Convening Special General Body Meeting:
Upper Saddle River, NJ Introduction Many executives now devote substantial portions of their day to worrying about new technology: Yet, becausethe new wave of technology sweeping through corporations is fundamentally consultants business report fromprevious technologies, new kinds of strategies must be devised to gain competitive advantage.
The new wave of technology has been building ever since the advent of computers. Any firm that wishes to remain in business must ride this wave of technology,both in its product line and in its own operations.
The first of these avenues--keeping competitors from obtaining technology--is impossible if thetechnology was developed in another industry. Even proprietary technology developedfor a firm's own products is not always safe: A strategy consultants business report on trying to keep the competition from obtainingtechnology over the long term seems to work only in industries with large financial barriers toentry e.
The second avenue, to develop or adopt new technology faster than the competition, can work intwo situations: Similarly, attempts to outflank rivals byadopting new technology for one's own operations may simply lock a company into expensive andobsolescent systems.
The third approach, to surpass competitors by implementing technology better in your ownproducts and operations, has been largely neglected by corporate strategists in the U.
YetJapanese firms have captured whole markets by stressing the implementation of manufacturingand product technology. These firms lavish attention on vital components of implementation: Using systems and technology, these Japanese firms have made implementationthe core of their strategy of quality and responsiveness to customer demand.
In contrast, American strategists focus on broad considerations of market growth rates, marketshare, and the competitive structure of the industry.
Executives concentrate on quick, dramaticmoves such as acquisitions and divestitures that they can directly control. Unfortunately,implementing new technology is harder to accomplish. It often requires a change in corporatestructure and culture, and demands detailed knowledge of the technology and operations of bothone's own business and that of one's customers.
Hayes and William J. Abernathyhave pointed out, relatively few American executives have this kind of knowledge Robert H. As a result, implementation is viewed as anobstacle rather than an opportunity, as something that needs tobe "managed" and overcome. Yet implementing technology better than competitors can be thekey to long-term success: The Rise of Integrated Systems Most new technologies share not only a common dependence uponcomputers but also two crucial, basic characteristics: Three examples willillustrate this point.
Computer-aided design systems CAD --The biggest gains from CAD systems result not from automated drafting but from their ability to integrate functions such as conceptual design, engineering analysis, producibility checks, and tape generation for numerical control machine tools. Many users purchased CAD equipment, ignorant of the importance of this integration, and are now burdened with incompatible systems.
Decision support systems DSS --These business analysis tools aid managers in free-wheeling investigations of market trends and business operations. Allowing managers to query corporate databases using English-like commands, decision support systems bring together a wide variety of information and analytical techniques in a whole system.
With decision support systems, managers have the flexibility to tailor questions to their own needs rather than to the capabilities of the data processing system. However, these advantages can only be garnered if corporate databases are suitably structured for such inquiries. Robotics--Most current industrial "robots" really represent soft automation: However, robots now beginning to enter factories are true integrated systems, which combine traditional materials handling e.
Too often, robots are installed in isolation without sufficient consideration given to material flow, production balancing, and other factors. The new wave of participative management methods and workredesign efforts is also characterized by its emphasis onintegrating business functions and increasing flexibility.
Forexample, the quality control concepts espoused by Deming, Juran,and others combine the functions of production work, qualityassurance, and often maintenance or process development, as well.
Since workers have broader skills, management can deploy themmore flexibly. Similarly, new transaction processing systems insome banks give one clerical worker control over an entirecustomer transaction, improving both job satisfaction andresponsiveness to customer requests. All of these new technologies and management methods arefundamentally different on a strategic level from oldertechnologies.
Older technologies such as transfer lines in massmanufacturing or early financial transaction processing systemstargeted two strategic goals: These technologies and methodsassumed strategies of minimization:Report Managing Shareholder Value in Turbulent Times Creating Value in Banking The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global manage-ment consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy.
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