Vertical integration is when business is expanded through the vertical production line on one business. An example of a vertically integrated business could be Apple. Apple owns all their own software, hardware, designs and operating systems instead of relying on other businesses to supply these. By having a highly vertically integrated business this creates different economies therefore creating a positive performance for the business. Vertical integration is seen as a business controlling the inputs of supplies and outputs of products as well as the distribution of the final product. Some benefits of using a Vertical integration strategy is that costs may be reduced because of the reducing transaction costs which include finding, selling, monitoring, contracting and negotiating with other firms. Also by decreasing outside businesses input it will increase the efficient use of inputs into the business. Another benefit of vertical integration is that it improves the exchange of information through the different stages of the production line. Some competitive advantages could include; avoiding foreclosures, improving the business marketing intelligence, and opens up opportunities to create different products for the market. Some disadvantages of using a Vertical Integration Strategy include the internal costs for the business and the need for overhead costs. Also if the business is not well organised and fully equipped and prepared the business will struggle using this strategy. There are also competitive disadvantages as well, which include; creates barriers for the business, and loses access to information from suppliers and distributors.
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Gap analysis is a type of higher order analysis that seeks to identify the difference between the organisation's current strategy and its desired strategy. This difference is sometimes known as the strategic gap. Mintzberg identifies two types of strategy namely deliberate strategy and inadvertent strategy. The deliberate strategy represents the firm's strategic intent or its desired path while the inadvertent strategy represents the path that the firm may have followed as it adjusted to environmental, competitive and market changes. Other scholars use the terms realized strategy versus intended strategy to refer to the same concepts. This type of analysis indicates whether an organisation has strayed from its desired path during the planning period. The presence of a large gap may indicate the organisation has become stuck in the middle; a recipe for strategic mediocrity and potential failure.
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