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Building Competitive Advantage through Distinction

Caselet-1: Nordstrom Inc Caselet-2: A Vision of Industry DominanceNike Caselet-3: Leveraging TechnologyReinventing Amazon.com
Routes to Building Competitive Advantage Low-Cost Leadership Strategies Differentiation Strategies Focus Strategies Strategy and Competitive Advantage over the life cycle

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Caselet-1: Nordstrom Inc


Deep roots in Seattle, Washington, USA Initial business was fashion shoes, 1901 Loyal customers awarded Computerised real time inventory system 1968 women fashion apparels Company ensures distinct customer service by fully embracing personalised sales Care for employees and human values Competition by Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th avenue, Talbots

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Nordstrom differentiation from department store chains


Infrastructure Strong legacy of family emphasis on service

SUPPORT ACTIVITIES

Human Resource Management

Promotion from within

Development of service culture

Training on service expectations

Technology Development

Perpetual inventory

Development of new ordering systems

Customer loyalty programs

Making internet as user friendly

Procurement

Emphasis on high fashion labels

PRIMARY ACTIVITIES
Inbound Logistics

Smaller stores, higher store density, narrower product line

Higher prices, emphasis on classic design

Personalised friendly, customer first policy

Operations

Outbound Logistics

Marketing/ Sales

Service

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Caselet-2: A vision of Industry Dominance-Nike


Worlds largest shoe maker, Greek goddess of victory, 20% of athletic market Distinguishes from competitors, Adidas, Reebok, Puma, K-Swiss through aggressive celebrity marketing and by associating with college teams, Olympics and major professional sporting events globally. Powerful competitive advantage include R&D capabilities, extensive worldwide production, sourcing networks, cross selling products and funding of various community based programs. Nike forms research communities comprising coaches ,athletes, trainers, equipment managers, orthopedists etc Shox technology adopts having air cushion Personalized shoe The backbone is its huge global production and sourcing network Complete control over supply chain Focus on independent contractors Sponsoring events make its aggressive presence
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Caselet-3: Leveraging Technology- Reinventing Amazon.com


Beginning in 1994, leading online retailer Biggest seller of books, Cd, Video, Gifts and electronic products on the internet Significant discount on net price Competes with e-Bay, Yahoo and WebMD Initial focus was on books, open for comments by buyers Virtual customer, high degree of convenience and security First time visitors have to punch their billing & credit card info, email, address etc thus creating a first time visitors have to punch their billing & credit card info, email, address etc thus creating personal profile for subsequent usage Uses web based innovations, e-commerce emerging as a technology and web based virtual platform Rival threat by overstock.com
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Core Competencies and Strategy


Core Competencies Resources and superior capabilities that are sources of competitive advantage over a firms rivals

Strategy

An integrated and coordinated set of actions taken to exploit core competencies and gain competitive advantage

Business-level Strategy

Providing value to customers and gaining competitive advantage by exploiting core competencies in individual product markets

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Customers: Their Relationship to BusinessLevel Strategies


Who will be served?

Key Issues in Business-level Strategy

What needs will be satisfied?

How will those needs be satisfied?

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Who: Determining the Customers to Serve


Market segmentation
A process used to cluster people with similar needs into individual and identifiable groups.

All Customers
Consumer Markets Industrial Markets

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TABLE

4.1

Basis for Customer Segmentation

Consumer Markets Demographic factors (age, income, sex, etc.) Socioeconomic factors (social class, stage in the family life cycle) Geographic factors (cultural, regional, and national differences) Psychological factors (lifestyle, personality traits) Consumption patterns (heavy, moderate, and light users) Perceptual factors (benefit segmentation, perceptual mapping)

Industrial Markets
End-use segments (identified by SIC code) Product segments (based on technological differences or production economics) Geographic segments (defined by boundaries between countries or by regional differences within them) Common buying factor segments (cut across product market and geographic segments) Customer size segments

Source: Adapted from S. C. Jain, 2000, Marketing Planning and Strategy, Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing, 120. 49

What: Determining Which Customer Needs to Satisfy


Customer needs are related to a products benefits and features. Customer needs are neither right nor wrong, good nor bad. Customer needs represent desires in terms of features and performance capabilities.

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How: Determining Core Competencies Necessary to Satisfy Customer Needs


Firms use core competencies to implement value creating strategies that satisfy customers needs.
Only firms with capacity to continuously improve, innovate and upgrade their competencies can expect to meet and/or exceed customer expectations across time.

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The Purpose of a Business-Level Strategy


Business-Level Strategies
Are intended to create differences between the firms position relative to those of its rivals.

To position itself, the firm must decide whether it intends to:


Perform activities differently or Perform different activities as compared to its rivals.

