free audio cd burner software windows 7 to a useful expression of the value proposition of a business is to work with variables that are important to customers and to simplify them to basic themes. The strategic analysis and action 9th edition pdf download free but important difference is that differentiation and advantage arise from all four components. Strategic analysis and action 9th edition pdf download free is its emphasis in programming rock, rap, country, easy listening, etc. Product Market Focus and Competitive Advantage A business may select a particular product market focus as a way of achieving competitive differentiation and advantage. A business, for vree, may intend to grow revenues at a stratwgic of 10 percent, be first strategif second in sales in the market it serves, and earn a 15 percent return on shareholder equity by year five. A differentiation strategy is broadly defined to include anything such as service, quality, or features that sets a product or service apart from competitors.">
It is sometimes helpful to broaden the notion of customer to one of key stakeholder. For example, business schools typically need to consider the value proposition for students, recruiters, and alumni. It is not uncommon for organizations to exist within a network of stakeholders that may be fruitfully considered as customers for which there must be alignment in the underlying value proposition.
Often there are sub-groups within the organization that need to define a strategy relative to the overall business strategy. The same concepts apply, yet the value proposition relates to how the group will provide value to its internal customers. Functions such as logistics, human resource management, legal services, etc. In designing strategy to service an internal customer, it is helpful to consider the value proposition you provide to the organization relative to the value proposition should it be outsourced.
To the extent that a proposed value proposition is important to customers, different from competitors, and hard for competitors to match, it will constitute a competitive advantage.
Consider the following examples. These are important features to some customers and when they are offered in depth and variety in large stores they become difficult for competitors to match in their conventionally merchandised facilities. Although many companies fall into the trap of just listing all the benefits to customers, the key is to understand those benefits that provide differentiation and are particularly resonant with the customer. What major parcel service does not promise fast, reliable delivery?
What real estate company does not promise the best in personal attention and advice? To create a competitive advantage in such circumstances, a business may put a more subtle value proposition to work—the fact that it will actually deliver on its promise, that it will be superior in execution. What differentiates such companies is not their claim to fast service or personal attention, for example, but the credibility of their claims, and behind this the building of businesses that can actually execute the promises better than their competitors.
Further, among the activities that it decides to perform, there will be some that are critical to the effective operation of the business; these are called core activities. Take the example of Core Activities 29 Kmart. Over a decade ago, before it started its slide into bankruptcy, Kmart decided first to outsource its transportation activities and later, to outsource its information technology.
Here, WalMart, which saw itself as a logistics and merchandising business, was investing heavily in distribution and information technology. The description of core activities relates to the notion of cross-enterprise leadership. Since the boundaries of the organization have become more blurred with partnerships and joint ventures that can often deliver products and services in a seamless fashion, the description of core activities need not be bounded by those that are delivered solely by your organization.
Clearly, as in the case of Kmart, when a firm has outsourced an activity and has little control over it, the activity can no longer be considered core. However, a critical activity over which the organization has some degree of control or influence may be considered a core activity. Describing Core Activities The challenge in describing the core activities component of a business strategy is in determining the degree of scope and detail that suits the issues being considered.
The scope of issues may vary from the very broad perspective of a business dealing with fundamental matters of vertical integration to the very specific process perspective of a firm considering the best way in which to weave together internal and outside activities in building a sales and service system. The focus and detail utilized in identifying and analyzing core activities should vary accordingly.
In the examples below, we have illustrated this principle for what we might call broad, intermediate, and process levels of generality. In pursuing issues of vertical integration, for example, you will have to decide on what basic building blocks in the industry value chain you intend to perform and those you will access through a market.
From this broad perspective, your core activities would be best described in terms of the building blocks that represent fundamental aspects of the industry such as raw material supply, manufacturing, distribution and so on. For example, Starbucks has a close relationship with its many suppliers to ensure a steady supply of high quality coffee beans.
It controls the value chain from that point on with its own in-house proprietary roasting capability and a logistics operation that ensures timely delivery of product to its stores. Starbucks has not opted for a franchise model because it seeks to maintain control over its retail outlets. It 30 Chapter 2 Strategy has its own real estate group to ensure growth is achieved in the best locations. The broad, building block approach described above is usually sufficient for industry studies and basic corporate decisions on vertical integration.
If you are trying to determine how best to proceed in pursuing a particular product market opportunity, however, the focus and detail of the core activity description will probably have to move to a functional base and deal with such categories as product and process research and development, component supply, assembly, marketing, distribution, sales and service, and so on.
