A. Assessment of firm’s strengths and weaknesses. You should perform a value chain analysis. Examine each of the value creation functions of the organization, and identify the functions in which the organization is currently strong and currently weak. Some organizations might be weak in marketing; some might be strong in research and development. You must analyze how efficiently and effectively each activity is being performed. This should go beyond a qualitative assessment to include an in-depth analysis of quantitative data. For example, the efficiency of the materials-management function might be measured by inventory turnover; the effectiveness of the customer service function might be measured by the speed with which customer complaints are satisfactorily resolved; and ability of the enterprise to deliver reliable products might be measured by customer returns and warranty costs. You need to identify those quantitative measures that are important for their business, collect data on them, and assess how well the firm is performing. As an aid to this process, whenever possible you should benchmark each activity against a similar activity performed by rivals to see how well the company is doing. In addition to benchmarking performance against rivals, it can be valuable to benchmark performance against best-in-class companies in other industries. Finally, make lists of these strengths and weaknesses.

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