Whole Foods and Amazon: An Example of a Strategic Partnership

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The grocery market is set to become more competitive as global technology companies have entered the space. Companies such as Amazon, Walmart, Google and Microsoft among others have been looking for strategic partners to venture into space. The acquisition and implementation of Amazon prime into Whole Foods store processes will be the first of many such integrations to happen in the grocery industry. The successful company in the space will efficiently manipulate the change theory to disrupt the sector and thus have a competitive advantage. To better illustrate and ensure an effective integration process, I will look at 8 key elements that will need to be considered.

1. Create a Sense of Urgency

The stakeholders who will be targeted in this step of change theory are employees of Whole Foods, the customers, and the Amazon team. For the integration process to be successful, the team responsible for them needs to make these stakeholders comprehend the need for change. According to Isaksson (782), the DAS approach is one of the effective ways of creating a sense of urgency. DAS ensures that the integration is streamlined thus focus will be on conducting a cost-benefit analysis, gap identification and risk assessment. Whole Foods has been the market leader in the grocery industry but its dominance is threatened by established and new emerging companies. Amazon has encountered a wave of challenges and it is only through change and innovation that it has managed to remain competitive. E-commerce is changing the landscape of the market and in the near future, people will be using the sites to purchase groceries.

When Whole Foods employees understand the direction the market is moving, they will embrace the change. Leaders in the organization will be responsible for explaining the importance and acting as agents of change. Understanding the sense of urgency will change the mindset of employees, ensure they embrace change and understand the long-term benefits. For the Amazon team, they have to use the technology to ensure quality is not compromised and the processes will become more effective. Once the integration process becomes efficient, customers will appreciate the products and services offered and thus all stakeholders benefit. Also, since Amazon has a huge customer base, the change will ensure that Whole Food stores will have an increased number of clients. The sense of urgency will thus be felt by everyone in the organization and the tactic will ensure the team will achieve its short and long-term goals.

2. Build a Guiding Coalition

To ensure the proposed change initiatives become successfully adopted in the organization, there will be a need for having a team. According to Kotler, a guiding coalition is members of the organization who lead the change initiatives. They will be the oversight team that will report to the management of Amazon and Whole Foods as well as the employees. In this case, the coalition will consist of people from Amazon and Whole Foods and their responsibility will be to implement good strategies, communicate with other employees and ensure the vision of the integration will be achieved. The management will play a significant role in the team by empowering them and ensuring the right personnel is on the team.

The members of the coalition have to act as a team and work together towards achieving the set vision. The team should be diverse and comprise of people from different sectors who fully understand operations in the company. Diversity will ensure each team member bring in unique qualities that will help to improve the change management process. When the team is highly coordinated, members will have positive energy, good strategies will be created and they will support the effort of each member. The team can experience some challenges but through the experience of the members and support from the management, conflicts can be easily managed. The collaboration of the team will determine if the change management process will be successful and the vision will be achieved at the stipulated timeframe. Once successful, the team will lead the organization to the third step of the leading change model.

3. Form a Strategic Vision & Initiatives

For the change process to succeed, the management and oversight team will need to create, articulate and passionately drive the vision. To effectively incorporate change, an organization need to have the right strategy and change the vision (Stark 7). The vision and strategy laid out in this process will ensure that Amazon and Whole foods will have a clear picture of their expectations and how the change can be implemented. The team has to ensure that the vision and strategy are properly understood and articulated by the employees. Through the vision, the employees will have a sensible picture of what they should expect in the future.

Without a clear vision, the change process will not be successful and none of the organization will benefit from the integration. All the stakeholders of the companies will need to be incorporated into creating a change vision and strategy. That will ensure the change will be desirable and feasible. It will be the responsibility of the oversight team to create a draft of the vision and strategy to be used and after receiving feedback, refine it to become more acceptable and appealing. It will also help to prevent any conflict from arising during the implementation of the change process. The vision will help the employees to understand how the future will be more desirable than the present and the roles that they will play in the change process. In the case for Amazon and Whole Food, the change vision will outline how processes will change, the needs of the consumers, how the company will achieve a competitive advantage and how gaps and risks in the business will be managed.

4. Enlist a Volunteer Army

In this process, the aim will be to build a bigger team that will help in actualizing the vision of the change process. The volunteer team consists of employees across all levels of the organization who want to be a part of the change management team. The army will be beneficial as it will ensure that other employees understand the vision of the change process, recognize the urgency and take initiatives to drive change. In creating the army, the management should pick individuals who understand the vision and value of the change process. The army for this case will be employees from both Amazon and Whole Foods. Choosing a diverse team from all levels of the organization will ensure that they lead the internal forces and will focus their energy on making the change a reality. Better management of the internal forces will help to minimize resistance thus the more effective the change initiatives will be achieved. The tactic will also ensure that other employee approves the change initiative and will have a positive attitude to the vision of the company.

The volunteer army will also be responsible for monitoring the progress of the initiatives and providing feedback to the oversight team. The positive or negative feedback from the team will be used to refine the change initiatives to become more acceptable and desirable by all stakeholders. Through such feedback, the team will create strategic initiatives that align with the vision of the group. The efforts and help from the volunteer army will, therefore, help the change process to move to the next step and make the change become a reality.

5. Enable Action by Removing Barriers

The change process cannot be successful if there are barriers that exist. According to Pollack and Rachel (53), creativity is needed to identify and eliminate barriers to the change process. The first step taken by the oversight team and volunteer army is to identify some of the barriers that are affecting the change initiatives. It will be the role of both Amazon and Whole Foods team to leverage the market reputation and eliminate the two largest barriers that will affect the change process. The barriers are the cost of delivery and the freshness of the products. These two barriers will determine if the change initiatives will be embraced by consumers in the market and if it will cause a disruption in the market.

