Influence of porter`s five on the competitiveness of small and medium-sized hardware business in Imenti south Sub County Meru County Kenya
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Kenya aims to create internationally competitive and prosperous country’s economy by supporting industrialization under the economic pillar as spelt out in vision 2030. Small and medium hardware enterprises play a critical role in this endeavor. However, the competitiveness in small enterprises hardware shops in Imenti South sub-county has continued to intensify to an extent of threatening their growth. This curtails the creation of a stable employment and can be a deterrent to affordable housing which is envisaged in Kenyan National Agenda 4. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of porter’s five forces on the competitiveness of hardware stores in South Imenti sub-county. It hypothesized that business rivalry, threat of new entrants, bargaining power of buyers, bargaining power of suppliers, and threat of substitute product have no significant influence on the competitiveness of hardware sector in South Imenti sub-county. The porters five competitive model was significant in guiding this study. Descriptive survey design was adopted. Data was collected from registered hardware stores in South Imenti using a structured questionnaire. Census sampling technique was used since population was small, 83. Content and construct validity ensured data quality, while Cronbach's alpha value was 0.767 which was used to test the reliability of the research instrument. Mean, standard deviation, and regression analysis were used in analyzing data which was presented using tables. Results indicate that all the five forces; threat of new entrants, competitive rivalry, bargaining power of buyers, bargaining power of suppliers and threat of substitute product were jointly statistically significant in influencing competitiveness of small and medium hardware enterprises in South Imenti Sub-county, Meru County. However, when examining these forces separately, only competitive rivalry and threat of substitute products were found to be statistically significant in influencing competitiveness of hardware SMEs in South Imenti Sub-county, Meru County. It is concluded that the competitiveness of small and medium hardware enterprises in South Imenti Sub-county, Meru County is real and is largely influenced by competitive rivalry and threat of substitute products. The study recommends need for diverse innovative hardware products that are highly differentiated in terms quality and value addition. The hardware owners should utilize their economies of scale, foster collaborations and solidarity among themselves in order to push for quality products and better prices. This will also help to scale down business rivalry among traders. Manufacturers and major suppliers should embark on consumer awareness and education as well as on foster intensive promotion and advertising of various hardware products. Manufacturers should also control the quality of products to ensure value for money. The government should support the hardware sector by providing tax incentives in order to encourage local production/manufacture of quality hardware products. The findings of this study have enormous implications on business practices, pricing strategies, collaborations and poses challenge to the manufacturing companies to differentiate their hardware products in terms of the value they add.