SFM report



1.          Introduction


Please note before you complete your work you should look at the examples of good practice available on Moodle. Look at the level of detail, research they used and also the style that it is written in. PLEASE DO NOT COPY THESE, THEY ARE FOR YOUR REFERENCE ONLY

Word count:  5,500 words, this does NOT include any footnotes or appendices. Only the report is marked, and the appendices simply demonstrate how you determined the main points discussed in the report. Footnotes should only be used to reference material, or to tell the reader where to find the related information (see example of good practice). If you want the information to be marked, please make sure the relevant pieces are in the actual report.

You are required to produce a report based on the case study.  The report should answer the following:


  • A) Identify the major strategic business units (SBUs) within the company you have been given to analyse, during the period described in the case study.


  1. B) “What strategies has the company adopted during the period of the case? You should describe these strategies for one specific SBU of your choice and for the corporation.


  1. C) Using relevant models, theory and frameworks explain how and why these strategies were/weren’t appropriate for the chosen SBU and for the corporation.


  • Is the company business model the right model looking ahead for the next five years or more? Based on the analysis already undertaken what future strategy would you recommend for the chosen SBU and for the corporation?



Please note that this is not an essay, you must produce it in a business report format. Below is a guideline of the structure of your report; following it will help you answer all the questions above. Remember that you will be marked on your ability to extract relevant information from your case study and outside research to produce the various frameworks and models.

DO NOT underestimate how much work you need to perform to attain research outside the case study – if you want to get a high mark.

However, more importantly you will be marked on your ability to connect the models and show a critical and logical progression in your report, ultimately putting you in a position where you can show your creative skills and suggest future strategies. Students often misjudge how difficult this is and assume they will gain full marks just because they have submitted a section– this is not the case.

You should be aware that students who cut and paste models from the internet and various other sources, even when referenced, will not receive any marks – this is an individual piece of work and it should be your own work. It is your own analysis and resulting conclusions that gain marks.

On the following page we have provided a map to try and explain how each section is related and what prior section you should use to develop subsequent ones.

Submission: your final submission of your report must include your presentation slides as you are awarded 5 marks for these, please submit 6 slides per A4 Page.



2.        Resources

In addition to the resources mentioned in section 4 there is an additional resources that is vital to access good data.  The database is called passport and within this there are reports called Euromontior. You can find the guide on how to use these resources by using this link http://libguides.gre.ac.uk/af/resources


Look for this:

If you are based on Greenwich Campus please also remember to talk to and ask for advice from our Academic Service Liberian:


3. Model of report structure



4. Guidance for format for the business report and marking scheme


Although the table below suggests some good sources you should NOT rely solely on these.

  Format Marking scheme
  Front page  
  Contents page  
  Executive Summary 2 marks
1 Intro

a)    Which market(s) is the organisation operating in? Identification of major SBUs

b)    How does the organisation make its money? Think outside the obvious – look at past examples of practice.

c)    Provide some information about the company and answer what industry it belongs to.


3 marks

2 Financial analysis – with conclusions (you should identify the core competence (CC) and unique resources (UR) as you do this section).

a)      A full financial analysis is required including a segmentation analysis.  Look at the examples of good practice for the level of detail. Remember to use industry specific ratios where relevant.

b)     You do not need to calculate the ratios, you can use good quality sources (listed below) to get the ratios. Your job is to interpret the values in the ratios and explain why the company got that value. Please see the example of good practice to gain a further understanding of what is required here.

c)      You must cover a five year period.

d)     Remember industry averages are essential in this section.

e)      Please look at how many marks are allocated to this section, you must produce a professional financial analysis at level 6, year 3.  Remember it is the story behind the numbers that gets you the high marks. 10 marks for 5 year financial analysis – it’s the story behind the numbers that gets you the high marks, 5 marks for the segmentation analysis, 5 marks for the competitor analysis.

f)      Good sources: Google Finance, company annual reports, case study, Financial Times, Thomson 1 and Passport (the latter two are on the database section of the library) and any other good finance sites.


20 marks

3 Marketing analysis – with conclusions (you should identify the core competence and unique resources as you do this section).  Cover price, product, place and promotions (these four Ps are required).

For extra marks can you see how much they spend on promotion (advertising)?  Can you find out where they are positioned on the brand league tables? Many web sites offer brand league tables, so have there been any changes?.  When you discuss pricing, what is the type of pricing applied known as? Provide an example to support what you have stated.

Remember: any information you use must be evidenced. Please note that the marketing analysis is not the same as the market analysis! One example of a good source http://brandirectory.com/league_tables


5 marks

4 HRM analysis – with conclusions (you should identify the core competences and unique resources in this section).

Core values, skills, change in management, pay, additional compensation, culture, number of employees, recruitment and company structure are all important aspects of this section.

You must also include a corporate governance section.

Good sources:


and www.glassdoor.com to find out if it is a good company to work for and average pay extra for  extra marks.


5 marks

5 Operations analysis – with conclusions (you should identify the core competences and unique resources in this section).

This is a difficult section and you must discuss how the organisation’s operations create value. Reading chapter 3 of your textbook is imperative before attempting this section. You can use the value chain or value system (or both) to help you here. If you like you can draw it. The important thing to discuss here is which categories of activities best describe the operations of the organization. Which of these categories are most significant in delivering the strategy and achieving advantage over competitors. Also you must  discuss what business model  they use? What form of integration? What are the key value adding activities? Remember this must be company specific so the evidence you use will be about the company you are analysing.

