There is a massive amount of literature about gaining a competitive advantage.
- So what is it?
- What is it supposed to do?
- How can it help you (or your company)?
Definition – Strategic Advantage
It is a way of doing anything in a unique way that will enable you (or your company) to perform better that your competitors in a chosen area of business (life). It may not be what you do, but how you do it, that will enable you to surge ahead, get better results and rise above the average.
In my book (The Management Imperative) I postulate a “new” method by which any person or organisation can gain a strategic advantage. This method has been in use by some organisations for a period of time with ASTOUNDING success, but they have not defined it. Therefore I would like the recognition of being the first to describe and distil it.
The Value Grid
This picture describes the way in which certain “forces” seemingly oppose one another. If you want to manufacture millions of items at low cost (high speed), you have to limit the amount of variability (agility); the less expensive (cost) you make them, the lower the focus of quality. This however is only a perception and can be overcome by anybody if they understand a simple rule.
Standard – Variable Principle
Every product or service that we encounter today consists of components. These components contribute (when added together) to produce a product. If we separate the non-negotiable standard components from the ones that would allow variability we have the opportunity to manage them differently.
Standard Components Management
These elements are there for a reason, can not be omitted, are vital to the construction of a product or service, but do not contribute to the “value proposition” offered to the client or recipient. It follows that we can manage them from a perspective of lowest cost and highest standardisation. We need to limit the variability of these components robustly and drive standardisation to the extreme.
Variable Components Management
These are the components that make the products or services unique, different, desirable and therefore marketable. They determine the client or recipient’s perception in terms of quality, suitability, fit or overall ability to fulfil a need. These components require a significantly different approach, they have to be moulded, modelled and adapted to the needs of the various prospective clients or recipients in the marketplace.
Brining it all together.
So you have a product (could be yourself), service (what you do) that you would like to present to the world in a “better” format. Expend energy in the two areas as explained above, and you will discover that you are now capable of producing more (quantity) product with more (quality) client appeal while expending less(cost, effort & variability) to achieve it.
If you can’t sell it for more, it will cost you less to produce – if not both at the same time.
Now that is a competitive advantage.
If you want more information on exactly how to utilise this method -> Get it
Have an amazing day.