Your Business – Part 1: Assignment #3
LaPrincess D. Allen
The roots of strategy are in competition. The word “strategic” comes from the Greek “strategos,” which means “a general set of maneuvers carried out to overcome an enemy during combat” (Nutt & Backoff, 1992, p. 56). The heritage of “overcoming an enemy” is alive and well in business strategy today. Gaining market share, differentiating products and services from competitors, and—certainly—“gathering marketing intelligence,” all can trace their roots to the competitive, military-based concept of strategy. In Porter’s words: “developing a competitive strategy is developing a broad formula for how a business is going to ...view middle of the document...
After collectively considering the products and services demanded by customers, strengths and weaknesses of competitors, the environment, and the firm's own strengths, weaknesses, cultures, and resources, proficient firms can formulate their vision as expressed through the mission statement. This statement expresses the organization's values and aspirations; basically its reason or purpose for existence. Based on this mission statement the firm will formulate its business strategy. This business strategy is a long-term plan for accomplishing the mission set forth in the mission statement. Each function within the business can then derive its own strategy in support of the firm's overall business strategy (financial strategy, marketing strategy, and operations strategy).
Operations strategy is the collective concrete actions chosen, mandated, or stimulated by corporate strategy. It is, of course, implemented within the operations function. This operations strategy binds the various operations decisions and actions into a cohesive consistent response to competitive forces by linking firm policies, programs, systems, and actions into a systematic response to the competitive priorities chosen and communicated by the corporate or business strategy. In simpler terms, the operations strategy specifies how the firm will employ its operations capabilities to support the business strategy.
Operations strategy has a long-term concern for how to best determine and develop the firm's major operations resources so that there is a high degree of compatibility between these resources and the business strategy. Very broad questions are addressed regarding how major resources should be configured in order to achieve the firm's corporate objectives. Some of the issues of relevance include long-term decisions regarding capacity, location, processes, technology, and timing.
The achievement of world-class status through operations requires that operations be integrated with the other functions at the corporate level. In broad terms, an operation has two important roles it can play in strengthening the firm's overall strategy. One option is to provide processes that give the firm a distinct advantage in the marketplace. Operations will provide a marketing edge through distinct, unique technology developments in processes that competitors cannot match.
The second role that operations can play is to provide coordinated support for the essential ways in which the firm's products win orders over their competitors, also known as distinctive competencies. The firm's operations strategy must be conducive to developing a set of policies in both process choice and infrastructure design (controls, procedures, systems, etc.) that are consistent with the firm's distinctive competency. Most firms share access to the same processes and technology, so they usually differ little in these areas. What is different is the degree to which operations matches its processes and...