Maldives Post Limited is a postal service company that offers a wide range of services, including express mail service (EMS), money transfer, payment of utility bills, posting cargo, and passport photo services. This paper looks into the strategic management of the company and evaluates its competitive advantage. It also critiques the firm’s vision and mission statements and offers recommendations for improvement.
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The company’s competitiveness has been assessed using the competitive profile matrix (CPM), while its external environment has been evaluated using the PESTLE analysis.
The effectiveness of the marketing strategies adopted by Maldives Post Ltd has also been assessed using the internal factor evaluation (IFE) matrix and the external factors evaluation (EFE) tool. A SWOT analysis of the company has also been conducted. In addition, alternative and competitive strategies have been recommended at the end of the paper.
Introduction to Maldives Post Limited
Maldives Post Limited offers a wide range of postal services, such as money order services and express mails in the Maldives (Ellis, 2008; The Ministry of Planning and National Development, 2005). The firm has operated since the introduction of postal services and temporary postage stamps in the Maldives in 1906 (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014). In 1990, the company introduced express mail to enhance quick mail delivery.
The express mail service (EMS) is a unique product and is quicker than the conventional postal service (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014). In February 1991, the company introduced a domestic speed post called fast post, and later that year, it came up with an electronic post and money order services.
The service was meant to be the fastest domestic delivery service and was widely used within Malé; it provides services to the metropolis and its surroundings (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014).
In 1993, the company opened the Atolls Post Centre to improve postal services around the island. The move was meant to centralize the mail exchange between the captains of the boats that travelled between the capital and other atolls (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014). In 1994, the electronic data interchange was introduced in the company to allow easy tracking and tracing of postal items.
In this service, a 9-digit registration number is given to each registered article, which customers can use to track the article (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014).
To improve service delivery, the company hired private parties to help in the delivery of mails from one island to another, and by 1994, the company started an overnight express service to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Combo, London, and Dubai (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014). The company also established agency post offices in all the inhabited islands of the Maldives.
Services Offered by Maldives Post Limited
Maldives Post in association with MoneyGram provides money transfer services to over 39,000 locations and 150 countries around the world (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013). Apart from MoneyGram, Xpress money, and domestic money order (DMO), there are also other money transfer services offered by Maldives Post Limited (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014).
For example, ‘post pay’ is a service, which enables customers to pay their utility bills at any Maldives Post outlet (Maldives Post Ltd 2014). This service offers convenience to the firm’s customers, as they can pay the bills at one counter, rather than having to queue up in multiple locations for individual bills.
The company also offers the post cargo service within Maldives whose main purpose is to deliver goods and other logistical solutions to wholesalers and retailers, as well as catering for client needs in transporting goods between and within provinces (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014).
Maldives Post also offers passport photo services. The company creates high-quality color photos that are suitable for the application of the Maldivian Passport (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014).
Maldives Post Ltd’s vision statement reads, “Our vision is to provide a high quality mail service and other services at a standard and quality acceptable to all citizens and postal customers” (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014). A vision statement represents the long-term objectives of an organization (Özdem, 2011; Brătianu, 2008). According to Özdem (2011), the vision is the guide to the business practices the organization engages in.
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From the vision statement, one should be able to tell what the organization aspires to achieve or become in the future. The three main components of a vision are why the change is needed, the aim of the transformation, and the actions that need to be taken to achieve it (Özdem, 2011; Johnson, Whittington, & Scholes, 2011).
The company’s vision statement is clear and concise and reflects its culture, which entails quality service delivery to satisfy its customers. Its improvement in service delivery over time to meet the changing demands shows that the company is living up to its vision. Its vision statement suggests that there is need for high quality services to ensure customer satisfaction.
The aim of the company, therefore, is to improve the quality and standards of its mail delivery products and other services. However, it is not clearly stated how the company intends to improve or maintain its high quality services. A clarification on that is needed to make the vision statement more powerful.
Maldives Post Limited’s mission statement is, “To meet our customer’s changing needs by providing new and innovative products and services through friendly and knowledgeable staff and efficient networks” (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014). David (2009) asserts that an effective mission statement should be broader in scope, but less than 250 words in length.
It should reveal the utility of the firm’s products, its social responsibility, and its environmental conservation consciousness (Johnson, Whittington, & Scholes, 2011). It should also identify the firm’s customers, major products and services, geographical markets, technology, growth and survival, philosophy, self-concept or distinctive competence, concerns in relation to public image, and support for employee welfare (David, 2013).