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Types of Potential Competitive Advantage


Achieving lower overall costs than rivals
Performing activities differently (reducing process costs)

Possessing the capability to differentiate the firms product or service and command a premium price
Performing different (more highly valued) activities.

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Competitive Scope
Broad Scope
The firm competes in many customer segments.

Narrow Scope
The firm selects a segment or group of segments in the industry and tailors its strategy to serving them at the exclusion of others.

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Types of Business-Level Strategies


Competitive Advantage
Cost Uniqueness

Broad Target

Cost Leadership

Differentiation

Competitive Scope
Narrow Target

Integrated Cost Leadership/ Differentiation Focused Cost Leadership Focused Differentiation

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FIGURE

4.2

Five Business-Level Strategies

Source: Adapted with the permission of The Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, from Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, by Michael E. Porter, 12. Copyright 1985, 1998 by Michael E. Porter. 416

Cost Leadership Strategy


An integrated set of actions taken to produce goods or services with features that are acceptable to customers at the lowest cost, relative to that of competitors with features that are acceptable to customers.
Relatively standardized products
Features acceptable to many customers Lowest competitive price

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Cost Leadership Strategy


Cost saving actions required by this strategy:
Building efficient scale facilities Tightly controlling production costs and overhead Minimizing costs of sales, R&D and service

Building efficient manufacturing facilities


Monitoring costs of activities provided by outsiders Simplifying production processes

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How to Obtain a Cost Advantage


Determine and control Cost Drivers Reconfigure Value Chain if needed

Alter production process Change in automation

New raw material Forward integration

New distribution channel


New advertising media Direct sales in place of indirect sales

Backward integration Change location relative to suppliers or buyers

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Value-Creating Activities for Cost Leadership


Cost-effective MIS Few management layers Simplified planning Consistent policies Effecting training Easy-to-use manufacturing technologies Investments in technologies Finding low cost raw materials Monitor suppliers performances

Link suppliers products to production processes


Economies of scale Efficient-scale facilities Effective delivery schedules Low-cost transportation Highly trained sales force Proper pricing

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Cost Leadership Strategy: Competitors


Rivalry with Existing Competitors
Threat of new entrants Rivalry among competing firms Threat of substitute products Bargaining power of suppliers

Due to cost leaders advantageous position:


Rivals hesitate to compete on basis of price. Lack of price competition leads to greater profits.

Bargaining power of buyers

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Cost Leadership Strategy: Buyers


Bargaining Power of Buyers
Threat of new entrants Rivalry among competing firms Threat of substitute products Bargaining power of suppliers

Can mitigate buyers power by:


Driving prices far below competitors, causing them to exit, thus shifting power with buyers back to the firm.

Bargaining power of buyers

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Cost Leadership Strategy: Suppliers


Bargaining Power of Suppliers
Threat of new entrants Rivalry among competing firms Threat of substitute products Bargaining power of suppliers

Can mitigate suppliers power by:


Being able to absorb cost increases due to low cost position. Being able to make very large purchases, reducing chance of supplier using power.

Bargaining power of buyers

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Cost Leadership Strategy: New Entrants


The Threat of Potential Entrants
Threat of new entrants Rivalry among competing firms Threat of substitute products Bargaining power of suppliers

Can frighten off new entrants due to:


Their need to enter on a large scale in order to be cost competitive. The time it takes to move down the learning curve.

Bargaining power of buyers

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Cost Leadership Strategy: Substitutes


Product Substitutes
Threat of new entrants Rivalry among competing firms Threat of substitute products Bargaining power of suppliers

Cost leader is well positioned to:


Make investments to be first to create substitutes. Buy patents developed by potential substitutes.

Bargaining power of buyers

Lower prices in order to maintain value position.

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Cost Leadership Strategy (contd)


Competitive Risks
Processes used to produce and distribute good or service may become obsolete due to competitors innovations. Focus on cost reductions may occur at expense of customers perceptions of differentiation Competitors, using their own core competencies, may successfully imitate the cost leaders strategy.

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Differentiation Strategy
An integrated set of actions taken to produce goods or services (at an acceptable cost) that customers perceive as being different in ways that are important to them.
Focus is on nonstandardized products

Appropriate when customers value differentiated features more than they value low cost.

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How to Obtain a Differentiation Advantage


Control
Cost Drivers

if needed

Reconfigure Value Chain to maximize

Lower buyers costs Raise performance of product or service Create sustainability through: Customer perceptions of uniqueness Customer reluctance to switch to nonunique product or service
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Value-Creating Activities and Differentiation


Highly developed MIS Emphasis on quality High quality replacement parts Superior handling of incoming raw materials Attractive products Rapid response to customer specifications

Worker compensation for creativity/productivity


Use of subjective performance measures

Basic research capability


Technology High quality raw materials Delivery of products

Order-processing procedures
Customer credit Personal relationships

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Differentiation Strategy: Competitors


Rivalry with Competitors
Threat of new entrants

Defends against competitors because brand loyalty to differentiated product offsets price competition.

