The Internal Organization: Resources, Capabilities, and Core Competence Instructor notes are provided for three topics in this chapter: • Tangible vs. Intangible Resources. These notes begin with the first slide following Discussion Question 2, if you are using the slide set that includes discussion questions; or following the slide titled “Components of Internal Analysis,” if you are using the slide set that excludes discussion questions. • Core Competencies. These notes begin with the slide where core competencies are highlighted. • Outsourcing. These notes begin with the slide titled “Outsourcing.” Examples used to support discussion of the concepts associated with these topics include: • Cartier • Coca-Cola • Harley-Davidson • Starbucks • Chaparral Steel • BMW USA • Apple Computers
Discovering Core Competencies Tangible vs. Intangible Resources (pp. 108–111) Resources are what a firm has to work with—its assets—including its people and the value of its brand name. Tangible resources are in essence those things that you can put your hands on such as property, plant and equipment, personnel, raw materials, and so on. One highly illustrative example of tangible resources and how the strategic utilization/manipulation of them can have a great impact on a firm’s profits are diamonds. Cartier owns or controls over 95% of the world’s diamond mines. If the entire supply of diamonds were to be released onto the world market the gems would devalue to 10% of the current market price or less. Cartier controls the amount, timing, quality, grade (size), and destination point of virtually every batch of diamonds that is released on the world market. In doing so Cartier is able to control the market price of the gems and therefore are able to manipulate profits. While the concept of tangible resources is easy to imagine, the idea of intangibles can be elusive. If tangibles are that which we can put our hands on, intangibles are everything else. Some examples are goodwill, reputation, and brand value. For example, the late Robert Goizeuta, former CEO of Coca-Cola, once explained intangibles and their value in this way. (Continued on next slide.)
Discovering Core Competencies (cont.) Tangible vs. Intangible Resources (pp. 108–111) (cont.) Goizeuta said if everything tangible that Coke owns were to be destroyed in some bizarre accident, if a fire were to burn down each and every factory, office building and bottling plant right down to a total loss of every desk, chair, and pencil, the intangible resources that Coke owns would be those things that the company still possesses, namely, brand value, the secret recipe, its distribution channels, and business relationships that it has developed over the years. These would allow Coke to go to a bank and borrow billions of uncollateralized dollars to rebuild its infrastructure. The textbook suggests that intangible resources can be categorized: • Human Resources: Knowledge, Trust, Managerial capabilities, Organizational routines • Innovation Resources: Ideas, Scientific capabilities, Capacity to innovate, Intellectual property • Reputational Resources: Reputation with customers, Brand name, Reputation with suppliers, Perceived product quality, durability, and reliability Similar to the Coca-Cola example, the Harley-Davidson brand name has such cachet that it adorns a limited-edition Barbie doll, a popular restaurant in New York City, and a line of L’Oreal cologne. Moreover, Harley-Davidson MotorClothes annually generates over $100 million in revenue for the firm and offers a broad range of clothing items, from black leather jackets to fashions for tots. In sum, because reputation is difficult to imitate and substitute, it can garner competitive advantage.
Discovering Core Competencies (cont.) Core Competencies (pp. 112–114) A firm’s core competencies are those things that it does that give it a competitive advantage over another firm. They are generally valuable, rare, costly to imitate, and nonsubstitutable. They may or may not be unique to the firm. They may simply be an industry practice that a firm does better, or a set of industry practices that the firm does in a specific combination or sequence that allows the firm to be more efficient than its competitors. Using the Cartier example, to be able to manipulate the supply of gems in the market, Cartier must be very efficient and competent at predicting the demand for gems. If they were not very skilled at this, there would be fluctuations in the supply and demand curve and, therefore, market price that would leave an opportunity for arbitrage. The value of this arbitrage represents lost profits for Cartier. It was this ability to predict demand that allowed Cartier to see higher profits than its competitors in the 1800s, eventually eroding the market share and profitability of these competitors. Cartier subsequently acquired these firms to create the monopoly it now holds on the world’s diamond market. As noted in the textbook, an important question is “How many core competencies are required for the firm to have a sustained competitive advantage?” While responses to this question vary, McKinsey & Co. recommends that its clients identify no more than three or four competencies. Recent actions by Starbucks demonstrate this point. (Continued on next slide.)
