Greenland Food Co-op – Five-Year Strategic Plan, 2018-2022
This strategic plan focused on key problems Greenland Food Co-op may be encountering in the Whole Foods Market currently and provide possible solutions to address its problems and improve its performance. The comprehensive analysis of the company required an examination of its internal and external performance. For external analysis, the researcher examined the industry and issues the company may face. SWOT analysis was used to analyze the internal performance of the organization. The researcher also offered alternatives and recommendations based on the information collected from the industry and internal analysis to improve the company’s future performance.
Greenland Food Co-op is a natural foods company founded in 1980. The company operates in the Whole Foods Industry having over six-thousand members with almost $11 million gross annual sales. The board of directors consists of democratically elected leaders who serve to ensure the cooperative satisfies the needs of the members and that that the company resources are utilized appropriately. The 5-year strategic plan for Greenland Foods Co-op will help guide the company during the period 2018-2022. The planning process steps will include the identification of strategic alternatives and about eight months of research. This research will include focus groups, informant interviews, and member survey. As the CEO, I will use this information to identify strategies and goals to guide the company’s businesses successfully into the future. The five-year strategic plan will outline the long-term goals that provide wide options for management, while allowing flexibility and innovation in implementation. The CEO and management are responsible for developing a 12-month business plan with specific objectives, budget, and activities. The Board of Directors will monitor progress and review and update the 5-year strategies annually as required.
Greenland Foods Co-op seeks to uphold the well-being of the society and world by making available whole foods and other basic goods at reasonable prices through the life-affirming democratic organization.
Greenland Food Co-op, whose owners voluntarily and willfully co-operate for the shared good, serves to build social and economic change and improvement within the wider community. The company affirms and promotes its mission by:
• Providing healthy, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible food, products, and nutritional education
• Acting as a member-centered cooperative, using a wide range of opportunities for member involvement and participation
• Creating a model for social and environmental justice, environmental sustainability, integrity, and democracy
• Creating an engaging workplace through emphasizing principles of trust, transparency, and democracy
• Promoting local farmers and the implementation of regional food production systems to ensure food security
• Operating in a transparent fashion to cultivate trust in all aspects of management and operations so that members can vote and their opinions heard
Whole Food Market is a large and very competitive industry. The industry consists of conventional supermarkets, warehouse grocery stores, and supercenters. This industry has significant competitors who are not limited to local, national, and international specialty supermarkets, natural foods stores, restaurants, online retailers, and home delivery. Greenland competes with each of its competitors based on product selection and quality, store convenience, price, customer service, and experience. The industry has a wide selection of high-quality organic products. Greenland will consider perishable products in its production line. The industry has been successful in attracting a wide base of loyal customers by offering a variety of quality products. For this reason, the company will diversify its operations and differentiate its stores from other competitors.
Strengthen our position as the society’s leading provider of non-GMO, organic, and regional products and make the company even more accessible and price sensitive.
When developing a strategic course for the company’s future, several different alternatives will be evaluated. The cooperative will determine whether it needs to make changes to its store landscape or product selection depending on the membership feedback. However, the company’s resources and facility are currently not sufficient to determine how it will accommodate future growth. Research shows that for a company in the Whole Foods industry to better serve its customers, it must make its stores easily accessible to clients. This means that the company has to improve its stores and systems to improve its accessibility. As a cooperative, the primary goal is always to enhance the value of membership. This is what distinguishes the company as a unique business. Furthermore, the company will be better able to invest in its regional food system and contribute to the health of the society by strengthening its operations, attracting more members, and increasing sales.
• Distinguish our company as the most convenient place to buy healthy food in the region, with efficient customer service and a conducive, welcoming atmosphere
• Develop and improve programs and systems that help the members by whole foods and other basic goods at reasonable prices.
• Analyze member benefits and determine approaches to creating greater value for members
• Improve the company’s facility to make it more efficient and safe for current operations
• Develop a long-term plan for the company’s location and facility
? Sales growth
? Increase in the number of members
? Customer education and awareness of systems and programs that help them buy reasonably priced quality food.
2018: Member benefits evaluated
Market research conducted
Facility Upgraded to meet short-term goals
2019: Conducted a feasibility study and long-term facilities plan developed
Implemented improved member benefits
Developed marketing plan
2020: Begin facilities plan implementation
Greenland will be the store of choice for the society to access organic, local, and non-GMO products.
