Order winners are "those competitive characteristics that cause a firm's customers to choose that firm's goods and services over those of its competitors. Order winners can be considered to be competitive advantages for the firm. Order winners usually focus on one rarely more than two) of the following strategic initiatives: price/cost, quality, delivery speed, delivery reliability, product design, flexibility, after-market service, and image." (APICS Dictionary 2008).
Order qualifiers are "those competitive characteristics that a firm must exhibit to be a viable competitor in the marketplace." (APICS Dictionary 2008)
Performance dimensions on which customers expect a minimum level of performance. Superior performance on an order qualifier will not, by itself, give a company a competitive advantage.
Order Qualifiers are the characteristics of products or services that is required in order for the product or service to be considered by a customer.
Order Winners are the characteristics that will win the bid or the customers purchase.
For example, a firm producing a high quality product (where high quality is the order-winning criteria). If the cost of producing at such a high level of quality forces the cost of the product to exceed a certain price level (which is an order-qualifying criteria), the end result may be lost sales, thereby making "quality" an order-losing attribute.
The terms "order winners" and "order qualifiers" were coined by Terry Hill, professor at the London Business School, and refer to the process of how internal operational capabilities are converted to criteria that may lead to competitive advantage and market success. In his writings, Hill emphasized the interactions and cooperation between operations and marketing. The operations people are responsible for providing the order-winning and order-qualifying criteria—identified by marketing—that enable products to win orders in the marketplace. This process starts with the corporate strategy and ends with the criteria that either keeps the company in the running (i.e., order qualifiers) or wins the customer's business.
AND COMPETITIVE PRIORITIES
Many factors shape and form the operations strategy of a corporation, for example, the ever increasing need for globalizing products and operations and thus reducing the unit cost, creating a technology leadership position, introducing new inventions, taking advantage of mass customization, using supplier partnering, and looking for strategic sourcing solutions. All of these factors require an external or market-based orientation; these are the changes that take place in the external environment of the company.
Traditionally, strategic decisions were thought of as "big decisions" made by general managers. However, big strategic decisions may not be the only source of competitive advantage for the firm. Jay Barney wrote, "Recent work on lean manufacturing suggests that it is the simultaneous combination of several factors that enables a manufacturing facility to be both very high quality and very low cost. This complicated system of numerous interrelated, mutually supporting small decisions is difficult to describe, and even more difficult to imitate, and thus a source of sustained competitive advantage." Barney contrasted big and small decisions further, "Recognizing that small decisions may be more important for understanding competitive advantages than big decisions suggests that the study of strategy implementation—the process by which big decisions are translated into operational reality—may be more important for understanding competitive advantage than the study of strategy formulation."
The strategy expressed as a combination of a few big and hundreds of small decisions leads to setting up competitive priorities for improving operational practices through investments in various programs. These competitive priorities place...