A firm’s operations encompass all the activities that are performed in order to produce and deliver a product or a service. An operations strategy refers to a set of operational decisions that a firm makes to achieve a long-term competitive advantage. These decisions may be about the firm’s facilities, its technology/process choices, its relationships with both upstream and downstream business partners etc. The goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of how and why operational decisions are integral to a firm’s success. The course builds on concepts from the core Operations Management course and the core Strategy Formulation course. It is highly relevant to anyone whose work requires the strategic analysis of a firm’s operations, including those interested in consulting, entrepreneurship, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, investment analysis, and general management.
The course consists of four modules. The first module, “Strategic Alignment,” explores the question of how a firm’s operations should be structured so as to be consistent with the firm’s chosen way to compete. The second module, “Firm Boundaries,” considers the question of what operational activities should remain in house and what should be done by a business partner and the long-term implications of these decisions on competitive advantage. This module also addresses the issue of managing the business relationships with supply chain partners. The third module, “Internal Operations,” considers key decision categories in operations, e.g., capacity decisions, process choices, IT implementation, and managing networks, and shows how these decisions can lead to distinctive capabilities. The final module, “New Challenges,” is set aside to address new topics that reflect the current trends in the business environment.