The aim at this intermediate level of analysis is to identify where the business has material and realistic opportunities to perform or not to perform a function and the consequences of the choices that it might make on these matters. These core activity choices by Bombardier represented a strategic trade-off of potential value added and control, particularly in wing manufacturing technology, for greater financial and manufacturing capacity and possible market access.
In the broad and intermediate levels of generality, the emphasis is on describing the basic activities that a business has chosen to perform and less so on how it intends to link and perform them. At the process level, the focus turns to mapping activity systems in sufficient detail to support operations planning and coordination, systems development, and quite detailed comparisons with competitors. Here, of course, it is possible to elaborate the description into dozens and even hundreds of different, but still reasonably significant, activities.
Take for example the Shouldice Hospital, located just outside Toronto, that focuses on hernia surgeries. A process level comparison with other hospitals on how it performs its pre-surgery, surgery, and the multiple day post-surgery processes will help you understand how Shouldice has successfully competed with hospitals that have significantly more resources at their disposal.
As you proceed to more detailed descriptions, moreover, you will be faced with the question of how far to take the analysis. At some point your elaboration of the activities goes beyond major commitments that are hard to reverse and the analysis becomes more operational than strategic.
This is where you stop. That is not to say that the operational issues are not important, just different, and subject to prior decisions on strategic position. For the most part, for strategic analysis and action the intermediate levels of scope and detail will usually be sufficient and should certainly be the starting point.
Further detail can then be pursued as specific situations warrant. Porter maps the activity system of IKEA to illustrate how it supports major strategic elements such as self-selection by customers including inventory management and store layout , limited customer service including in-store displays, knock-down packaging, and ease of transport , low manufacturing costs including design and long-term supplier relationships and modular furniture design including in-house design and knock-down packaging.
All of these elements support that value proposition of low price and unique products. This provides an equivalently wide range of possibilities for competitive positioning and competitive advantage. To illustrate, consider the choices with respect to vertical integration that are open to a business as it seeks advantages in market or supply control, cost, focus, and flexibility.
Vertical integration forward, for market control, or backward, for supply control, may provide a business with an advantage over its rivals. In the broadcasting industry, for example, Bell Canada Enterprises BCE , a provider of infrastructure for broadcasting media content and programming, among other services, recently acquired CTV, a producer of media content and programming.
The pursuit of advantageous costs may be the critical driver behind the choice and structuring of core activities. As a pioneer of this approach, Wal-Mart built up a significant cost leadership over its less integrated and rigorously managed competitors and has maintained this advantage for decades. The pursuit of differentiation may also be a critical factor behind the choice and structuring of core activities.
In the athletic footwear market, for example, the big brands like Nike, Reebok, and Adidas have built formidable capabilities in design, sourcing, and marketing, but they rely on overseas contract manufacturers for supply. Marketing is critical: each company spends tens of millions to keep its designs up to date, to secure the endorsement of high-profile athletes and to support mass-media advertising.
A smaller competitor, New Balance, differentiates itself from the giants by stressing function over fashion, manufacturing over marketing. It emphasizes the fit and performance of its shoes; there is less glitz. Its focus on manufacturing extends to the production of many of its shoes in five U.
This differentiation works for the company; it is growing rapidly outpacing the industry and it fully intends to sustain its unique approach. At some point, however, you will have to pull all of the strategic components together to see if they present an internally consistent and comprehensive picture of the direction of the business. This total view of strategy is a critical step in building an accurate understanding of a business and in evaluating its future development.
An overview like this is intended to help you to simultaneously grasp several dimensions of a very remarkable business. For example, Wal-Mart has stringent criteria for suppliers before it admits them into its network, negotiates aggressively with them to keep prices low, and insists suppliers innovate continuously to lower prices.
At the same time it invests heavily in technology and its supply management system to keep inventories low, and links suppliers electronically to ensure that they have current information on product sales and inventories.
All these activities contribute to reducing product costs. Costs are further kept down through lower labour costs, a non-unionized work force, and a highly flexible work scheduling system. By keeping costs down, customers are offered lower prices, which in turn generate higher volumes. The higher volumes give suppliers motivation to reduce prices further and also contribute to achieving a dominant position in a given market. This system tracks, among other things, the increase in same-store sales to measure the performance of existing stores, and operating income growth versus net sales growth and inventory growth versus net sales growth to track improvements in efficiency, It is easy to underestimate the contribution of the linkages between the components to a successful strategy.
