This report analyzes the strategic plan already developed for National Environment Agency (NEA) to guide the organization towards continued growth in meeting its vision and mission. The purpose of analyzing the strategic plan prepared for NEA is to evaluate whether it will be effective or not and produces desired results. The strategic plan already proposed for NEA is based on strategic analysis- general environment, SWOT, and value chain analysis. The National Environment Agency is a Singapore statutory board (Government of Singapore 2009) that provides goods and services (National Environment Agency 2008A).
NEA aims to ‘achieve a liveable and sustainable Singapore by: safeguarding and promoting the environment, strengthening community ownership, building strong capabilities with our partners, and serving with passion and excellence (National Environment Agency 2008B). The strategy is directly related to developing, setting, and understanding the long-term direction of organizations. Strategic decisions made by the organizations are concerned with the overall spectrum of the activities performed by them.
Scope of activities developed and determined by the organizations form the basis of strategy as it defines the way in which they manage operations in the perceived boundaries. Strategic decisions aim to accomplish a competitive advantage for the organizations and one of the main instrument used in the different organizations is value chain analysis. Corporate strategies designed by the organizations mainly require continuous changes considering the ways in which forces of external environment operate.
Furthermore, an organization should carefully develop and then maintain its positioning for meeting the clearly identified target market needs (Grant, 2007). General Environment Analysis Environment scanning is the attainment and usage of information about episodes, trends, and associations in the external environment of an organization, as it provides necessary information for assisting management in planning future of an organization’s course of action. Strategies of an organization refer to model of organizational deeds in relation to external environment.
Peculiarity of management comprises manager’s operational specialization, hierarchical degree and cognitive manner. Growing yet aging population of Singapore is one of the main problems highlighted in the proposed strategic plan. Studies have estimated that population over the age of 65 will increase to 19% of the total. Almost 85% of elderly in Singapore live with at least one child (Chan 2008). The challenge for the policy makers is, therefore, to develop robust systems for ensuring economic and social well-being of the elderly.
As such, challenges like increased demand for energy resources and effective waste management have been outlined in the strategic plan. Another problem related to aging population is the decline in the proportion of people who are less productive. It leads to less available local talent because of aging workforce as mentioned in the plan (Lee 2008). Social-culture is an important force in the external environment of an organization. In a civilized society, every person has to fulfill social responsibilities helping people in different ways.
Social responsibility, however, is not limited to person but extends to small firms, large organizations, and governments of the world. Singapore is the highest-ranked Asian country in terms of social capital attributed to soundness of government policies and robust financial sector that has remained less affected from the effects of current economic recession (The Straits Times 2009). NEA has to play an increasingly important role in the socio-cultural environment of Singapore society.
The proposed strategic plan emphasizes the importance of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) meaning NEA should be more concerned with stakeholders rather than shareholders. Developing strong relationships with stakeholders is supported by making significant investments in CSR. Growing importance of CSR represents an opportunity for NEA to promote and garner support for green activities. Green activities include adding new roads that could reduce net emissions of automobiles and also alleviate traffic congestion. It will also encourage more people to drive.
Meanwhile, newly repaired roads are smoother and mostly reduce fuel consumption. Singapore’s government should continue to play its role taking pertinent steps like offering interest free loans to companies that are environmental-friendly. Another main factor included in the general environment of strategic plan is ‘economical’. The plan highlights unhealthy state of Singapore economy as evident in the budget deficits of the revised $2. 88b in FY2009 and an estimated $2. 96b in FY2010 mainly due to recent instability of the global economy.
The global financial crisis in the current decade has reduced the pace of economic growth throughout the world including developed and large industrialized nations. Negative effects of economic recession have created job crisis in almost every part of the world. One of the main reasons for the current job crisis is global credit crunch limiting financial resources of organizations. Another reason for the crisis is declining profitability in major industries like banks and airlines. Resultantly organizations in the domestic and global market are forced to downsize and millions of people have lost their jobs (Smith 2008).
The proposed strategic plan, therefore, estimates that NEA might face possible financial constraints because of economic recession already resulted in government budget deficits. Ghosh (2010), however, differs with the opinion stating that Singapore is posed to deliver record-breaking GDP growth of almost 15% this year. He believes that the wealthy island has recovered robustly from recession- an estimated 63,000 jobs were added in the first half of the year as per Ministry of Manpower (Ghosh 2010).
Main features of Singapore government are law enforcement and high transparency as indicated in the proposed strategic plan. It increases public’s reliability on NEA expecting fairness in the execution of policies. A study conducted to search for reasons of economic growth in Asia concluded that rapid growth of newly industrial countries including Singapore is due to the critical role of political stability in accelerating growth which is more vital than economic freedom (Younis 2008).
