This study looks at the operations strategy from two perspectives. That is from the viewpoint of organizational capabilities, resources, and competencies, and the market perspective. Initially, decision-making was based on resources. However, the marketplace is more volatile and competitive hence the market-driven perspective. Lowson (2003) acknowledges that an operations strategy is a relatively new discipline. Although both perspectives may serve the overall strategy of an organization, Lowson (2003) says that blending both to form a taxonomical cluster may increase competitiveness and help in defining an organization.
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Lowson (2003) looks at the two perspectives historically. The study acknowledges that the type of operations strategy depends on a particular industry and varies from firm to firm. It also reflects core capabilities and tends to be time-bound (long term, medium term, etc). The study is critical in forming a breakdown of the operations strategy to make sure that there is no misrepresentation of clarity between operations strategy and popular operational solutions such as logistics strategy.
He says that strategy is hierarchical. At the peak is the organizational strategy and at the bottom is the species. Operations strategy is a building block composed of a class (a grouping of organisms), subclass (a narrower operations strategy), order taxonomies, genus taxonomies, and finally species (individuals with common characteristics e.g. technologies). These form the Operations Strategy Composition Matrix (OSCM).
Lowson identifies with the change in demand patterns, personalization, and customization levels compared with the past. He says that these changes have informed needs for lean production, flexible workforce, agility, and flexibility in production. Against this backdrop, an organization needs to formulate a strategy. He offers customization of operations strategy formulation by blending resources and market demands.
In conclusion, Lowson shows that decisions that form operations strategy are customized to certain environmental forces. In decision making perspectives are drawn from the customer, product uniqueness, and services. However, there is a lacuna in Lowson’s research. Lowson tends to rationalize decision-making without putting into consideration the external and internal forces that may dictate the use of particular decisional elements. There can be a relationship between certain elements eliminating the need for clustering. Furthermore, some situations call for operations strategy customization to fit into the situation.
Additionally, Lowson concludes that business environmental factors play a significant role in the determination of a firm’s operation strategy even in an emerging economy. The specific nature of the business environment also influences the choice of the operation strategy. Besides, they were able to establish that the size of the company and the nature of ownership are important factors to consider when determining the operations or manufacturing strategy. Thus, further research should be conducted to find out how managers formulate operations strategies with these two factors as the variables of the study.
Lowson, R 2003, The Nature of Operations Strategy: Combining Strategic Decisions from the Resource-Based and Market-Driven Viewpoints, Management Decision, Vol. 41 no. 6 pp 538-549.