Food System Development
Actively engage in the development of local and regional food system
A key strategic idea I will consider as the CEO is how deeply to engage in food system development and what the company’s role should be. Information from focus groups, key informants, and member surveys suggest that Greenland already plays a crucial role and should emphasize its core competency. In order to expand the market for sustainably produced foods, the company will need to strengthen its own capacity as a dealer in regional products and operating more closely with other businesses to bridge the gaps in local and regional food production, storage, and distribution. These efforts are intended to build community food security and to ensure that members can access sustainably produced food at reasonable prices both now and in the future.
• Diversify and increase the quantity of local and regional foods available through the company
• Support producers and local farmers with relevant information and guidance to meet the growing need for local products
• Collaborate with local food companies and other community partners to 1) strategically bridge gaps in food production, storage, and distribution; 2) implement local and regional food security plans, and 3) educate the community and provide support for local food production
• Evaluate ways to promote local wholesalers such as hospitals, restaurants, and schools to more easily acquire local and regional products
? Number and range of local products sold
? Number of local and regional traders selling to the company
? Information and support provided to producers and local farmers
? Number of working partnerships and social development projects
? Number of local wholesale buyers buying local and regional products with the company’s assistance
2019: Evaluation completed for how the company can best support local wholesalers and viable activities initiated
2020: cooperation established with regional food companies
2022: local and regional food security plan developed with partners
A strong local and regional food system will provide the community with a sustainable supply of food at prices reasonable to both producers and consumers.
Internal Capacity Building
Inspire and promote leadership and passion within the organization
In order to be a sustainable organization and be able to implement the 5-year strategy, the company will need to build its internal capacity. It is useless to plan without ensuring that the people responsible for implementing the plan are motivated enough to perform the tasks. In evaluating the company’s strength and weaknesses, it is clear that the staff have varying reasons for working at the company. The company needs to be the kind that upholds diversity and wants the best for each member. Fair salaries and benefits, development opportunities, and training programs are crucial to making Greenland a place where one feels proud to work. The company especially needs to develop leadership skills at all levels (staff, board, and management).
• Promote best practices as a company, including fair wages and benefit packages and professional development opportunities
• Build internal systems that inspire everyone to achieve goals and be acknowledged for their efforts
• Create a healthy work environment that promotes learning, fun, safety, and integrity towards others.
• Develop skills and ability of the board and management to undertake organizational change
• Offer consistent training of board members in both strategic issues and management
? Semi-annual research of competitive benefits and wages
? Semi-annual employee opinion survey of staff motivation and leadership
? Board and management team effectiveness evaluation
2018: professional development plans developed for staff, board, and management
2019: staff benefits package assessed and implemented
Comprehensive staff training program developed
Investment refund system assessed
The company will have a committed staff, management team, and board that utilize their growing knowledge and skills to create a sustainable workplace
Continue to develop and improve the environmental sustainability of the company’s operations.
Already the company is known for making environmentally friendly choices in how it conducts its operations. In terms of time and resources, the company will continue on course with steady development in this particular area. To help the company prioritize and communicate its efforts, it will develop a clear vision and measurement tools for sustainable operations. The company will emphasize on reducing waste and conserving energy and invest in a store that continuously improves its environmental practices
• Improve the company’s energy efficiency and reduce waste
• Establish a decade-long vision of sustainability
• Continuously measure the company progress and include specific metrics for capital investment
? Energy measures and electrical usage
? Waste measures
? Utilization of Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA) metrics in operations and capital developments
2018: Part-time working established
2019: A decade-long vision of sustainability developed
2020: Metrics reviewed to align with the decade-long vision of sustainability
The operations of the company will be environmentally sustainable for the benefit of the members, society, and the whole world.
Education and Advocacy
Target the company’s education and advocacy efforts to promote its mission and principles
Education of members is very important to the success of a company. The main focus today is how to channel the company’s education and advocacy efforts effectively. Information from key informants and focus groups suggest that the company could make a big change by providing education and advocacy on issues such as understanding the company’s business model, reducing carbon footprint, and ensuring low-income people access healthy local food. Market research also shows that the company should combine forces with other organizations to reach target audiences, particularly in advocacy efforts.
