BSOM046 Operations Management and the Supply Chain Time Based Competition


1.0 Overview of Time-Based Competition

1.1 Definition of the Time-Based Competition

In the modern business environment, characterized by increased competition, technological advancements, and changing needs of customers necessitate a constant competitive paradigm development. One such strategy is the Stalk (1988) time-based competition (TBC). From a general point of view, TBC is defined as an improved positioning as opposed to competitors in terms of time spent between ordering to delivery of a service/product with increased efficiency and cost-cutting. The theory author argued that it is possible for an organisation to leverage on competitive advantage by adopting TBC in their customer needs satisfaction as a critical factor in the attainment of an entity success.  As noted by Sapkauskiene and Leitoniene (2010), TBC involves a reduction of the time incurred in every stage of a general cycle which is an indicator of shortening the time spent in planning, designing, creating a product, innovativeness, production, supply, marketing and distribution. This is achieved by taking into account the overall consumer trends, needs, and expectations.  Additionally, increased globalisation leads to increased competition with clients demanding faster delivery of products while maintaining the required quality and customer loyalty. Nevertheless, as noted by Siong and Eng (2018), this is not a simple undertaking since the lengthier supply chains in globalized market contribute to a time-sensitive challenge. The need for a quick supply of ordered products should not be in line with the invested resources (see figure 1 for TBC process).

Figure 1: TBC Process

Source: Summarised from Reference for Business (2020)

1.2 Origin of TBC Concept

TBC concept has been in existence since 1990, first used by George Stal Jr. and published in Havard Business Review Magazine (Stalk, 1988). In the initial publication, the author offered a detailed evaluation of the extent to which organisations are in a position of attaining competitive advantage for the clients needs satisfaction as a critical factor in strategic management. Nevertheless, as noted in BCG (2020), the TBC concept had been introduced by BCG as early as 1980s.  The author identified that as organisations set strategies for responding and adapting to the changes in their market environment and other issues and obstacles, an adaptive advantage is attained. To achieve this, the organisations tend to integrate both organisation and structural changes in three critical segments (see figure 2);

Figure 2: Operations of Time-Based Competition

Source: Summarised from BCG (2020)

Since its development, different authors have focused on evaluating the applicability of TBC in various industries (Badenhorst-Weiss and Weber, 2016; Emboava et al., 2017; Bong et al., 2018). A collective agreement among these studies is that TBC is initiated as a strategy with the results being overall process reengineering. For instance, BCG (2020) presented Chrysler, Karolinska, and Milliken case studies, which have all implemented TBC in their operations. It is noted that the organisations started by setting strategies of reaching out to their clients faster and later reengineered the overall initiatives to assist them achieve the strategy. The organisations positively gained in leveraging in a competitive advantage by increasing their throughput, raising the costs of the products by mitigating markdowns. This has been facilitated by the increased technology growth leading to significant improvement and product characteristics, rapid changes and organisations becoming dynamic.

 2.0 Literature Review

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