Evaluating the competitive intelligence effort in a manufacturing company
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In order for organisations to remain competitive, supportive tools for decision-making are required. In an industry of information overload, the emphasis is not on more information but on actionable intelligence, capable of guiding decisions in a company. Specific areas are considered fundamental for the success of actionable competitive intelligence. The most important facet is the support and involvement of top management and the participation of the entire company. Furthermore, the necessity of a knowledgeable competitive intelligence champion and a motivated competitive intelligence team to drive the competitive intelligence process. Clearly identified key competitive intelligence needs, and competitive intelligence products, which include systems, hardware and software is considered as vital for the successful execution of actionable competitive intelligence. The study evaluates the competitive intelligence effort of a manufacturing company, referred to as Company X. The abovementioned fundamentals for the success of competitive intelligence form the basis from which this study was executed. The primary objective of this study is to determine the necessity of a competitive intelligence program as a business discipline, and to evaluate the existing competitive intelligence effort in Company X. The goal of this study is to compare the existing practice of Company X with the literature, and to identify performance gaps or opportunities for improvement. To realise this objective an extensive review of the current literature on competitive intelligence was undertaken. Empirical research on the current competitive intelligence program in Company X was conducted and the results of this study were measured against specific literature on competitive intelligence. An additional brief empirical study was conducted to compare the current competitive intelligence efforts of Company X with previous research findings on the topic of competitive intelligence in South Africa and more specifically competitive intelligence in a South African manufacturing environment. From the literature study and empirical study, specific conclusions are made. The conclusions also form the basis on which specific recommendations are proposed to improve the competitive intelligence program in Company X. The study will also include an implementation plan, which can be used as a practical working document to improve the current competitive intelligence program in Company X.