Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – Volume XI – March 2023 Edition

Welcome to March 2023 edition of the XIth volume of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

The theme for the XIth volume of our Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs is The Defining Trends of Quality Management – An Analytical Survey.

Our first topic for a detailed look at the theme is Short Term Competitive Advantage.

There are two basic types of competitive advantages: cost leadership and differentiation. When combined with the scope of a firm’s activities, they give rise to three generic business strategies:

    • cost leadership – where the firm seeks to become the low-cost producer in an industry.
    • differentiation – where the firm seeks to position itself uniquely along one or two dimensions that the customer values; and
    • focus – where a firm tries to optimize its strategy by selecting a segment or a group of segments in the industry, and seeks to achieve competitive advantage in the target segment(s).

The VRIO framework[1] is a tool for identifying the competitive advantages of an organization (if they have any). The VRIO (Value, Rarity, Imitability, Organization) is the four-question framework used to evaluate the resources and capabilities of an organization. The VRIO framework categorizes the organization’s tangible as well as intangible resources into one of the following groups: competitive parity, temporary competitive advantage, unused competitive advantage, or long-term competitive advantage.

The process of analysing organization’s  internal environment (internal analysis tools)[2] as well as the external environment (external analysis) is extremely important in the strategic planning process. Typically, the category that usually poses the biggest potential for improvement is the Unused Competitive Advantage Category.

The resources in the Unused Competitive Advantage category don’t have the support, processes, and culture in place to completely utilize their value. The next step is to develop a strategic plan that takes these unused competitive advantages into account and works to support these resources through strategic management will allow companies to transform their resources into sustained competitive advantages. A well thought-out and crafted strategic plan[3] will align the processes, people, and structure needed to support these resources and turn them into sustainable competitive advantages.

In a world where a competitive advantage often evaporates in less than a year,[4] strategy is still useful but not by sticking to the same old playbook. In order to seize the transient advantage, the organization needs a new playbook which positions the organization’s current working between two statements of assessment – Focused on extending existing advantages vs. Capable of coping with transient advantage.

Defining where you want to compete, how you intend to win, and how you are going to move from advantage to advantage is more critical than ever in the critical in the times of the digital revolution, a “flat” world, fewer barriers to entry, globalization, when the competitors and customers have become too unpredictable, and industries too amorphous.

That should keep organization always thinking about is it possible to restore a balance between durability and variability of the organization in terms of strategy?

We will take up the possible answers in our next episode. Till then, download a free guide and canvas to identify organization’s sustainable competitive advantage(es).[5]

We will now turn to our regular section -.

We now watch ASQ TV episode on –

Till writing of the present episode, new additions to Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems.

So we take up the article ‘From the Editor’ (of Quality Magazine) – by Darryl Sealand:

      • Riddle Me This – A man is walking down the middle of the street dressed in all black. There are no streetlights. No moon. At the same time, a car is driving down the same road with no headlights. At the last second, the car swerves to avoid hitting the man. How can this happen?

(Alert: Please do not read further till you have figured out the answer.)

The tactic deployed in riddle like this is called extraneous detail. The story overloads the reader with imagery of darkness and descriptions of things associated with night—streetlights, headlights, the moon—to distract the reader from what is not being said.

Most of the times, our knowledge and experience can potentially lead us to poor assumptions, and hence poorer outcomes. Poor assumptions are part of what is called a syllogistic fallacy.

Don’t feel bad if you have ever participated in a syllogistic fallacy, as the greats like Shakespeare have been called out for a syllogism that falls apart in the end. And don’t feel bad if you didn’t figure out the riddle. With millions of points of data, we can be overwhelmed by what is important and what is not.

By the way, answer to the riddle was: It is daytime.

I look forward to your views / comments / inputs to further enrich the theme of The Defining Trends of Quality Management – An Analytical Survey.

Note: The images or video clips depicted here above are through courtesy of respective websites who have the copyrights for the respective images /videos.

[1] What is the VRIO framework?

[2] Internal firm analysis: Understanding a firm’s resources and capabilities

[3] How to Write a Strategic Plan: The Cascade Model.

[4] Transient AdvantageRita McGrath