November 21, 2008

Business Plan Development for Manufacturing Seaweed Health Food Product


1.0  Introduction

According to McKeever (2007), a business plan is a written statement that describes and analyses the business and provides detailed projections about its future. The plan also covers the financial and legal and liability issues aspects of starting the business. The importance of writing a business plan is to strategically analyse the environment into which the business will venture through industry assessment and competitor analysis as well as to decide on the most appropriate modeling techniques. As such, business plans are decision-making tools which ensure profitability and resource optimisation. Business plans also improve the business concept as well as the odds of success (pp. 8-9).   

The question now is: why write a business plan? Given that a business plan is considered as the roadmap for the development of a company, the goals of a business plan must be realised. With that said, a business plan purports in developing and implementing the ideas into actual business practices, products or services; identifying strengths and weaknesses of a company and its competitors; developing guidelines for the operations of the company and assisting to obtain financial resources from lenders or investors.

Writing a marketing business plan, on the other hand, benefits the company in several ways. Manufacturing business plans highlight details on production structure, production process, facilities and equipment, main subcontractors and main material suppliers. Benefits of outlining a manufacturing business plan consists of bringing together ideas and research into a structured format, deciding whether or when the business will be commercially available, clarifying the business purposes and communicating it to the relevant stakeholders, predicting future scenarios and pitfalls and addressing such before they threaten the likelihood of success, setting out business strategies including the marketing strategies and setting targets and objectives so that the business can monitor its performance on an ongoing basis.

Further, one of the industries that are experiencing significant growth over the past few years is the organic foods industry. Seaweed food products, for instance, are increasingly becoming well-known because of its health benefits. As Carper (2005) puts it, modern science confirms seaweed contains pharmaceutical quality. In Malaysia, seaweed is now popular product because of the intensified, ongoing seaweed production. Commercial seaweed comes from West coast of Sabah and coastal dwellers. While in other parts of the world especially Europe, seaweed products have already ventured into skin care, bath products and flakes and chips among others.   

As such, in Malaysia, the manufacturing of these products would be plausible because of the abundance of the raw material and the initial acceptance and preference of the local consumers. However, business plan development for seaweed food products is essentially scarce thereby the need to formulate and develop a manufacturing business plan that will enable the researcher to determine the commercial viability of producing and marketing seaweed products. This is interesting to examine in the organic foods industry and the emergent seaweed food because of the fact that seaweed manufacturing would be a great help to Malaysian consumers in acquiring more choices of seaweed products as well as to Malaysian government in maximising the economic potential of the business and in providing jobs to nationals. The aim of this paper is to bring about the element of developing a manufacturing plan intended for the seaweed food products business and determine the feasibility of seaweed production in the Malaysian business environment.     


2.0  Problem Statement

The problem to be explored in this study is on how to develop a sound manufacturing plan for seaweed products. In lieu with this, the study will seek to answer the following research questions.

1)     How manufacturing business plan differs with the typical business plan?

2)     What are the contents of a manufacturing business plan?

3)     In what ways does the manufacturing business plan could help in determining the commercial viability of seaweed food products in Malaysia?

4)     What are the challenges in developing a sound manufacturing business plan for the seaweed production business?


3.0  Purpose of the Research

The aim of this research is to propose a study that will investigate the development of a manufacturing business plan intended for seaweed health food products. The following are the objectives of this research:

  • To provide a discussion about the seaweed food products sector in Malaysia
  • To apply manufacturing business plan development practices and theories in seaweed production
  • To search and discuss literatures that provide examples of manufacturing business plan in organic industry
  • To analyse to what extent does the manufacturing business plan could assist in rational decision making


4.0  Methodology

The research will be descriptive in nature. A descriptive research intends to present facts concerning the nature and status of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study (Creswell, 1994). It is also concerned with relationships and practices that exist, beliefs and processes that are ongoing, effects that are being felt, or trends that are developing. In addition, such approach tries to describe present conditions, events or systems based on the impressions or reactions of the respondents of the research (Creswell, 1994).


5.0  References

Carper, J. (2005). Health benefits of seaweed. The Food Pharmacy.


Creswell, J. W. (1994). Research design. Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.


McKeever, M. P. (2007). How to Write a Business Plan. Berkeley, California: Nolo Press.

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