Strategic Operations Management: The New Competitive Advantage

Strategic Operations Management: The New Competitive Advantage

Strategic Operations Management: The New Competitive Advantage

Strategic Operations Management: The New Competitive Advantage


This text offers students a high quality treatment of strategic operations management. It provides the reader with a clear understanding of the importance and nature of operations strategy by determining management activities etc.


From our international research and teaching at the Strategic Operations Management Centre (SOMC) at the University of East Anglia, it has become clear that the strategic issues involved in operations management are assuming greater importance in many commercial sectors, both public and private. The world is changing. The consumer is spoiled. Diversity is rampant, and we have moved away from the supply side of business to a ‘pull’ world. Consumer demand is approaching the chaotic in its insatiable appetite for diverse, individualized services and goods that are provided by flexible and responsive organizations. To understand this shift, management theorists have developed a whole galaxy of operations strategies. For many firms competing in increasingly complex and dynamic sectors, the correct choice, implementation and evolution of such a strategy can provide considerable competitive advantage.

As the title of this book suggests, operations strategy holds the key to competitive advantage for many organizations. Indeed, it is increasingly recognized as a significant contributor to the effective strategic management of firms both large and small, domestic or international and both profit and non-profit making. Further, despite its historical evolution from a manufacturing or production setting, the service sector and even quasi-governmental institutions now recognize its ubiquitous value and worth.

The study of operations management is one of the oldest business disciplines, but operations strategy, as a subject, is a relatively new phenomenon. This has a major implication: as with any new and unfolding discipline, much of what is reported in this book is heavily research-orientated, both empirical and conceptual. This is important: considerable management literature exists offering glib eulogies without substance or advocation and description without any attempt at order, quantification or practical implementation. Worse, many approaches reported have suggested almost catholic applicability. It stretches credibility to accept, as many suggest, that all these remedies can offer profound utopian benefits to every firm and every industry: a universal panacea no matter what the ill! The complexity of our organizations and their contingent, embedded nature in their business and wider environments, makes such claims naive and even misleading.

Yet very little is known about operations strategies, their building blocks and their individual power if properly deployed, despite their receiving extensive coverage in management

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