Rivalry among competing firms


Threat of substitute products

Bargaining power of suppliers

Bargaining power of buyers

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Differentiation Strategy: Buyers


Bargaining Power of Buyers
Threat of new entrants Rivalry among competing firms Threat of substitute products Bargaining power of suppliers

Can mitigate buyers power because well differentiated products reduce customer sensitivity to price increases.

Bargaining power of buyers

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Differentiation Strategy: Suppliers


Bargaining Power of Suppliers
Threat of new entrants Rivalry among competing firms Threat of substitute products Bargaining power of suppliers

Can mitigate suppliers power by:


Absorbing price increases due to higher margins. Passing along higher supplier prices because buyers are loyal to differentiated brand.

Bargaining power of buyers

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Differentiation Strategy: New Entrants


The Threat of Potential Entrants
Threat of new entrants Rivalry among competing firms Threat of substitute products Bargaining power of suppliers

Can defend against new entrants because:


New products must surpass proven products. New products must be at least equal to performance of proven products, but offered at lower prices.

Bargaining power of buyers

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Differentiation Strategy: Substitutes


Product Substitutes
Threat of new entrants Rivalry among competing firms Threat of substitute products Bargaining power of suppliers

Well positioned relative to substitutes because:


Brand loyalty to a differentiated product tends to reduce customers testing of new products or switching brands.

Bargaining power of buyers

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Competitive Risks of Differentiation


The price differential between the differentiators product and the cost leaders product becomes too large.

Differentiation ceases to provide value for which customers are willing to pay.
Experience narrows customers perceptions of the value of differentiated features. Counterfeit goods replicate differentiated features of the firms products.

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Focus Strategies
An integrated set of actions taken to produce goods or services that serve the needs of a particular competitive segment.
Particular buyer groupyouths or senior citizens Different segment of a product lineprofessional craftsmen versus do-it-yourselfers Different geographic marketsEast coast versus West coast

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Focus Strategies (contd)


Types of focused strategies
Focused cost leadership strategy Focused differentiation strategy

To implement a focus strategy, firms must be able to:


Complete various primary and support activities in a competitively superior manner, in order to develop and sustain a competitive advantage and earn aboveaverage returns.

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Factors That Drive Focused Strategies


Large firms may overlook small niches. A firm may lack the resources needed to compete in the broader market. A firm is able to serve a narrow market segment more effectively than can its larger industry-wide competitors.

Focusing allows the firm to direct its resources to certain value chain activities to build competitive advantage.

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Competitive Risks of Focus Strategies


A focusing firm may be outfocused by its competitors. A large competitor may set its sights on a firms niche market. Customer preferences in niche market may change to more closely resemble those of the broader market.

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Integrated Cost Leadership/ Differentiation Strategy


A firm that successfully uses an integrated cost leadership/differentiation strategy should be in a better position to:
Adapt quickly to environmental changes.
Learn new skills and technologies more quickly. Effectively leverage its core competencies while competing against its rivals.

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Integrated Cost Leadership/ Differentiation Strategy (contd)


Commitment to strategic flexibility is necessary for implementation of integrated cost leadership/differentiation strategy.
Flexible manufacturing systems (FMS)
Information networks Total quality management (TQM) systems

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Strategy and Competitive Advantage over the life cycle


Stage
Nature of Competitive Rivalry Nature of Entry

Introductory
Limited focus on Comp; product is centre of attention Pioneering forms define industry Emerging, no dominant design General purpose tools

Growth
Firms take out key positions in market Large scale entry by Firms seeking profits Competing designs hope to set standard Growing investment in specialised tools Building brand awareness, prices begin to decline Massive expenditure reinforce position Move to high profits

Mature
Firms try to survive shakeout, many exit or fail Growth slows and entry less attractive Dominant design for industry Emphasis on efficiency Promote to as many segments, prices stable De-emphasis on adding new capacity Peak profits, cash high

Decline
Remaining firms seek to reduce intensity of comp Few, if any entrants

Product Technology

No real product change Processes do not change, may become exit barrier Marketing emphasis changes to preserving Begin gradual exit and even divest activities Profits decline, cash flow too decline
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Process Technology

Marketing emphasis

Focus on Innovators, volatile prices Very High

Investment intensity

Profitability levels

Unprofitable, high cash required