• Create a plan to focus our education and advocacy efforts strategically
• Work with local partners to promote policies and initiatives that strengthen the company’s food system and conserve natural resources
• Coordinate with national partners to promote and improve the company model
• Coordinate with youths and young adults in the company
? Participation in educational programs
? The number of articles in the local press about initiatives and policies that the company is co-promoting with national and local partners
? The number of youths and young adults participating in the company programs
2018: objectives and tools for education, outreach and advocacy efforts identified
20120: education and advocacy plans established with specific targets for change
The members and customers will have adequate knowledge about the foods they consume, the relationship between the types of food and health, and environmentally sustainable operations
The company will allocate its paid media and marketing investments among strategic local and national program and its specific stores. It will particularly benefit from word-of-mouth and social media advocacy. The company currently has about nine hundred social media channels and publishes over one thousand messages daily. Its overall social media footprints on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are about 10 million. As such, the company is capable of creating deep community ties which enables it to connect more directly to the tastes and preferences of local consumers. This will be achieved by having both worldwide brand accounts and specific store accounts.
Whole Food Market is an intensely competitive industry. Greenland will compete based on product variety and quality, price, and customer service. Kroger, Trader Joe’s, and Wegman’s are among the fiercest competitors in the industry. Greenland will gain a competitive edge in this industry by launching its own brand of premium-quality organic, non-GMO foods to compete in natural foods.
Internal Analysis- SWOT Analysis
Greenald Food Co-op serves natural foods. It uses a focus diversification approach, top quality brand reputation, commitment to the social organics ethics, efficient customer service, and a strong supply chain. The company has had experience in the organic and natural retailing market since 1980. For the past three decades, it has built over 300 large convenient stores in the US and UK.
The company has a weak global operation. Its operations in Canada and the UK are not yet large enough to purchase and distribute quality products at relatively lower prices. The company also relies heavily on direct advertising which is a limitation in comparison to the advertisement methods used by its competitors such as online media and television. A clear weakness is that the company spends less on advertising and marketing compared to its rivals.
There is increasing demand for natural/organic foods. The demand has grown over the past decades due to increased awareness of the importance of organic foods in the diet. The 2018 market forecast for organic foods is expected to reach nearly $45 million, an increase of about 34% since 2013. The increased purchase of organic foods has been promoted by the need for parents to offer healthier foods to their children. Another opportunity for growth is the increasing popularity of private labels which has led to the increase in their demand since they provide a better alternative to highly priced national brands. This alternative appeals to both low-income and high-income people with highly disposable income. Consumers have also become health conscious which provides more opportunities for organic foods. Greenland can utilize this new outlook on the organic/natural foods industry by attracting new customers. More money should be spent on advertising to attract new health-conscious customers.
The intense competition in this industry is the biggest threat. Local, national, and worldwide conventional stores compete based on product selection and quality, price, and customer service. Most stores offer limited choices while a majority have extended their selections to aggressively pursue the industry. Another threat is strict regulations and laws. This industry is subject to a number of, food labeling and health-related laws and regulations. As the company operates in this industry, it must also abide by the set rules.
Market Analysis – Target Consumer
The company primarily targets middle to high-income consumers who can pay for the reasonably priced health foods. It targets both genders, mainly educated females. Women like to prepare their own food with natural products, especially for their children. As such, demand for organic food increases.
This ratio provides the most simplistic way to determine the liquidity of the company. It is a ratio of the company’s current assets to its current liabilities. A ratio greater than 1 suggests that the company will be able to meet its payments in the near future. For Greenland Food Co-op, this ratio has declined over the past three years to fall to 1.19. This ratio suggests that the company is not performing badly but may experience some liquidity issues in the coming years.
This ratio provides a more in-depth approach to evaluating the company’s liquidity because it does not incorporate items such as inventory that take a lot of time to convert to cash. It is good for the company this ratio at a value greater than 1. Over the last three years, Greenland’s ratio has fallen from 1.45 to 0.91. This trend shows that there seems to be a cash problem that is likely to influence the company in future.
Times Interest Rate
This ratio provides another way that the company’s liquidity can be determined. It determines whether or not the company will be able to pay its debts. It is a ratio of the company’s gross profits to its interest expense. It is a more in-depth approach because it does not include items such as inventory that is difficult to convert to cash. For a company, this ratio should be greater than 1. Over the past three years, Greenland’s ratio has fallen from 1.11 to 0.89. This trend shows that the company has had problems with cash on hand and settling its debts. Therefore, the company will be more effective in the coming years to ensure it can manage well its finances and pay its debts.