The volunteer army will help to ensure those internal barriers are efficiently managed and that they will not affect the change initiatives. Once the internal and external barriers have been identified, the oversight team will create initiatives to address the barriers. Initiatives such as offering price reductions and faster delivery times will help to ensure the change and will be embraced by Whole foods and Amazon clients. By utilizing the infrastructure that Amazon possesses, clients will have the opportunity to receive fresh products at reduced costs thus fixing the gap in the brick and mortar supply chain. The team will create a short-term and long-term plan that will deal with the barriers and ensure the company becomes dominant in the space. The plans will ensure employees of Whole Foods will offer efficient services and user experienced will be improved thus making the change process a success.

6. Generate Short-term Wins

The change management initiatives can only be achieved if the team sets and achieves short-term goals. Some of the goals include creating an effective team, creating a vision, removing barriers and forming a strategic vision and strategy among others. Development will become limited when the short-term wins will not be achieved. Each short-term strategy should be efficiently managed and once the goal has been achieved, the oversight team will have the go-ahead to move to the next step. It is a critical step as it will ensure resources are properly utilized and the change initiative will be achieved in the set timeframe. The management of the Amazon and Whole Foods should ensure that the team remains focused and all the initiatives are achieved before a green light is given for implementation of the next change process.

The success of the team should be measured by the achievement of the short-term goals. That will ensure the change process remains desirable and realistic. Short-term initiatives help an organization to manage environmental constraints and efficiently manage all activities by the stakeholders to ensure the pursuit for long term goals become successful (Amit 342). The tactic helps to ensure risks will be managed in each step and the change will continue to be aligned to the organizational vision. The short-term wins will also ensure that people become accountable, the team can maintain momentum and track change and employees will remain motivated through the short-term successes. To prevent poor performance and the aftermath of transferring risks from one step to another, the management of Amazon and Whole Foods should allow the team to set its goals and take the initiative of tracking progress. The step is essential for in the change process and it will ensure a good transition of processes in the change theory plan.

7. Sustain Acceleration

It is a critical step that should be set in every process of the change theory plan. All the six processes should be successful for the acceleration to become sustainable in the implementation phase. Since all the short-term wins have been achieved, the change process will not become a reality if the stakeholders do not have the momentum to keep moving forward. Aspects such as corporate culture play an essential role in this phase as the momentum of the team will be influenced by their motivation and dream of making the change a reality. The integration between Amazon and Whole foods will be assessed based on the output that will be achieved. The change will be disrupting the grocery industry and sustaining momentum will make the employees make the change a reality.

To sustain momentum some of the things will need to be changed. One of the elements is aligning the inconsistencies with the team’s vision. All barriers should be eliminated and the team should be allocated with the necessary resources to help them implement the change. The second element is assembling a team to implement the change. That can be done by hiring new talents and promoting employees who have shown consistency in making the idea become a reality. Another element is finding ways to motivate the team. The implementation phase will require the team to remain motivated and through such initiatives, the management will ensure the team will not be obstructed by barriers. Sustaining acceleration will ensure the team easily manage any setbacks and the change initiatives will become more effective. Lack of sustaining acceleration will derail the achievement of the goals and the team will become ineffective in managing the change process.

8. Institute Change

The change will need to be managed to ensure the new processes will replace the old ones. Since the change will have proved to be effective, the team’s aim will be to create a strong support system that will help to support the vision of the integration. In this case, Whole foods employees will ensure that customers understand the new initiates. Making client to understand the benefits of the new initiative will help them to embrace it. Changing the attitudes and beliefs of the consumers with help the companies achieve their vision. The idea will have gone from being a concept to being implemented in the market. The team will be proving that the change will add value to the customers and thus people will embrace purchasing their groceries from the comfort of their homes and offices.

Efficiently instituting change will ensure Amazon and Whole Foods disrupt the grocery market, maintain a competitive advantage and they will be able to achieve growth. The change will be instituted based on the needs of the people and the performance that is achieved. Some of the strategies that are used to institute change include collecting data, analyzing data, changing internal and external systems and offering training and development to ensure optimal performance continue to be achieved. The change will also continue to be instituted based on competition from other companies. Once properly managed, people will embrace the integration of Amazon Prime into the brick and mortar Whole Foods stores and thus make the companies become market leaders in the grocery space.

Utilizing Kotter’s 8 step change model will ensure that Amazon and Whole Foods achieve their vision. The change management tool covers all the aspects of the change process and thus will ensure the successful integration of Amazon Prime into the brick and mortar Whole Foods stores and customers will appreciate the service offered by the two companies.

Works Cited

Amit, Raphael, and Christoph Zott. "Crafting business architecture: The antecedents of business

model design." Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, vol. 9.4, 2015, pp. 331-350.

Isaksson, Raine. "Making sense of opportunities in building material production." The TQM

Journal, vol. 27.6, 2015, pp. 781-797.

Pollack, Julien, and Rachel Pollack. "Using Kotter’s eight stage process to manage an

organisational change program: Presentation and practice." Systemic Practice and Action Research, vol. 28.1, 2015, pp. 51-66.

Stark, John. "Product lifecycle management." Product Lifecycle Management (Volume 1).

Springer, Cham, 2015, pp. 1-29.

January 19, 2024

Business Economics Food


Corporations Management

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