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Strategic Planning

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1. Appraise the formal planning efforts at the Copley Company for the period 1981 to 1984.


Copley Manufacturing Company was primarily a manufacturer of a wide line of cutting tools and related parts and supplies. Late in 1980, Mr. Sagan, director of corporate development and Mr. Albert, executive vice president agreed that regular formal planning should become part of management's way of life at Copley.


In 1981, Copley Manufacturing Company had begun formal corporatewide planning. The formalized planning was ingrained into life at Copley through a series of visits by corporate groups, planning review meetings, as well as planning response meetings.

However in 1982, the planning system was modified where the planning committee separated the formal planning cycle into three phases - Strategy Development phase, Quantitative phase and Action phase.

In 1983, the planning process was largely influenced and administered by Mr. Tyler, the executive vice president.

For recent development in 1984, the actual responsibility for planning has been placed directly on the executive vice president, group vice presidents and also division managers.


In February 1981, Mr. Albert formed a corporate planning committee as the first step to move toward a regular formal planning process. In the discussion held, the planning committee decided on the process of ingraining the formalized planning into the life at Copley.

On 21st March 1981, Mr. Albert requested the division general managers to sketch out a plan for regular formal planning and schedule for starting such an effort. The main objective of that effort is to issue guidelines for the preparation of divisional "provisional plans" (Brethauer 1999).

On 6th June 1981, the corporate groups, which always included Mr. Albert and Mr. Sagan, had visited to the divisions constantly as an initial concept of formal planning activities. In the introductory meetings, Mr. Albert explained the importance of the planning effort, and Mr. Sagan explained the details. On 1st October 1981, the divisions, as well as the corporate staff groups, were asked to produce and submit the five-year plans.

In November and December 1981, planning review meetings were held to review the divisional plans. On 28th December 1981, the planning response meetings were started. In these meetings, the planning committee commented on the divisional presentation to the divisional general managers. Typical of these meetings was that of the Cutting Tool Division, which was headed by Mr. Tyler, the general manager.


Generally, it was felt that the planning effort at Copley in 1981 had made a good beginning because most agreed that the plans had provided useful information to aid the top management to obtain better understanding on Copley's business activities.


In 1982, formal planning had been significantly affected by certain organizational changes, such as the elevation of Mr. Albert to president, the creation of two corporate staff functions, the further delegation of operating responsibility and the segregation of the Cutting Tool Division.

In the same year, the planning committee decided to divide the formal planning cycle into three phases, which were the Strategy Development phase, the Quantitative phase and the Action phase.

The division's strategic plans were presented to corporate management by each division in a planning review meeting and subsequently evaluated in a planning response meeting (Lee & Ke 2004). Unlike 1981, these meetings followed each other on the same day in 1982.

In 1982, the progress of the planning efforts was disrupted by certain developments; chief among them was the change in the top management. Besides that, considerable management effort was also required to assimilate the recently acquired large company and to work out the segregation of the old Cutting Tool Division into two new divisions.

On 11th July 1982, after completion of the strategy development phase, it decided against proceeding with the quantitative phase due to the developments noted above. However, the staff departments were recommended to commence the planning process by analyzing past results and identifying resources, strengths, weaknesses, major threats, and major opportunities of their divisions.

In 24th October 1982, Mr. Albert reaffirmed his intention to emphasize planning at Copley by setting specific goals, allocating resources, measuring progress, and emphasizing more on the delegation of responsibility and also in the measurement of performance against determined goals (Hicks 1999).


Generally, the progress of the planning effort in 1982 was temporarily obstructed by several organizational changes and developments in Copley. It was disruptive to the planning effort because considerable management effort had been placed on managing the acquisition of new company and on working out the segregation of divisions.


In 1983, the planning process was largely influenced and administered by Mr. Tyler, executive vice president. The division managers were required to reduce the number of pages for each product group strategy and the related financial five-year plan in order to allow the divisional management to have more time for strategic considerations (Tucker 1999).

Besides that, the management review process was also altered. Divisional presentations were replaced by two other meetings, which are a one-hour "pre-meeting" and a three-hour meeting. During the pre-meeting, Mr. Albert and Mr. Tyler explained Copley's strategy and acquisition policy, and also reviewed the findings and conclusions of the Product Line Study. The division manager had to explain and defend the division's strategy for the coming year. In the three-hour meeting, the division manager and his staff had to present their plans.


Generally, the planning effort in 1983 was a success since Copley recovered financially in net sales, as well as in earnings per share. The main reason



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