Discovering Core Competencies (cont.) Core Competencies (discussed on pp. 112-114) Growing rapidly, Starbucks decided that it could use the Internet as a distribution channel to achieve additional growth. However, the firm quickly realized that it lacked the capabilities required to successfully distribute its products through this channel—and that its unique coffee, not the delivery of that product, is its competitive advantage. In part, this recognition forced Starbucks to renew its emphasis on existing capabilities to create more value through its supply chain. To do so, the firm trimmed the number of its milk suppliers from 65 to fewer than 25 and negotiated long-term contracts with coffee-bean growers. The firm also decided to place automated espresso machines in its busy units. These machines reduced Starbucks’ cost while providing improved service to its customers, who can now move through the line much faster. Using its supply chain and service capabilities in these ways allows Starbucks to strengthen its competitive advantages of coffee and the unique venue in which on-site customers experience it. When capabilities are valuable, rare, costly to imitate, and nonsubstitutable, they are effectively called core competencies. Alternatively, every core competence is a capability, but not every capability is a core competence. Operationally, one could argue that for a capability to be a core competence, it must be valuable and nonsubstitutable from a customer’s point of view, but unique and inimitable from a competitor’s point of view. As discussed in the textbook, an important key to success occurs when the link between the firm’s capabilities and its competitive advantage is causally ambiguous, where rivals can’t tell how a firm uses its capabilities as the foundation for competitive advantage. Gordon Forward, CEO of Chaparral Steel, allows rivals to tour his firm’s facilities and see almost everything. In Chaparral Steel’s causally ambiguous operations, workers use the concept of mentalfacturing , by which manufacturing steel is done by using their minds instead of their hands.
Value creation is basis of sustainable competitive advantage
Outsourcing (pp. 122-123) Outsourcing is simply contracting out a portion of the firm’s process to another firm. Firms outsource to varying degrees. BMW USA, for example, outsources virtually everything and the plant here is primarily an assembly line plant. In contrast Apple computers manufactures virtually every component in house, right down to the proprietary software components that make up the operating system. There are benefits to each approach. Building everything in house give the firm’s managers greater control over the quality of the components while outsourcing pushes the burden of raw materials and works-in-process inventories off on the component suppliers and frees up capital for other uses. Using the proceeding examples, if BMW were to keep all processes in house, the plant would need to be exponentially larger. BMW would also then be required to tie up billions of dollars in capital to store raw materials for the various components on site and employ a vast labor force for the manufacture and processing of the components. This would require a vast infrastructure to support the processes. Each year, when making changes to the new car models, a very large outlay of capital and resources to retool the entire operation would be required. By outsourcing the manufacture of these components, this burden is spread across many firms. (Continued on next slide.)
Strategic Rationales for Outsourcing Outsourcing (pp. 122-123) (cont.) This diversification leads to a more efficient utilization of resources. For instance, if the new model required a new type of component that had never been previously incorporated into BMW cars, say a turbocharger, this would require adding an entire turbocharger manufacturing plant to the existing factory if everything were to be insourced . There would also be an engineering and learning curve associated with the development of this new component. Using an outsourcing strategy allows BMW to shop for a contract with the manufacturer of highest quality product at the best price currently on the market. In doing so, not only will BMW be freeing up resources that can be better utilized elsewhere in the firm, they are also capitalizing on the expertise of the supplier. (Continued on next slide.)
Strategic Rationales for Outsourcing (cont.) Outsourcing (pp. 122-123) (cont.) In contrast Apple does virtually everything in house. The problems that this practice has created for the company illustrate the issues that can arise from this type of strategy. For example, the firm had a limited number of design and engineering teams at its disposal. This led to very long lead times in designing and manufacturing of individual components that went into several of its personal computer models. By the time these models were completed and released onto the market, they had been made obsolete by models previously released by Apples competitors, most notably Compaq and IBM. This is illustrated with Apple’s release of the Mac Portable in 1989. This machine took nearly three years to develop and weighed nearly 17 pounds when released. Sales of the machine were nearly nonexistent; Compaq’s LTE, released six weeks after the Mac Portable, was 18 months in development and weighed just less than 7 pounds.