Technological environment mentioned in the proposed strategic plan underlines the opportunities to NEA present in the society through ‘excitable’ innovations like green vehicles in recent years. NEA is working with the public and businesses for promoting environment friendly practices such as introduction of the ‘Compressed Natural Gas vehicles’ (CNG) to ensure clean environment. This strategy is effective as green vehicles offer more benefits in maintenance, are cost-effective, and most importantly environmental-friendly.
Global forces being part of the external environment- as described in the strategic plan- is critical in today’s competitive and free world. Singapore is reaping benefits by making strategic alliances and participating in global agreements. Sun Tzu- a famous Chinese general- designed brilliant military strategies winning several victories in wars. Many business executives around the world attributed their success to applying principles framed by Sun Tzu. Alliance- a golden principle of Sun Tzu’s strategies- is easy to form compared with mergers and acquisitions (Sun, 1994).
Through strategic alliances, NEA shows its commitment resulting in environmental sustainability. Effectiveness of SWOT Analysis SWOT analysis made in the strategic plan identifies some major strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities both internal and external environment. It is pertinent to analyze elements of SWOT judging their effectiveness. Three major strengths have been described in the plan as; backed by government, innovative and technology driven, and emission standards conform to global standards. NEA has taken several initiatives to ensure compliance of environmental standards.
Transparency of government, low level of corruption, and high public trust in governmental policies are supportive for NEA to implement and execute its policies. Economic planners in Singapore have already realized the significance of technology viewing it as a strategic in the restructuring of the economy toward higher value-added production (Rodan 2008). NEA has also adopted new technology and innovation to pilot new environmental developments as narrated in the strategic plan. One major weakness of NEA mentioned in the proposed strategic plan is ‘over-diversified’ organization.
The organizational chart in the plan shows NEA divided into 9 divisions and several sub-departments called ‘hierarchical structure’ in which there are distinctive layers with fewer and fewer people on each high level. The distribution of authority is a main feature of hierarchical structure explaining the internal structure of the organization. Decision-making generally rests at the top; however, some powers may be delegated to the lower levels. Moreover, outward and inward communication is also time consuming and complex.
Another weakness outlined in the strategic plan is ‘corporate environment performance’ as environmental scene in Singapore lacks substantial presence from environmental groups which culminates to the criticism of not having a corporate environment performance index. Several government as well as non-government environmental initiatives have been taken in Singapore implementing environment management systems. It is necessary that ‘corporate controllers, accountants, and operating managers should develop and implement a corporate environmental strategy for improving environmental costing and management’ (National University of Singapore 2009).
It will then be possible to raise a collective environmental voice and support which could augment NEA’s policies and campaigns towards sustainable environment. Six main opportunities are available to NEA in the external environment outlined in the strategic plan as; green plan, environmental know-how, more environmentally friendly practices, advances in technology, modern city, and environmental conscience citizens. Green environment improves lifestyle of public and is a major tool for confronting future challenges.
While corporate, scientific, and public opinion is coalescing around the specific need to address the scenario regarding climate change and energy security, the challenge of addressing de-industrialization has not been a part of the debate related to national energy policy. Major threats for NEA are; high operational costs, non-conformance of public, environmental changes, and increasing number of foreigners with different culture and standards. Mother Nature, in addition to human habitual behavior, could pose menacing unpredictable changes. There has been a dramatic change in the climate of earth for many times in the past.
It is estimated that there will be more changes in the future. According to some studies, almost twenty thousand years ago, the places where Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis and Milwaukee now exist were covered with ice. The real cause is yet to be discovered by the scientists about spread and retreat of ice. However, once the process of retreat commenced, it occurred swiftly, disappearing completely in few thousand years. There are now only few remnants, for instance Greenland ice sheet (Lomborg 2008). Value Chain Analysis Michael Porter developed the concept of value chain in his book ‘Competitive Advantage.
By adopting a sequence of production and increasing value-adding activities NEA supports its stakeholders identifying three key activities- waste collection, waste incineration, and landfill. Value chain involves sequence of activities necessary for bringing any product from its start to the ultimate consumption. With the help of its innovative approach- as proposed in the strategic plan- NEA can ensure a perfect chain of activities starting from launching new ides of product design, manufacturing it, and ultimately marketing it enthusiastically.
Although NEA is already applying this concept but can further benefit form the idea given in the plan by sustaining its competitive advantage during twenty-first century. By linking all activities such as purchasing, manufacturing, and marketing etc, NEA can give value creation while decreasing costs significantly (Porter 1998). The linkage of these activities will effectively support NEA in improving its system performance while providing maximum value to its customers. Strategy proposed in the strategic plan will further lower waste generation rates managing waste management in a better way.
Conclusion The paper has presented a detailed analysis of strategic plan already developed for National Environment Agency (NEA) to guide the organization towards continued growth in meeting its vision and mission. The purpose of analyzing the strategic plan prepared for NEA is to evaluate whether it will be effective or not. After analyzing the general environment, SWOT, and value chain, it is concluded that the proposed strategic plan will be effective producing desired results for NEA.