In India, Wal-Mart had challenges integrating local supply management and distribution. There are two lines of inquiry to follow as you assemble the components of strategy into one picture. The first is whether the components complement and reinforce each other. In the case of Wal-Mart they do. Gaps and inconsistencies among the elements of a business strategy are problem markers. How big a problem they represent depends on broader circumstances, such as industry competitiveness. Monopolies and regulated businesses, for example, may get away for some time with serious internal logical flaws in their strategies.
The second line of inquiry is a central theme of this book. Given a strategy description, one that reflects the reality of your business, in nature, in clarity or ambiguity, in logical consistency or conflict, how does the strategy stand up as you test it against the other elements of the Diamond-E framework? We turn to this pursuit in subsequent chapters of the book. It is possible to take the components and summarize them into a statement of strategy, but this can be tricky and takes substantial work on each of the four elements to develop an overall statement that is coherent.
No doubt there is more, such as financial targets and core activities; however, such a statement could serve is a driving force in the organization. One of the factors differentiating types of models is the concept of strategy on which the model is based. Mintzberg presents five different types of strategy, which he called the 5Ps for obvious reasons plan, position, ploy, perspective, pattern.
The four components of strategy we have identified clearly provide a sense of the strategic position, but could also be construed as a plan.
These two perspectives are the most common view of strategy. We like to refer to these tactics as strategic initiatives that should be based on an understanding of the four components of strategy.
Unfortunately, many organizations embark on strategic initiatives with no coherent sense of the underlying strategy. For example, it is not uncommon to hear declarations of strategic investments in employees, new technology, or perhaps an acquisition without any sense of how such investments relate to the overall business strategy. This perspective sometimes approximates a vision or set of values about how the firm competes.
As a result, the strategy is inferred from the actions taken. We acknowledge this may be the case, but suggest that it is possible to identify the components of strategy from the pattern of actions.
It is important to acknowledge these different perspectives on strategy so that you can better understand the conversations and initiatives undertaken around strategy. Even with concepts of strategy that are close approximations to what we have presented here, different terms are used, so it is important not to get stuck on the terms but instead focus on the intent. For example, Collis and Rukstad suggest three components of strategy: objective, scope, and advantage.
Scope is a close approximation to Product Market Focus. Advantage is a close approximation to value proposition; however, it encompasses elements of core activities as well. The subtle but important difference is that differentiation and advantage arise from all four components. Notice that in the foregoing sections when we described each of the strategy components we also described how they support competitive advantage.
We believe a strategy statement is well served by first describing the components. Aspects of each are necessary but not sufficient to provide an advantage and it is by examining the four strategy components and their inter-relationship that you can begin to understand how the strategy provides competitive advantage. Other Strategy Perspectives 35 The foregoing represents some broad differences in the use of the term strategy.
It is not our intent to describe all ten schools, but rather to introduce the notion that perspectives on strategy can be quite different.
For example, three of the schools, the design, planning, and positioning schools, take a very rational orientation to strategy as creating a fit between the internal and external environment. The schools fit well with the definition of strategy as either a plan or a position and are based on a rational perspective of strategy: goal-oriented, instrumental rationality, reflecting the origins of the concept in theories of industrial organization and neoclassical microeconomics.
Six schools cognitive, entrepreneurial, learning, political, cultural, environmental take more of a behavioural and process view to explain how strategy arises and is enacted.
Our perspective of strategy is in line with what Mintzberg et al. However, we also draw on other perspectives of strategy to augment the traditional rational view of strategy.
The management preference component of the Diamond-E acknowledges the individual elements that arise from the cognitive, political, entrepreneurial and cultural perspectives. As well, we delve more deeply into the cognitive and learning schools in Chapter 9 as we transition from formulation to execution. It is important to note that the field of strategy and strategic analysis in many organizations is strongly influenced by three of the schools design school, planning school, positioning school.
Mintzberg describes the three dominant schools as follows:. We provide a broad and comprehensive view of strategy. On the content side, we incorporate both the external and internal approaches, and on the process side we 36 Chapter 2 Strategy acknowledge the analytical building blocks of strategy, but recognize the dynamic nature of strategy, which includes emergent and chaotic components.
We develop these ideas further in Chapters 9, 10, and It is also helpful to define what strategy is not. As Porter points out, operational effectiveness is not strategy. Although the resulting operational improvements have often been dramatic, many companies have been frustrated by their inability to translate those gains into sustainable profitability.