You must decide what type of model is required here.  Only use the appropriate one!

Good sources: company annual reports, investor relations website.



5 marks

6 Strengths and weaknesses (S&W)– prioritised and distinctive competences / unique resources

These MUST come from your own analysis – everything you list must come from your own finance, operations, HRM and marketing sections – nothing new should be introduced here. List 5 in each section, i.e. 5 strengths and 5 weaknesses.

For each S&W you should use a footnote to signpost the marker where this has come from (see examples of good practice). You could add the page number to be very clear that this comes from your own work.

Good source: your own internal analysis, nothing else!


5 marks

7 Executive Summary 1 mark
8 PESTLE analysis and conclusions

Do NOT simply provide a generic list – this is an industry analysis, not an organizational one! Provide evidence and detail – look at examples of good practice. You should not analyse the company you have been given – it is about the whole industry.  You can conclude and explain which elements impact the company at the end.

Remember: you must evidence all the points you list, footnotes should only provide the references of you data – the data should go in the main body of the report.

Good sources: company annual reports and good newspapers, economist, data web sites (showing trends), euromonitor.


4 marks
9 Porter’s 5 forces analysis and conclusions, attractiveness of industry and highlight the strongest force

This analysis should be based on your SBU chosen from your list of SBUs in your intro. Make sure you clearly state which SBU you will analyse before you start this section. Apply the analysis to this SBU and make sure that you provide a conclusion for each force whether it is a weak, medium or strong force.  Conclude this section by answering ‘Is this an attractive market for existing players to remain in?’

Remember: this is not about the company it is about the SBU you choose or are told to do. Once again data to support your points is vital.

Good sources: Company annual reports, Google Finance and good quality newspapers, regulations sites and data web sites (showing trends), apps on Android or iOS



5 marks

10 Markets and Critical success factors (CSF)this should be based on your chosen SBU or the one you are told to do.

Markets – what future predictions are there for your chosen SBU and the industry? On the internet there are many prediction produced by analysts. You are asked for two lists 1) the industry predictions and 2) the SBU predictions – four predictions in each list.  Remember you must include data and they MUST be FUTURE predictions – not information for this year.


CSFs – what do the customers demand from companies competing in this SBU?

Good sources: look online  at the top accounting companies like E&Y, PWC and KPMG etc…. they have good industry reports and you do not need to pay, the free information they provide is enough. Also look for industry specific regulators and euromonitor.


5 marks

11 Opportunities and threats (O&T) – prioritized and identified main.

List 5 in each section, i.e. 5 opportunities and 5 threats.

Remember:  each item listed has come from your own external analysis PESTLE, five forces, markets and CSFs.  It is good practice to show where each one has come from – using footnotes and once again you could add the page number of where it has come from.

Good sources: your own external analysis – nothing else!

5 marks
12 The strategic position of the organisation (at the end of case) :

a)      Description of strategy/-ies adopted to date.

b)     Discussion of the key issues relating to the future of the company including conclusions whether the organization, its strategies and business model are strongly or weakly positioned to deal with these issues.


To achieve this:

i)                  Explain where the SBU or the analysed company is located on Bowman’s strategic clock.

ii)                Explain what strategies they employ by using the Ansoff matrix and its terminology to help you.

iii)              Explain how they execute these strategies.

iv)              Determine what parental role top management takes –portfolio, synergy or developer?

v)                What international strategies does the company use?


5 marks
13 A narrative discussion of the likelihood of success/failure of the organisations current strategies. Are they in a good position to face the future? 5 marks
14 Identification of 2 possible new future strategies or ‘strategic directions’.  One for the SBU and the other for the whole corporation – so 2 in total.

Use the Ansoff matrix again to help you identify what type of strategy it is.  Explain how, where and what you will do to achieve it – don’t just list generic items. The language you use is very important here and throughout your report. Also use your strengths and weaknesses section and your opportunities and threats section. Does your strategy take advantage of a strength of yours or an opportunity you identified in the market? Or maybe it eliminates a weakness or a threat?

FULL description of recommended strategies– this is where you really sell your strategies.  Use your future market predictions to help you. We would expect a good half a page for this.

Remember: use your market predictions to help you sell the winning strategy.


10 marks
15 Discussion on the feasibility and acceptability of recommended strategies. 5 marks
16 – Selection of winning strategy

– Key issues in implementing the strategy

– Risk assessment and risk management

Make sure you use the correct “risk terminology” in this section, refer to your lecture notes.


5 marks
17 Presentation slides 5 marks


Referencing:  As you will be using a large amount of work from the case study rather than repeatedly referencing it, it is good practice to state at the beginning of your report “All work within this report is taken from the case study unless referenced otherwise”.  As this is a business report we expect you to use footnote referencing and not the Harvard reference system you use in essays.  Please see examples of good practice on how this should be done. We still expect a reference list at the end of your report.

Please also note the case study does NOT deliver all the data required.  You will be expected to use the case study, the company website, financial data websites and any other internet site that helps with the section you are analysing.  This also includes the use of (free) apps on Android or iOS. If you only use the case study it is likely you will get a very low mark.







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