Vertical Integration Strategies

Vertical integration extends a firm’s competitive scope within the same industry. It involves expanding the firm’s range of activities backward into sources of supply and/or forward toward end users of the final product. Thus, if a manufacturer invests in facilities to produce certain component parts rather n than purchase them from outside suppliers, it remains in essentially the same industry as before. The only change is that it has business units in two production stages in the industry’s value chain system. Similarly, if a paint manufacturer elects to integrate forward by opening 100 retail stores to market its products directly to consumers, it remains in the paint business even though its competitive scope extends further forward in the industry chain.

Vertical integration strategies can aim at full integration (participating in all stages of the industry value chain) or partial integration (building positions in just some stages of the industry’s total value chain). A firm can accomplish vertical integration by starting its own operations in other stages in the industry’s activity chain or by starting a company already performing the activities it wants to bring in-house.

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