I was given a book to read, “The Discipline of Market Leaders“. I am sure you have heard about it.  The authors state that there are three key strategies you can take in any market:

1.  Operational Excellence “deliver a combination of quality, price, and ease of purchase that no one else in their market can match.”  McDonalds falls into this camp.

2.  Product Leadership: focus on delivering the “best product, period.”  This is the tactic Apple use.

3.  Customer Intimacy: give “the customer a total solution, not just a product or service.”  The example cited in the book is Nordstrom, I have never shopped there though I guess it isn’t a million miles away from John Lewis.

That all sounds very sensible, focus is everything.  The question I have though is how?

It is clear that McDonalds focus on their processes to deliver Operational Excellence, but what do Apple focus on?  What do John Lewis focus on?

I think the only way you can have product leadership is to have the best R and D processes, and the only way to have Customer Intimacy is to have the best customer service processes.

Or to put it another way regardless of which market position you take, when it comes to delivery, the only way to do it well is to make sure your operation works.

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