To: Steve Parkland
From: Brittney Chalk
Subject: Growth Strategy for Charles Chocolates
Date: October 18th, 2017
In order to grow revenue, an analysis of the internal and external environment was conducted to provide a stepping stone in creating a growth strategy. Charles Chocolates is currently in a strong financial position to expand, with significant assets, good cash flow and strong margins (See Exhibit 5&6). A major growth challenge will be to increase brand awareness while keeping the values true to Charles Chocolates (See Exhibit 10). An internal analysis reveals that Charles Chocolates lacks key capabilities needed to grow. Manufacturing and inventory operations are not efficient, key human resources capabilities are not being handled and marketing along with consumer trends is not happening (See Exhibit 9), making it harder for Charles Chocolates to expand outside of New England.
Consumer trends (See Exhibit 8) and traits of premium chocolate competitors (Zietsma, 2014, pg. 2) show there are three key success factors. First is modern, sleek and glitzy packaging and a strong retail experience. The second was outbound logistics, in particular meeting seasonal variations and ability to distribute to multiple revenue areas (Zietsma, 2014, pg. 3). Lastly brand recognition is a key factor. Large companies such as Godiva and Lindt fair well because they are well known brands with strong traditions.
Charles Chocolates has internal problems, in plant operations, brand positioning and human resources, that need to be addressed first in order for the company to grow successfully (See Exhibit 10). Making plans to increase sales without addressing production inefficiencies would only backfire. With Steve’s background in plant operation, he should use his knowledge and experience to implement a better production planning system, ensuring to include efficiency metrics and overall tighter control on the plant. Charles Chocolates needs to investment in an inventory system to eliminate out-of-stock and over stock. It should also invest in new machinery to cut set-up time costs. Additional shifts and employees should be hired in order to meet seasonal demands. While the current brand position, focusing on tradition and nostalgia, has worked in the Portland area, it is hindering their ability to expand. Variations in packaging needs to be eliminated. Instead a sleek, modern and consistent packaging needs to be used to promote brand awareness. I believe keeping a “Traditional line” will also be smart, and will cater, in particular, to their loyal older customers. This new look should also carry over into stores. Employees should be informed that while the brand image is changing, their values in producing high-quality, hand packaged chocolates and providing excellent retail experiences is still a priority. Human resource capabilities also need to be improved. Bird has too many roles to cover and it is resulting in employee frustration (Zietsma, 2014, pg. 6)....