A close examination on Maldives Post Ltd shows consideration for all the nine components albeit to some extent. It is clear from the mission statement that the company is keen in relation to its survival and profitability by ensuring flexibility to meet client needs. The firm’s philosophy is clear from the mission statement: competence, efficiency, friendliness, innovation, and flexibility.
The statement also illustrates its distinctive competitive advantage involves efficient networking by utilizing resourceful and friendly employees. Its concern on public image is illustrated by ensuring friendliness and efficiency in its operations. Although the mission mentions the firm’s customers, it is not specific on the type of clients it targets. It is also not clear which products or services the company majors in.
The geographical extent of the company’s networks is not well defined in the mission statement as well. It appears that there is a need to review the mission statement to include the firm’s geographical extent, major products or services, and its target customers.
Competitiveness of Maldives Post Limited
The competitiveness of a company is the traits or advantages that enable a company to outperform its competitors (David, 2009; David, 2013). There are many ways of evaluating the competitiveness of a company, including using the Competitive Profile Matrix (CPM), the External Factor Evaluation (EFE) Matrix, and the Porter’s Five Forces Model (Cetindamar & Kilitcioglu, 2013; Fleisher & Bensoussan, 2007)).
The Competitive Profile Matrix is simple to use, but is a powerful tool in evaluating the competitiveness of a firm in relation to other players in the same industry. The Competitive Profile Matrix (CPM) involves identifying the key factors of competition and assigning to each factor a weight of either zero or one, depending on its significance (Robbins & DeCenzo, 2005).
For each factor, a rate of 1 to 4 is given to all the competing firms, with 1 representing the greatest weakness and 4 the greatest strength. A weighted score is then calculated for each factor and the sum of the weighted score for each firm is evaluated to compare the competitiveness of the firms (Cetindamar & Kilitcioglu, 2013).
Maldives Post Ltd directly competes with Dhiraagu, and Wataniya Telecom in the field of communications (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013; Ellis, 2008). Dhiraagu was the first telecommunications company to start its operations in the Maldives (Ellis, 2008).The company offers services, such as internet and landline telephony (Dhiraagu, 2014).
The company also enjoys a market share of 80% in the mobile telephone market and covers all the islands (Dhiraagu, 2014). It is the preferred brand, with over 300,000 subscribers (Elli, 2008). Dhiraagu is partly owned by the government allowing it to enjoy protection from major competitors in the industry (Dhiraagu, 2014).
The company was accused of high prices in its services before the launching of Wataniya in 1999. Wataniya, also called Ooredoo, offers direct competition to Dhiraagu in the telecommunications field. It is a privately owned company headquartered in Kuwait (Ooredoo, 2014).
The company also offers internet and mobile telephone services in the Maldives (Ooredoo, 2014). Based on this information, a Competitive Profile Matrix (CPM) for Maldives Post Ltd was prepared as shown in table 1 below:
|Maldives Post Ltd||Wataniya Telecom||Dhiraagu|
|Critical Success Factors||weight||Rating||Score||Rating||Score||Rating||Score|
Table 1: Competitive Profile Matrix for Maldives Post Ltd, Source: Adapted from Sohel, Rahman, & Uddin (2014)
From the above matrix, the main competitive advantages of Maldives over Wataniya and Dhiraagu are the lower costs it charges for sending mails and money, its large market share, which has no direct competitor, financial backing by the government, its first-class management, and its high-quality and timely services.
External Environment of Maldives Post Limited: A PESTEL Analysis
The country uses the presidential system of government (The World Bank, 2014). The country’s presidential elections take place every five years and the successful candidate can serve for a maximum of two terms (Ellis, 2008). A number of political parties participate in the Maldivian elections (The CIA, 2014). Maldives Post Limited is majorly state owned (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013).
Most of the decisions made concerning the company’s management, such as the appointment of key personnel, are influenced by the politics of the day (Ellis, 2008; Kolios & Read, 2013). In addition, the services offered by Maldives Post limited must be vetted by the parliament.
The Maldivian economy majorly relies on the tourism and fisheries sectors (Ellis, 2008). Tourists visit the beautiful islands of Maldives to spend their holidays there, generating up to 28% of the country’s GDP. Fishing is the main economic activity of the people of Maldives (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013).
The government invests most of its funds in the development of the sector to create more employment opportunities to improve the livelihoods of its citizens (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013). The development of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors is limited due to the scarcity of fertile land (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013).
The major industries that Maldives Post serves are fishing, shipping, garments, sand mining, and tourism (Ellis, 2008). By using post cargo services, Maldivians can send products, such as fish to the market, from one atoll to another (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014).
