What is the ASTRA method used for?
The ASTRA method is a type of strategic analysis that targets 2 main areas of the organization's activities. The first is the evaluation of the previously adopted management strategy and the diagnosis of the internal and external situation of the organization. The second area is the modification of the existing strategy, its rejection or the development of a new concept of operation.
The ASTRA method helps decide on the company's further long-term strategy based on the company's current situation. This analysis is most often used by the top management of large organizations, but can also be used successfully in smaller businesses.
ASTRA analysis can be divided into 4 major phases:
- Evaluation of the implementation of the adopted strategy,
- Analysis of the competitive environment,
- Study of the organization and operation of the enterprise,
- Strategic options design.
ASTRA method - how to apply it?
In the first phase of the ASTRA method, it is necessary to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the strategy adopted earlier, in other words, to diagnose the actual state of the organization. An important action to be taken is the so-called public needs survey, that is, to identify the needs of society that the organization can meet. It is necessary to assess whether the company's mission actually reflects real social needs, both those that the company can satisfy with its basic operational activities (production, services or trade) and those that relate to corporate social responsibility (CSR).
In the first phase, it is also important to determine the profitability of the strategy adopted. It is necessary, therefore, to look at the financial results achieved, calculate the financial indicators of profitability, liquidity and solvency of the company, and then assess whether they reach an optimal value. If the company is in an unfavorable financial situation, it is forced to focus on corrective measures, and the company's mission and goals cannot be implemented until the situation improves.
The second phase of the ASTRA method is the analysis of the company's competitive environment. This phase boils down to determining the company's position relative to competitors and identifying opportunities and threats inherent in the company's external environment. The following can be used to determine market position Porter's 5 forces analysis and metrics such as:
- market share,
- The volume of revenue from the sale of products or services,
- profit achieved,
- brand value,
- The share of exports and domestic production in the total value of sales,
- Quality and production indicators of products.
On the other hand, in order to identify opportunities and threats in the external environment, the following can be used SWOT analysis or PEST analysis.
The next phase of the ASTRA method is to examine the organization and operation of the company. This phase refers to assessing the internal situation of the company, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the organization in the following areas:
- economic and financial situation,
- employment and wages,
- quality control system,
- Organizational structure and management process.
SWOT analysis can again be used in this phase. At this stage of the ASTRA method, one should look for ways to level and eliminate errors and inefficiencies in particular areas, with the first consideration being whether problems can be eliminated with internal company resources that do not require additional financial expenditures.
The final phase of ASTRA analysis is the design of a strategic option, i.e. the collection of information acquired in the previous stages, the preparation of options for further operation of the company and the selection of one of them. This can be either a modification of the existing concept of operation, its rejection or the adoption of a completely new strategy. This is an extremely important stage of the ASTRA analysis, since the implementation of the selected variant of action will involve the commitment of time, energy and financial resources often in the long term. Therefore, a sound assessment of the effectiveness of each of the available action options should be carried out so that the ASTRA analysis does not have to be repeated soon.
ASTRA analysis is an effective yet relatively simple tool to determine further business strategy based on an assessment of the effectiveness of the company's existing operating program and market situation. Its undoubted advantage is that it can be carried out with extensive research work, as well as simplify the process by focusing on obtaining the most important data on the company's condition. The application of the ASTRA method may prove to be the key to a company's market success.