Quality Progress - March 2018 - 34

F E AT U R E

QUALITY IMPROVEMENT

What is strategic positioning?

Strategic positioning is an organization's attempt to
achieve a sustainable competitive advantage by preserving what is distinctive about the organization. It means
performing activities that are different from the competitors or performing similar activities in different ways.
Thus, strategic positioning helps the organization achieve
a competitive advantage.
Operational effectiveness means performing activities
better and faster, or with fewer inputs and defects than
the competitors. To attain a high level of operational
effectiveness, organizations implement continuous
improvement programs, which are made more effective
by strategic positioning.

Creating strategic positioning

Strategic positioning is at the heart of an organization's
business strategy. It is the only way for the organization to
create a competitive advantage that will differentiate it from
its competitors. Figure 1 shows how to develop strategic
positioning and what a quality professional contributes to
each step. There are five steps:

FIGURE 1

5 steps to developing a
competitive advantage
1. Review capabilities
(resources,
processes and values)

Internal audit

2. Choose customers

Customer
satisfaction analysis

3. Choose what to do
and what not to do

Capabilities audit

4. Tailor an activity
system to align
with the strategy

Audit for
strategic alignment

5. Monitor and improve

Champion
improvement initiatives

34 QP

March 2018 ❘ qualityprogress.com

1. Review the organization's capabilities.
When determining the organization's uniqueness, the
first step is to review its capabilities, which mainly reside
in the following areas:
+ Resources. Resources are either tangible-people,
money, equipment and technologies-or intangible-
customers, suppliers, product and service design, and
distribution channels. Resource allocation is the main
step to moving forward with any strategic or operational initiative.
+ Processes. Processes can be explicit, such as operational
processes, or undocumented. Undocumented processes
include logistics and customer care, for example. These
activities are performed routinely and inevitably become
a component of the organization's culture.
+ Values. In this context, values refer to making
decisions and setting priorities at all levels of the
organization, such as whether a growth opportunity is
attractive or how important a customer is.
Examining where the organization's capabilities
reside will reveal what the organization can and can't
do. In some cases, the organization may develop new
capabilities-either internally or by acquisition-that
are compatible with its strategy. The following example
discusses some issues related to acquisition.
Example: ABC Engineering, an Asian-based global
engineering firm, provided an integrated engineering
service-engineering, procurement and construction-
and its strategic goal was to serve its country's investors
that were actively investing in North America.
To gain a foothold in North America, ABC Engineering bought a small engineering organization in Calgary,
Alberta, which became the Canadian branch of ABC
Engineering, with the intention of allowing the Canadian
branch to continue performing its business as usual. Next,
another business unit was established within the Canadian branch to realize ABC Engineering's strategic goal.
An issue soon surfaced: Was it appropriate to integrate the Canadian branch with ABC Engineering? ABC
Engineering handled multimillion-dollar projects, so its
processes were configured to that kind of business, and
its values didn't appreciate small or emerging markets.
In contrast, the Canadian branch accepted much
smaller projects, so its procedures were designed for
small projects, and its values embraced opportunities
from small and emerging markets.
Changing the values and processes of the Canadian
branch would cause its business to vaporize, which
ABC Engineering didn't want. The issue was settled by


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - March 2018

Seen and Heard
Expert Answers
Progress Report
Mr. Pareto Head
Career Coach
My Quality Story
In the Right Direction
A Different Kind of BBQ
Gaining Ground
Impeding Progress
Innovation Imperative
Statistics Spotlight
Standard Issues
Marketplace
Footnotes
Back to Basics
Quality Progress - March 2018 - INTRO
Quality Progress - March 2018 - cover1
Quality Progress - March 2018 - cover2
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 1
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 2
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 3
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 4
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 5
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Seen and Heard
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 7
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Expert Answers
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 9
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Progress Report
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 11
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 12
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Mr. Pareto Head
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Career Coach
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 15
Quality Progress - March 2018 - My Quality Story
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 17
Quality Progress - March 2018 - In the Right Direction
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 19
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 20
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 21
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 22
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 23
Quality Progress - March 2018 - A Different Kind of BBQ
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 25
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 26
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 27
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 28
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 29
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 30
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 31
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Gaining Ground
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 33
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 34
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 35
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 36
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Impeding Progress
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 38
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 39
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 40
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 41
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 42
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 43
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Innovation Imperative
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 45
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 46
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 47
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Statistics Spotlight
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 49
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 50
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 51
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 52
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 53
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Standard Issues
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 55
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 56
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 57
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Marketplace
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 59
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Footnotes
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 61
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 62
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 63
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Back to Basics
Quality Progress - March 2018 - cover3
Quality Progress - March 2018 - cover4
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