The article focuses on the main aspects of Value chain analysis. The activities entailed in the framework are discussed in detail, with respect to competitive strategies and value to the customer. The article includes tips for students and analysts on how to write a good Value chain analysis for a firm. Moreover, sources of findings information for value chain analysis have been discussed. The limitations of Value Chain analysis as a model have also been discussed.
The value chain approach was developed by Michael Porter in the 1980s in his book “Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance” (Porter, 1985). The concept of value added, in the form of the value chain, can be utilised to develop an organisation’s sustainable competitive advantage in the business arena of the 21st C. All organisations consist of activities that link together to develop the value of the business, and together these activities form the organisation’s value chain. Such activities may include purchasing activities, manufacturing the products, distribution and marketing of the company’s products and activities (Lynch, 2003). The value chain framework has been used as a powerful analysis tool for the strategic planning of an organisation for nearly two decades. The aim of the value chain framework is to maximise value creation while minimising costs (www.wikipedia.org).
Main aspects of Value Chain Analysis
Value chain analysis is a powerful tool for managers to identify the key activities within the firm which form the value chain for that organisation, and have the potential of a sustainable competitive advantage for a company. Therein, competitive advantage of an organisation lies in its ability to perform crucial activities along the value chain better than its competitors. The value chain framework of Porter (1990) is “an interdependent system or network of activities, connected by linkages” (p. 41). When the system is managed carefully, the linkages can be a vital source of competitive advantage (Pathania-Jain, 2001). The value chain analysis essentially entails the linkage of two areas. Firstly, the value chain links the value of the organisations’ activities with its main functional parts. Then the assessment of the contribution of each part in the overall added value of the business is made (Lynch, 2003). In order to conduct the value chain analysis, the company is split into primary and support activities (Figure 1). Primary activities are those that are related with production, while support activities are those that provide the background necessary for the effectiveness and efficiency of the firm, such as human resource management. The primary and secondary activities of the firm are discussed in detail below.
The primary activities (Porter, 1985) of the company include the following: • Inbound logistics
These are the activities concerned with receiving the materials from suppliers, storing these externally sourced materials, and handling them within the firm. • Operations
These are the activities related to the production of products and services. This area can be split into more departments in certain companies. For example, the operations in case of a hotel would include reception, room service etc. • Outbound logistics
These are all the activities concerned with distributing the final product and/or service to the customers. For example, in case of a hotel this activity would entail the ways of bringing customers to the hotel. • Marketing and sales
This functional area essentially analyses the needs and wants of customers and is responsible for creating awareness among the target audience of the company about the firm’s products and services. Companies make use of marketing communications tools like advertising, sales promotions etc. to attract customers to their products. • Service
There is often a need to provide services like...