External factors affecting MSC environment
Military Sealift Command had the following factors affecting the external environment of the organization: their perceived opponents who tried to deny them access and even make it harder for them to access the global ports and sea-lanes that were sabotaging access challenges affecting the organization as the US navy who were to conduct their business around.
This freedom of access is very important to the global economy as it facilitates the movement of resources as well as the growth of trade. The decline of the overseas military presence will be quite uneconomical, as it will require more military forces to protect US interests since they will be forced to move further into the sea.
They also faced infrastructure challenges as it had poor infrastructure development in most areas where the US has future interests is likely to hinder their future operations (Barney, 2007. p 65). These areas lack seaports and airports as well as poor road networks. These areas also have severe water shortages as well as few or no electrical and sewerage services.
These shortages directly hinder the deployment of military forces by the US and her partners as well as in response to humanitarian aid. The other factor of the organization that affected the US military include the type of technology used even though the advancement of information and communication technology has proved to be beneficial, it can also be dangerous especially in the military field.
While the US military has advanced in technology, their perceived opponents and enemies may also gain access to these same technologies and may use them to cause an attack, disrupt or even degrade the US military communications and the flow of information.
Investment in technology has also proved to be expensive and one must choose carefully due to its cost, the training expenses as well as their key objective, which is to gain total efficiency. Getting good and efficient software for both financial as well as other decisions making such as AHP that was difficult and quite expensive (Mintzberg at el, 2004. p 152).
The other external environmental factor is the government policies with the current financial crisis; the US government has a huge budget deficit that has affected several government operations including the military operations.
According the US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, the American government should put more emphasis on the military spending and adjust its priorities to address the increasingly changing threats from its enemies and world. The threats include; the terrorists, rising powers as well as the rogue nations who are determined to harm the US.
These opponents have realized that they cannot confront the US directly on military grounds, so they are trying other possible options. This dominance is not perceived well by the US enemies and may do anything they can to jeopardize the military operations. This is the reason why the American government, should invest in programs, personnel as well as platforms that will guarantee her continued dominance.
Since the end of the Cold War, the US Navy has shrunk but its battle fleet is still larger the next thirteen navies combined with eleven of those being the allies of US. The strategic planning on the future trends of challenges faced with the energy resources with the rising use of more fossil fuels by the emerging economies like China and India, there is a lot of pressure on the world’s energy resources (Barney, 2007. p 65).
There is a need for the use of alternative sources of energy by the US military. These changes require huge capital use, changes in political attitudes by world leaders towards the use of nuclear energy as well as the dramatic changes in technology.
Internal strength and weakness in the organization
SWOT analysis involves strength and weaknesses of an organization are interior factors that affect a company business. The main strengths of MSC are that they have highly trained workforce, quality as well as safety management system focused. MSC Resources in the Military Sealift Command currently operates about 111 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships across the globe.
The MSC also has approximately fifty military ships on standby and are ready for military use. The Headquarter of Military Sealift Command is in Washington, D.C with branches across the country. It has about 8,000 employees, both military and civilian. MSC get its finances from two main sources, i.e. the transportation working capital and the navy working capital fund.
Each one of these funds has different functions. The purpose of the Transport working capital is to finance the operation of the sealift services whereas the main purpose of the navy working capital fund is to support the navy force and operations as well as other military entities. Though MSC gets its funding from these two sources, it does not get funding from its command operations.
However, it obtains finances from the money transfers its customers transfer into the working capital funds. These are the finances the MSC uses to finance its command operations. Since MSC is not a profit- making organization, they do not budget to make profits but instead their working capital funds budget to break-even.
The company had the following weaknesses: it was slow in the hiring process of CIVMAR and the shore employees.
MSC and the Navy component to USTRANSCOM which provides approximately 30 ships and crews daily to support operations in force sustainment, delivery of the combat equipments, fuel, vehicles, ammunition as well as the ammunitions to the US forces around the world in times of war and peace (Mintzberg at el, 2003. p 152).
Sometimes MSC are involved in the misappropriation of funds. Since the MSC is involved in administration and one of their core objectives is administrate the scarce resources efficiently with the aim of saving funds. At times the military personnel concentrates on completing the mission and may lead to making fast in appropriate decisions in order to complete these missions lead to bad financial decisions.
Personnel in the military usually have a turnover after every three years, this puts them under a lot of pressure in their careers like the need for promotions, evaluations and other penalties that civilians do not have.
The military personnel face dilemmas between choosing between careers and professional interests when they are involved in decision-making processes. The MSC’s workforce is approximately 9,000 employees across the globe, with about 80 percent of the working at the sea. The majority of these workers are mariners who work for the civil service in their respective federal governments.
Other employees work for private firms as commercial mariners, and other members of the reserve military. The civilians, unlike the US Naval ships that are operated by the military personnel, operate all the MSC ships.
Even though the MSC ships are operated by civilians, they may be involves in the military operation in moments of war by carrying military supplies as well as carrying communication equipments. They are able to do this because some of their ships have small military departments that are designed to carry out these operations.
Contingency planning is defined as the method used in developing or inventing other plans to be used in solving risks that may occur in the organization.
Contingency have the following advantages when properly planned within the company include: helps the company to prosper as it tackle any risk that may occur in the company, they will help in correcting risks and make decision making faster, company will be able to tackle more response faster and enables top managers to tackle the possible outcome before occurring.
The main objective of strategic planning is understanding the advantages of strategic planning: include the understanding of product strategic planning, and knowing the process of planning and implementation. One of the best alternative strategies the MSC should adopt is creating an entrepreneurial strategy (Pearce & Robinson, 2004. p 34).
This will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency in its operations as well as the extensive use of the business management methods and strategies in its operations. The knowledge and methods of business management are very essential in the implementation of its functions, i.e. service and administrative functions.
Another important alternative that the MSC should adopt is to use the external resources such as outsourcing services that focus on definite areas. This will help MSC in saving the funds that would have been used in the regulations, training, and providing benefits to its employees unlike in the case of employees under contract.
Evaluation of the distribution of its employees such as the military employees versus the civilian employees is also a very vita alternative. The military workforce is quite expensive since a lot of money is required to provide all the turnover period of about three years.
Delinking the Strategy and Decision-making policy from the Provision of services is also another good alternative. This strategy is sometimes known as separating “steering from rowing”.
The separation of strategy and decision-making policy from the provision of services is enhanced through devolution. Top managers are therefore advised to put their effort and focus on the decision-making, leadership as well as in strategic management and leaving other employees to offer the services.
Keys to successful implementation
Functional-level strategies are the best grand strategy considering its nature and operations. These strategies involve coordinating the functional areas of an organization. These functional areas are human resources; marketing; production; finance as well as research and development.
The purpose of coordinating these functional areas is to ensure that each one maintains and contributes to entity- level strategies as well as the overall corporate-level strategies. Every business within the corporate range are concerned with coordinating different operations either in designing, delivering, developing or even in sustaining manufactured products (Barney, 2007. p 65).
Corporate strategies have several functions, but the major ones include the use of professionals in practical areas to produce the best results, to integrate an activity that involves research in operations, coordinating, processes, and future trends. Including resources, control of inventories, purchasing, and shipping. By also assuring that, the functional strategies integrate with the business level and corporate strategies.
Barney, J. B. (2007). Gaining and sustaining competitive advantage. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Mintzberg, H., Ghoshal S., Lampel J., & Quinn J. (2003). The strategy process Concepts, and cases. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Pearce, J., A., & Robinson B. (2004). Strategic management: Formulation, Implementation and control. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.