Operations Strategy in Action
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Operations Strategy in Action

A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Implementation

Kim Hua Tan and Rupert L. Matthews

This fresh and enlightening book offers a rounded overview of operations strategy with a particular focus on implementation. The premise of the book is that developing an effective operations strategy without its subsequent implementation will render the strategising process a waste of time and resources. The authors explain the pros and cons of existing approaches to implementation, as well as offering a systematic framework for turning strategic intent into actions. The study will be of great interest to academics and will also give practitioners confidence in effectively formulating and efficiently implementing strategies that reflect the needs of the today’s business.
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Chapter 4: Guiding Implementation: Creative Alternative Generations

Kim Hua Tan and Rupert L. Matthews


4. 4.0 Guiding implementation: creative alternative generation INTRODUCTION How can a manager generate and choose a set of actions to implement a business strategy effectively? With strategy sometimes being considered a plan of action to achieving desired business goals, effective strategy formulation should include the setting of objectives and the identification and evaluation of alternative actions. Following this and the consideration of current environmental conditions, the selected choice needs to be implemented. However, a review of the literature shows that there may be over-emphasis upon the setting of strategic objectives as the primary focus of the formulation process. Current strategy frameworks and processes (Hill 1985; Platts 1993; Mills et al. 2002) seem to focus on broad directions and the establishment of strategic objectives, but seem to be weak in translating these into specific actions for implementation. Garvin (1993) points out that strategic objectives (cost, quality, delivery and flexibility) are too highly aggregated to direct decision making. Being broad, ambiguous, generic categories with a multitude of possible interpretations they cannot suitably direct developments. For example, quality alone can mean reliability, durability or aesthetic appeal among many others, and each of these is very subjective in its nature. Possibly for this reason, many researchers (Anderson, Cleveland and Schroeder 1989; Swink and Way 1995; Kim and Arnold 1996, Tan and Platts 2003a and b) have indicated that the process of linking strategic objectives to actions is often overlooked, resulting in subsequent implementation activities performing poorly. The ability to generate many alternatives is an...

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