Integration is making of several small parts into one core or making an individual part to be encompassed as part of a whole or bigger mechanism. Business integration is the act of combining into an integral whole by either combining several small establishments or making one establishment to have the capability to combine several diverse fields together for its service base so that they can cater for a wider client base. Business integration can be said to be in effect in an establishment when we look at its information architecture, how it manages its data, how it applies its findings on various aspects, and how all these individual fields that make the goals of the establishment achievable in an entrepreneurial aspect.
Usefulness of Business Integration
Integration allows for the expansion of the company in four major aspects. These aspects are the supplier base and customer base, the inside-the-industry aspect, and the outside-the-industry aspect. These four dimensions are important in ensuring that the business makes progress by monitoring customer satisfaction, competition, employee satisfaction and also good supplier-company relationships (Hanson, et al 2008, pp. 11-17).
Whole Foods Market website (2010) says that the company was founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, by John Mackey, Renee Lawson Hardy, Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, when they saw the need for the natural foods industry to adopt a supermarket format. At the time, there were very few natural food supermarkets in the United States. Since then to the present they have grown largely and opened many more stores. With the entry of companies like Giant and Safeways to the organic food industry, the bar is set and only proper integration can a collapse of the Whole foods market (Ireland, Hoskisson, and Hitt 2007, pp. 566-576). Giant for example was established in February 1936 according to the Giant Foods website (2010) though it came into the organic foods industry just recently.
Assessment and Implications of the Competition
In assessing this scenario to determine whether the competitive advantage can be sustained, we look at the product prices in each company, the product quality and service delivery (Jelle and Alkema 2007, pp. 1-2). Though the Whole Foods Market has been in the organic foods industry since 1980, Giant has been in operation since 1936 and thus might be well versed in customer relations and understanding of the food industry.
These two factors are very crucial in service delivery. When we look at cost we realize also that Giant is more cost focused as compared to the Whole Foods Market. This can serve to draw customers to lean towards Giant since with credit woes being today’s major problem, people tend to look for a place where they can spend less. In terms of quality, the advantage leans towards the Whole Foods Markets since they are well versed with the organic foods industry (Ireland, Hoskisson, and Hitt 2007, pp. 566-576) as compared to Giant which just recently joined the organic foods industry.
If Giant and other competitors were to offer better services with better cost compared to the Whole Foods Market, especially when it comes to home deliveries and online delivery requests, this would lose a lot of customers for the latter despite the quality of their products.
For any company in the organic foods industry, strategic management and planning is vital in ensuring their progress and development (Hanson, et al. 2008, pp. 5-7). Consequently, the factors of product quality, cost effectiveness and service delivery are very important in building a customer base and the confidence of customers in a company.
Giant Food Company 2010, The Giant Foods Company History, Washington D C, 4. < http://www.giantfood.com/about_us/index.htm>.
Hanson, D, Dowling, P, Hitt, MA, Ireland, RD & Hoskisson, RE, 2008, Strategic management: Competitiveness and globalization, Asia Pacific 3rd edn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Cengage Learning, 5-17
Ireland, Hoskisson & Hitt, 2007, Whole Foods Market, 2005: Will there be enough organic food to satisfy the growing demand? Mason, Ohio, 566-576.
Jelle, PA, Alkema, B 2007, Global Organizational Networks: A guide to understanding Globalization, 1-2. <http://www.vingerhoedskruid.nl/Vingerhoedskruid_4_Globalisering.html>.
Whole Food Market 2010, The Whole Food Market Company History, Austin, Texas, 2. <http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company/history.php>.