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Operations Strategy

Essay by   •  July 9, 2013  •  Essay  •  234 Words (1 Pages)  •  1,451 Views

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Operations Strategy

It is generally accepted that the beginnings of what is now referred to

as operations strategy were developed at Harvard beginning in the period

immediately following World War II. Researchers started looking at different

industries and saw that there were many different choices in ways in which

companies were choosing to compete. These were accompanied by further

choices concerning operations technology and management. The success and

failure of the companies studied could be often explained by the choices the

companies made and their alignment to competitive strategies.

Key to the propagation of operations strategy as a strategic

opportunity was the work of Wickham Skinner in his two articles:

"Manufacturing - the missing link in corporate strategy" and "The Focused

Factory". The first explained the importance of linking operations choices

with an organizations environment and strategy. The second article which I

have referred to often in my own work developed the concept of focus and

the advantages of being consistent and in alignment both internally and


Since Skinner's early work, the writings and practices of operations

strategy have developed on a few broad fronts. We will look at two of them

here. The first can be described as competing through capability by closely

linking the operations capability of the organization with the competitive

realities of the market. Dell computer with is make-to order business model

and Wal-Mart with its distribution system are good examples. The second is

often described as a best practice or "World Class Manufacturing" approach.

Canon and Toyota are good examples of this.



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