Part 1 Competing with Operations
USING OPERATIONS TO COMPETE
1. It is often not a good idea for a company to try to excel in all of the competitive priorities because it is generally impossible to do so. Mediocrity is a predictable result. The choice and the minimum level of one or more of the competitive priorities are set by the order qualifiers for the particular product or service. The choice of the competitive priorities that the company should emphasize is usually governed by the company’s strategy driven by its mission statement and the core competencies that the company wants to harness to seek the best competitive advantage.
2. Answering this question demonstrates that processes underlie all of our jobs. What might be surprising is how many students would put their job in the category of “other,” suggesting that many jobs do not fall neatly into any one functional area. Perhaps many in the “other” category might best be called “operations” on further reflection. Customers, both internal and external, are part of each process, and the goal is to manage the processes to add the most value for them.
3. Core processes should link to a firm’s core competencies. Core processes are those processes that provide the firm the best competitive advantage. Essential to the definition a firm’s core processes is the concept of “interaction costs.” These costs include the time and money that are expended whenever people and companies exchange services, products, or ideas. If the transaction costs are higher to retain a process within the firm’s organization than to outsource the process, the process should be outsourced.
4. Technology Management. To identify a market segment, we need to determine answers to questions such as: Which colleges and departments currently offer the subject? What do instructors desire in the way of textbook support? Is there a trend toward Technology Management courses? Are there other Technology Management texts? Some needs assessment can be accomplished by survey, but the response rate may be low. A high-investment strategy would be to ask or hire instructors to review and critique a list of topics, then an outline, then a draft. Explicit services include supplying information about the subject in the form of a textbook and instructor support in the form of ancillary publications.
5. Amazon.com offers a very broad range of services and products at competitive prices. Its competitive priorities would include fast delivery time, on-time delivery, customization, variety and low-cost operations. As a business, Amazon.com is actually assembling a customized basket of goods that must be delivered in a short window of time in a dependable fashion. Low-cost operations are needed to remain competitive. To remain in business, Amazon.com needs to maintain high volumes of traffic. Operations strategy must focus on stock availability and quick, economical, and dependable delivery.
6. FedEx traditionally has competed on the basis of fast, dependable delivery. Before the boom in Internet applications, many businesses relied on FedEx to get things to other businesses overnight. Now, this need is beginning to diminish as sophisticated systems are being installed to assist companies in planning operations better. And, the internet based companies are adding more demands for low cost ground deliveries to specific customer doors. FedEx, in order to remain competitive with companies such as UPS, has moved into the door-to-door delivery business, perhaps through acquisition. Nonetheless, it will require changes to this company’s competitive priorities.
7. The hospital’s commitment to provide attention to patients arriving to the emergency unit in less than 15 minutes and never to turn away patients who need to be hospitalized implies that the facility must be designed to have extra capacity in both beds and emergency room facilities. It must plan on having...
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