The concept of order-winners and order-qualifiers is originating from an attempt to explain how internal operational capabilities can lead to competitive advantage, market success and answer the following :
- What drives customers in buying the products manufactured by a company at all. - What makes customers purchase a certain product instead of a similar one manufactured by a competitor.
In order for customers to purchase a product a car for example it needs to meet a set of minimum requirements. In the case of a car it could be design(color, number of doors), a good running engine, at least 3 years warranty,etc. For a PC it could be again design, the minimum hardware requirements to install the desired Operating System and run the desired software programs, the needed external ports and so on. These are defined according to Slack, N. & Lewis, M. (2011) as order-qualifiers,and "are those aspects of competitiveness where the operation’s performance has to be above a particular level just to be considered by customers".
On the other hand there are order-winners, defined in the same book as "things that directly and significantly contribute to win- ning business. They are regarded by customers as key reasons for purchasing the product or service". For a company like Apple for instance, the design of their products has, is and probably always will be an order-winner in the face of competition. For other manufacturing companies the standard of their quality management system can make the difference. A certificate of quality such as ISO-9001 represents an order-winner but only in certain markets while in others it is only an order-qualifier.
Slack, N. & Lewis, M. (2011) also mentions another competitive factor, called delight, which means to give customers something special and original, some extra service that they did not require or expected. Again for a company like Apple this can be considered their customer service which tries to exceed customers...
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