The organization that I will research is private protection and training company known as Academi, LLC. Academi, LLC is the former “Black-Water” and “Xe” corporation that is renamed and reorganized. Acedmei LLC specializes in training and protecting other private companies, government agencies, people, assets, and natural resources. Validation of the organization’s vision, mission statement, and values statements is a process that is living objective and constantly needs reassessed. The CEO and other key positions in the company must review annual and quarterly reviews to ensure the company is meeting short and long term goals.
These reviews allow the company asses and realign with the pre-established strategic plan. The company’s mission should address what product or service is produced, how and why its produced, the market that is served, and overall the beliefs of the company. The mission statement should be constantly reviewed to ensure that mission reflects the company’s current status and core competencies. The company’s core management will semi-annually review these statements and provide them to the executive board for approval and changes.
The external environment can be separated into three interrelated categories: remote environment, industry environment, and the operating environment. To utilize sources when analyzing the external environment, you must understand each sub category. The remote environment focuses on exploiting and analyzing economic, social, political, technological, and ecological factors. Each factor has to be addressed and prepared for. The industry environment focuses on the competition in other industries. My strategic plan involves to identify threats and opportunities in my competitive industry. Understanding that threats can increase my cost and opportunities can create future profits and critical to my companies analysis in the external environment. Finally, my strategic plan includes the subcategory operating environment. The operating environment can be controlled much more than the other two previously mentioned environments. Essentially, the operating environment looks at how attractive your company is to the external environment in numerous categories. (Pearce & Robinson, 2011).
When resourcing each of these environments I will review industry and competitors through open source channels such as websites and printed literature. To be specific, some categories I’ll seek to include will be: technological advancements, new emerging trends, industry current events and announcements, research best practices in the industry, review competition mission and visions, financial statements, and the laws and regulations that govern the specific industry. (Pearce & Robinson, 2011).
After conducting a query conducted on the competitors for Academi LLC, I found that there are many competitors in the same industry conducting the same services; however, thre following companies are recognized as amongst the top four competitors: Force Protection Inc., KBR Inc., L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. and Dyncorp Inc. None of the competitors provide the exact same service due to the nature of achieving and fulfilling government contacts, but they do fulfill similar areas of interest. In comparison to other companies within Academi’s external competition, they do set their self apart from their competition.
Academi LLC in the remote external arena is affected immensely. Academi has factors such as the military and government influence overseas, political conditions domestic and abroad, that status of natural resources all over the world, and the overall economy status in each country or market. These external remote factors influence the way Academi fulfills contracts in each remote situation. Due to the fact that Academi biggest customer is the United States federal government, the status of how the government plans on spending their money highly affects Academi. Specifically, Academi provides protection of assets, people, and resources in countries of major conflict and instability such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Middle Eastern countries. Political decisions from the United States and other countries contributes to Academi’s bottom dollar and the need for their services. As countries decide to be less involved, the need for Academi’s services are reduced as well as the cost of their service. With the demand decreased, other competitors can step in to fulfill contracts at a cheaper price.
When analyzing the industry competitors, I found that even though each company is recognized as a competitor, each have a niche that is better than the other. For example, Force Protection Inc. specializes in protection via armored vehicles. They exploit the remote external category of technology by providing the most advanced equipment to private companies, the military, and other agencies with safe and effective vehicles of protection. Academi does not specialize in protection utilizing vehicles; however do specialize in providing trained personnel who protect assets, resources, and people. Force Protection can be recognized as a threat due to the fact they provide technology that can take the place of trained persons. Other companies such as KBR Inc. and Dyncorp are companies that are very large and provide many services and products strictly for government contracts.
Dyncorp has been able to fulfill the niche of training foreign police and military that focuses on restoring security in the country that desires their service. Academi could easily utilize their trained personnel to fulfill training foreign security forces; however are unable to compete with large corporations as Dyncorp who have cornered the market. To finalize the external analysis of the operational environment, I looked for areas to make Academi more attractive than the other companies. Academi has already tackled the first concern of providing an area for customers to learn more about their company by creating a website that is advanced and simple to navigate. One of Academi’s main concern is providing the very best trained personnel that are more elite and advanced than any other agency and private outsourced company. Academi has provided this feature by creating multiple training camps that specialize in training their work force in numerous regions of America.
Additionally, Academi utilizes a team of recruiters to find, hire, and vet their most prized resource; people. Unlike a company’s external analysis where we focused primarily on the threats and opportunities; the internal analysis focuses on the identifying the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Understanding how to better resource and streamline internal operations will better allow me identify areas that require a change or an improvement. When conducting my internal analysis, I will utilize the following techniques and resources: reevaluate our vision, mission, and values statements, financial statements, resources that include technology and people, and current products and services. (Pearce & Robinson, 2011). An internal analysis of Academi LLC finds that Academi provides some of the most highly trained personnel in America recruited from special operations, specialized government agencies, and specialized police. Academi first hires from the agencies, then provides advanced training to maintain and improve their skills.
In addition, new hires provide Academi with the secret knowledge of the most up to date training provided by other agencies. (Academi, 2015) In addition to the highly trained personel, Academi provides their workforce with some the most advanced and stealth equipment. Academi has resources and assets that include the most advanced weapons, body armor, ammunition, modes of transportation such as helicopters and armored vehicles, just to name a few assets and resources. Much of their equipment have been tested and proven in controlled and real world environments. Even though the company boasts some the most highly trained and equipped personnel in America, this organization does not come without weaknesses. Two of the most significant weaknesses are negative media reports and the amount of capital comparable to their competitors. It’s not uncommon for organizations such Academi to conduct significant changes within their organization due to the fact of negative publicity. Academi was previously initially known as Black Water, but not after an international incident committed by their employees in September of 2007.
During this incident Black Water was conducting operations in Iraq and was engulfed with heavy fire. During the contact with enemy forces Black Water contractors killed at least 17 civilians and injured 20 others. Their actions were recognized as not being warranted in the eyes of the United States government and foreign officials. Five Black Water employees were charged with manslaughter for this incident. Ultimately, Black Water lost many contracts and future business because of this act. They changed their name to “Xe” and retrained employees. Academi’s service is essential, but a very risky one not only for the company image, but their work-force. (Johnston & Border, 2007) Another notable weakness is that there are many large Fortune 500 companies in the government contracting arena. Academi has been competing for government contracts since 1999 and have a wealth of knowledge gaining contracts.
In contrast, companies like KBR, Dyncorp, and L3 Communications have been around much longer and have an enormous amount of resources competing not only in contracts of security, but many more. Fortunately, Academi exploited the niche of training and providing security forces unlike any other company. The structure of Academi includes a board of directors, management, trainers and contracted employees. Many of the board of directors include military and political figures such as John Ashcroft; former Attorney General of the Department of Justice. Much of the board of directors, management and trainers provide the organization with years of experience that are unmatched. Additionally, the board and managers provide contacts in the government and private sector that allows the company to secure contacts and a competitive advantage over their competitors. (Academi, 2015)
Pearce, J. A., & Robinson, R. B. (2011). Strategic management. Formulation, implementation and control (12th ed.). Upper saddle River: Prentice Hall. Johnston, David; John M. Broder (November 14, 2007). “F.B.I. Says Guards Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause”. The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015. Academi. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2015, from https://www.academi.com/