The domestic money order service offered by Maldives Post allows workers away from home to send money to their families for modest charges. The presence of numerous captains, who ply their trade using dhonis between atolls, facilitates the transportation of cargos and mails from Maldives Post Limited (Shareef & Sodique, 2010).
Islamic religion is the only legal religion in Maldives. Practicing other religions, such as Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism, is illegal and punishable by the law (The World Bank, 2014). Friday is a day of worship and business closes on that day. Consequently, it is impossible to send or receive mails using Maldives Post Limited on this day, which is a challenge for the company.
Another far-reaching threat is the growing adoption of the social media as a means of communication (The CIA, 2014). Traditional letters are being replaced by the use of emails and social media and this could limit the growth of Maldives Post Limited.
Technological factors, such as the entry of mobile telephony, the internet, and social media, have influenced the activities of Maldives Post Limited (The CIA, 2014).
The company has embraced technological changes and adopted innovative ways of tracking cargo whenever it is on transit, enhancing security (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014). Technology has enhanced the service delivery offered by Maldives Post Limited and improved the firm’s efficiency.
Maldives Islands are predominantly composed of Muslims. For that reason, sharia laws apply in the country’s legal structures (The CIA, 2014). As a result, Islamic laws govern how business should be conducted; consequently, Maldives Post Limited must be compliant with the law.
Charging of interest is prohibited in Islamic teachings and Maldives Post limited service charges are within the limits of the acceptable margins. However, to some extent, the English common law is gaining influence in business transactions in the country (The World Bank, 2014).
The judicial system is composed of the Supreme Court, whose judges are appointed by the president, as well as the high courts, trial courts, and lower courts (The World Bank, 2014). The judicial service commission of Maldives appoints the judges serving in the lower courts. Administratively, Maldives Island is divided into 7 provinces, which form one municipality that is under the President (The World Bank, 2014).
Environment is a major asset in the country, since it is a major tourism hub. The tourists are attracted to the beautiful and clean beaches of Maldives Islands (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013). Natural calamities, such as tsunamis, pose a great hazard to the islands due to their low elevation from the sea level. Global warming is also a major concern in the survival of Maldives Islands (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013).
According to the MMA (2013), Maldives Post Limited is committed to environmental protection and efficiency in the utilization of its resources. The company saves significant costs through recycling and re-using mail bags and wrapping papers. The postal services of most countries are adopting environmentally friendly mailing bags, which are recyclable and Maldives Post Limited is slowly following suit.
However, the company is not required to send mailing bags back to the sending country, apart from a few countries, which require the bags to be sent back to them (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013).
The firm recycles the mailing bags and uses them to send its mails both domestically and internationally to protect the environment (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2013). This also saves the company the cost of manufacturing new bags and significantly contributes to the reduction in the cost of mailing services (Shareef & Sodique, 2010).
External Factor Evaluation (EFE) Matrix
An EFE matrix is a summary of the external environment’s major threats and opportunities affecting the company, which can influence its competitive advantage (Capps & Glissmeyer, 2012).
The major threats and opportunities external to the firm are listed in a matrix, weighted, and summed to get the final score that shows how the company is handling the external environment. A score of 2.5 represents an average company (Capps & Glissmeyer, 2012). The following is an EFE matrix for Maldives Post Limited.
|Maldives Post Ltd|
|External success factors||weight||Rating||score|
Table 2: An EFE matrix for Maldives Post Ltd, Source: Capps & Glissmeyer (2012)
Effectiveness of Marketing Strategies Adopted By Maldives Post Ltd
To maintain its competitive position, Maldives Post is continually adopting new technologies to stay ahead in the industry. This can be seen in the moves it has made, such as the adoption of electronic data interchange to allow the tracking and tracing of postal items (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014). The company has collaborated with MoneyGram to enhance its money transfer services all over the world.
The company maintains a friendly and resourceful workforce to deliver efficient services to its customers. The company has a good management and organization structure that ensures issues arising in it are dealt with adequately and in a timely manner (Shareef & Sodique, 2010). Having been in operation for more than a hundred years, the company enjoys the benefits of having an established brand (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014).
