Gap Analysis: Huffman Trucking
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, H. Huffman founded Huffman Trucking in 1936 with a single tractor-trailer (Scenario, 2009). Its mission, to be a profitable, growing, adaptive company in an intensively competitive logistical services business environment, was the direct result of World War II and the increased demand for carrier services between factories in the Midwest to ports on the East Coast. With diminishing growth over the past years, the company needs to improve growth and achieve the number one position within the trucking industry. Phil Huffman, CEO, appreciates the hard work of his organization in maintaining this stable trend, but at the same time he is frustrated that the firm has been unable to pull ahead of its competition (Scenario, 2009). To ensure effectiveness within the organization, Huffman Trucking must build a strong internal marketing culture supported by solid relationships between marketing and other departments within the company. A proper evaluation must also be done to determine the organization??™s current marketing strategy and in addition determine the sustainability of the proposed strategy and the overall benefit to the organization.
Issue and Opportunity Identification
Huffman Trucking has experienced steady growth over the years, usually at or just below that of their main competitors (Scenario, 2009). Huffman Trucking currently does not have a marketing program that will ensure what the organization anticipates, meets, and even exceeds the needs of the customers. Huffman Trucking can take this opportunity to develop a marketing program that will help to market its services to customers both new and old in order to improve customer satisfaction. Effective relationship marketing strategies help marketing managers discover what prospective customers needs. According to Kerin, Hartley, Berkowitz, & Rudelius (2006), a marketing program is a plan that integrates the marketing mix to provide a good service, or idea to prospective buyers (p.11).
Huffman has recognized that a variety of more specific customer expectations must be met for different customers since each customer??™s needs varies from each other. Huffman has also realized that in order to improve profitability and to be a viable competitor in the industry, it must do more than break even and be able to differentiate themselves from the competition. Huffman can take this opportunity to prove to its customers they are different by offering a product or service that the competition has or does not offer or by providing secondary features that the customers will appreciate. According to Kotler & Keller (2006), a service is any act or performance that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything (p. 2). Huffman can offer intangible services meaning that the services cannot be seen, tasted, felt, heard, or smelled before they are bought. Huffman can provide value-added services or simply excellent customer service to differentiate themselves.
Once Huffman has developed a viable marketing plan the need to be able to implement that plan is very important to ensure that they can in fact achieve their desired goals. Huffman Trucking can take this opportunity to develop a marketing implementation process that will ensure they achieve the goals that have been established in the marketing plan. According to Kotler & Keller (2006), marketing implementation is the process that turns marketing plans into action assignments and ensures that such assignments are executed in a manner that accomplishes the plan??™s stated objectives (p. 22). Huffman Trucking has not evaluated its internal market to determine how they will achieve their goals of improved profitability and improved customer relationships. Looking at its internal market and developing its employees before it can look to deliver its customer-centric plan, is vital in providing good customer service. Huffman can take this opportunity to develop its internal market by recruiting the right people to begin with, by providing employee training, coaching and leadership. A great marketing is great not by ???what it is,??? but by ???what it does.???
Huffman Trucking does not currently have a marketing culture or any marketing plan. In order for all marketing plans to work, the organization must first have a marketing culture that gives employees the support of management and ensures them that their plans will be taken seriously. Huffman can take this opportunity to develop a marketing culture so that all marketing plans decided upon for implementation will have an opportunity to succeed. Every company has a culture and market culture strategies are the most critical factors proven to power successful businesses.
Stakeholder Perspectives/Ethical Dilemmas
???A stakeholder is any individual or organization that is affected by the activities of a business??? (Business Organization). Stakeholders may have a direct or indirect interest in the business, and may be in contact with the business on a daily basis, or may just occasionally. The stakeholders at Huffman Trucking are stockholders, customers, and employees. Employees within an organization are hired to perform more specific jobs but will need to be trained in order to ensure that they perform to the best of their abilities. Huffman Trucking plans to carry out its mission by assuring that their employees are compensated fairly, are adequately trained and are truly team members in the business processes. Huffman Trucking is committed to its customers by providing efficient, reasonably priced, responsive and competitive services in a customer friendly environment. Customers are valued by Huffman Trucking and the customers value the best service at the most reasonable cost. Stockholders of Huffman Trucking will be made aware of every action and decisions will be questioned and measured to assure it is in the best interest of the stockholders.
Business ethics set the standard for how a business is conducted. They define the value system of how an organization operates in the marketplace and within a business. While there may seem to be clear cut breaches of ethics, many ethical dilemmas that not so clear cut are faced on a daily basis in business. Ethical dilemmas that exists in Huffman Trucking must be resolved if Huffman plans to reach its full potential and arrive at the desired end-state goal of implementing a marketing structure. The marketing team would like to perform their functions at the same time fulfilling the wishes of the CEO. If the marketing team is to implement the new initiative they must first evaluate the organization to ensure that this solution can work within the service industry. They must also do a gap analysis to ensure that the particular initiative can fill the gap that exists within the organization and finally, with the support of management, they must implement a marketing plan that is guaranteed to work. The CEO believes that customer-centricity is an opportunity for Huffman Trucking to improve organizational growth over the next few years. The problem that lies at the root of Huffman??™s troubles is that the organization has decided on customer-centricity to reach it customers without first scanning the internal and external environment of the organization and determining the needs of both the organization and the customers.
The end-state vision for Huffman Trucking is to become an organization that has improved its overall standing within the service industry by increasing sales by 15% above the best competitor and improving profitability by 25% in order to ensure sustainability. Huffman will be number one in the trucking industry and will have successfully implemented a marketing structure that is relevant to both the organization and the customers after careful analysis of the internal and external environment and after determining the needs of both the organization and the customers.
Huffman Trucking at its current state has experienced steady growth over the years, and has implemented a new philosophy that focuses on building a strong internal marketing culture supported by solid relationships between marketing and other departments within the company. What Huffman has not considered is how this will affect the many other aspects of the organization. While the new strategy is necessary in order to address the problem of customer satisfaction and organization growth, the CEO did not fully consider all the consequences and other changes that may need to be implemented. In order for Huffman Trucking to get from its current state of steady growth, customers need to feel valued. Including, but not limited to, placing the customers at the center of the organization, considering the impact on the customer when making major business decisions, and building a strong internal marketing culture. This will help to increase customer??™s satisfaction. As a result, Huffman Trucking should receive much success with its new strategy to increase growth.
In order for Huffman Trucking to have success with its new strategic changes the company is going to have to make some changes in order to increase customer satisfaction and growth. If Huffman Trucking wants to be a model company to its stockholders, employees, and customers, implementing a marketing culture to support by solid relationships with the company will increase customer satisfaction and growth. Management along with the CEO will have to work together to develop a number of strategies to help increase growth and make customers feel more valued within by their organization. This will help the organization to achieve its ultimate goal of increasing growth and satisfying its customers.
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Kerin, R., Hartley, S., Berkowitz, E., & Rudelius, W. (2006). Marketing (8th Edition). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Kotler, P. & Keller, K. (2006). Marketing Management (12th Edition). Prentice-Hall, Inc.
University of Phoenix (2009). Huffman Trucking Scenario. Retrieved December 15, 2009, from University of Phoenix, Week Four MMPBL/580 Marketing Management Website.