Conceptualizing a Business
Proper strategic planning is important to the future of a business. Strategic planning is the organizations process of defining who they are, what they do, who they do it for, and how they do it. It provides a strategy and direction for molding company policies, products and services. The strategic planning process focus on understanding the organizations relationship to its stakeholders using four main concepts: Vision, Mission, Values, and Strategy. This project will focus on the strategic design of Under Armour, Inc. The Purpose of Under Armour
The Under Armour sports gear and equipment was born in 1996 by a University of Maryland football captain named Kevin Plank who is still chairman and CEO of the company (Google Finance UA, 2013). The first plan was to create a superior t-shirt that would provide compression and keep perspiration off of the skin as opposed to absorbing it. His plan was to create a shirt that would work with the body and regulate the body’s temperature as well as enhancing the athlete’s performance. Kevin created tight fitting sportswear that is made in base layers.
The gear was designed for contact sports. The company uses ArmorGrip technology that is designed to hold the clothes in place and prevents movement of the clothes on the body. The sportswear is made with a thin material designed to be easy to put on and to fit comfortably under sports shirts or jerseys. The material varies for each garment. The material is also designed to wick sweat away from the body, keeping the body temperature cool and preventing clothing from getting wet. The clothing also has what is called vent zones.
These vent zones are placed in key areas to encourage airflow out of the shirts and ensure comfort. The technology behind Under Amour’s products is complex, but reaping the benefits of the company’s gear is very simple: one would wear HeatGear when it is hot, Coldgear when it is cold and AllSeasonGear between the extremes. UnderArmour’s mission statement is to “make all athletes better through passion, design, and the relentless pursuit of innovation. Every Under Armour product is doing something for you; it’s making you better.
Mission, Vision, and Values Statements The company has a vision to be the most advanced sports apparel company in the world. Mindful of that, UnderArmour seeks out new advances in materials and construction technology, as well as new product lines and sports arenas to grow their brand and product line. New technologies will even help training athletes measure how much effort they are applying to a workout by remembering past effort and comparing it to current heart rate, calories burned, and effort (Caddy, 2013).
The vision for the company is walk with a purpose. Understand where the company is trying to go and plan an approach to getting there that accounts for the needs of all stakeholders. UnderArmour has a mission/vision/values statement that takes these things into account, and it uses this statement to guide the company in its business purpose. Mission: To make all athletes better through passion, design, and relentless pursuit of innovation. Vision: To empower athletes everywhere. Values: Respect the UGOP (Universal Guarantee Of Performance).
Every product We build must be better than what’s currently available on the market-best in class. Every product must make athletes better. That’s our guarantee. Be great. Build a great product, tell a great story, provide great service, and build a great team Integrity. Without it we cannot be a team. No one person is bigger than the brand-Team. No athlete either. Make one dollar spend like three. We must be creative with the resources we have Help Others. Volunteerism and serving others are vital parts of our mission.
Walk with a purpose. Everything we do is part of a deliberate, long term strategy/vision. Know where you are going. Protect the UA culture, but embrace change. Evolve and innovate. We’re a different company every 6 months, and we can’t use culture as an excuse not to change our product, process, or people. Be humble, stay hungry. Nobody is going to give us anything. We have to earn it every day. (“Mission and Values”,2013) The mission and values statements above are a guide for UnderArmour in its business dealings with its stakeholders.
Without this structured plan, the company may be tempted to adopt practices that could be detrimental to the business plan. These values give guidance to the company in making business decisions by outlining the way leadership wants to conduct business. Culture and social responsibility are highly regarded in the UnderArmour organization, but not to the exclusion of change. Because innovation is the hallmark of their product, UnderArmour realizes that it cannot compete on a brand name alone, and must constantly be improving.
They strive to make it better. They understand that a static culture within the organization would kill it, so they strive to keep change happening either by changing, adding, or improving products, or changing, adding, or improving people. This is the culture of change they have sought to keep alive in the fast paced technological world of underwear. The reason UnderArmour achieves such success in the market is due the ability to recognize need and provide the best solution for its customer.
Under Armor has a reputation for providing customers with the best sport apparel that fits every athlete and age group. Their customer base reaches across the globe and provides sports apparel for both hot and cold climates. Originally UnderArmour’s products have been tailor made for the male athletes. Over the past few years they have made enormous strides to meet female athletes’ needs through their sports bras, yoga pants and swim wear lines. Understanding their customer needs is one of the major factors helping UnderArmour excel over robust competitors such as Nike and Reebok.
Nike is Under Armour biggest competitor with its strong hold over major college, NFL, and NBA teams. Since 2011 Under Armour Inc. has sales reaching in the billions. Although Nike is prevalent in the sports world UnderArmour according to the Wall Street Journal have risen above Nike Inc. this past quarter. UnderArmour had increased profit margin to 6. 8% in the second quarter. Sale growth of their products which was led by their shoe wear which showed 44% surge is the reason UnderArmour is doing extremely well over its competitors (Wall Street Journal, 2013).
UnderArmour uses its strategic planning to guide the company to achieve success by keeping to a few core principles. Adaptability is used in personnel and technology to drive innovation in product manufacturing, design, and process; while holding to traditional values of quality and meeting the customers’ needs and goals remains the prime directive of the ongoing operation. Community adds depth to the business and allows it to give back to the markets in which it participates. The company has a whole vision for today and into the future.