Internal Factor Evaluation (IFE) matrix
An IFE is a summary of the company’s major internal strengths and weaknesses (Capps & Glissmeyer, 2012; Pearce & Robinson, 2007). Just like the EFE, the major strengths and weaknesses are weighted and summed up to show how the company is handling its internal environment (Robbins & DeCenzo, 2005). The following is an IFE of Maldives Post Ltd
|Maldives Post Ltd|
|External success factors||weight||Rating||score|
Table 3: IFE of Maldives Post Ltd, Source: Adapted from Capps & Glissmeyer (2012)
SWOT Analysis of Maldives Ltd
Maldives post Ltd enjoys a strong presence in Maldives Islands. The company has been operating for more than 100 years and, therefore, enjoys strong brand recognition (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014). The company was the first mailing service provider in Maldives and enjoys an advantage over new companies in the sector.
It receives financial support and is protected from competition by the government, making it thrive. The lack of well-established competitors in mail handling and cargo transfer enhances the dominance of Maldives Post Limited in the country (Maldives Post Ltd, 2014).
The company receives a lot of criticism from some quarters for the high prices of the services it provides. The government’s interference with the operations of the company makes it slow to respond to the changing customer demands due to the complex bureaucratic processes involved. These weaknesses may affect the company’s operations in the future because of the ever-changing technological trends (The World Bank, 2014).
The company can exploit the expanding global market to expand its services to many countries through alliances with international firms in the industry, such as MoneyGram (Maldives Post Ltd 2014). The company should adopt innovative technologies to enhance service delivery. The recycling of mailing bags and their use in sending mails offers a cost saving opportunity for the company.
Maldives Post faces threats from the adoption of new communication technologies, such as the social media and the internet, which are making many people abandon the convectional mailing system. The use of emails is replacing traditional postal mails, reducing the importance of postal service providers, such as Maldives Post.
The entry of companies, such as Dhiraagu and Wataniya telecom, also offers new challenges to the firm. The companies are offering new services, which are efficient and reliable, at reasonable prices. The decentralization of government services to each island will lessen the need to travel to post documents, which threatens to reduce the importance of the company’s services (The World Bank, 2014).
|Strengths: ||Opportunities: |
|Weaknesses: ||Threats: |
Figure 1: A SWOT Analysis, Source: Coman & Ronen (2009).
Long-term Objectives (2014-2020) of Maldives Post Ltd
A balanced scorecard is used to measure the performance of intangible assets, such as customer’s objectives, internal business practices, and learning processes (Kaplan, 2010). The scorecard is meant to complement conventional financial measures.
Figure 2: A Balanced scorecard, source: Kaplan (2010)
From the balanced scorecard, Maldives Post’s long-term objectives should be ensuring customer satisfaction through offering efficient and timely services. The company should also improve its business processes to satisfy the needs of its shareholders and customers. The company should also maintain flexibility to adapt to the changing technologies.
Alternative Strategies and Competitive Strategies
Maldives Post can also create a competitive advantage through innovations (Porter, 2004; Middleton, 2003). Being the first to adopt a certain technology has its advantages and the firm should exploit that (Kaplan, 2010).
Some of the innovations, which the company can implement, include adopting new technologies, catering for the shifting needs of its customers, creating a new industry segment, shifting the costs of services, and influencing the enactment of enabling government regulations (Porter & Kramer, 2006; Middleton, 2003).
The company should adopt the 5Ps (price, place, promotion, products, and people) to perform better (Kaplan, 2010). The objective of the price component is to make its prices competitive (Bygrave & Zacharakis, 2011). Place means the company should be ubiquitous in all the islands to guarantee reliable services. The company should also enhance its promotion strategies and give offers to loyal customers.
The products and services the company offers should remain unique to differentiate it from its competitors (Bygrave & Zacharakis, 2011). Maldives Post Ltd should ensure its employees are sufficiently motivated to serve the customers better and create a conducive working atmosphere.
Maldives Post is the leading postal service provider in Maldives Islands. Its position as a leading company in cargo delivery is secure due to government protection, its large market share, and the brand recognition it enjoys in the country. A close examination of its vision and mission statements indicates its commitment to efficient service delivery.
A Competitive Profile Matrix (CPM) shows that Maldives Post enjoys a significant competitive advantage due to the lack of direct rivals. A PESTLE analysis of the company suggests that the external environment favors its growth. A SWOT analysis signifies that the firm enjoys remarkable strengths, and is faced with only a few weaknesses.
The opportunities available for Maldives Post include the expansion of its services worldwide, which can be done through the collaboration with other global firms in the same industry. Threats, such as new technology, which have led to the abandonment of the old mailing systems, can be mitigated through embracing innovation.
The company, using a balanced scorecard, should formulate a long-term vision that is aimed at improving its public image; this can be done through providing innovative and efficient services. In addition, Maldives Post should adopt the 5Ps marketing mix to stand out from its rivals and gain a competitive advantage.
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