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1 Business-Level Strategy Business-level strategy: an integrated and coordinated set of commitments and actions the firm uses to gain a competitive advantage.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Business-Level Strategy Business-level strategy: an integrated and coordinated set of commitments and actions the firm uses to gain a competitive advantage."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Business-Level Strategy Business-level strategy: an integrated and coordinated set of commitments and actions the firm uses to gain a competitive advantage by exploiting core competencies in specific product markets

2 2 Core Competencies and Strategy The resources and capabilities that have been determined to be a source of competitive advantage for a firm over its rivals An integrated and coordinated set of actions taken to exploit core competencies and gain a competitive advantage Actions taken to provide value to customers and gain a competitive advantage by exploiting core competencies in specific, individual product markets Business-levelstrategy Strategy Corecompetencies

3 3 Strategy Fundamental constraints Scope –What good or service to offer, to which customers Value chain –How and where to create the good or service –How to distribute the good or service in the marketplace(s)

4 4 Recall our v alue creation model Costs represent specific investment choices that generate value

5 5 Consumer Markets Demographic Consumer Markets Socioeconomic Geographic Psychological Consumption patterns Perceptual factors Dem. Soc. Geo. Psy. Con. Per. Broad or narrow scope? Implications for configuration of value chain??

6 6 Business Markets Industrial Markets End-use Product segments Geog segments Common buying factors Customer size segments End Pro. Geo. Buy. Size Broad or narrow scope? Implications for configuration of value chain??

7 7 Source of competitive advantage - Value chains Strategies create differences between the firm’s position and its rivals Sources of differences? - perform activities differently; perform different activities Two value-adding configurations (Porter, 1985) –Low cost –Differentiated

8 8 Comparing Scope and Source of Advantage Competitive Advantage Competitive Scope CostUniqueness Broad target Narrow target Cost Leader Differentiator Focused Cost Focused Differentiator Integrated Cost Leader/ Differentiator

9 9 Cost Leadership Strategy An integrated set of actions designed to produce or deliver goods or services at the lowest cost relative to competitors with features that are acceptable to customers –relatively standardized products –features acceptable to many customers –lowest competitive price

10 10 Cost Leadership Strategy Cost saving actions required by this strategy: –building efficient 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

11 11 Discretionary decisions l Product features, performance l Mix & variety of products l Service levels l Small vs. large buyers l Process technology l Wage levels l Product features l Hiring, training, motivation Cost Drivers Major Cost Drivers l Economies of scale l Learning/Spillovers l Capacity utilization l Integration l Vertical Linkages l Timing l Location l Political/regulatory l Interrelationships (corporate) Implications?

12 12 Value-Chain example: Cost Leader

13 13 Questions Leading to Lower Costs 1.How can an activity be performed differently, eliminated, externalized? 2.How can linked value activities be regrouped or reordered? 3.How can upstream/downstream collaboration lower costs?

14 14 Implementation Pitfalls Exclusive focus on Mfg Misunderstand drivers (ABC useful) Failure to recognize/exploit linkages (e.g., across the board cost reductions) Contradictions – (e.g., gain mkt share through ES but allow product clutter; cross subsidies)

15 15 Cost Leadership and the Five Forces Rivalry - competitors avoid price wars with cost leaders Buyers – shift demand to you, increase market power Suppliers – increased market power, absorb cost increases (low cost position) Entrants – entry barriers (scale, learning) Substitutes – reinvest econ profit to maintain advantage

16 16 Major Risks of Cost Leadership Strategy There can only be one cost leader Technological change can eliminate cost advantage Spillovers lead to imitation Efficiency focus may create blind spots re: customer preferences

17 17 Differentiation Strategy An integrated set of actions designed by a firm to produce or deliver goods or services that customers perceive as adding value –price may exceed what the firm’s target customers are willing to pay –Non-commodity products –customers value differentiated features more than they value low cost

18 18 Some Differentiation Themes Unique taste –Dr. Pepper Multiple features –Microsoft Windows and Office Wide selection and one-stop shopping – Home Depot and Amazon.com Reliable, superior service –FedEx, Ritz-Carlton Spare parts availability –Caterpillar

19 19 Themes Prestige –Rolex Quality manufacturing, few defects –Honda, Toyota Technological leadership –3M Corporation, Intel Top-of-the-line image –Ralph Lauren, Kiton

20 20 Differentiation Strategy Add downstream value –lower buyer cost –raise buyer performance Cost –Add value to buyer’s value: reduce downstream processing time, search time, transaction costs, defect rates, direct costs, learning curves, labor, space, installation, etc. (e.g., CRM software)

21 21 Factors That Drive Differentiation Value: Increase performance of buyer’s value chain (or consumer perception) Unique features, performance Downstream channels (e.g., Catepillar dealer network) New technologies Quality of inputs Skill or know-how Information

22 22 Differentiation Strategy Some differentiation actions required by this strategy: –develop new “systems” and processes –signal and shape buyer perceptions –quality focus –capability in R&D Implication - maximize human capital contributions

23 23 Value-Chain example: Differentiation

24 24 Differentiation and the Five Forces Rivalry - brand loyalty to differentiated products reduces price competition Buyers – differentiated products less price elastic Suppliers – absorb price increases (higher margins), pass along higher prices (buyer loyalty) Entrants – must surpass proven products or be equivalent at lower price Substitutes – diff raises switching costs

25 25 Pitfalls of Differentiation Strategies Differentiating on characteristics not valued by buyers (e.g., HP) Over-differentiating Price premium is too high Failing to signal value Focusing on product instead of entire value chain

26 26 Focused Business-Level Strategies A focus strategy must exploit a narrow target’s differences from the balance of the industry by: –isolating a particular buyer group –isolating a unique segment of a product line –concentrating on a particular geographic market –finding their “niche”

27 27 Factors Driving Focus Strategies Large firms overlook small niches Firm may lack resources to compete in the broader market May be able to serve a narrow market segment more effectively than can larger industry-wide competitors Focus may allow the firm to direct resources to certain value chain activities to build competitive advantage

28 28 Major Risks of Focused Strategies Firm may be “outfocused” by competitors Large competitor may set its sights on your niche market Preferences of niche market may change to match those of broad market

29 29 Advantages of Integrated 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

30 30 Benefits of Integrated Strategy Successful firms using this strategy have above-average returns Firm offers two types of values to customers –some differentiated features (but less than a true differentiated firm) –relatively low cost (but now as low as the cost leader’s price)

31 31 Major Risks of Integrated Strategy An integrated cost/differentiation business level strategy often involves compromises (neither the lowest cost nor the most differentiated firm) The firm may become “stuck in the middle” lacking the strong commitment and expertise that accompanies firms following either a cost leadership or a differentiated strategy

32 32 Rate of Profit in Excess of the Competitive Level Industry Attractiveness Competitive Advantage Differentiation Advantage Cost Advantage Vertical Power (buyer/seller) Rivalry Barriers to Entry Brands Product technology Marketing capabilities Process technology Plant size Low-cost inputs Firm size Financial resources Substitutability Patents Brands Retaliatory capability Summary: Industry and Firm Effects on Profit


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