And bit by bit, almost imperceptibly, management tools have taken the place of strategy. As managers push to improve on all fronts, they move farther away from viable competitive positions. While necessary, operational excellence is insufficient, since a sound competitive strategy rests on unique activities. Rather, it is the unique configuration of goals, product market focus, value proposition, and core activities that provides a sustainable competitive advantage.
Given the many configurations of the four strategy components, we are inclined to suggest that there are many different options for creating different configurations. We agree with Porter that strategy dictates trade-offs. This same process remains essential as we look at the corporate strategy of multibusiness enterprises, because the strategy of the constituent businesses in a multibusiness firm is a fundamental building block for describing and understanding its corporate strategy.
We proceed here with some explanatory background on the distinction between corporate and business strategy and then we turn to the tangible tasks of identifying and evaluating corporate strategy. Traditional views of strategy have assumed fairly distinct boundaries between the firm and its industry, as well as between industries.
Corporate strategy has traditionally looked at decisions about the management of businesses across industries. Business-level strategy deals with creating competitive advantage within an industry, while functional or product strategies are the means of executing the business strategy as shown in Figure 2.
The typical multibusiness corporation consists of a management hierarchy, which passes from a corporate entity to the business groups and thence to individual business units that the corporation encompasses.
In this hierarchy, the corporate office establishes a corporate strategy and from this a set of strategic guidelines for the groups. The groups, in turn, develop group strategies and set up guidelines for their individual units.
In general, as you move down this hierarchy from the corporate level to the unit level, the emphasis passes from broad positions to increasingly specific initiatives.
Andrews, looking at the hierarchy from the bottom up, sets out the distinctions very clearly: As we ascend from a specific strategy to a corporate strategy, we pass from specific economic objectives to broader organization goals. More weight is given to such characteristics as unity, coherence, consistency, purpose, and concern for the future. Overall, what is it that the corporate office does that results in the businesses under its umbrella being worth more standing together than they would be standing independently, or held by another more effective corporate group?
From a shareholder perspective, what is the economic 38 Chapter 2 Strategy justification of the multibusiness structure? Corporate strategy, in this perspective, is an explanation of the way in which the corporate entity intends to compete and to provide superior shareholder value relative to these alternatives.
Describing Corporate Strategy You can develop a practical description of corporate strategy by focusing, as suggested by Collis and Montgomery,21 on three observable aspects of a multibusiness operation: its businesses portfolio, corporate resources, and corporate management processes.
The first step in the descriptive process is to identify the businesses that the corporation encompasses, which is not difficult, and the essential similarities and differences among these businesses, which is more of a challenge. By comparing, in particular, the product market focuses and value propositions of the businesses, you can develop a good understanding of the ways and the degree to which the businesses are, or are not, related.
Newell Rubbermaid encompasses a wide range of businesses from window blinds to office stationery to plastic household items. While they look diverse in nature, the commonalities of the businesses are substantial; they are all prosaic, low technology, long lifecycle products and their target market is the mass merchandiser operators such as Wal-Mart.
They share a common value proposition of exceptional service as defined by the merchandiser. Brascan Corporation, in contrast, encompasses such businesses as forest products, commercial real estate, and financial services. There are no common elements across their business strategies; this is what is called a conglomerate enterprise. The second step in describing corporate strategy is to identify the resources financial, technical, personnel, etc.
In Newell Rubbermaid, for example, the information technology requirements of all the businesses are handled at the corporate level and the corporate office is actively engaged in developing and transferring management personnel.
A common mode of managing the customer interface, a key corporate advantage, is reinforced through employee development and transfers across businesses. At Brascan the corporate office manages financial resources for the firm, but the office is very small and the businesses must stand, for the most part, on their own feet.
One can see pretty clearly from the above examples that the more related the businesses, the greater the potential role for the corporate office. The third step of description is to identify the ways and the degree to which corporate management is engaged in the business-level decisions about strategy, operations, and performance.
In Newell Rubbermaid, corporate management operates hand in glove with the businesses through frequent strategic and operating reviews and detailed performance assessment.
The pursuit of these three aspects of corporate activity provides a reasonably comprehensive picture of the role of the corporate level in the business. We can readily see the Corporate Strategy 39 differences in corporate strategy at Newell Rubbermaid and Brascan. These understandings set up the more critical pursuit of whether the corporate level makes a contribution to the businesses that is greater than its costs.
By understanding these elements of corporate strategy, it is possible to identify the type of corporate strategy being employed. Corporate strategy can range from a situation where there may be a dominant business unit between 70 and 95 percent of revenue comes from a single business to unrelated diversification, often called conglomerates, where less than 70 percent of revenue comes from a dominant business and there are no common links between the businesses such as found in Brascan.
