Walgreens Pharmacy is one of the largest health services providers in the world with specialty in the distribution of pharmaceutical products throughout the United States of America. This research paper will look into a SWOT analysis of Walgreens Pharmacy, especially in decision-making procedures as well as identifying the key stakeholders who have invested in the firm. Consequently, the paper will outline the needs of each stakeholder and ways through which the firm ensures that these needs are met, hence, satisfying all stakeholders. In addition to the features above, this research paper will demonstrate ways, through which Walgreens Pharmacy could meet stakeholder needs, which have not been met up to now.
About Walgreens Pharmacy
Walgreens Pharmacy, as a drugstore, has more than 8000 stores in the United States alone, although plans are underway to incorporate the entire American countries in the distribution chain. With its headquarters in Illinois, Walgreens Pharmacy has grown over the years possibly due to increased consumer satisfaction as well as appropriate branding of business premises, which has seen loyalty among stakeholders being on the rise. The long term and short term pharmaceutical facilities have been paramount as they have enhanced expansion of the drugstore to attain its current status (Bacon, 2004).
SWOT analysis at Walgreens Pharmacy
One of the key strengths, demonstrated by Walgreens Pharmacy in its distribution channels, includes location of most of its stores, which are not only strategically located, but also sufficiently accessible. Walgreens Pharmacy stores are conveniently located where there are intersections of busy streets so as to enhance accessibility. The other advantage of locating Walgreens Pharmacy stores in busy corners is that potential customers can always identify with the store. Similarly, higher sales are achieved in addition to serving more clients as the busy streets portray increased human traffic in the area. An example of such a corner drugs store is the one, located at a Marriot street-level retail space, in Washington DC (Bacon, 2004).
The other strength, possessed by Walgreens Pharmacy, includes commendable customer reputation, which has been significant in customer retention. Recently, Walgreens Pharmacy established a website blog, where customers can review drugs, purchased at any Walgreens Pharmacy store. The website a high following and majority of customers have praised the Walgreens Pharmacy services, hence, building the reputation of the company. Walgreens Pharmacy has maintained a clean environmental record which contributes to the already existing good reputation among customers. For instance, in all its stores, energy saving solar energy are used, thus, reducing any harm on customers, where they turn up to make purchases (Walgreens, 2011).
Strength is seen in adequate access to natural resources, hence, cutting down on operation costs, so that money saved is channeled to other activities such as branding. Similarly, Walgreens Pharmacy has a strong brand name, which is easy to remember, therefore customers and other stakeholders do not have a problem, remembering the name of the drugstores. The other strength in Walgreens Pharmacy company is that the brand name and products have already been patented, therefore, no chances of loosing their originality to competitors (Allison and Kaye, 2005).
Walgreens Pharmacy has had another competitive advantage in the form of possessing proprietary know-how, so that holders of key managerial positions are seasoned managers in addition to possessing sufficient knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry. Skills and knowledge in running a business enterprise make it possible to maintain a competitive edge, which rivals in the same industry lack, therefore, customer needs are met (Walgreens, 2011).
However, Walgreens Pharmacy has one weakness as it has failed to establish elaborate distribution channels which would involve other firms no necessarily handling pharmaceutics. Such challenges were witnessed during the failed collaboration with one of the leading snacks stores in the country. Consequently, over the years Walgreens Pharmacy has relied on its stores only to distribute its products, hence, fewer chances of learning about rival weaknesses or strengths (Allison, 2005).
Walgreens Pharmacy saw an opportunity in the inability of drug manufacturers to provide complete medical packages to customers namely drugs, medical plans and wellness. These are critical areas in today’s health issues, as clients will always seek to have all their health services being provided by a single firm. Developments in technology has made it possible for Walgreens Pharmacy to deliver a number of its services such as wellness via the internet, where exclusive chat rooms and lessons are offered for those, interested in healthy living (Bacon, 2004).
Similarly, in recent years, more and more cases of lifestyle conditions are reported, especially from people, living in the United States. Walgreens Pharmacy seized this opportunity to boost its brand name, when it established the hip hop culture as a key driving point in marketing its products. The hip hop culture is characterized by increased dynamism as well as influence among peers who consider hip hop as a way of life (Walgreens, 2011).
A major threat that has had a toll on Walgreens Pharmacy products is related to high numbers of cheap generic medicines in the market. Similarly, the generic drugs are as efficient as the original ones, though generic drugs are sold at a cheaper price, hence, making them a first priority for the low class in the country (Allison, 2005).
The other threat is based on current financial crisis which has resulted into massive retrenchment of loyal employees, who have witnessed Walgreens Pharmacy grow to the giant drugstore it is today. Retrenchment of long serving employees poses a huge setback to a company, in terms of lost resources, especially if the employee had undergone professional training at the firm’s expense. This results in overworking of employees left behind, in addition to added expenses, when the firm decides to hire more employees after overcoming such global financial difficulties (Bacon, 2004).
Most relevant parts of SWOT during investment
The strengths of Walgreens Pharmacy culminate the most relevant aspects of SWOT, when a potential investor is making plans of committing some of their savings into the firm. This is attributed to the fact that these strengths portray the firm’s position in the market as well as forecasting its future prospects. Therefore, a potential investor has to understand the future of the company, in which they are planning to invest, so as to understand risks or uncertainties involved (Allison, 2005).
