An operations strategy is the structure upon which an organization determines how it arranges and uses its resources in order to maintain a competitive advantage. It is a formulated framework consisting of two elements. The structural element contains components like location and size of the organization, whereas the infrastructural element focuses more on aspects like product quality control. A successful operations strategy will align and actualize the organization’s business strategy.
Design an effective operations strategy around competency priorities to focus on how the organization plans to offer its competitive edge in the marketplace and how it distinguishes itself from other organizations that offer similar products or services. Many organizations target one competency from the traditional list of cost, quality, flexibility and service. For example, a quality-driven operations strategy focuses on beating out the competition with its products' durability and reliability.
An organization designing a cost driven operations strategy focuses on providing a product more cost-efficient than its rivals. Many cost driven products are commodities such as salt, flour, sugar or even gasoline, which customers usually buy strictly on the basis of price because they perceive little or no difference between brands.
A service driven operations strategy centers around customer service, product service or both. For example, a business may be distinctive in providing a niche in quality customer service and gain a loyal customer base for its efforts. This can include offering speedy self-checkout registers to decrease the time customers spend waiting in line. Alternately, it could consist of assuring rapid delivery of a product or a conveniently located drive-through for easy access.
Though most businesses focus only on one competency priority, it is possible and practical to arrange two competency priorities in an operations strategy. For example, a business could have one department focus on quality control as a priority, while a separate department focuses on maintaining the highest standards of customer care. With technological advances, it has become increasingly easier to offer real-time customer service as well as providing high-tech solutions for rapid product tracking, delivery and access.