Corporate controls could be strategic and financial, or simply financial in cases where unrelated diversification precludes any standardized or in-depth comparison with respect to strategy. Finally, rewards could be based on a combination of corporate and business unit performance or simply the business unit. If it does, then the businesses will be worth more under the corporate umbrella than operating separately; if it does not, then the opposite applies.
Given our understanding of corporate strategy as described above, we can investigate this issue. In a related business corporation, such as Newell Rubbermaid, there are numerous ways in which corporate management can add value by providing the businesses, for example, with the opportunity to achieve cost synergies through the sharing of corporate resources , revenue synergies through scale in pursuing market relationships , resilience through access to a management pool , and discipline through rigorous business reviews.
These potential advantages can be highlighted by pulling a specific business out of the corporate context and asking what additional challenges it would have to meet if it were standing alone. In Newell Rubbermaid, for example, the window blind business would face major costs if, on its own, it had to set up and support a vendor system to satisfy Wal-Mart, to say nothing of having to negotiate all alone in the marketplace. The logic 40 Chapter 2 Strategy is there; the remaining question is whether corporate management is doing a good job of execution, something that has to be pursued through a case-by-case study of the performance of the corporation and its businesses.
In a conglomerate, such as Brascan, it is much harder to make a logical case for the corporate structure—so much so, in fact, that conglomerates routinely trade at a discount to the sum of estimated value of their individual holdings. While the conglomerate format is often defended as providing diversification, in efficient markets the individual investor can achieve the equivalent without paying for corporate management.
The question then is just what can corporate management do to add value? Given the differences in the businesses, the possibilities are limited. Given the range of businesses it would take truly remarkable managers to add substantively to strategy and operations.
In fact, however sincere their intentions, it is quite possible that corporate managers who become involved in businesses they cannot really know will have a negative impact on those businesses.
So the justification for the conglomerate format usually falls back on: 1 raising funds and allocating funds at rates and with effectiveness superior to the capital markets, which, of course, is suspect; and 2 implementing management incentives and controls at the business level, which will give results superior to those available by way of a simple single business structure, which, too, is debatable.
General Electric GE , has often been viewed as an outlier and exemplar in how the corporate office can create value. Campbell, Goold, and Alexander have noted how difficult it is for the corporate office to do this.
The proof of the pudding as to whether a corporate strategy makes sense, and whether corporate management is doing a worthwhile job, is in performance. But performance in the case of multibusiness enterprises can be a tricky measure to pin down, because of the inherent complexity of the situation and the fact that the most relevant criterion—the potential performance of the businesses on a separate basis or with another parent—is Corporate Strategy 41 inevitably a hypothetical estimate.
This gives corporate general managers considerable license, particularly in the short term, to fool themselves and their shareholders. An important counter in these circumstances of performance ambiguity is for corporate managers to be particularly careful that they define and work to a strategy, adjusting it as circumstances suggest, and for shareholders to insist on the same.
In Motorola divested its semiconductor business and over the next few years its financial performance improved significantly with net income jumping fourfold between and Losses once again mounted during and after the recession. Finally, in Motorola announced that it would split its remaining business into two separate companies: one for their mobile devices and home business, Motorola Solutions, and the other for mobile and wireline digital communications, Motorola Mobility Holdings.
Many shareholders and analysts felt that the two separate companies would be more nimble and responsive to market needs. On the day of the announcement Motorola shares jumped 7.
The spin-off was completed in January and on the first day of trading the stock price of both the companies closed higher. While both companies have seen initial improvement in financial performance, it will be interesting to see if they can sustain their growth as independent companies and deliver superior returns to shareholders.
However, in the case where corporate management remains obstinate in the face of poor performance, the ultimate remedy is a takeover bid.
Just the threat of a takeover bid can stimulate dramatic action as it did in the case of Novell Inc. SUMMARY This chapter has concentrated on the task of identifying the strategy of a business in terms that are easy to communicate and open to logical tests. We have defined strategy in terms of four related components: goals, product market focus, value proposition, and core activities. Each of these components represents a distinct facet of strategy and each needs to be individually described and understood.
We have suggested some general approaches to this task, all of which emphasize the ultimate utility of the interpretation for the strategic decisions at hand. Finally, we have emphasized the need to draw the components together to see how they relate and co-determine the direction of the business. We are now ready to proceed with the next steps of strategic analysis. Collis, David J. Morris, Betsy. New York: The Free Press, , p.
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