Threats also account for a very relevant part of the decision-making process, especially where a new investor is concerned. This is because internal as well as external threats possess significant prospects of the firm’s future and present performance. Threats such as new regulations, introduction of international trade barriers, in addition to emergence of substitute products as is seen in the Walgreens Pharmacy case, may subject investors to heavy losses as the future of the company’s success could be compromised (Allison, 2005).
On the other hand, opportunities present better prospects in terms of share value as well as market presence of a firm. The fact that Walgreens Pharmacy has identified and made good use of opportunities, so that it has remained relevant up to this date, shows that future investors should critically analyze the opportunities at the firm’s disposal as well as how the firm has utilized the opportunity. Opportunities also present a clear picture of a company’s mission and vision as these are demonstrated by the ability to utilize available resources as a way of attaining the set objectives (Walgreens, 2011).
Walgreens Pharmacy stakeholders and their needs
Walgreens Pharmacy has a number of internal as well as external stakeholders who have been equivocal towards enabling the firm attain its short and long term goals. Among the internal stakeholders are employees who form a formidable component of the overall Walgreens Pharmacy enterprise. Employees play vital roles in the everyday activities of any business enterprise. For instance, production, distribution, marketing and customer relations are made possible through the efforts of employees. Similarly, employees are responsible for sustaining the commendable performance of a firm so that it may attract more external stakeholders (Post, 2002).
Employees have several needs which they expect to be delivered by their employer in this case by Walgreens Pharmacy. One of the needs is job satisfaction which is relevant if employer wants high quality services. Similarly, motivation is important as it determines the approach used by employees, when conducting their everyday duties. This group of stakeholders also needs to satisfy the requirements of customers and their employer, therefore, they strive to work hard always as a way of meeting the expectations of these two parties (Post, 2002).
Walgreens Pharmacy has been able to meet some of the needs, presented by employees, for instance, motivation has been regarded highly by the Walgreens Pharmacy management. Forms of motivation exhibited include attractive remuneration, cognition, for example, deeds, in addition to benefits, such as free medical supply for all employees. However, job security is one area that has proved to be problematic as it is dependent on global conditions, hence, retrenchment is inevitable. Employees have also managed to satisfy client and managerial demands because Walgreens Pharmacy has good working environments with sufficient resources (Bacon, 2004).
The other category of internal stakeholders is made up of shareholders and other individuals who have interest at Walgreens Pharmacy. Shareholders are, often, involved in decision making process as they own Walgreens Pharmacy in one way or another, dependent on the percentage of shares one has. Similarly, management at Walgreens Pharmacy is also part of the stakeholders as they could have been outsourced to carry out specific duties for Walgreens Pharmacy (Walgreens, 2011).
Shareholder’s needs include availing information on events, progress as well as major decisions which may affect overall business activities. Financial reports should also be availed to shareholders so that they may decide on their next investment moves. Walgreens Pharmacy meets these needs by informing shareholders of any major change at Walgreens Pharmacy during annual general meetings. Similarly, shareholders are part of decision making procedures; hence, they are always knowledgeable of events at Walgreens Pharmacy (Post, 2002).
External stakeholders of Walgreens Pharmacy include the customers who purchase and use products, made or distributed by Walgreens Pharmacy. Customers are important in any business enterprise as all activities, done by the firm, are aimed at ensuring that customers are not only satisfied but also retained. Customers needs involve delivery of high quality products in time, while the cost of the product should be reasonable (Walgreens, 2011).
Walgreens Pharmacy has always ensured that all its products meet standards, set by various bodies, in addition to making sure that these products are present in all its drugstores. The prices of Walgreens Pharmacy products are relatively high, which has resulted into customers shying away from the stores as this need is yet to be addressed.
However, this need can be met by Walgreens Pharmacy placing its prices at the same level as those of competitors. This way, customers will not shift to other brands as they will comfortably acquire products at fair prices that are the same for other companies (Post, 2002).
The government and quality regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Authority make up a special category of external stakeholders. These two stakeholders are essential towards ensuring that consumer rights are not infringed. One of the government’s needs is to make sure that Walgreens Pharmacy products are legal and beneficial to human life. Similarly, the governing bodies make sure that products produced meet standards that have been set to sustain human health. The United States government requires Walgreens Pharmacy to pay taxes as per the agreement, in addition to being in possession of a valid operating license which legalizes the enterprise (Bacon, 2004).
Walgreens Pharmacy has managed to meet these governmental needs, in addition to those, required by regulatory bodies. These needs have been met in such a way that Walgreens Pharmacy has never faced any legal punishment or summon which is a proof that government and regulatory bodies needs have been adequately met.
Suppliers are part of Walgreens Pharmacy external stakeholders as they are responsible for availing raw materials which are used by Walgreens Pharmacy to produce pharmaceutical products. Suppliers need to be informed in time, when to deliver the raw products, while payment for the same should be prompt. So far, Walgreens Pharmacy does not have any ugly incidences with any supplier, which is an indication of their needs being met by Walgreens Pharmacy (Post, 2002).
In conclusion, Walgreens Pharmacy has utilized the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to sustain a competitive edge over its rivals. Consequently, the SWOT analysis of Walgreens Pharmacy has been vital in fulfilling the needs of its internal and external stakeholders who have recorded immense satisfaction by conducting business with Walgreens Pharmacy. Therefore, for each business enterprise to succeed, a SWOT analysis must be accurately conducted, while, at the same time, stakeholders must have their needs fulfilled.