The mission of Sara Lee is to delight its customer everyday. In connection to that, the company focuses to become the first choice of the consumers and customers in different part of the globe by bringing together different innovative ideas, continuous improvement as well as people in order to make things happen (Sara Lee 2008). Sara Lee started as Consolidated Grocers in 1945 that sells coffee, tea and sugar in wholesale manner. In 1954, it had changed its name to Consolidated Food Corporation.

In 1962, the company had started building its international markets with its first European acquisition. In addition to that, purchases of Douwe Egberts, Nicholas Kiwi and Dim, had helped to expand its global presence. The biggest development of the company is when CFC bought the Kitchen of Sara Lee, a famous bakery in Chicago that was established by Charles Lubin in 1951. In 1985, the company changed its name using their most respected brand, and that is Sara Lee in order to enhance the public awareness of the company (The History of Branding 2008).

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As of now, the company is already operating in 58 countries, with 200 nations and 150,400 employees all over the world. Current Situation Strengths The main advantage of the Sara Lee is their wide lines and selections of products. This enables the company to have a direct relationship with the customers. In addition to that, due to the fact that Sara Lee is also offering direct selling, it enables a direct relationship and contact with the customers. Furthermore, the company is also offering a good payment method where in it enables to cater to the budget needs of the customers.

In addition to that, Sara Lee is also connected with the process of empowering women, by letting them to be the direct selling partner, and it helps the company to gain popularity. Weaknesses Over the past 4 years, the sales and the net income of the company only increased by 3%. The main reason behind the said condition of the company focuses on the fact that the company has a huge portfolio of 200 brands, and it can affect the image and relationship of the company to the customers, due to the fact that it can confuse them regarding what is the specific product that the company is offering.

In addition to that, another problem or weakness focuses on the company’s inability to grow in different aspects such as marketing and innovation. Opportunities Globalization and the Internet can provide opportunities to the company. It can help the company to expand their business in different parts of the globe. On the other hand, the Internet can enable the company to save money, effort and time in communicating with the customers. This is due to the fact that the Internet can enable the company to sell via the Internet, as well as market their products in the cyberspace.

It will help the company to target an immeasurable market. Threats One of the most important threats for the company is the high costs of the raw materials and deflationary pressures that have hurt most of the large packaged-food companies, including Kraft, General Mills and Hershey Foods. Furthermore it can also be observed in most of the players of apparel industry like Target, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart Stores, where in there is a weak sales of clothing. The said increased in the cost of the raw materials as well as the decreasing sales can affect the performance of the company.

In addition to that, it is also important to consider the impact of the global financial crisis that can affect the buying behavior of the customers. The biggest problem of the company focuses on how its mature food, household and apparel businesses will grow. This is due to the fact that the food-products department competes in segments growing at less than 2% annually. In addition to that, other segments are not doing better as well. In addition to that, the $6. 4 billion apparel unit accounts for about 35% of the total revenue and 38% of the entire operating income.

However, although it is considered as high compare to the food department, it is still remains in a slump. Above all, the sales of socks, underwear and even T-shirts are decreasing. In addition to that, the hosiery sales, an area where in the company dominates the 60% of the entire US market have also been quickly evaporating (Tatge 2008). All of the said numbers, statistics regarding the performance of the company shows that the retrenchments plan of the company is not working well.

There are many critics who are saying that the main fault of the management focuses on the incorrect usage and allocation of budget to the different department and line of products of the company. Recommendation One of the most important activities and plans that must be done by the company is to simplify the portfolio of products of the organization. It can be done by removing those products that are not considered as feasible or important in terms of financial and sales aspect of the company.

By doing the said activity, it could help the management to focus in different products that are important and popular to the customers. It could also help the company to focus more in the process of innovation and quality of their products. In addition to that, the company must also focus on the aspects of human resource, where in, it must give importance on the needs and demands of the direct sellers. This will motivate them more to participate in different activities of the company, thus it will help to improve the position of Sara Lee in the global market.

References

About Sara Lee 2008, Sara Lee, viewed 28 October 2008, <http://www.sara lee.com/AboutSaraLee/OurMission.aspx>

History of Sara Lee 2008, The History of Branding, viewed 28 October 2008, < http://www.historyofbranding.com/saralee.html>

Tatge, M 2008, Sara Lee Frays At Its Seams, Forbes, viewed 28 October 2008, < http://www.forbes.com/2004/08/04/cz_mt_0804saralee.html>

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