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Operations Strategy as a Tool For Optimisation and Competitive Success

Operations strategy is a method a company uses to realize its objectives. A company can examine and implement effective and efficient systems for using resources, personnel, and infrastructure by developing key policies. The main role of these strategies is to provide a plan for the running function of the company so that it can optimize the utilization of resources, personnel, processes, and technology to the maximum. It also specifies the approaches and plans for using a business’ resources in different departments while supporting its long-term strategy.


Operations strategy can also be referred to as a pattern of decisions shaping long-term capabilities of any type of performance in an organization. A working strategy is a necessary element for business and it supports the organization’s corporate strategy.

Are Operational Strategies Vital in the Running of a Business?

Functional strategies are crucial and important to any company. Companies, whether small or big, need to drive an effective working approach that is aligned with the business objectives. The choice of these strategies affects the outcome of performance and their contribution to overall strategy. In today’s world, advances in technology are made day in day out. These bring in new business models, therefore, companies need to keep up so as to stay competitive. Without this, it is easier for a company to lag behind affecting its success.

For every company, there are strategic competitors. Companies who do not set and implement effective and efficient running policies are pushed aside by their competitors who continue to excel. To stay ahead, companies need not only to be technological savvy but to also be innovative. It is always good to add something more to the policies to maintain or boost your competitiveness as a company. Operations strategies determine performance approaches and goals. The main areas are:

  • Corporate strategy

In order for implemented approaches to be a success, all the departments in a company must work together. Corporate strategies are policies driving overall departments.

  • Customer-driven strategies

These are customer-driven approaches that ensure that the target market is reached and their fulfillment. The product or services rendered should reach the targeted market and be satisfying.

  • Developing core competencies

Core competencies are strengths and resources within a company. A company should set functioning approaches to develop the strengths and resources. Reinforcement should be done on identified key strengths and resources.

  • Competitive priorities

Competitive priorities include means to stand out in a given market. A company should be able to provide a quality product or service at a fair cost that meets the needs of its consumers. It should also thrive to stand out among its competitors to achieve success.

  • Product and Service development

These are strategies overlooking developments of products and services. It considers design, innovation, and advantageous values.

The four perspectives of strategies

Operations Strategy Famework

Operations strategies focus on producing and delivering value to customers. This means linking the work process to consumers’ needs. It provides the opportunity to improve on product, service or process delivery.  When developing an operations strategy, issues may arise at earlier stages that should be addressed. It is also important to take into consideration quality, cost, time, flexibility in delivery and reliability factors. These factors can increase a company’s competitiveness and enhance its success if handled well. A strategy framework brought by combining these factors is as shown by the steps below:

  1. Defining corporate objectives: You have to lay out objectives that include profit, growth, and return on investment. This is applicable to most kinds of business strategies.
  2. Determining marketing strategies: Here factors such as standardization verse customization and innovation level are considered to achieve objectives.
  3. Checking how various products win sales against competitors: These factors that influence winning include quality, price, customization, reliability, and after-sales support.
  4. Deciding the most suitable approach to deliver products or services: The approaches should ensure consistency in delivery to meet the market demand. Customers should be able to rely on the company for specific products or services.
  5. Providing requisite infrastructure to enable operations: Infrastructure used for production should be top notch. This enables smooth flow of processes.

This strategy framework is called the Hill approach of formulating operational strategy by Terry Hill in his Operations Management, 2nd edition.

Approaches serve to reconcile market requirements with the capabilities of running functions

Efective Strategies Tactics to Count on

For different companies offering products or services, specific key approaches apply. These specific policies are to bring forth the realization of a company’s objectives as indicated below:

  • Employ a global approach.

Do not limit yourself to performance strategies near you. Look at how other companies are implementing working methods globally and borrow ideas. Innovate from the gained ideas so as to provide better goods and services.

  • Work with a strong mission statement.

Choose a mission statement that clearly defines your objectives and guides your business approach. The mission statement should define what all your approaches are about.

  • Use differentiation to gain competitiveness.

Be different. Stand out. Do not just employ leading strategies. Innovate and blend them to get ahead of competitors.

  • Perform SWOT Analysis to gain insights.

Regularly analyze your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to inform strategy. A company’s processes may take twists and turns from time to time. No matter how big or small the change is, it has the potential to affect the general potential to attain business objectives. It is therefore important to look into these areas frequently.

  • Evaluate progress

Develop strong measures and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) dashboards to evaluate your running efforts. Evaluation and assessment is an important part of knowing the progress. It helps to realize strengths and areas that need reinforcing.


Specific concepts

Although operations strategy is only one part of the overall business, it is essential for competitiveness and success. A company must have a strong key policies to keep up with changing markets and arising business models. Operation management (this encompasses planning, implementing and supervising production) is necessary to overlook functioning policies in a company. All parts of the company must work together to achieve corporate objectives. A lot of companies have suffered and struggled with operations strategy, often because of not putting into consideration these factors.

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