Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Business Giants of the world and their competitive edge !

While generally asking in class what they preceive to be the main difference between some of the big names in the industry today, like for instance, Google and Yahoo, Toyota and General Motors, Walmart and Tesco, Apple and Samsung and Facebook and Orkut, the straightforward, answer in unison was in their UNIQUE operations style ..

Operations was what differentiates these companies form the number two in their respective areas.

While Google and Apple relied more on their innovation of their products, processes, prices and offerings, Facebook came up with a comfortable, easy interface for youngsters and adults of the world to remain in touch with their friends and acquantances from across the world in REAL TIME coupled with the overriding influence of the Internet, penetrating all facets of human endeavour  !! We call this otherwise as the SOCIAL NETWORKING ! (Google and Facebook have been able to give their offering at virtually ZERO cost, because of the influence of Free and Open Source Software !! Gnu / Linux Operating System, MySQL databases, Apache webserver, PHP scripting and a galore of offerings from a silent group of volunteers from across the world !)

Walmart takes a lead over its competition in terms of a very efficient and effective supply chain (value chain) integrated with a very strong, capable and accurate Information technology backup .

Toyota , the world's largest manufacturer, scores over General motors in terms of an operating philosophy which they have perfected over the past sixty years, called the Toyota Production System or Lean Operations ( by Westerners) which stresses on controlling the levels of inventory, removing and reducing waste from the operations and processes and in the process, giving more value to the final end customer ..

When we categorise the points and ponder over them, we find they are unique to the area of Operations !! Like Innovation, Improved IT Systems interfaces and capability, Internet storage, Retrieval technology, Supply Chain Optimisation techniques, IT backbone, Lean Operations Management, Inventory systems, Waste reduction and so on ..

This is what the whole world is about !! It is about operations .. How efficiently, innovatively and effectively one manages his/her operations, keeping the customer in the mind, giving maximum value, all at the LOWEST COST !!

Operations is the Direct Executive line function in the organisation, all other functions are staff (supportive functions) of advisory nature. Without Operations no business can function, it cannot transform the inputs to finished goods ! 

Without the final product or service, what can we talk of the other managerial staff functions like Marketing, HR and Finance ?

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