and happy during their shopping experience. It is doing very well because its drug stores are always open and drugs being picked by many people from all over the nation (Hayagreeva et al, 2010). Though the company has been very successful all over the United States, it also faces challenges when expanding internationally especially to China. When they joined the debut in the industry, they seemed to have lots of advantages over their competition. During their development, Wal-Mart came up with a unique strategy that made them avoid direct competition with already developed super stores such as Woolworths and Sears.
Therefore, the current situation at the Wal-Mart is very efficient in sales, competitiveness and strategies. It is as well expanding all over the world meaning that it has achieved its goal of expanding internationally though it faces some challenges in expansion. However, in the United States, it is still one of the best companies that is preferred by most people in the nation.
The CVS Caremark is the current largest pharmacy provider of service in the United States. In 2009, it had about $99 billion sales and $3.7 billion in profits. It runs the pharmacy which sell over the counter (OTC) drugs and prescriptions as well as retail merchandise like convenient foods, cosmetics and photo processing services. It also has the mail-order services of pharmacy such as fulfillment of prescription (Berlinski, 2006). The CVS fills and runs more than a billion prescriptions per year. The company has the advantage of making huge profits due to increased demand of drugs from the aging baby boomers. It was able to cover the general increase in prescription of drugs and enlarging the expenditure of the government on healthcare through programs such as Medicare Part D. However, the company also faces challenges and its major one is the steep competition from the other companies especially Walgreen Company (WAG) and the Wal-Mart company.
The problems/Challenges that Face Wal-Mart and CVS Caremark Companies
There are various challenges facing these companies. The major challenges facing the Wal-Mart company include the following. To begin with, the company faces the challenges of expanding internationally. This has affected them greatly especially in China. The expansion process normally faces problems like luck of an information technology network, government regulations, shoplifting and different preferences of the consumers. Though it has been a major challenge in various countries, it was very prominent in China. This is because there were many complains from individuals in China and other nations concerning the slow process by the company. The slow process in prescription and services are due to lack of information technology. This means that they mostly employ the manual process, which is very inefficient especially when people are many who require the service (Fishman, 2006).
The other problem facing the Wal-Mart pharmacy is the services they offer. The pharmacy has a bad management and it has employed unprofessional workers who make people hate to visit the pharmacy. For example, one of the customers of the company had the following complaints. The service of the pharmacy is very unprofessional due to the code of ethics studied in the school of pharmacy. The customer said that the employee should know the questions he needs to ask the customers, he should not ask too personal questions as he termed it as violation of HIPAA privacy purpose law. Due to the slow prescription process, the customer went and he called after sometimes to enquire if his prescription was ready. The client again complains that the respond he received was not good since he talked to one seemingly Asian clerk who picked the phone but he had to repeat each statement he told this Asian clerk at least three times before he could understand the customer. This is very inefficient especially when it comes to dealing with customers who really requires good service. The client went to pick his prescription and he noticed that the street address had been incorrectly spelled. This was at the Huntington Beach CA-Wal Mart store location. In general, the management of the Wal-Mart company in the new opened stores as well as services is very poor. The company management needs to look into that matter and act faster.
The CVS Caremark also faces a number of challenges and problems which need to be addressed. To begin with, the company faces a very stiff competition from the other companies especially the Walgreen Company (Rowland, 2006). In 2002, there was an announcement by the Walgreen company that it was pulling out of the pharmacy network of the CVS Caremark which is a program that gives the customer an opportunity to purchase prescription drugs from any pharmacy at a discount price as long as it is in the network. This was so because they claimed they had fair share of the profits. This made the network to loose over 7500 of Walgreen's pharmacies. Therefore, from then hence forth there has been a very stiff competition from the Walgreen company. This has made the CVS Caremark to experience low profits and sometimes encountering losses because most of its customers end up going to the Walgreen Company for drug prescription.
This means that the strategies being employed by the CVS Caremark are outshined by the strategies laid down by the Walgreen Company (Porretto, 2008). The competitive advantage of a company really matters when it comes to business market competition.
Marketing Analysis that provide Solutions to the CVS and Wal-Mart Companies
It is clear that the strategy a company employs is what determines its competitive advantage in the market field. The Wal-Mart is able to provide direct competition in the market field in all its pharmacy stores all over due its currently formulated strategy that makes them avoid the direct competition by the other companies (Lichtenstein, 2009). This helps them do well in the market field. However, it is facing the problem of management and efficient provision of services in its drug stores. As a manager, there are very important managerial skills that should be employed by the managers of the Wal-Mart company. These managers need to exercise their leadership qualities by coming up with very strong strategies that can enable them be competitive enough in the market field.
All the complain pertaining poor service by the employees of the company should be settled by good management that should be shown by these managers. They have to be strict on their employees and stop entertaining them. Incase they do not improve their performance then they should be sacked and employ other qualified workers who have undergone thorough pharmacy education. This will enable them settle the complains that are heard from the clients or customers. About the issues concerning the challenges of international expansions, it is recommended that the Wal-Mart re-examine its ventures in China and pull out the country through global strategy focus. They should as well work on the information technology network that makes the services efficient through speeding up the process other than using the manual system.