The Internal Organization: Resources, Capabilities, and Core Competencies Rameshwar Patel
External and Internal Analyses By studying the external environment, firms identify what they might choose to do Opportunities and threats What different perspectives are gained from external compared to internal analyses of the firm? Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur General Environment General Environment General Environment Sociocultural Global Technological Political/Legal Demographic Economic Industry Environment Competitor Environment
External and Internal Analyses By studying the internal environment, firms identify what they can do Unique resources, capabilities, and core competencies ( sustainable competitive advantage ) External and Internal Analyses Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur The Firm
How do we assemble bundles of resources, capabilities and core competencies to create value for customers?
How do we effectively manage current core competencies while simultaneously developing new ones?
How do we learn to change rapidly and/or continuously?
Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur
Conditions Affecting Managerial Decisions About Resources, Capabilities, and Core Competencies
Uncertainty regarding characteristics of the general and the industry environments, competitors’ actions, and customers’ preferences (=forecasting unpredictability )
Complexity regarding the interrelated causes shaping a firm’s environments and perceptions of the environments (=cause-effect ambiguity )
Intra-organizational Conflicts among people making managerial decisions and those affected by them (= resistance to implementation)
Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur
Resources are WHAT a firm HAS to work with--its assets--including its people and the value of its brand name Resources represent inputs into a firm’s production process... such as capital equipment, skills of employees, brand names, finances and talented managers What is the difference between tangible and intangible resources? What is the difference between resources and capabilities? Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur Discovering Core Competencies
Capabilities are what a firm DOES , and represent the firm’s capacity to deploy resources that have been purposely bundled/integrated to achieve a desired end state ( HOW ) Capabilities become important when they are combined in unique combinations which create core competencies that have strategic value and can lead to competitive advantage Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur Discovering Core Competencies Capabilities
Core competencies are [ resources and] capabilities that serve as a source of competitive advantage over rivals Core competencies distinguish a company competitively and make it distinctive McKinsey and Co. recommends focusing on three to four competencies when framing strategic actions What are the criteria to determine core competence? What is sustainable competitive advantage? Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur Discovering Core Competencies Core Competencies
Valuable : Capabilities that help a firm neutralize threats or exploit opportunities [provide external leverage ] Rare : Capabilities that are not possessed by many others Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur Four Criteria of Sustainable Advantages
Sustainability of a competitive advantage is a function of:
the rate of core-competence obsolescence due to environmental changes
the difficulty of imitating the core competence
the availability of substitutes for the core competence
Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur
Performance Implications Valuable? Rare? Hard to Imitate? Non-substitutable Competitive Consequences Performance Implications No No No No Competitive Disadvantage Below Average Returns Yes No No Yes/ No Competitive Parity Average Returns Yes Yes No Yes/ No Temporary Com- petitive Advantage Above Average to Average Returns Yes Yes Yes Yes Sustainable Com- petitive Advantage Above Average Returns Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur
Those activities having to do with creating, marketing and delivering the product to customers and providing support and after-sales service.
Provide inputs that allow primary activities to occur (R&D, HR systems, procurement)
Including An Efficient Infrastructure:
Leadership, culture, IT/communication systems
helps create value and/or reduce the cost of creating value.
What is the internal value chain that creates capabilities ? Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur
Service Marketing & Sales Outbound Logistics Operations Inbound Logistics Firm Infrastructure Human Resource Mgmt. Technological Development Procurement Margin Margin Primary Activities Support Activities The Basic Value Chain Upstream Costs Percvd Value Price Market Share “ RED BOX” Value Proposition/Consumer Surplus Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur
Outsourcing Outsourcing is the purchase of some or all of a value-creating activity from an external supplier Usually this is because the specialty supplier can provide these functions more efficiently What is outsourcing and when should it be used? Rameshwar Patel, PIM, Udaipur Margin Margin Primary Activities Support Activities Service Marketing & Sales Outbound Logistics Operations Inbound Logistics Firm Infrastructure Human Resource Mgmt. Technological Development Procurement