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MB0044 Solved assignments of Q1. Explain the basic competitive priorities considered while formulating operations strategy by a firm?

Answer: Competitiveness is at the core of all strategies. Even among them, priorities tend to bring the organisations focus on the areas to be dealt with in terms of allocation of resources – people, money, and time. This means that different functional areas with their own capabilities and constraints have to be integrated for the overall corporate strategy. Flexible strategies and an adaptive production process help to achieve high productivity and also to satisfy the needs of customers, thereby improving the deliverables. For example, one
hour paper printing and one hour screen printing services on the cover and „same-day flex printing and binding services.
Corporate strategy, functional area strategies, market analysis, competitive priorities, competitive capabilities, and new service/product design are the main operations strategies in any organisation. Operations strategy is formulated to leverage the advantages, absorb the consequences of the variable nature of various functions and provide a dependable implementation programme. As you can see, effective and timely communication is a vital factor to involve people at various stages and monitor the progress. Figure shows the links between the factors of operations management.

Formulation of a strategy depends on the following:
·         Assessment of strengths
·         Understanding of the weaknesses
·         Nature of external environment
·         Resilience of the internal environment

The policies derived from the operations strategy should be amenable to go along with other functions. Organisation strategy should be such that the strategies of different functions are designed to lend support to one another. Culture of the organisation should be established and nurtured in such a way, that, conflicts are resolved with the overall organisation strategy in view. Operations strategy takes under its umbrella the quality, time, and flexibility.

a) Quality: Quality is the driving factor for any organisation. When buying a product, a customer will always think about the value of the money he is investing. Even if the price of the product is high, the quality of the product will provoke the customer to buy it. Typical examples of quality are: Amway, Coco-Cola, Pepsi, Tupperware, Sony, BMW. Quality also includes cost reduction by various methods like Just-In-Time (JIT), Lean Manufacturing, TQM, and TPM. Quality enables the firm to be competitive.
b) Time: Time aspect considers that deliveries are made on time to meet customers expectations. Time taken to develop and market new products is becoming very critical in the global environment. To seek more business, organisations should reduce the time taken for each factor during operations. The organisations mainly focus on reducing the time for the list given in the figure below :

c) Flexibility: Flexibility enables to meet the changing demands of customers, in order to develop new processes and materials and to make the organisation more agile in its manufacture. For example, Photon, Inc, a European computer component manufacturer, produces components which are not fixed to particular configurations. This enables production lines to be reconfigured within hours or days to make new and different products. This flexibility has allowed Photon to expand from manufacturing a few products for a single customer to making hundreds of products for over 50 different companies. 


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