CVS Caremark on the other hand need to work on its marketing strategies. It is receiving massive competition from other companies especially the Walgreen company because they have poor marketing strategies (Rowland, 2006). They also fail to realize that they are using similar sequence and program with the Walgreen company since they were in the same network. Therefore, the Walgreen outshines them because it is able to modify its programs and employ new and unique tactics to win them in the market competition. Through such strategies, the Walgreen is able to attract many customers than the CVS Caremark. It is also efficient in its prescription services because the customers cannot wait for the prescription for more than five minutes. This means that it have a very effective and efficient system with very swift employees. Above all, it has good management leaders who ensure everything runs efficiently. The CVS Caremark should as well work on its competitive advantage by ensuring that the prescription process does not take more than five minutes in order to attract many customers. This is one important strategy that should never be ignored.
The core concepts and Strategic Management describing the ins and outs of the Company Situation
The core concept that is highly emphasized by the Wal-Mart is striving to provide the customers with the lowest prices possible for the drugs and other products in stores and on Walmart.com. However, these prices differ online with that in stores. The prices at Walmart.com may be either higher or lower than the local stores (Fishman, 2006). The Wal-Mart stores prices have no any relationship with the Walmart.com pricing or the competitor advertisement that are found outside the trade territories of the local stores. In general, the prices of drugs and other products at the Wal-Mart company are lower that those of the other companies and this are what makes it to be in an indirect competition with the other companies. It also employs the system of putting its products on promotions and advertisement. It provides an offer of six months whereby the customers enjoy no payment and no interests as long as they purchase products worthy $250 and more once. Otherwise, interest is charged from the purchasing initial day. The online mode employs the concept of "Bill Me Later" as a quick means of buying the items and products online using the credit card. These are the core strategic management concepts that are employed by the Wal-Mart company and these makes it be competitive enough in the market field.
Pros and Cons of Various Actions in Wal-Mart and CVS Caremark Companies
When we give a glance at the Wal-Mart's $4 prescription program, it occurs to most people that it is the solution to problem facing people with no insurance. Most of the drugs or medicine that most people use or look for are sold at a cut rate prices. This is quite unbelievable. Most people end up asking themselves is it saving the $2 or the drugs available are just misleading (Hernandez, 2008). This makes individual's wonder if it really is as wonderful as it has been made out to be or just another fix by the big company to monopolize a particular area that has evaded them.
Of all the 300 medicines that are said to be available, the actual medicines accounts for around 125 only of all the medicines provided. They claimed that each individual dosage was a separate medicine though it had same co-pay under various insurance plans.
Most of the co-pays that had been given out on most medications had a general average of between $5.00-$9.00 and this occurred at less than $4 in many cases as offered by Wal-Mart. Making a saving of between $12-$60.00 in one year on single medicine is more than bargaining and this makes majority of people to venture into purchasing them since no one can just seat there and let such a big advantage pass by. Note that this is what they count on. Unless you are enrolled to multiple medications, the benefits of the program will not be seen. Therefore, their motive is that a person should do his or her own match and calculations to see how much he or she saves in one year then decide if the pros out weigh the cons (Hernandez, 2008). According to me, I feel the pros outweigh the cons because the company really makes a lot of profits due to such programs. This also makes the company be competitive enough in the market. in fact it gives it the advantage of being in its own indirect competition.
Despite the commercials at the Wal-Mart, the company tries to be very impersonal and almost robotic in tackling and serving its customers. This has become greatly rare to find and to the Wal-Mart company, it seems to a phenomenon in the super-centers where they get help from the family faces or they be checked by same cashier. No wonder the company faces challenges when it comes to serving its customers (Lichtenstein, 2009). Most of them end up complaining but still come back to shop at the Wal-Mart. It is no doubt that the people who are prescribed multiple medications on monthly basis they ar4e never served by one specific person on every visit. It should be noted that things like human interactions and polite conversation will be eventually eliminated due to electronic pharmacists and add in new robotic pill dispensers being installed and tested. In the near future, some people who love Mary and Pan at the CVS will have to miss them. They may be well versatile with what an individual takes. Though this is a very different feeling when it comes to Wal-Mart which is very busy and one can never have a chance to be served by one same person on every visit (Rowland, 2006).
After considering all these pros and cons of the Wal-Mart as well as the CVS company, it is clear that there are people who will prefer to get the medications and prescriptions from the Wal-Mart company. This is due to lower prices while there are some people who will prefer taking their medications at the CVS Caremark due to the good handling of the customers where they are able to be served by one specific person during every visit and who is also able to note the specific drugs an individual takes (Porretto, 2008).
Recommended sets of Actions
Being a manager with high experience, I can recommend that the Wal-Mart focuses on actions concerning the service to the customers that is seen to be very poor. The main problem facing them is the fact that its managers are not exercising their leadership powers effectively since there are some employees who are really joking. They are not serious with their works. For example, how can someone misspell the street name on the medication? That means that either this person is not educated enough or he is ignorant. Such a person should not be serving the customers because there will be various mistakes observed. The pros and cons of company on the other hand should work on its competitive advantage by coming up with strong strategies and goals that can make them unique and competitive enough in the market field (Berlinski, 2006).
The Wal-Mart company is a well known company in the United States for selling of goods and prescription of medications. It is much loved by majority of people because of its lower prices in the products it sells. Its core strategy is the lowering of prices more than the other companies does and this makes it to be in an indirect competition with other companies. The CVS Caremark on the other hand is well known for provision of pharmacy service in the United States. This makes it well known as the largest pharmacy in the united states. It supplies its drugs to most parts of the US. It also has the principle of lower prices and this makes it competitive in the market field. However, it does not have the fame that Wal-Mart has when it comes to lower prices.